September 21, 2007
Lecturer in Law Ameek Ponda (LL.M. '96) Named in Boston Business Journal's "40 Under 40" and Elected to American Law Institute
BU Law's Lecturer in Law Ameek Ponda, who received his LL.M. in Taxation from BU Law in '96 as valedictorian, has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute and has also been honored as one of the 2007 Boston Business Journal's "40 Under 40."
Founded in 1923 following a study conducted by prominent American judges, lawyers and teachers, the American Law Institute (ALI) seeks to improve the law and the administration of justice in a scholarly and scientific manner. Membership in the organization is a distinct professional honor as only 3,000 lawyers nationwide are selected to be part of this group. Individuals chosen reflect the excellence and diversity of today’s legal profession.
Each year, the Boston Business Journal selects 40 business professionals under the age of 40 who are considered to be the next generation of business leaders and innovators. This highly competitive award recognizes outstanding Boston-area professionals for both their business success and community contributions.
Ponda juggles a full calendar as an adjunct professor in BU Law's Graduate Tax Program, a partner and co-director of the Sullivan & Worcester Tax Department and an active participant in the South Asian community. His volunteer work includes teaching the Hindi language at Shishu Bharati -- a Sunday school for Indian language and culture in the Boston area-- and several years ago he helped edit an introductory Urdu college textbook.
Although Ponda admits his schedule can at times be hectic, he seems to thrive off of the energy from these many roles. "I find greater professional fulfillment when I also seek opportunities to do interesting things, including civic and volunteer work," he said. "There's no doubt that multiple roles can be time consuming, on occasion draining, but I've just grown accustomed to the pace and enjoy it."
Ponda also derives significant personal enjoyment from his volunteer work in the South Asian community. "Indian language and culture carry very special meaning for me. Some might think I am 'giving back' to the community, but I don't see it as so selfless. I am enriched through this participation and am really getting more than I might be giving," he said.
Returning to BU Law to teach is also significant to Ponda. "I had some great teachers and professors all through my education, including at BU Law. When presented with the opportunity to teach there, I thought: ‘Sure. I'd like to be the person who now does the teaching,’" he said. However, Ponda is quick to note that he benefits from the teaching at least as much as the students. "Being a professor helps me think through the subject matter that I am teaching. When you have to explain something to someone else, your own understanding of the material deepens, often very significantly."
Ponda was also attracted to returning to the law school by his program's prestige. "I think the Graduate Tax Program at BU Law is a wonderful program and its national reputation is well deserved. We have great faculty, we have great students, and we have a great curriculum. It's nice to be part of that kind of excellence."
Professor Ernest Haddad, director of the School’s Graduate Tax Program, had only praise for Ponda's accomplishments at BU Law. Haddad described Ponda as “incredibly bright,” and he acknowledged Ponda’s contributions to the program, which include his teaching of courses in Business Tax Planning, Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions, RICs & REITs, Financial Products, and International Transactions. “He is an engaging lecturer whom his students describe as ‘thought provoking,’” Haddad wrote in a recommendation for Ponda.
Haddad praised Ponda not only for his teaching style, but also for his informative scholarship that analyzes the tax law in a multi-faceted context. "[Ponda] frequently undertakes a comprehensive, detailed article on a particular body of tax law, combining a practitioner's business sense, an academic's insight and a policy maker's balance."
This multi-dimensional approach is something Ponda seeks in both his teaching and his private practice. "The more you understand about how allied disciplines are thinking and working, the more effective you can be in your own role. For example, one will be a better private practice lawyer if he or she understands how executives, judges, bankers, accountants and academics are thinking about their roles," said Ponda.
“It’s truly an honor to be selected as a member of the ALI and as part of the BBJ’s 40 Under 40 list both in the same week,” said Ponda. “These professional recognitions stem from the warm support and mentoring that I have received over the years from family, friends, clients and colleagues. I am looking forward to contributing to ALI’s mission, and to remaining involved in the commercial and civic fabric of the Boston community.”