Cooley honors GM director with Adjunct Faculty Award

Daniel M. Houlf, director of the U.S. Tax Counsel Group at General Motors Corp., was chosen as the 2013 recipient of the Frederick J. Griffith III Adjunct Faculty Award at Cooley Law School on March 4. Houlf, a Cooley adjunct faculty member since 2005, teaches Accounting for Lawyers, State and Local Taxation, Tax Accounting, and Tax Practice and Procedure.

“Professor Houlf’s teaching abilities are incomparable. The tax expertise, enthusiasm, and patience he brings to every class have made his courses in high demand and loved by the students,” said Joni Larson, assistant director of Cooley’s Graduate Tax Program. “In addition, through Professor Houlf, the students are given the opportunity to not only get a great tax background, but also learn about its practical application.” 

At General Motors, Houlf is responsible for tax planning, federal and state tax controversies, providing tax advice to the business, and managing the federal and state tax environment. Before joining GM, he worked as a state and local tax attorney at Ford Motor Company. Houlf also served as a trial attorney with the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and as a litigation associate with the Dykema law firm.

Houlf also served on the State Bar of Michigan Taxation Section’s Council, working on student outreach. During that time, he coordinated donations from law and accounting firms for hundreds of scholarships that were awarded to law and accounting students to attend Michigan’s largest tax conference. 

“Professor Houlf embodies the connection between practice and academics,” said Gina Torielli, director of Cooley’s Graduate Tax Program. “Cooley has long been a leader in graduating practice-ready attorneys who are educated by attorneys with experience practicing law.”

Cooley offers students the option of focusing electives in specific areas of study, including taxation. This concentration focuses on tax issues in a variety of areas and dovetails with Cooley's Graduate Tax Program.

“I am extremely honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Frederick J. Griffith III Adjunct Faculty Award,” Houlf said. “I embrace Cooley’s high standards for graduating practice-ready attorneys and recognize the need to not only educate students to these standards, but to lead by example so the next generation of attorneys understands the value in shaping the profession through ethics and professionalism.”

In the classroom, Houlf continually receives high ratings from student evaluations, with comments ranging from, “He makes it fun,” to “I loved it.” The popular website Ratemyprofessor.com, which is a ranking based on student feedback, also gives Houlf a perfect score in the areas of helpfulness, clarity and overall quality.

“Professor Houlf is a shining example of Cooley’s adjunct professors,” said Emeritus Professor Otto Stockmeyer, who presented the award. “Our adjunct faculty members interrupt their busy days and give up their evening and weekend hours to share their expertise. In addition to providing doctrinal instruction and developing practical skills, they provide our students with valuable insights into the demands and rewards of their specialized practices.”

Established in 1997, the award is named for the late Rick Griffith, who was a Michigan Supreme Court Commissioner and adjunct professor at Cooley until his death at age 52.

 

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