John A.
Chester H. Smith Professor of Law
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Biographical Information

John Swain has devoted most of his professional life to the study and practice of state and local taxation and is widely regarded as one of the nation's leading academic authorities on state and local taxation. He is co-author of the leading treatise on state taxation, State Taxation, vols. I & II (3d ed., Warren Gorham & Lamont, 2015 rev.) (with Jerome and Walter Hellerstein), and one the leading casebooks on state and local taxation, State and Local Taxation (10th ed., Thomson/West, 2013) (with Hellerstein, Stark, & Youngman). He is also co-author of Streamlined Sales and Use Tax (4th ed. 2007-08) (with Walter Hellerstein). In addition, he has written over 50 articles and essays regarding state taxation and related topics. Swain's work is regularly cited by courts and administrative tribunals throughout the nation. Professor Swain has also testified before Congress on matters of state tax policy and has appeared as an expert witness in state tax controversies, most recently in a matter regarding the property taxation of the Alaskan Pipeline.

Professor Swain has also practiced extensively in the state tax field. While a member of the Arizona Law faculty, he argued a case before the Ohio Supreme Court regarding the federal constitutionality of a state tax levy. DIRECT TV, Inc. v. Levin, 128 Ohio St.3d 68, 941 N.E.2d 1187 (2010) (amicus). Before joining the Arizona Law faculty, Swain was a partner with Streich, Lang, Weeks & Cardon (now Quarles & Brady), where he represented clients in a broad range of state and local tax matters.

In 2010, Professor Swain was named to the All-Decade State and Local Tax Team by State Tax Notes magazine.

Swain earned his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Journal of Law and Policy.

Representative Publications


  • State Taxation (3d ed., Warren, Gorham & Lamont 2016 rev.) (co-author, with Jerome R. Hellerstein & Walter Hellerstein).
  • State and Local Taxation:  Cases and Materials (10th ed. 2014) (co-author, with Walter Hellerstein, Kirk J. Stark, & Joan M. Youngman).


  • Federal Constitutional Limits on State Taxation, in Sales and Use Taxation (William Fox ed., 2d ed. 2016).


  • Facial State Tax Discrimination Allegedly Causing No Harm, 75 State Tax Notes 749 (2015) (co-author, with Walter Hellerstein).
  • State Jurisdiction to Tax "Nowhere" Activity, 33 Va. Tax Rev. 209 (2013) (co-author, with Walter Hellerstein).
  • The Market State Approach to the Attribution of Receipts from Services, 59 State Tax Notes 331 (2011) (co-author, with Walter Hellerstein).
  • Misalignment of Substantive and Enforcement Tax Jurisdiction in a Mobile Economy:  Causes and Strategies for Realignment, 63 Natl. Tax J. 925 (2010).
  • Reforming the State Corporate Income Tax:  A Market State Approach to the Sourcing of Service Receipts, 83 Tul. L. Rev. 285 (2008).
  • Complete List of Publications


Yale Law School

Editor, Law and Policy Review

Dartmouth College

Graduated summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Admitted to Practice


Work Experience

Chester H. Smith Professor of Law
James E. Rogers College of Law
2014 - present
Professor of Law
James E. Rogers College of Law
2009 - 2014
Associate Professor of Law
James E. Rogers College of Law
2001 - 2009
Associate Professor of Law
Appalachian School of Law
2000 - 2001
Asst. Prof.
Appalachian School of Law
1999 - 2000
Adjunct Professor of Law
Arizona State University College of Law
Fall 1996
Streich Lang, P.A.
1992 - 1998
Associate Attorney
Streich Lang, P.A.
1987 - 1991
Associate Attorney
Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb
1984 - 1986


Arizona State Bar
Academic Forum, New Mexico Tax Research Institute

Public & Institutional Service

Board member, Pima County Bar Association
2003 - present


Leslie F. & Patricia Bell Faculty Service Award
2010 - 2011
Named to The All-Decade State and Local Tax Team, 55 State Tax Notes 127 (2010)