John A. Swain

Chester H. Smith Professor of Law Emeritus

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.

Curriculum Vitae

SSRN Published Papers

Representative Publications


  • State Taxation (3d ed., Warren, Gorham & Lamont 2017 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


  • J.D. Yale Law School
    Editor, Law and Policy Review
  • A.B. Dartmouth College
    Graduated summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Admitted to Practice

  • Arizona

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
  • Partner
    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)