John T Plecnik

Director, Master of Legal Studies Program

Associate Professor of Law

Office: LB 222

p. 216-687-2346




B.A., Belmont Abbey College
J.D., Duke University
Certificate, Columbia University
LL.M., New York University


Professor John T. Plecnik's scholarship focuses on the intersection of taxation and public policy. Internationally recognized for his work, Professor Plecnik won the prestigious Bilateral Grant twice from the Public Research Agency of the Republic of Slovenia, and his research has been cited as authority by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Professor Plecnik currently teaches Tax I; Tax Procedure, Penalties & Crimes; Wealth Transfer Tax; and Estates & Trusts. His students twice voted him "Professor of the Year" in 2012 and 2017. Professor Plecnik also received the Golden Apple Award from the Young Alumni Council of the Cleveland State University Alumni Association.

Following his graduation from law school, Professor Plecnik joined the Wall Street law firm of Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP as an ERISA attorney. He then served as a law clerk to Judge David Gustafson of the United States Tax Court and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught Tax Penalties & Tax Crimes.

Professor Plecnik earned his B.A., summa cum laude, in Accounting with a minor in Mythology from Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated co-valedictorian. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Duke University School of Law. While at Duke, he was one of six inaugural executive board members to co-found the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy. He also served as an editor on Law & Contemporary Problems and received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Taxation & Estate Planning. Professor Plecnik earned his LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. While at NYU, he served as Executive Editor of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change and was the first part-time student to be selected as a member of that review. In addition, Professor Plecnik was awarded the Certificate in Business Excellence by Columbia University Graduate School of Business for completing a number of Executive Education programs.

In the past, Professor Plecnik served as Chairman of the Willoughby Hills Recreation Commission, Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the Willoughby-Eastlake Public Libraries, and Vice President of Council & Councilman-at-Large for the City of Willoughby Hills. As a three-term Councilman, Professor Plecnik authored and passed-into-law both tax cuts and tax abatements that brought hundreds of new jobs to Willoughby Hills.

To quote President John Hamercheck of the Lake County Board of Commissioners, "Lake County owes Councilman John Plecnik a great debt of gratitude for personally negotiating and drafting the tax incentive agreement that brought Produce Packaging and over 300 good-paying jobs to Willoughby Hills. Expert leadership is hard to find, and as an internationally recognized professor of tax law, John has been a powerful force for economic development in our County."


Tax I, Tax Procedure, Penalties & Crimes, Wealth Transfer Tax, Estates & Trusts
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