Nancy Assaf McLaughlin

Curriculum Vitae

Nancy Assaf McLaughlin portrait
  • Robert W. Swenson Professor of Law, College Of Law, University of Utah
  • Professor, College Of Law, University of Utah



  • J.D. 1990, Law, University of Virginia School of Law


Professor McLaughlin received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1990 and a B.S. honors degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1987, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She is a member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and currently serves as chair of ACTEC’s Legal Education Committee. She also is vice chair of the Charitable Organizations Committee of the ABA’s Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Section and a professional editor of the section’s academic law journal. 

Her research focuses on conservation easement, tax, and nonprofit governance issues and she writes and lectures extensively on these issues. She served as a member of the Land Trust Alliance's Conservation Easement Amendment Policy Group and currently serves on the Alliance's Conservation Defense Advisory Council. She also serves on the advisory board of Vital Ground, as a member of the Habitat Protection Advisory Committee of the Wildlife Land Trust, and as an advisor to Utah Open Lands. She consults with land trusts, landowners, government entities, and others regarding conservation easements, and she blogs about conservation easement current developments on the Law Professors Nonprofit Law Blog. 
Professor McLaughlin teaches Trusts & Estates, Estate Planning, Gift & Estate Tax, Federal Income Tax, Private Land Conservation, and a course on Conservation Easements.

Selected Publications



                                                  ~~~ Law Review Articles ~~~

Conservation Easement Enabling Statutes: Perspectives on Reformco-authored with Jeff Pidot, 3 Utah L. Rev. 811 (2013)

Conservation Easements and The Doctrine of Merger, 74 Duke J. L. & Contemp. Probs 279 (2011)
Conservation Easements and the Charitable Trust Doctrine: Setting the Record Straight, co-authored with W. William Weeks, 10 Wyo. L. Rev. 73 (2010)
To View and Download all Law Review Articles go to
                                               ~~~ Federal Tax Cases Outline ~~~    
Trying Times 2014: Important Lessons to be Learned From Recent Federal Tax Cases, prepared for the 2014 Land Trust Alliance Annual Conference 
                          ~~~ Conservation Easement Current Development Blog Posts ~~~ 
                                                           Federal Tax Cases 
Zarlengo v. Comm'r—Conservation Easement Overvalued and Not Protected In Perpetuity Until Recorded
Schmidt v. Comm'r—Conservation Easement Overvalued But No Penalties Imposed

Seventeen Seventy Sherman Street, LLC v. Comm'r—Conservation Easement Conveyed for Quid Pro Quo Not Deductible and Negligence Penalty Applied

Scheidelman v. Comm'r—Second Circuit Affirms Tax Court’s Holding that Façade Easement Had No Value

Whitehouse Hotel v. Comm'r—5th Circuit Affirms Tax Court’s Façade Easement Valuation But Vacates on Penalties

Palmer Ranch v. Comm'r—$19.9 million Conservation Easement Deduction Allowed Based on “Reasonably Probable” Rezoning

Kaufman v. Comm'r—Façade Easement Had No Value and Penalties Imposed

Wachter v. Comm'r—North Dakota Conservation Easements are Not Deductible

Esgar v. Comm'r—10th Circuit Affirms Tax Court: Conservation Easements Were Overvalued, Income From State Tax Credit Sales Was Short Term Capital Gain

Mountanos v. Comm'r–Conservation Easement Donor Not Permitted to Avoid Gross Valuation Misstatement

Route 231 v. Comm'r - Allocation to 1% Partner of 97% of Tax Credits Generated by Conservation Easement Donations Treated as Disguised Sale

61 York Acquisition, LLC v. Comm'r – $10.7m Facade Easement Deduction Denied For Failure to Restrict Entire Exterior

Gorra v. Comm'r - Facade Easement Deductible but Gross Valuation Misstatement Penalty Applied

Friedberg v. Comm'r—Questionable Appraisal Can Be a “Qualified Appraisal”

Mitchell v. Comm'r – 170(h) Requires Perpetuation of Conservation Easement Itself, Not Just Conservation Purposes

Carpenter v. Comm'r - Federally-Deductible Conservation Easements Must be Extinguishable Only in a Judicial Proceeding

Pesky v. U.S. – Deduction for Conservation Easement Donation Not Fraudulent

Graev v. Comm'r - Side Letter Kills Deductions for a Façade Easement Donation

Belk v. Comm'r - Tax Court Reaffirms its Holding that “Floating” Conservation Easements Are Not Deductible

Mountanos v. Comm'r - Deduction Denied for Failure to Prove Conservation Easement Had Value

Pollard v. Comm'r – Conservation Easement Conveyed For Quid Pro Quo Not Deductible


IRS on Conservation Easement Appraisals

Maine Supreme Judicial Court Holds that Conservation Lands Open to the Public are Exempt from Property Tax

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds that Conservation Land Open to the Public is Exempt from Property Tax

IRS Bars Appraisers from Valuing Facade Easements for Five Years

Perpetual Conservation Easements: What Have We Learned and Where Should We Go From Here?  (University of Utah College of Law Symposium Videos and Articles)

IRS Rules Tax-Exempt Status of Organization Accepting Conservation Easements Should be Revoked

IRS Chief Counsel Memorandum Addresses Conservation Easement Valuation

Façade Easement Appraiser Barred From Preparing Appraisal Reports and Ordered to Turn Over List of Clients