Whelan W. and Rosalie T. Palmer Professor of Law
Cumberland School of Law
Cumberland School of Law
Teaching & Research Interests
Wills, Trusts and Estates, Estate and Gift Tax, Estate and Trust Administration, Taxation of Nonprofit Organizations, and Federal Income Tax
- Private Bank Counsel, Bank of America Corporation/FleetBoston Financial Corporation Boston, Mass.
- Associate Attorney (Trusts and Estates Department); Choate, Hall, and Stewart; Boston, Mass.
Professor Alyssa DiRusso specializes in trusts and estates, tax, and related areas of law. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and serves on the Members Consultative Group for the Restatement of the Law of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations. She is also an elected Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). Prof. DiRusso serves on the executive committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), progressing through roles as secretary/editor, treasurer, program chair and chair. She has been admitted to practice in Massachusetts (inactive), Alabama, and before the United States Supreme Court.
Prof. DiRusso teaches Wills, Trusts and Estates, Estate and Gift Tax, Estate and Trust Administration, and Federal Income Tax. She has received multiple awards for her commitment to teaching. Prof. DiRusso joined the faculty of Cumberland School of Law and the Birmingham community in 2005, after practicing as a trusts and estates attorney in Boston, Mass., since 1999.
In Boston, Prof. DiRusso served as in-house counsel to Bank of America (and its predecessor Fleet National Bank), advising the bank's wealth management and charitable lines of business. In this role, she was responsible for legal issues relevant to wills, trusts, and charities in nine different states, as well as national issues including the bank's corporate private foundation and donor advised fund. Before accepting her post at the bank, Prof. DiRusso was an associate attorney in the Trusts and Estates department of Choate, Hall, and Stewart, a large Boston law firm. As an associate, she drafted wills and trusts, administered estates, and created and advised nonprofit organizations.
Prof. DiRusso earned her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas. She graduated in the top ten percent of her class, Order of the Coif. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Psychology, with an additional major in Professional Writing) from Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated in the top five percent of her college class, Phi Beta Kappa.
Prof. DiRusso is the author of over a dozen law review articles and other publications. Her research interests include wills, trusts, intestacy, tax, and tax-exempt charitable organizations. She is a frequent presenter of her research at national and international conferences. Her publications have appeared in journals such as the Utah Law Review, Indiana Law Review and Vanderbilt Law Review.
Degrees and Certifications
- J.D., University of Texas School of Law, Order of the Coif-Top 10%
- B.S., Psychology (Also Majored in Professional Writing) Carnegie Mellon University, Phi Beta Kappa-Top 5%
- Wills, Trusts and Estates, Estate and Gift Tax, Estate and Trust Administration, Taxation of Nonprofit Organizations, and Federal Income Tax
Awards and Honors
- Harvey S. Jackson Teaching Excellence Award (2009, 2013)
- Lightfoot, Franklin & White Junior Faculty Scholarship Award (2007, 2010)
- Recent Publications from 2014
- Pro and Con (Law): Considering the Irrevocable Nongrantor Trust Technique, 68 VAND. L. REV. 101 (2014)
- Charity at Work: Proposing a Charitable Flexible Spending Account, 2014 UTAH L. REV. 281 (2014)
- Micro-Lawyering and Practice Simulations in Trusts and Estates Classes, 58 SLU L. REV. 739 (2014)
- United States Supreme Court Bar (admitted 2013)
- Licensed Attorney – Massachusetts (1999; inactive); Alabama (2013)
- Member, The American Law Institute (Elected 2013)
- Academic Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (Elected 2014)
- Executive Committee, Association of American Law Schools Trusts & Estates Section (2013-2016)
- Member, Association of American Law Schools (Nonprofit & Philanthropy Law and Trusts & Estates Sections)
- Contributing Editor: JOTWELL, TRUSTS & ESTATES (2010-2014)
- Alabama Leadership Initiative Class of 2012