Timm to Receive University’s 2017 Sparks Award

Bill Timm

Bill Timm (A.B. ’65) (right), associate director of the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, will receive a Sparks Award in recognition of his work at the Service Recognition Ceremony at 3 p.m Monday, April 17.

Bill Timm (A.B. ’65), associate director of the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, will receive a Sparks Award in recognition of his work at the Service Recognition Ceremony at 3 p.m Monday, April 17, in the university’s Student Center Ballroom.

The George M. Sparks Awards, named after one of the university’s most highly regarded presidents, recognize Georgia State University’s unsung heroes: faculty, staff, and students who exemplify a willingness to go the extra mile with good humor and perseverance. Fourteen students, alumni and staff nominated Bill Timm for the award, many citing his supportive and helpful attitude.

“As an individual and co-worker, Mr. Timm has to be one of the most generous human beings I’ve ever met. His unselfishness in imparting knowledge extends to everyone. There is no one he would say ‘no’ to when it comes to sharing what he knows and extending a helping hand,” said Sarah Ortiz, clinic administrative coordinator.

Prior to joining the clinic in 2007, Timm was with the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service for more than 35 years, 12 of those years as the associate area counsel.

“We were fortunate that he accepted to join us after his retirement,” Ortiz said. “The clinic’s reputation is certainly enhanced by someone who is so well respected by the IRS and the U.S. Tax Court.”

Timm teaches Basic Federal Income Tax and plays an instrumental role in mentoring the student attorneys in the clinic.

“Mr. Timm is very dedicated to educating the students,” said Jarter Gao (J.D. ’16), an attorney at Morris Legal & Tax LLC. “He would always drop what he was doing to answer a student’s question. He has a sharp wit and a sense of humor. He took his duties as an educator seriously, but he was also a friend. He always checked on the students and greeted whoever he met in the hallways. He helped students, including myself, find employment or internships. Nominating him and having him recognized for his efforts is the least I can do for what he has done for everyone.”

The associate director said he was honored that so many nominated him for the award. “However, the award is really not mine, but those 650 current and prior law students who have assisted almost 5,000 clients over the last 25 years who could not afford a lawyer and who have a controversy with the Internal Revenue Service,” he said. “It is also due to the initiative of Ron Blasi,Mark and Evelyn Trammell Professor of Law, and Mr. Cook of Alston and Bird, who saw a need in the state of Georgia to provide individuals who have such low income that they could not afford a lawyer and personally raised the funds to start the first clinic at the law school.”

Over the last 10 years, representation by student attorneys has resulted in a monetary savings to the clinic’s clients of over $19 million out of total federal tax at issue of approximately $17 million or a savings of over 92 percent, he said.

“Mr. Timm is the epitome of the unsung hero,” said J.W. Chris Chitty (J.D. ’09), who worked in the tax clinic as a student attorney and GRA. “He exemplifies what it is to be an unselfish and humble leader.

“It never ceased to amaze me the hours and effort he put into the clinic. He was always available to speak with students, other faculty and clients. While this generally falls under the scope of his duties as the associate director, the long hours and always-positive and helpful attitude he displayed were, to me, very impressive and set an example for the rest of us in how we should approach our responsibilities in the clinic and further, in our careers.”

And Mr. Timm remains available to former students to provide guidance long after they graduate, Chitty said.

“For me personally, he has had and continues to have a significant impact on my growth and career,” he said.

Timm retired from the U.S. Army, State Judge Advocate Corps with the rank of colonel. Most recently, he was the staff judge advocate for the 335th Signal Theater Command. He is an inductee in the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame and a member of the board of directors of Pioneer Clubs International.

“I am appreciative of my family for giving me the latitude to take on this job after retirement from the Office of Chief Counsel IRS and to Ron Blasi, who invited me to join him in working with the students and clients here,” Timm said. “I am also appreciative of the administrative support of Dean Kaminshine and the other deans and administrative staff of the College of Law.”

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