Jack practices in the Houston office of Townsend & Jones, L.L.P. He splits his time between Houston and Charlottesville, VA, coming to Houston as his practice requires.
He received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1967 and his Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University in 1969.
From 1969 through 1977, he was a Trial Attorney in the Tax Division of the United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. While with the Tax Division, he handled cases in the United States Courts of Appeals, with incidental work on briefs in opposition in the Supreme Court, from 1969 through 1974, and handled trials in the United States District Courts from 1974 through March 1977. He has been in the private practice of law in Houston, Texas since leaving the Tax Division and currently focuses his practice principally upon tax controversy and tax litigation matters.
From about 1982 (exact year lost in the shroud of time) until December 2015 (with about 5 years off), Jack was an adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center where he originally taught Real Estate Taxation but then settled into teaching Tax Procedure and Tax Fraud and Money Laundering to undergraduate and graduate law students. Information regarding these classes may be viewed by clicking the UH Classes link in the frame at the left. He has prepared two texts — on Tax Procedure and Tax Crimes — for student use in his courses. In addition, he and colleagues have published a Tax Crimes book in the LEXIS-NEXIS graduate tax series. Finally, he is the principal author for Chapter 12 on Tax Crimes in Michael Saltzman and Leslie Book, IRS Practice and Procedure (Thomsen Reuters 2015), here, which is the seminal treatise in tax procedure. Many of his other publications are on his SSRN site here.
Jack regularly participates in tax seminars and tax professional groups. He has also authored several tax articles in leading tax publications on tax litigation and other tax subjects. He has also been involved in several pro bono projects resulting in amendments to the Internal Revenue Code. The most rewarding of these projects was the amendment to Section 213 to permit deductions for travel and lodging while away from home for medical treatment, a project which arose from a presentation he made to the Ronald McDonald House in Houston.
Jack is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas. He is rated prominently in Best Lawyers in America, and Chambers and Partners Americas Leading Business Lawyers as a Tax Lawyer nationally ranked in Tax Litigation and Tax Controversy. In 2002, the Texas Lawyer, the publication for Texas legal news, ranked him in its first quintennial “Go-to-Guide” (Oct. 2002) as being among Texas’ top 5 “Top Notch” tax lawyers. In the selective quotes from the lawyers surveyed were the following: “Understands how the IRS works and is not afraid to tackle any tax issue” and “Very ethical, but will push the government hard and demand everything in sight.” In its 2012 quintennial edition, the Texas Lawyer again ranked him as being among the 5 Go-To Guide Lawyers for Tax Law, with the following quotes from two of the surveyed lawyers: “Jack Townsend is a top-flight tax controversy guy. I would without hesitation refer any kind of tax controversy work to Jack Townsend.” “He’s very smart, completely ethical and hardworking.”
Jack is married to Irene Townsend, a retired research nurse. They have two children, Theresa and Michele. Theresa is married to Cyril Mickiewicz, and they have two children, Elizabeth and Julia. Michele is married to Scott Bell and they have three children, a daughter, Finley, and two sons, Sanders and Charlie.