Figure Skating Dreams Dashed, First Martin Nash Scholar Turned to Figures for Solace


Melanie Adelson and Michael A. Dribin, LL.M.

Melanie Adelson and Michael A. Dribin, LL.M.’79 

Melanie Adelson wanted to be a figure skater when she was a girl; it seemed so graceful and glamorous. However, a bad landing in fourth grade broke both her wrist and her dreams. The Montreal native indulged in other winter sports, including skiing down the double black diamond slopes surrounding her hometown.

But Adelson also had a head for figures and embraced the nuances and challenges of math, and later accounting.

Martin J. Nash was practically a native of Miami Beach, a city where winter means temperatures in the high 60s, and no one actually ever dons a winter coat. Nash also had a head for figures – both in his over fifty-year marriage to Cynthia Taylor Nash, and in his degree in Accounting from the University of Miami in 1958.

Next, he would tackle Miami Law with the same determination: Research editor of the University of Miami Law Review, and member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Wig and Robe Honor Society, and the most prestigious Iron Arrow Honor Society.

Nash would go on to a long career, first at the Internal Revenue Service in Texas, then back in Miami as the first associate at Greenberg Traurig. He would found the firm of Schwartz, Nash, Heckerling, and Tescher, P.A., and eventually, Nash Axman Watkin PLC.

Adelson would graduate from McGill University in Montreal with both a Graduate Diploma in Public Accountancy and a Bachelor of Commerce with great distinction with an accounting major. She passed her Canadian Certified Public Accountant exams and worked at Ernst and Young LLP in Montreal as a Senior Tax Accountant before deciding to take the plunge in 2012 into the tropics and University of Miami School of Law.

At Miami Law the brilliant Canadian would spend her rising 2L and 3L summers studying and passing the U.S. CPA exam, and would intern at Dade Legal Aid and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. Along the way, she picked up the Dean’s Certificate of Achievement in Civil Procedure I, was named the Alumni Editor of the Business Law Review, and worked in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. She was also recently named the first Martin J. Nash Scholar through the Martin J. Nash Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Adelson and Nash, J.D.’61, would never meet. Nash passed away in February, 2013, practicing tax law until the very end of his life. He was considered to be among the most creative tax lawyers in the country. His wife, Cynthia, established the scholarship and was looking forward to awarding it to Adelson this week, however, she, too, passed away on October 11th.

Another Miami Law alumnus and brother-in-law to Nash, Michael A. Dribin, LL.M.’79, in Taxation, stepped in to award the honor. Dribin is a partner at Harper Meyer, although earlier practiced with Nash as the first associate of Schwartz, Nash, Heckerling and Tescher, P.A. Dribin is a distinguished trust and estate attorney in his own right as a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel since 1986 and is chair of the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar, and a member of the Tax Section.

“Marty was devoted to the practice of tax law and to the graduate tax program,” said Dribin. “He was also a devoted ‘Cane and I’d like to think he would be very pleased with the creation of this scholarship fund and with its first recipient.”

Adelson is on track to graduate in May 2015 with her J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation.

“It is such an honor to have been chosen as the first Martin J. Nash Scholar,” said Adelson. “After having learnt more about the life and career of Mr. Nash, I wish I had had the opportunity to meet him and learn about some of his creative tax structures. One of the main reasons why I came to the tax LLM program at University of Miami was to develop a strong foundation in tax knowledge on which to build creative tax solutions, Mr. Nash would have been an amazing person to learn this from.”