Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Tax Attorney Lisa Hebenstreit Zarlenga '94 – Not Out of the Woods Yet

Lisa Hebenstreit Zarlenga

Lisa Hebenstreit Zarlenga

Tax law caught Lisa's attention while she was a student at Moritz. Professor Nancy Rapoport's classes – along with Emeritus Professor Michael Rose's class on corporate tax – whetted her appetite. After graduation, clerking for U.S. Tax Court Judge Robert P. Ruwe prepared her well for joining the tax group at Steptoe & Johnson. During those two years, she also obtained an LL.M. in tax from Georgetown University.

As a partner with Steptoe & Johnson, Lisa practices in the federal income tax sector, more specifically with corporate transactional and planning matters. She is a member of the DC Bar Association Tax Section and currently serves a member of its Steering Committee. She is an officer for the Corporate Tax Committees of both the American Bar Association and the local bar.

Lisa sees corporate tax shelters as one of the most pressing issues in corporate tax policy and legislation dating back to the 1990's. While corporate tax shelters follow a voluntary compliance system, the government has done a lot, from Lisa's perspective, to attack shelters; some of the proposals have gone too far by penalizing compliant taxpayers. Lisa feels it is important to find a happy medium that both parties can adhere to.

She became involved in speaking engagements and in writing articles on the subject of tax law at the urging of Steptoe partner Mark Silverman, with whom she has collaborated on several projects. Of the two, Lisa loves writing the most, as it really allows her to delve into a particular area and learn it inside and out. While she enjoys her participation on panels with both private practitioners and U.S. Treasury and IRS attorneys, it's the preparation – where she can dig deeply – more than the actual speeches that she particularly enjoys.

It's not just her work life that she approaches with gusto. Lisa has recently become involved in the world of show dogs. Mocha, Lisa's first dog – a three-year-old American Water Spaniel, has earned her "Started" and "Seasoned" titles from the United Kennel Club (UKC). Lisa and husband Michael continue to work with Mocha to get her "Finished" UKC title as well as her American Kennel Club titles. For her part, Mocha spends afternoons hanging out with Michael at his hunting and fly-fishing store, The Trophy Room, in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Va.

Like Michael, Lisa enjoys hunting for big game. She has recently started going on bird hunting trips, which Michael enjoys, as a chance to spend more time with him and Mocha. When she's not out in the woods, Lisa enjoys lifting weights and jogging with Mocha. A self-described "fitness freak," she enjoys finding new challenges for herself.

Even though she is busy with her work and her sports, Lisa tries to get back to the Columbus area as much as possible to visit with her family. Friends in the area who would like to catch up and share fishing tales with this ambitious alumna should contact her at