Tax Law for rising 3L

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Anonymous User
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Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:58 pm

Rising 3L. T25. LR. No business/accounting undegrad major. SA at a smaller litigation firm. What are the best avenues to becoming a tax lawyer? I've taken several tax courses, some within my school's LL.M. program. I really enjoy the courses and received very good grades. Is this something worth pursuing given my background? Is the LL.M. worth pursuing? Is it a relatively stable area of law?

MoonDreamer
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby MoonDreamer » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:17 am

I've heard you can do tax law without an accounting background; however, I also hear that it's a bad idea.

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deebs
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby deebs » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Rising 3L. T25. LR. No business/accounting undergrad major. SA at a smaller litigation firm. What are the best avenues to becoming a tax lawyer? I've taken several tax courses, some within my school's LL.M. program. I really enjoy the courses and received very good grades. Is this something worth pursuing given my background? Is the LL.M. worth pursuing? Is it a relatively stable area of law?


Big 4 probably won't want you, but I'd give it a shot anyways. Get on LinkedIn, find the recruiters for all those firms in the area you want to live, and send them a message. Don't bother calling the offices, that's what I did and none of those people want to talk to you on the phone. I would say to do this now, as you will be competing with undergrads who are already being recruited. You won't be hired as a tax lawyer at a Big4 (I've heard of a few people that swung it straight out of law school, unlikely though), but you are probably most qualified for the tax department. They will ask you where you will fit, your best shot is federal or state & local. You could also try the TAS departments, but those are hard to get.

You've also got the IRS to apply to.

For firms, most will be boutiques, and won't be hiring for a long time, but you could start networking with these kinds of firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:37 am

Business/Accounting background is not required in any way. You will need to be able to talk about why you're interested in tax though.

anonymous2012
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby anonymous2012 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:57 am

deebs wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Rising 3L. T25. LR. No business/accounting undergrad major. SA at a smaller litigation firm. What are the best avenues to becoming a tax lawyer? I've taken several tax courses, some within my school's LL.M. program. I really enjoy the courses and received very good grades. Is this something worth pursuing given my background? Is the LL.M. worth pursuing? Is it a relatively stable area of law?


Big 4 probably won't want you, but I'd give it a shot anyways. Get on LinkedIn, find the recruiters for all those firms in the area you want to live, and send them a message. Don't bother calling the offices, that's what I did and none of those people want to talk to you on the phone. I would say to do this now, as you will be competing with undergrads who are already being recruited. You won't be hired as a tax lawyer at a Big4 (I've heard of a few people that swung it straight out of law school, unlikely though), but you are probably most qualified for the tax department. They will ask you where you will fit, your best shot is federal or state & local. You could also try the TAS departments, but those are hard to get.

You've also got the IRS to apply to.

For firms, most will be boutiques, and won't be hiring for a long time, but you could start networking with these kinds of firms.


Please forgive my ignorance, but what is TAS?

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deebs
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby deebs » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:40 am

anonymous2012 wrote:Please forgive my ignorance, but what is TAS?

Transaction Advisory Services. Basically M&A on the accounting side.

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patrickd139
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:27 pm

Tax attorney without a business/accounting background. NYU LLM. Fire away.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:02 pm

Anyone who thinks an accounting background is necessary to do tax law is deeply ignorant of what tax law entails.

Trout et al
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby Trout et al » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:28 pm

patrickd139 wrote:Tax attorney without a business/accounting background. NYU LLM. Fire away.



When did you become interested in Tax? Why did it become an interest?

What general path did you take to become a Tax attorney? Did you secure a big law SA first and then demonstrate interest?

edited for grammar

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patrickd139
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:58 pm

Trout et al wrote:
patrickd139 wrote:Tax attorney without a business/accounting background. NYU LLM. Fire away.



1) When did you become interested in Tax? 2) Why did it become an interest?

3) What general path did you take to become a Tax attorney? 4) Did you secure a big law SA first and then demonstrate interest?

edited for grammar

1 and 2) These can be answered together. In law school, I took a tax course, did well; took another one, booked it. It became an interest because I kept taking the classes and doing very well. The subject matter just synced up very nicely with how I think and evaluate problems.

3 and 4) Again, these for me can be grouped together. I lined up a 2L SA, expressed interest and got myself put on projects in the groups (tax, corporate and benefits) with tax-related assignments. No one else wanted them, and I happened to knock one of them out of the park (or so I was told). I deferred the start to get an LLM after receiving a scholarship to NYU. Then I deferred again after landing a federal clerkship. Will likely go DOJ, IRS OCC, tax boutique (think Ivins Phillips, Caplin & Drysdale) or biglaw post clerkship.

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patrickd139
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:04 pm

BaiAilian2013 wrote:Anyone who thinks an accounting background is necessary to do tax law is deeply ignorant of what tax law entails.

Your statement is dangerously misleading, though technically correct. Much of the "sexy" tax work involves complicated entity structures which rely heavily on partnership tax, pass thru and S Corp tax principles. These principles, in turn, rely heavily on accounting and finance to correctly allocate income, deductions, etc. between the entities.

To say that an accounting background is "necessary" to practice tax law would (as you correctly noted) be untrue.

That said, you're way behind the 8-ball if you want to do straight tax work and you're learning T-charts in law school. I'm living proof that it can be done, but sticking with an accounting major in college instead of changing to history could have made it a helluva lot easier on me.

anchuldigs
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby anchuldigs » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:31 pm

Is it a tax court clerkship or other federal court?

Where do people typically go from a tax court clerkship? Is it normal for people to do a non-tax court clerkship post-llm?

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patrickd139
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:45 pm

anchuldigs wrote:Is it a tax court clerkship or other federal court?

Where do people typically go from a tax court clerkship? Is it normal for people to do a non-tax court clerkship post-llm?

To preserve anonymity, I'm not going to answer your question outright. I will say, however that it's 'normal' to go both the Tax Court clerkship and non-Tax Court clerkship route after you get your LLM. In addition to myself, are at least two AIII clerks, about a half dozen or so Tax Court clerks, and (I think, depending on some personal matters that needed to be resolved) at least one CFC clerk from my LLM class alone. And those are just the people I know personally. There may be more.

The long and short of it is that certain types of tax controversies are resolved at the AIII and CFC levels in higher concentrations than in the Tax Court. If you're interested in those types of cases (generally corporate, EB or tax shelter cases), then a non-Tax Court clerkship may be a better bet in the long run of your career. You also might not ever see any of those cases if they never get put on the docket during your term.

Disclaimer: don't go get an LLM in tax thinking it'll make any appreciable difference in your ability to land a clerkship other than at the Tax Court. Your underlying JD school and grades matter just as much.

ETA: to answer your second question, from what I understand, people have the usual exit options from Tax Court clerkships. There might be a slight advantage to landing a job at DOJ Tax or IRS OCC, but I'm not sure the numbers would back that up.

Trout et al
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby Trout et al » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:49 pm

1) When you deferred your biglaw offer to pursue the LLM, were you offered a spot in the tax group, or was it not specified?

2) What are the benefits to deferring a firm offer to pursue a tax llm as opposed to going later on the firm's dime?

Anonymous User
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Re: Tax Law for rising 3L

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:54 pm

patrickd139 wrote:Tax attorney without a business/accounting background. NYU LLM. Fire away.


Recent JD grad here. Would it be worth it to take a free LLM from my JD school in the upcoming year, or in the alternative, (hopefully) work for a year or two and then try to get into an NYU/Georgetown LLM program? I have A's and A-'s in my tax classes, IRS OCC internship, RA for tax professor.




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