Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:19 am

OP here. I know that some offers have gone out, and some were delayed by the shutdown. Can't really be more specific than that, but I wouldn't give up just yet.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:20 am

Two Questions:

(1) When do clerks (re: 2-year clerkships) start contacting employers for employment opportunities?

(2) If the clerk is looking for opportunities outside DC, when is the clerk able to interview, without missing time at work?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I know that some offers have gone out, and some were delayed by the shutdown. Can't really be more specific than that, but I wouldn't give up just yet.


Thanks so much for the update.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Two Questions:

(1) When do clerks (re: 2-year clerkships) start contacting employers for employment opportunities?

(2) If the clerk is looking for opportunities outside DC, when is the clerk able to interview, without missing time at work?

(1) Depends. Some line up employment the summer before they start clerking. Others negotiate with prior employers. Most people seriously start their job search about 6-8 months before their clerkship ends. Firms are all over the map with when they solicit clerkship applications, if they do so at all. It's like 3L hiring in a way: lots of hustle.

(2) Not sure what you're asking here, precisely. The work load is steady, assuming your judge isn't hearing cases at a trial session. Assuming you interview during work hours, then technically the answer would be "never"?

If you're asking about PTO, you accrue that at the rate of 1 day per month. How much PTO you've accrued and how you schedule your interviews will determine how much time you'll have to spend or how much pay you'll miss.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Two Questions:

(1) When do clerks (re: 2-year clerkships) start contacting employers for employment opportunities?

(2) If the clerk is looking for opportunities outside DC, when is the clerk able to interview, without missing time at work?

(1) Depends. Some line up employment the summer before they start clerking. Others negotiate with prior employers. Most people seriously start their job search about 6-8 months before their clerkship ends. Firms are all over the map with when they solicit clerkship applications, if they do so at all. It's like 3L hiring in a way: lots of hustle.

(2) Not sure what you're asking here, precisely. The work load is steady, assuming your judge isn't hearing cases at a trial session. Assuming you interview during work hours, then technically the answer would be "never"?

If you're asking about PTO, you accrue that at the rate of 1 day per month. How much PTO you've accrued and how you schedule your interviews will determine how much time you'll have to spend or how much pay you'll miss.


Great!! Thanks so much for your prompt response! That was really helpful.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:08 am

Some line up employment the summer before they start clerking.

Which type of firms hire 2 years in advance? How is it possible to know hiring needs at such time?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Which type of firms hire 2 years in advance?

Law firms...?
Anonymous User wrote:How is it possible to know hiring needs at such time?

Not sure, but clerks show up with offers from firms every year. Usually from a firm that they summered with prior to clerking.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:37 pm

Could you describe your day to day work experience, to get a feel of what we will be doing next year.

Thanks!

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:11 pm

Thanks for starting this thread. I have a few questions.

1) Are most of the clerks LLM students who went into LLM programs immediately after law school?

2) After clerking, are many of the clerks doing tax litigation or transactional tax work?

3) Are the majority of the clerkships at the tax court for 1 or 2 years?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for starting this thread. I have a few questions.

1) Are most of the clerks LLM students who went into LLM programs immediately after law school?

2) After clerking, are many of the clerks doing tax litigation or transactional tax work?

3) Are the majority of the clerkships at the tax court for 1 or 2 years?

1) In my completely unscientific observation, it seems pretty evenly split between those a) with prior experience, b) K-LLMs and c) K-JDs. Far more of a) and b) than c).

2) Again completely my own observation, but this seems largely geographical. Those who want to stay around DC do almost exclusively controversy work because the clerkship can boost an otherwise not spectacular resume to the top of the pile at places with big tax controversy practices like MWE, CapDale, and Sutherland. DC's an unusually competitive market. There just aren't a ton of transactional tax positions in DC, and those few spots that exist usually go to the T14 JDs/NYU LLM types, or just those with a T14 JD.

When you start looking at clerks who go to pretty much any market besides DC, they end up doing lots more transactional work, if not entirely non-tax work. I think this is a product of the markets as a whole though. Even in larger cities in Florida, Texas, and the Midwest, firms usually don't have "tax controversy" practice groups. They have "tax" practice groups. The assignments given to former clerks in those markets are varied in kind.

3) I don't have numbers on this, but it seems like most are 2 year positions, with a significant portion of 1 year positions thrown in. You don't get a choice with most judges, though.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Could you describe your day to day work experience, to get a feel of what we will be doing next year.

Thanks!

TL;DR: it's an 8-5 with no pressure to bill, an hour for lunch each day. Almost every deadline is flexible, really more of an artificial way to track status, not arising from any legal or economic ramifications. I read, research caselaw and write opinions, while at the same time writing and editing motions, side opinions and finding a good stopping point so that I leave every day at almost exactly 5 PM. It's a sweet gig, for sure.

Overview: for almost everything in this post, there are caveats because each chambers operates so differently. Clerks do most of the heavy lifting as far as opinion writing in our chambers.

The average day depends on what type of case I'm working on, and where I am in the opinion-writing process. I read and basically outline the casefile first (pleadings, briefs, transcripts, exhibits, etc.). This could take a day, week, or (rarely) several weeks up to a month, depending on the length of the trial and complexity of the issues. Then I outline what I think the opinion will look like, researching underlying law as needed. Again, this could take a day or two for the simple substantiation cases up to a month or more for the most complex. Then the judge and I meet to review the outline. I'll do follow-up research as needed based on the things we talk about in the review of the outline. Then I write the first draft of the opinion, which doesn't take long at that point because you've done all of the legwork. I just finished a 25 page opinion and it took about 2.5 days of dedicated writing and editing, with more research thrown in here and there to flesh out the subtleties. Next, the opinion is circulated between myself, judge and co-clerk and edited until we have a polished opinion. Unsurprisingly, this part could take a day to do this, or a month depending on what else the parties are working on, whether there's a trial session, and all that jazz.

Workload: On my desk are two opinions at various points in the cycle, with a third dropping Monday. My co-clerk started two weeks after I did. S/he is still working on his/her first assigned case, which includes thousands of pages in exhibits and transcripts. S/he hasn't started writing the opinion yet. In contrast, I just finished my third opinion and am about to start my fourth. Some cases are just that much more complex than others.

Interspersed in the opinion writing process are orders that have to be written or proofed, discreet research topics and side opinions as needed, conference calls, and (in some chambers, but thankfully not ours) clerical duties. I also spend a fair amount of time reading cases that are released by other judges, parts of BNA's daily tax publication and a full hour for lunch each day.

Not really a day-to-day work experience, but that hopefully gives you a flavor for how the job works.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:15 am

Thanks so much! I really appreciate your responses!

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:01 am

Do many of the clerks go into government after their clerkship?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:02 am

Awesome thread! Thanks so much for your responses.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do many of the clerks go into government after their clerkship?

It seems like the majority of clerks leave for private practice. A few go to IRS OCC, but that's really a lateral move for most people not looking to make a career out of it. One person is leaving this year for DOJ Tax, but my understanding is that rarely happens.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:09 pm

What do you mean "not making a career out of it?"

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What do you mean "not making a career out of it?"

Very few attorneys go Tax Court clerkship -> IRS OCC -> biglaw. The exit options don't really get appreciably better after a stint with OCC than they are straight from the tax court.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:00 pm

Do you think DOJ Tax has be the same effect?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do you think DOJ Tax has be the same effect?

Nah. The more complex tax matters (including almost all of the corporate cases) tend to be refund litigation, which is handled by DOJ and tried in US District Courts or the Court of Federal Claims. It's more prestigious and more in line with what biglaw tax depts do on a daily basis (either transactional or controversy) than IRS OCC.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:31 pm

Are there any links or websites that you know of that we can find biglaw w/strong tax groups/tax boutiques etc?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you think DOJ Tax has be the same effect?

Nah. The more complex tax matters (including almost all of the corporate cases) tend to be refund litigation, which is handled by DOJ and tried in US District Courts or the Court of Federal Claims. It's more prestigious and more in line with what biglaw tax depts do on a daily basis (either transactional or controversy) than IRS OCC.


From the viewpoint of tax departments in big firms, is there really a difference in prestige between Tax Court, US District Courts, and the Court of Federal Claims?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you think DOJ Tax has be the same effect?

Nah. The more complex tax matters (including almost all of the corporate cases) tend to be refund litigation, which is handled by DOJ and tried in US District Courts or the Court of Federal Claims. It's more prestigious and more in line with what biglaw tax depts do on a daily basis (either transactional or controversy) than IRS OCC.


Does this affect the "prestige" of a Tax Court clerkship?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you think DOJ Tax has be the same effect?

Nah. The more complex tax matters (including almost all of the corporate cases) tend to be refund litigation, which is handled by DOJ and tried in US District Courts or the Court of Federal Claims. It's more prestigious and more in line with what biglaw tax depts do on a daily basis (either transactional or controversy) than IRS OCC.


From the viewpoint of tax departments in big firms, is there really a difference in prestige between Tax Court, US District Courts, and the Court of Federal Claims?

Do you mean the courts themselves? Or the clerks they produce?

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you think DOJ Tax has be the same effect?

Nah. The more complex tax matters (including almost all of the corporate cases) tend to be refund litigation, which is handled by DOJ and tried in US District Courts or the Court of Federal Claims. It's more prestigious and more in line with what biglaw tax depts do on a daily basis (either transactional or controversy) than IRS OCC.


Does this affect the "prestige" of a Tax Court clerkship?

Of the clerkship itself? Probably not. But if you're looking to do a few years of government service and then bail, my sense is that it's infinitely easier to go from DOJ Tax to private practice than it is IRS OCC to private practice.

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Re: Tax Court Clerk: Taking Qs

Postby TopBanana » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:58 am

I'm interested in clerkship for my 2L summer in the T.C.- does it typically offer these positions?




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