“Tax law is sexy,” tweeted @kebmurphy while promoting the 13th #LawJobChat which we held on Thursday, July 28, 2011. I discovered during this chat that there is some truth in @kebmurphy’s statement. Our guest tax lawyers (@atexastaxlawyer, @taxgirl, and @SoFlaEstatePlan) and one former tax laywer(@kebmurphy) shared three reasons why tax law is so “excitingly appealing” and “glamorous.”
- Tax lawyers have control over their practices. If you want to work in BigLaw, the tax group is probably a good choice if you want to maintain some balance and avoid all-nighters and emergencies. If you decide you don’t like working for someone else, tax law is also an area in which a lawyer can practice in a solo or small firm setting. Many tax lawyers in a solo or small firm setting continue to work on hot matters such as offshore compliance.
- Most tax lawyers are not pure tax geeks. Many tax lawyers keep their practices exciting by touching on a variety of transactional practices, such as real estate, business transactions, cross-border transactions and estate planning, rather than focusing on one specific aspect such as state and local tax. You tend to see the pure tax geeks who focus on one specialty in the larger firms.
- Inexperienced tax lawyers may increase their demand with LLM or CPA. An LLM may help market new tax lawyers who don’t have an accounting or finance background. But, an LLM is not as helpful if you have significant experience. A CPA may help tax lawyers who handle significant compliance matters.
How can you enter the field of tax law? Our guests shared the following ideas:
- If you are still in law school, take every tax course offered in law school.
- Network with tax lawyers through bar associations and alumni groups.
- Volunteer with VITA.
- Show a genuine interest in tax law. Your interest is more important than your experience. Don’t ask academic questions, but share details that show your interest in tax law.
- Read the following blogs:
- If you are looking to lateral from a different practice area into tax, figure out the tax issues touching the area of law you practice and become known as a tax specialist.