Undergraduate interested in tax law. What are some employment options?

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sleepingcat

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Undergraduate interested in tax law. What are some employment options?

Postby sleepingcat » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:50 am

Hello everyone!

I am an undergraduate highly interested in tax law but am just starting to learn about what happens after law school. It's a dizzying array of information! :mrgreen: I have a bunch of questions if any current tax lawyer or someone who knows would be so kind as to answer.

1. What sorts of opportunities in private practice are there for tax lawyers? Do they all work for large (i.e. BigLaw) firms or are there specialized tax boutiques too?
2. Are there any government exit opportunities, perhaps maybe with the IRS, SEC, DOJ, etc.? Or perhaps are there any government opportunities right out of law school?
3. Does a clerkship (in the tax court or elsewhere) help? Does a clerkship hurt?
4. Is an LLM in tax law indispensable to show you are interested in joining a firm's tax practice? Or can you generally "select" the practice you want to join?

I guess that's it. Apologies if these are newbie questions and your answers are much appreciated!

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nealric

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Re: Undergraduate interested in tax law. What are some employment options?

Postby nealric » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:34 am

sleepingcat wrote:Hello everyone!

I am an undergraduate highly interested in tax law but am just starting to learn about what happens after law school. It's a dizzying array of information! :mrgreen: I have a bunch of questions if any current tax lawyer or someone who knows would be so kind as to answer.

1. What sorts of opportunities in private practice are there for tax lawyers? Do they all work for large (i.e. BigLaw) firms or are there specialized tax boutiques too?
2. Are there any government exit opportunities, perhaps maybe with the IRS, SEC, DOJ, etc.? Or perhaps are there any government opportunities right out of law school?
3. Does a clerkship (in the tax court or elsewhere) help? Does a clerkship hurt?
4. Is an LLM in tax law indispensable to show you are interested in joining a firm's tax practice? Or can you generally "select" the practice you want to join?

I guess that's it. Apologies if these are newbie questions and your answers are much appreciated!


I'm a tax lawyer (currently in-house at a F500 company).

1. Biglaw is probably the best option if it is available, but Big4 firms hire tax lawyers as well. There are tax boutiques that hire new lawyers (Caplin, Ivins, Miller, Chamberlain), but we are talking a handful of graduates in the country per year. Of course, the government is also a large employer (IRS and DOJ tax). Beyond that, there are tax consulting firms, but most of those are to be avoided as they tend to focus on very niche issues like qualifying for certain tax credits. In-house jobs are a good option, but only a tiny number of employers hire new graduates (Exxon is one I am aware of).
2. Yes to both. It's probably easier to get a government job with some experience.
3. Tax court clerkship can be nice, but not necessary. Can't see a clerkship hurting, be it in tax court or not, but it will position you as more of a tax controversy person rather than a planning person.
4. Depends on the firm. There's nothing in the LLM program you couldn't learn in practice, but it does have the advantage of providing a comprehensive overview. Many firms will pay for you to attend an LLM program at night. You can also do a full time LLM on your own, but there is little reason to do that if you are able to get biglaw right out of your JD program.

dabigchina

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Re: Undergraduate interested in tax law. What are some employment options?

Postby dabigchina » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:36 pm

nealric pretty much nailed it. One thing to note re: government: they can work pretty long hours too. This is especially true at the IRS, where their budget has been continuously slashed and employees are increasingly forced to do more work.

If you really want tax, you are probably going to need to get comfortable with working in DC and NYC for at least a couple of years. It's not impossible to get tax law jobs elsewhere, but the vast majority of the jobs are in these two cities.



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