March 25, 2010
Caron, Kowal & Pratt: Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree -- Why and When?
This Article and a related article, Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?, provide information and advice about Tax LLM programs to American law students and JD graduates who are thinking about pursuing a Tax LLM degree. This Article (1) discusses the costs and benefits of pursuing a Tax LLM degree, (2) explains the circumstances in which prospective Tax LLM students may be able to expand their employment options by pursuing a Tax LLM degree, and (3) compiles information and advice that tax law professors typically provide to prospective Tax LLM students in individual counseling sessions. This information includes a primer on tax practice employment opportunities, which vary based on (1) the nature of the work (i.e., transactional work or controversy work) (2) the type of tax subspecialty that is the focus of the tax practice and (3) the type of tax practice employer. The primer includes descriptions of various tax subspecialty areas, including business tax, international tax, estate planning, employee benefits, tax-exempt organizations, and tax controversies. This Article also offers advice to prospective Tax LLM students who are searching for tax positions with various types of employers, including (1) law firms (large, elite law firms, medium-size law firms, or smaller law firms), (2) accounting firms (Big Four accounting firms or smaller accounting firms), (3) the IRS, Treasury Department, or Department of Justice, (4) state taxing authorities, (5) corporations or other organizations, or (6) the U.S. Tax Court. For prospective Tax LLM students who hope to become full-time law professors, this Article also discusses the value of a Tax LLM degree in making the transition from tax practice to academia. In addition, this Article provides information regarding aspects of Tax LLM programs about which prospective Tax LLM students frequently inquire and addresses some common misconceptions about Tax LLM programs.
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Professor Caron, that is a valuable article. I recently graduated from law school with my J.D. and an LL.M. in taxation, and in many ways, I wish this article had been available while I was still in school. I had many valuable resources helping to guide my decision to pursue a tax LL.M., but your article takes a very practical, and very realistic look at the value of a tax LL.M. as a tool to create new employment opportunities. It would be a worthwhile read for anyone considering pursuing the degree.
Posted by: TJS | Mar 25, 2010 1:44:33 PM
Where can the related article, "Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?", be found?
Posted by: guest | Mar 25, 2010 2:15:05 PM
Perfect timing on the release of this article! I am currently deciding which tax LLM to pursue, if any. (Acceptances were just emailed out.)
Now I am curious: Where is the corresponding "Where" article that is mentioned twice? Thanks!
Posted by: LLM applicatn | Mar 25, 2010 3:42:52 PM
Yes, please post the "Where" article!!! Questions like "How geographically insular are law firms when hiring tax LL.M.'s?" are of paramount importance to LL.M. applicants. For example, will Chicago firms hire NYU or Georgetown LL.M.'s, or are they limiting themselves to Northwestern LL.M.'s?
These are the types of questions that neither firms nor the LL.M. programs like to answer. Hearing the more objective, professorial perspective would be very helpful.
I suppose I should take this opportunity to thank Mr. Caron for the great service he provides tax students, lawyers, and profs. Thank you!
Posted by: GU | Mar 25, 2010 9:16:24 PM
I feel more could be written on this topic, but in a "dirty laundry" / "muckraker" style that is off limits to tax professors like Mr. Caron.
Posted by: anon | Mar 25, 2010 9:30:50 PM
Here's the link to "Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?"
(but Georgetown is OK if you are working full-time in D.C. and can't make the sacrifice of 1 year to go to the gold standard)
Let the flaming begin, but everyone who has an LL.M. knows the deal: if yours is from NYU, you know you have the best and that's the end of the discussion; if yours is not from NYU, you have some reason justifying not going to NYU or some argument that NYU isn't really the best even though you wouldn't have to make such an argument if it were true.
Personally, I prefer justifications. Some are legitimate (had to stay in town and could not go to NYC); the others are Letterman Top Ten list of hysterical excuses and inanities. And I like being entertained, seeing as I need not make any justifications.
Posted by: tax guy | Mar 25, 2010 10:38:08 PM