Would You Succeed As a Tax Lawyer?
Tax law is a complex field that requires knowledge of the law, legal processes and tax codes. Just as important as technical expertise, however, are specific personality traits and interests. Answer these questions to explore how many of them you possess:
|Do you think analytically?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong interpersonal skills?||Yes or No|
|Is problem solving one of your strengths?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong verbal skills?||Yes or No|
|Are you an exceptional writer?||Yes or No|
|Are you prepared for many years of post-secondary education?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy crunching numbers?||Yes or No|
|Are you organized?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong customer service skills?||Yes or No|
|Are ethics important to you?||Yes or No|
Why You Need to Consider These Questions
Do you think analytically?
Tax lawyers need the analytical skill necessary to consider a client's financial scenario and tax issues, complex tax laws and regulations that apply, and determine the best course of action.
Do you have strong interpersonal skills?
Tax attorneys spend a large portion of their time interacting either in person or on the phone with clients, colleagues, and representatives from the IRS. To succeed in this career, you should have a friendly, engaging manner and be skilled at negotiation and persuasion.
Is problem solving one of your strengths?
While tax lawyers have many responsibilities that require extensive legal knowledge, their work is, fundamentally, a process of taking a tax problem, analyzing it, and finding the solution.
Do you have strong verbal skills?
Tax lawyers need to be strong orators who are as comfortable discussing complex legal and tax issues with colleagues as they are breaking those things down into explanations that clients easily understand.
Are you an exceptional writer?
Tax lawyers are responsible for composing a variety of written documents and legal filings, including complaints, correspondence and lawsuit responses.
Are you prepared for many years of post-secondary education?
To become a lawyer, you will need an undergraduate degree and a juris doctor (J.D.) degree. To specialize in tax law, many law school graduates also earn a master of law in taxation. You may expect it to take eight years or more to earn all three degrees.
Do you enjoy crunching numbers?
While tax lawyers don't file or calculate taxes owed, to solve tax problems and advise clients regarding the impact of tax laws, they do work with numbers a great deal. Formal training in accounting isn't required, but many tax lawyers prepare by majoring in accounting as an undergraduate.
Are you organized?
Whether in a private practice or a corporate environment, tax lawyers typically work on several projects at once. Given the complexity of each, outstanding organizational skills are critical.
Do you have strong customer service skills?
To obtain and retain clients, tax lawyers need to maintain good customer service practices. These include being available to answer questions and keeping clients updated on the progress of their cases.
Are ethics important to you?
As with attorneys in any discipline, tax lawyers need to be ethical, honest in their advice, and work in the best interests of their clients.
Additional Information You Should Consider
If most of the qualities and skills described above align with yours, you are a strong candidate for a tax law career. To apply for law school, you will need to have earned a bachelor's degree and taken the LSAT. Upon completion of your education, you will need to pass your state's bar exam before you may practice as a tax lawyer. Given the ever-changing nature of taxation laws, continuing education will be necessary throughout your career.