If you are currently working towards a career in tax law, whether as a certified public accountant, an attorney, or through a cross-specialization of skills, you are likely already considering what else you may need to be successful in your chosen profession. Earning your llm in tax through the variety of high quality that are available to students today is a very good start, but in and of itself this will not be enough to ensure that you get to where you hope to go in your career. You will also need to cultivate skills in networking, business management and administration, sales and marketing, and many other disciplines to make the most of your education and training.

Each new skill you learn can translate to advancement and increases in income, each of which can be a strong motivator to invest the time and effort needed to rise to the top of your field, and will also make it easier to pay off your student loans. Learn how to make sure you succeed in your career as a tax lawyer right from the first day after you graduate, no matter what kind of the tax llm programs you choose to go with.

To chart a path to success as a tax lawyer, you will want to understand where your best opportunities for employment lie. To do this, you should first evaluate whether you want to work for a company or corporation or go into business for yourself. Each career track offers different challenges and opportunities. When you work for a larger group or company, often you will have access to a wealth of perks and benefits such as health and life insurance, retirement planning assistance, paid vacation and sick leave, and other valuable benefits.

Go Out on Your Own?

These are the types of benefits and perks that you will have to purchase on your own if you start your own company. You will also be able to visualize your career path more easily if you work for a company than if you are carving out your own niche in tax law. Conversely, working for yourself will allow you to tailor your efforts towards the areas of greatest interest to you, to set your own schedule, and to realize unlimited income as you grow your client base. Once you decide whether you prefer to work for someone else’s organization or create your own, you will have laid a firm foundation for success in your chosen area of the tax law business.

The Skills You Need

Next, you need to identify what skills you will need to succeed in your new career. If you start your own business, your primary goals will revolve around learning about your clients – where they are, what they need, how to reach them with information about your services, and how to keep them happy and satisfied once you have made a connection. When you go to work for a corporation, you will want to find a mentor right away, preferably someone older and wiser within the company or industry who is respected and can offer you guidance at each step during your career. You will also need to pay close attention to the corporate culture, including dress code, work hours, socialization guidelines, expectations and performance review criteria, learning along the way how to distinguish yourself from your peers to ensure you are able to get promoted.

Tracks to Pick

Regardless of what career track you choose, you will also want to be sure you stay active in local and national associations, such as the local Chamber of Commerce, the American Bar Association, the National Tax Association, and other associations where you can network with peers and potential clients on a regular basis. You can also seek out opportunities to give presentations, to volunteer on conference planning and meeting committees, to take on special projects, and to mentor younger members of your profession.

All of these activities build trust, visibility, and the potential for encountering others who can facilitate and expedite your career goals.  You will also want to familiarize yourself with the channels through which clients most frequently search for tax law professionals, such as the local online yellow pages, peer referrals, the Better Business Bureau, and even the Internal Revenue Service. Find out how to obtain visibility and credibility with each of these avenues so that your likelihood of attracting new clients is improved. This can be especially valuable if you decide to start your own business or you are in charge of sales or marketing efforts for the company you work for.


About the Author: Eryn Buchanan comes from a family of lawyers. She, however, is the only member of her family who chose to specialize in tax laws.

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