How To Prepare for a Career in Tax Law

Tax Practice Pathway

NYU School of Law is one of the most exciting places in the world in which to study tax law. Since 1945, the NYU Graduate Tax Program has been widely viewed as the preeminent program of its kind. Our tax faculty consists of 16 full-time tax law professors and approximately 40 leading practitioners who serve as tax adjunct faculty members. Each year, NYU offers nearly 100 different sections of tax law courses. Throughout the year, the Graduate Tax Program and the International Tax Program host numerous tax panels and social events at the Law School, almost all of which are open to JD students.

Core Courses

Income Taxation (4 credits) is offered as a 1L elective during the spring semester and is offered in multiple sections to 2Ls and 3Ls each semester. The tax faculty strongly recommends that you take Income Taxation during your 1L or 2L year, if possible. There are two important reasons for this timing. First, if you plan to work in a law firm during your 2L summer, you will not be able to request a tax assignment or a rotation in the tax group unless you have at least taken Income Taxation before arriving at the firm. Without spending at least some time in the tax group at your 2L summer associate law firm, you may encounter difficulty in obtaining a position in the tax group when you join the firm as an associate. Second, if you decide to pursue tax as a practice area, you should take certain advanced tax courses before graduating from NYU.

Corporate Tax I & II (4 credits) examines the federal income tax treatment of corporations and their shareholders arising from various transactions including transfers to controlled corporations, distributions, redemptions, liquidations, acquisitive and divisive reorganizations. Because the corporate income tax plays such a significant role in all aspects of tax practice, it is not possible to be a tax lawyer without learning this material. Corporate Tax I & II is offered in at least one section both semesters every year. Students in this class consist of 2Ls, full-time Tax LLM students and, occasionally, part-time Tax LLM students. Because the material in this course is so challenging, students in the Tax LLM program do not possess an advantage over JD students and vice versa.

There are two important points to note regarding Corporate Tax I & II. First, the tax faculty strongly recommends that as a JD student, you should enroll in the four-credit Corporate Tax I & II course rather than the two-credit Corporate Tax I and the two-credit Corporate Tax II course. The latter two courses are offered during the evenings for part-time Tax LLM students who may be practicing during the day. Second, if you already feel strongly that you want to pursue tax as a career path, you should consider taking Income Taxation and Corporate Tax I & II before your 2L summer. If you are able to take these two courses before your 2L summer, you will greatly expand your ability to work on tax matters during a summer associate program at a law firm.