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Tax Law Careers – Would You Make A Good Tax Lawyer?

If you’re one of the few lawyers or law students who is not afraid of numbers, check out this video on tax law careers. Tax attorney Richard Horne says being a tax lawyer is always interesting, as it’s one of the types of lawyers that gets to take an active role in a wide variety of transactions.

As a tax lawyer, you help individuals, small businesses, large corporations, and even non-profits deal with always-changing tax laws. Rick tells us all about tax law careers, including what you need to break in and succeed as a tax lawyer in addition to a comfort with numbers.

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  Join JD Careers Out There for access to this video plus more day-in-the-life career path interview videos & transcripts.

Today’s Guest

Tax Attorney Richard HorneTax Attorney Rick Horne
City: New York, NY
Law School: Hofstra Univ. School of Law in Hempstead, NY
Grad School:NYU School of Law in New York, NY (LL.M. in Taxation)
College: University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI
Career: Rick started his career as a senior tax associate at Deloitte & Touche. At the time of this interview, he was a partner at law firm Lowenstein Sandler. He has since become the Associate General Counsel at a hedge fund.
Rick’s Videos: Rick’s Career Advice & Tax Law Careers


This is a preview of the video transcript on jobs in tax law.

Join JD Careers Out There for access to the full version of this transcript plus the career path video library & transcripts.

Luber: Hey everyone, today on JD Careers Out There we’re looking at tax law careers. Some of you might think that practicing tax law sounds kind of dry, but I’ll be asking our guest to give us a detailed explanation of the variety of work he does with tax planning so you guys could see that there’s a lot of interesting stuff to a tax law practice. It’ll be good stuff – so stick around! [theme song]

Alright, as you may already know, at JDCOT we explore career paths both in and out of law to help you find a career that fits you and help you succeed using your law degree.

I’m your host Marc Luber, the founder of JDCOT. I’ve always used my law degree to work in alternative careers for lawyers – first in the music industry and then as a legal recruiter. I’ve been helping lawyers with their careers since 2003 and I’m excited for the opportunity to help you.

Today we’re talking to my old friend from college, Rick Horne. Rick is a tax attorney and a partner at Lowenstein Sandler in New York. Before working in the law firm world, after law school graduation Rick worked at Deloitte & Touche as a senior tax associate. Let’s get his perspective on tax law careers!

Rick – welcome to JDCOT.

Rick Horne: Thanks Marc. Good to see you! Thanks for having me.

Luber: Rick, tell us about your practice as a tax lawyer.

Rick Horne: I am in the tax group – I’m a tax partner at Lowenstein Sandler PC. Just as a little background, the firm has about 250 to 275 attorneys. We have 3 locations right now. Our main office is in Roseland, New Jersey, where we have approximately 175 attorneys. We have about 50, 60 attorneys in New York City and the rest are located in Palo Alto, a nice office there with a nice tech practice.

As I said, I’m in the tax practice group. It’s a wide-ranging practice. We pretty much do everything that’s tax-related.

My focus is mostly on mergers and acquisitions. A lot of what we do involves the life cycle of a business, so we’ll be involved at the time of formation, which means that we help to choose the type of entity that the business will be, whether that will be a limited liability company, a C-corporation, an S-corporation, a partnership or anything along those lines.

So we’ll be involved at that time of the formation. We’ll help decide which way to go and help put together all the documents.

Then we’re involved during the life of the business. If the business wants to raise additional funds, we’ll help them do that in the most tax-efficient manner. If the business is going to make certain investments, we’ll help structure those investments.

And then when it comes time for disposition, we’ll be involved in the sale of the business and that of course can be structured either as a taxable sale or as a tax free transaction, in certain circumstances, like a merger or certain spinoffs or recapitalizations. We’ll be involved in the disposition event, in the monetization event. And we’ll help to structure that the way that the client sees fit. And so we try to get the best tax result there.

So that’s one aspect of the practice. Another aspect of the practice, I’m involved with the investment management group, which is basically helping to advise hedge funds and private equity funds. We’ll help to structure the funds once again, both the hedge fund itself and the management companies where the managers are. So that could be the general partner entity and it could also be the management entity.

So we help the founders of the fund structure their investment and we help the investors come into the fund by structuring the fund.

Then we’ll help the fund once again with its investments and that could involve dealing with ISDA agreements. That can involve various transactions that the fund may be involved in and then we’ll help the funds wind down as well.

So that’s probably the two largest parts of the tax practice: the M&A Group and doing investment management work.

We’ll also work with the bankruptcy group; there’s a large bankruptcy group at Lowenstein Sandler.

So we’ll come in when there’s a bankruptcy transaction and, where the real value in the tax world is, is helping to preserve the net operating losses of a company that’s in bankruptcy going forward, which makes the company a lot more valuable to help dispose of assets and dispose of the company and rework the company. If you can preserve the NOLs, it makes the company more valuable going forward.

We’ll also do a lot of work in the international tax arena. So we help clients who are US clients invest offshore and we’ll help foreign companies, or foreign individuals, come and invest onshore, whether that be real estate investments or acquiring US companies. So we’ll help advise in that realm.

Some other things that I do also involve the not-for-profit world. We have a big pro bono practice which, for me, basically involves helping to form not-for-profit companies and then advising them along the way. Also, whether that be public charities or private foundations, we help both types of entities along.

So that’s the main…I know that covered a wide gamut but…

Luber: Yeah, that’s a lot! It’s a very deep and wide tax practice. That’s great. It helps everyone to get an idea of the kind of stuff tax lawyers can get to do and helps to connect the dots between the real world and the work that goes on in the law firm.

Let’s dig a lot deeper now. We can’t go deep into every single one of those areas you laid out, but let’s give everyone some type of idea of fact patterns you would deal with on a typical day. We’ll do that in the full interview.

In that full interview, you’ll hear Rick dig more into what it’s like being a tax attorney, what it takes, what the day-to-day work is like for a tax associate, he talks about getting an LLM in taxation, how to find firms that have good tax practices and he shares his story about thinking outside the box and first working in an accounting firm after law school to break in to the law firm world!

You’ll want to join the JDCOT membership for access to the full, in-depth career interviews & transcripts that will help you find and land a career that fits you. Check out what people are saying about JDCOT by clicking here.

Thanks again for watching everybody. I’m Marc Luber and I’ll see ya soon.

[theme song]

©2015 Careers Out There

Is being a tax lawyer for you? Do you have a pocket protector? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below!

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Thinking of leaving the law? The best first step you can take is a good look in the mirror. START HERE:

it's free!
You’ll also get periodic updates, reminders & access to career guidance programs sent to your inbox. We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe via a click at any time.