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  1. As a 2010 NYU Tax LLM, I agree with this post. The only change is that a tax a LLM does not get you a job in this market–many of my friends were struggling to find an offer anywhere. I was very lucky to get a singular, non-plural offer, and I still consider myself very lucky to be where I am.

    Without nitpicking my year at NYU, I’ll say it was easily the best year of my four in law school. I worked harder, and consequently learned more, because NYU only allowed us to drink from the IRC at fire-hose volumes. Could I have learned the same things without spending a year there? Definitely, and the treatise + BNA plan is a good way to simulate that experience. But given the choice, I’d choose NYU again because I had the professors there to guide the process. Your mileage may vary.

    Finally, even though I have that nice piece of paper from NYU, that doesn’t get me anything in the real world, so I’m still working my way through the BNAs to keep learning.

  2. Thanks Brad. Yes, the blogging and specialization process can work too.

    Your point about time is a key one. It takes a long time to master anything. Including tax.

  3. Great points, Phil.

    Would like to expand on the following: “You have to dislodge something existing in that person’s life to create an opening for you.”

    From my (limited) experience as a fellow tax lawyer, one way to accomplish this is to develop an expertise in a niche within tax. When you bring something to the table that others don’t, people become interested in you.

    It’s a three step process:

    1. Articulating and then learning the niche. (lots of brainstorming and research involved) The niche should probably be an underdeveloped area of the tax law that has significant room for growth.

    2. Writing about it (a blog is one way to start, followed by contributing articles to other blogs, periodicals, etc.). Here, you develop the reputation of having an expertise in the niche.

    3. Using the reputation to create connections with the far more experienced practitioners who may already have clients impacted (or about to be impacted) by this niche.

    This process takes time. There are no shortcuts. But it’s an exciting and potentially very rewarding journey. For someone looking to break into tax law (or any other area of law, really), I highly recommend giving it a fair shot.

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Tax laws change over time, and the information in this post above may be less accurate today than it was at the time of the last revision. This post is not tax advice for your specific situation. Please contact an international tax professional to get personalized advice for your situation.