In December, The Tax Lawyer, the ABA Tax Section’s flagship journal, released its first issue since naming Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s LLM Tax Program its new educational affiliate.
The ABA Tax Section announced last spring that it would end its 50-year partnership with Georgetown Law and start working with Northwestern’s Tax Program, which has ranked fourth annually in U.S. News and World Report since 2005, only three years after the program’s establishment. Professor David Cameron, associate director of the LLM Tax Program, now serves as faculty editor of the journal.
“We believe this new relationship offers enhanced opportunities for the Section, and a new vision for The Tax Lawyer that will serve our members for years to come,” said Section Chair Karen L. Hawkins in a press release announcing the new partnership
Cameron, along with Professor Philip Postlewaite, director of the LLM Tax Program, recognized the opportunities the journal would bring — both to attract top talent to the highly-ranked program and to provide an exceptional learning opportunity for students.
“It’s a very practitioner-oriented journal,” Cameron says. “The authors are writing about issues that practitioners are confronting currently, which is perfect for students. Their work on this journal will introduce them to topics that they are going to confront when they’re out there in practice.”
The journal has a student editorial board of five, all of whom receive full scholarships to Northwestern Law, and a staff of an additional twelve students, which means over one-third of the LLM Tax Program’s approximately 40 full-time students will end up participating.
Charles Filips (LLM Tax ’19), one of the student editors, decided to apply to Northwestern’s LLM Tax Program after taking on many tax assignments at Kemp Klein Law Firm in Detroit.
“I didn’t apply with the specific intent of doing the journal, it was something that I found out [about] after the fact. But the scholarship attached to the journal made the decision easy. And it’s been cool to immerse myself in an area that I have spent some time in and want to keep doing. It makes it easier to do the work.”
Balancing editorial responsibility with the yearlong program isn’t easy, but it’s good preparation for the real word, says editor Katie Cooperman (LLM Tax ’19).
“It’s definitely an intense program, so it’s hard to fit everything in a day, but having been in practice for six years, that’s a pretty realistic expectation of what your life is going to be like,” says Cooperman, who worked at Hogan Lovells before enrolling in the program. “In terms of time management and prioritization, it’s fostering a useful skillset for us to have as we enter or re-enter the workforce.”
Students say that working on articles by some of the biggest names in tax law make the long hours worth it. For example, the Fall 2018 issue features articles by Michelle Jewett, partner at Stroock in New York City, discussing the circumstances in which a transaction will be treated as a redemption rather than a sale of a partnership interest; Jeffrey Hochberg, partner at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City, examining recently promulgated regulations that address the tax implications of contracts that reference a financial index; and Monica Gianni, Of Counsel at Davis Wright Tremaine in Seattle, criticizing the OECD’s failure to respond to tax issues arising in the digital economy.
The Fall issue also includes an article by Herbert Beller, a senior lecturer in Northwestern’s Tax Program, recommending amendments to § 355’s requirements applicable to corporate spin-offs. Beller, a former chair of the ABA’s Tax Section, was instrumental in bringing The Tax Lawyer to Northwestern Law.
“The people who tend to publish in this periodical are the preeminent tax minds in the country,” says William Walsh (LLM Tax ’19), another editor. “Getting familiar with who those people are is really beneficial because they’re going to be the authors that you meet at conferences or the attorneys you might do business with one day.”
The collaboration with the ABA Tax Section offers the editors — all of whom had journal or law review experience during their JD programs — extra support as they delve into highly technical and often unfamiliar topics.
“The fact that it is in conjunction with the ABA, you have this whole other resource,” says Nicholas Bjornson (LLM Tax ’19). “You’re learning, not just editing and fixing stuff. And it’s not just practitioner-focused or scholarly, you get the best of both.”