how to become a tax attorney

Becoming a tax attorney requires a significant amount of education, training, and experience. The following is an overview of the steps to becoming a tax attorney:

  1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree:

The first step to becoming a tax attorney is to obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. While there is no specific major required to become a tax attorney, majors in accounting, finance, economics, or business may be beneficial as they provide a strong foundation in business and finance. However, majors in other areas such as political science, philosophy, or English are also acceptable.

  1. Attend Law School:

After obtaining a bachelor's degree, the next step is to attend law school. To be admitted to law school, prospective students must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and submit their undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.

Law school typically takes three years to complete, and students learn about various areas of law, including tax law. Some law schools offer specialized programs in tax law, which can be beneficial for those interested in becoming tax attorneys. During law school, students can participate in tax law clinics, internships, or other practical experiences to gain hands-on experience in tax law.

  1. Pass the Bar Exam:

After completing law school, graduates must pass the bar exam in the state in which they plan to practice law. The bar exam is a comprehensive test that assesses knowledge of both state and federal law. In addition to passing the bar exam, some states also require applicants to pass a separate ethics exam.

  1. Gain Work Experience:

After passing the bar exam, new attorneys typically gain work experience in a law firm or other legal setting. This can involve working in a general practice firm or a firm that specializes in tax law. New attorneys may work as associates, performing research, drafting legal documents, and representing clients in court. Over time, attorneys may take on more complex cases and eventually become partners in the firm.

  1. Obtain Additional Credentials:

To specialize in tax law, attorneys may obtain additional credentials, such as a Master of Laws (LLM) in tax law. An LLM in tax law is a one-year program that provides in-depth knowledge of tax law and can be beneficial for attorneys who want to practice in this area. Attorneys may also obtain certifications, such as the Certified Tax Law Specialist (CTLS) designation, which is offered by some state bar associations and requires passing a specialized exam.

  1. Stay Current with Tax Law:

Tax law is a constantly changing field, and it is essential for tax attorneys to stay current with new developments and changes in tax law. Attorneys can attend continuing education courses, seminars, and conferences to stay up-to-date with new tax laws and regulations. Tax attorneys may also join professional organizations, such as the American Bar Association's Section of Taxation, which provides access to resources, networking opportunities, and information on new developments in tax law.


Becoming a tax attorney requires a significant amount of education, training, and experience. Prospective tax attorneys must obtain a bachelor's degree, attend law school, pass the bar exam, gain work experience, obtain additional credentials, and stay current with tax law. While the process of becoming a tax attorney can be challenging, it can also be rewarding for those who are passionate about tax law and helping clients navigate complex tax issues.

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