Tax Attorneys


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Extensive education is required to become a tax lawyer. A good foundation in high school includes classes in government, history, social studies, economics, business, and mathematics. Strong reading and writing skills are essential so be sure to take English and communications classes. Speech classes are important for future litigation work. Computer classes are also important for online research and legal database usage.

Postsecondary Training

A bachelor's degree is required for entry to law school. Courses in business, finance, government, history, economics, political science, mathematics, English, communications, logic, and public speaking are recommended.

Lawyers are required to complete a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an American Bar Association accredited law school. Law school applicants must pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which tests students for critical thinking, reasoning, and writing abilities. The J.D. program covers topics such as constitutional law, contracts, tax law, property law, civil procedure, and legal research and writing.


Some lawyers earn a Master of Laws (LLM) degree, which is an advanced law certification that helps them advance professionally. LLM programs typically last one year; they may focus on corporate law and governance, business law, general law, or litigation/trial advocacy. A first law degree is required for LLM program admission. Find information at and Many tax attorneys may also be certified public accountants, with a master's degree in business administration and an LLM in taxation.

Other Education or Training

National associations such as the American Bar Association, National Association for Law Placement, and National Association of Tax Professionals offer continuing education programs, as do state and local bar associations. Many law firms offer continuing education to their employees as well as mentorship programs for new lawyers.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Lawyers must be admitted to the bar of the state in which they plan to practice, which requires graduation from an approved law school and passing a written examination. Lawyers that pass the bar in one state may practice in another state without taking the written exam if there is a reciprocity agreement between the two states. Whatever the requirements, lawyers must meet state standards of good character and legal experience and pay the applicable fees. Federal courts and agencies also have specific rules regarding law practice admission and these requirements vary by state. For example, some states require law school graduates to serve a clerkship at an established law firm to be eligible for the bar exam.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Tax lawyers have a law school degree from an ABA-accredited law school and prior internship and work experience in law firms or corporations that offer tax law services. Tax lawyers have strong knowledge of tax laws, Internal Revenue Service requirements and documents, as well as corporate governance, legal codes, and court procedures. They have a solid grasp of the English language, strong reading and writing comprehension, and are able to communicate complex information in ways that people understand. They are active listeners with good critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The job requires careful attention to details, dependability, and integrity. The job is often stressful and tax lawyers must stay calm when dealing with demanding clients and tight deadlines.