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The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

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Our Unsung Heroes

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This month’s rant will, for some of you, constitute a disappointment of sorts. No ragging on the Service or venting frustrations with our elected representatives. No indulgent or pious perspectives on misguided agency policies. No practical strategies on how to navigate the bloated bureaucracy. Just some positivity and gratitude for the often under-recognized warriors of the Tax Clinic.

Each semester, between 10 and 12 second or third year law students sign up for an internship with the Tax Clinic, a for-credit class offered as part of the larger clinical program here at Chicago-Kent College of Law. As supervising professor, it has been my pleasure for the past thirteen years to teach and provide guidance to, as well as strategize, commiserate and laugh with, what has consistently turned out to be a remarkably dedicated group of individuals. Without exception, each student that has participated in the Tax Clinic over the years has added value and contributed insight, perspective and judgment to our client representation. Hopefully, each student has also realized improvement to his or her lawyer skills and assistance with the development of his or her professional identity.

Most of the time, of course, it takes much longer for us to serve a client with student participation. This is not unique to us, but rather is the very nature of a teaching clinic. Frequently, we draft and re-draft, revise and edit, correct and improve, way beyond what is either necessary or economically efficient. But that’s kind of the point. Only through the pursuit of the absolute best work product, including the most comprehensive research, and preparation of the highest quality written argument, will we set the standards of professionalism that each of us - student and teacher alike - must strive for. Aggressive and ethical practice must exist within this framework, where the process of quality representation is more important than any particular result.

While our clients certainly benefit from this pursuit of excellence, the biggest winners are my staff attorney, Nisa, and myself. The enthusiasm, commitment and variety of experience each student brings to our practice creates an incubation of fresh ideas and constant infusion of energy that keeps us powerfully motivated to do our best. We remain especially grateful for this continuing opportunity.

The Tax Clinic’s summer semester begins May 28.

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