UC Irvine launches tax LL.M. with practical skill requirement

After hiring two leading tax scholars, The University of California, Irvine School of Law is launching an LL.M. program in tax law that will emphasize practical skills and feature small class sizes. 

The program will be led by tax scholars Omri MarianJoshua Blankand Victor Fleischer. Blank and Fleischer joined UCI in July with the purpose of starting a graduate tax program. 

Blank was previously at New York University School of Law, where he served as professor of tax law, vice dean for technology-enhanced education and faculty director of its graduate tax program. His scholarship focuses on tax administration and compliance, taxpayer privacy, and taxation of business entities.

Fleischer previously served as professor of tax law and director of tax programs at the University of San Diego School of Law. He teaches and writes in the areas of corporate tax, international tax, partnership tax, tax policy, and alternative investments. 

The third founding tax scholar, Marian, joined UCI in 2015. He is an expert in international taxation and comparative taxation. Before joining UCI Law, he was an assistant Professor at the University of Florida where he taught in the graduate tax program. 

“We are thrilled to expand our stellar tax curriculum with this unique offering,” said UCI Law Dean Song Richardson. "UCI Law is the highest ranked law school on the west coast with a graduate tax program.”

The program is designed to provide students with both the doctrinal depth and the experiential learning needed to practice tax law and to develop a deep understanding of the new tax law that was enacted in 2017. The program will prepare graduate students for careers as tax attorneys, judges, tax administrators and policy advocates in the United States and abroad, and will also offer the opportunity for current practitioners to expand their tax knowledge and skills. 

At the center of the curriculum is a mandatory practical tax skills requirement, which is completed through tax externships, tax clinics, or specially designed tax classes. 

The curriculum prioritizes mandatory in-depth doctrinal knowledge, required practical tax training, and a small student to faculty ratio. The entire first semester is comprised of mandatory requirements, focusing on transactional tax courses. This structure ensures that all students gain comprehensive knowledge needed to be a successful tax practitioner and approach the rest of the program on an even playing field. In the second semester, students will apply their skillsets by participating in clinics, externships and other practical opportunities.

“No other graduate tax law program in the country offers a similar curriculum,” Marian said. “Our program launches mere months after the new tax legislation — enacted in 2017 — takes effect, and we believe our innovative curriculum is uniquely suited to educate a new generation of tax lawyers to practice in this new legal environment. In a sense, it is a new program for a new tax law.”

The public school will begin to accept applications in August for admission to the inaugural class, which will start in fall 2019. 

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