Why Tax Seminars are Important for Lawyers

In most states, lawyers are required to complete continuing education credits to maintain their license. Here’s why tax seminars are a good choice.

All lawyers in the United States must take a certain number of continuing legal education (“CLE”) credits every year. CLE classes are mandatory in each state for lawyers to maintain their licenses.

These classes may focus on their specific area of practice, but they can also instruct on other areas of the law. Lawyers can sometimes get credit by taking classes in other disciplines that enhance their legal education.

If you are a practicing lawyer, you should include tax seminars in your continuing legal education. Even if you do not practice tax law, an up-to-date knowledge of the tax laws is an important part of every attorney’s skill set.

Here are five reasons why every attorney should consider including tax seminars as part of their annual CLE.

Taxes Affect Every Area of Legal Practice

Almost every area of law requires some knowledge of the tax code.

  • A divorce attorney must be able to explain how child support, alimony and other financial settlements will affect her client’s tax liability.
  • A real estate attorney must be able to explain the tax implications of the sale or purchase of a house.
  • Drawing up a will must take tax implications into consideration for the beneficiaries.
  • The M & A department of a law firm must tell their corporate clients about the tax ramifications of complex transactions.

Even a criminal defense attorney must advise his client on taxes. After all, it was income tax evasion which brought down Al Capone!

A good lawyer must understand how the tax code impacts his clients. He is obligated to impart that knowledge to his clients.

In order to stay abreast of changes in the tax law and their impact on any specific practice niche, all lawyers should take yearly tax seminars.

The Tax Laws are Constantly Changing

Tax laws are always changing. It is possible that there may be a very large overhaul of the federal tax code soon.

The media is running many stories about the possible effects of the new tax bill. Companies and individuals have numerous questions about how it could affect them. Will they save money or will it cost them? What can they do to prepare?

They will be looking to lawyers for guidance.

As their attorney, you need to be able to answer your clients’ concerns about imminent changes.

State and local tax rules are also constantly evolving. These changes can have a big impact on the day-to-day and yearly budgets of lawyers’ clients. Corporations and individuals can all be affected.

Attorneys are obliged to give their clients timely explanations of laws which affect them or their businesses. This means they must stay educated on changing taxation regulations.

The best way do this is by enrolling in regular tax seminars for CPE credit.

Laws and Requirements Differ from State to State

Understanding and obeying the tax laws in one state does not transfer to another.

A client moving a business to another state or opening a new office in a different state may need to comply with a completely different set of regulations.

These clients are well served by attorneys who understand the different rules for each state.

Some classes may even focus on comparing and contrasting state laws in different regions. This can be important for a region with a great deal of crossover, like Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

Tax laws in one state may be more attractive to certain types of corporations than those in other states. A good attorney can tell which states make the best tax sense for many business decisions like:

  • locating your business
  • state of incorporation
  • signing your arbitration clause
  • filing a claim.

Attorneys are sometimes the ones who move, too. They need to learn how laws in their new state are different from the laws in their old one.

Each state also has different requirements for attorneys and their continuing education requirements.

Understanding Tax Ramifications Enhances Your Marketability

Credentials from CPE courses are helpful in legal marketing. You can impress clients and prospects by letting them know you have taken courses on the latest tax laws.

Make sure to update your marketing materials with this information, including certifications if applicable.

Here are a few ways that you can let people know about your CPE credentials:

  • Include the names of the courses you have taken in your online biography.
  • Issue a press release about attending professional development courses.
  • Add the press release to your website’s news section.
  • Post a case study on your website showing how your knowledge of tax law helped a client.

Clients want attorneys who are on the cutting edge of the latest developments, especially when it impacts their pocketbooks.

They will also be more likely to pass along good reviews of your services to others who may need your assistance. Satisfied clients are the best marketing tools for expanding your reputation and client base.

CPE Credits Count Towards CLE Requirements

For a lawyer to get CLE credit for CPE courses, the courses must be accredited by the appropriate association. For example, the Federal Commission for Continuing Legal Education approves some CPE classes on the federal tax code.

Many tax seminars use the same materials that are required for some CLE courses.

As each state has different requirements for continuing legal education, it is important to check with your state bar association on whether certain law-related courses will be accepted for CLE credit.

Tax Seminars Provide Education on the Most Timely and Accurate Advice

The tax laws touch every aspect of a client’s life, from the personal to the business realm. A lawyer should make sure he completely understands the current state of the tax law so he can explain its impact to his clients.

He must be able to explain how the latest changes might require them to change their activities.

Many CPE providers can instruct lawyers on the latest developments in tax law. If you would like more information on tax seminars which can meet your continuing legal education requirements, contact us.

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