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How do I Become an International Tax Lawyer?

Matthew Brodsky
Matthew Brodsky

An international tax lawyer specializes in handling tax issues for clients, providing consultation and services to individuals, nonprofits, and private and public corporations. Each country has different tax laws and licensing requirements for lawyers, and it is the tax attorney's job to be familiar with them. To become an international tax lawyer, you should explore options for getting a proper legal education, pass the appropriate exams for your given jurisdiction, and then apply for and earn a position at an international legal firm.

To begin with, to become an international tax lawyer, you should assess whether you have the technical and cognitive skills needed to be an international attorney. Typically, a tax lawyer must have excellent reading comprehension skills and the ability to form arguments in writing and orally. A tax attorney should also have a background in and appreciation for financial and business skills, as well as the accounting skills needed for handling tax issues.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

If you decide that you have the skills appropriate to become an international tax lawyer, the next step would be to earn the academic credentials to practice law. In most jurisdictions, lawyers are required to first earn an undergraduate degree. Coursework in accounting or finance and international relations could also be helpful to become an international tax lawyer. After completing an undergraduate degree, the next step is to apply to and attend law school, which in many countries requires a three-year commitment.

A law school graduate is then required, in most jurisdictions, to pass an exam to be able to practice law there. In the United States, for instance, law school graduates must pass the bar for each state in which they want to practice in. Be certain you know the exam requirements for each jurisdiction you hope to work in. In most cases, the post-law school exam requires extensive and time-consuming study beforehand.

After attending college and law school and then passing the appropriate exams, you can then proceed with perhaps the most important part of becoming an international tax lawyer, which is getting a job as an international attorney. Personal preference may dictate whether you seek employment at a large global law firm or a boutique firm that specializes in tax law. Large firms tend to have more resources, might pay more, and have a greater presence in more countries around the world.

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