For JD/Tax LLM Student with Tax Background, Loyola an Obvious Choice

Estevan Fernandez
Estevan Fernandez ’18

It makes sense that Estevan Fernandez ’18 would be one of the handful of Loyola students working toward earning a JD and an LLM in tax simultaneously. He began doing people’s taxes when he was only 19 years old.

That’s when his mother purchased a couple of H&R Block franchises. He signed up for the company’s tax preparer course to help her. “All my classmates were much older,” he said. “But I found I really enjoyed it.”

He chose Loyola because of its acclaimed tax law program. “It’s the best one on this side of the country,” Fernandez said. “The professors have been truly great.”

Loyola also offered him a Joint JD/Tax LLM Program, unique among U.S. law school curricula – students obtain both degrees within just three years and graduate practice-ready in the field.

During the regular school year, students take at least 12 units of tax courses, largely completing the requirements for the tax law concentration. They take the remaining 12 units needed for the LLM in an “Intensive Summer Session.”

The session is aptly named, according to Fernandez. “You’re in class all day long four days a week, butit’s actually not too bad because it focuses on one area of law. You learn a tremendous amount.”

Unlike most LLM students, Fernandez hopes to focus on tax litigation when he goes into practice. He is a member of Loyola’s nationally ranked mock trial program, the Byrne Trial Advocacy Team. Last year, he won the Leesfield Law Student Scholarship presented by the national trial lawyer group, the American Association for Justice.

This coming summer, he will be working for the IRS in its downtown Los Angeles office in a job that will include some court appearances along with preparing research memos and other tasks. He will be working with the IRS next semester, too, as part of Loyola’s IRS Small Case Tax Clinic, where he will be able to handle several small cases in the U.S. Tax Court for the service.

Clinics and internships such as those are a key advantage of Loyola’s tax program, said Fernandez. This semester, he is participating in the Taxpayer Appeals Assistance Clinic, appealing decisions by the Franchise Tax Board. “There are so many good practice opportunities,” he said. “There are a lot of positive experiences, and the professors are incredibly knowledgeable and so willing to help you find jobs that give you the experience you need. You can’t get that anywhere else.”

Learn how a JD/Tax LLM degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles can help you make a difference in your career. Attend an informational webinar, “Transitioning Your Legal Career,” led by Tax LLM Director Jennifer Kowal from 12-1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27. RSVP here.