Cari Jackson Lewis

For Globe-Trotting Attorney, Tax LLM a Path Back to Estate Planning

Cari Lewis
Loyola LLM student Cari Jackson Lewis ’17

Already a seasoned attorney with a diverse skillset, Cari Jackson Lewis ’17 came to Loyola to earn an LLM in tax because of the real-world education Loyola Law School provides.

By the time she enrolled at the Law School, Jackson Lewis already had a globe-spanning career that included time as a big-firm trusts-and-estates associate in New York, a philanthropy consultant in Australia, a special-education teacher in the San Fernando Valley and a contract lawyer in London.

“Loyola has a very good reputation in California for putting people into practice who know what they’re doing,” said Jackson Lewis, who has worked for major law firms such as Linklaters LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. The reputation comes from professors’ skills at teaching practical classes where they apply the law and casebook to real-world examples.

Jackson Lewis intends to pursue her “first love”, estate planning, which she sees as her calling. “We are the people who take care of the family. We have to understand the connections between human activity and business,” she said.

Tax law is central to estate planning. “Everything we do is affected by the taxes we pay,” she noted. And she saw a Loyola Tax LLM as a way to quickly bridge the gap in her experience. Particularly for small law firms, a tax LLM is considered the equivalent of about five years in practice, she said.

Loyola’s real-world focus impressed Jackson Lewis. Graduate Tax Program President of Loyola’s Tax Law Society, she credits the extracurricular activities as “well thought-out to advance the goals of the law school and its students.” She cited as examples the constant parade of speakers from top accounting firms, big and small law firms, the IRS, major corporations and employers on tax career panels.

Although it was her husband’s assignments as a Warner Bros. executive that sent her family around the world, she believes her far-flung experience will further her goals. For instance, her work with philanthropic organizations in Australia will give her insight into charitable giving for clients, she said, while her teaching experience will help clients with special-needs children.

Are you ready to make a difference in your legal career? Learn more about Loyola’s Tax LLM program.