3-Year Joint JD/Tax LLM Student Lands Prime IRS Job
As a college accounting student, Richard Gano ’18 knew he wanted to work for the IRS one day. Thanks to Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and its unique 3-Year Joint JD/Tax LLM Program, he is about to do just that.
Gano landed an internship with the IRS last summer during on-campus interviews. His work clearly impressed his supervisors. “The internship turned into a full-time offer,” he says.
After graduating this May, he will join the chief counsel’s office at IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C. Gano’s work will include examining tax-policy issues, advising IRS lawyers in the field and helping research and write citable IRS statements on tax law questions. Loyola made that possible. “The school’s so amazing in what they offer in tax law,” Gano says. “I’ve spoken to people at other law schools, and we learn more than they learn.”
Gano became interested in the field because his mother, a social worker who also does bookkeeping, had encouraged him to take an accounting class in college. He ended up earning an accounting degree with honors from California State University, Northridge. He later earned his CPA license, but he realized that to reach the top of the tax field, he needed to go to law school.
Loyola’s perennially high marks in tax and prominent faculty attracted Gano’s interest. In fact, U.S. News & World Report’s recently released 2019 “America’s Best Graduate Schools” ranks Loyola’s Tax Law program No. 8 in the country, marking the ninth time in 10 years it has placed in the top 10. “For me, Loyola was the place to go,” he says.
And now that he’s here? “I love it. I had high expectations, and Loyola actually exceeded my expectations,” he says.
Loyola’s combined JD and LLM program in tax is the only law school program of its kind in the country in which students can obtain both degrees in just three years and graduate ready to go right into practice.
During the regular school year, students take at least 12 units of tax courses, largely completing the requirements for the JD Tax Law Concentration. They take the remaining 12 units needed for the LLM in an “Intensive Summer Session.”
At most other law schools, earning both degrees takes four years — three for the JD and one extra for the LLM. By going to Loyola, Gano says, “I got to do things faster and at a reasonable cost.”
Gano says he has been especially impressed by Loyola’s tax faculty. “I like how hands-on the professors are,” he says. “They really care about their students. They make themselves available outside of class and are always willing to work through things on a one-on-one basis.”
One professor he sees as very hands-on is Jennifer M. Kowal, the director of Loyola’s Tax LLM program. “She is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. She’s just very to the point, very structured,” he says.
Another favorite is Ellen P. Aprill, the John E. Anderson Chair in Tax Law. “She is one of the most helpful professors — and people — I’ve ever met,” Gano says. “She really inspires me.”
Aprill and a visiting professor from Valparaiso University, David J. Herzig, who teaches during the Intensive Summer Session, both helped Gano improve his writing. They also helped him get it published.
Aprill also helped Gano place a tax law article in the school’s law review. Meanwhile, Herzig recommended Gano as a writer to Forbes magazine. Gano now writes four to five short articles a month on personal finance issues for millennials.
“Professors at Loyola really go out on a limb for students,” he says.