Hi Big Time, thanks for the reply. I am definitely attracted to this work; I've been taking on nonprofit clients pro bono since law school. I imagine the workload would be less, but it is definitely the practice that attracts me. Thanks for the heads up about exempt work being subsumed in other groups in large law firms.
You seem pretty knowledgeable, could you give me some advice on how I can find a job doing exempt work? I do not think these jobs are aplenty, in general, and making a switch is generally not easy, especially in this kind of market. I've never seen these openings advertised. I'm planning to conduct informational interviews of attorneys doing this kind of work to make contacts, but I'm not sure how far this will get me. The job market is so tough right now. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!
I think it's great that you are interested in this type of work. I, too, don't see lateral T&E positions advertised that often. You are already doing "informational" interviews, and I'm sure you will find these to be beneficial. Here are some other steps that I would add, if I may:
1. You are doing some tax-exempt work for pro bono clients. Can you see if you can position yourself for a board of directors/governors/trustees position? Depending on the organization, such a position could make you more valuable from a law firm's perspective. The position could also help you get larger pro bono clients and other directorships.
2. Does your corporate group do any work for family/closely-held businesses? If so, see if you can handle the business succession issues (passing large business interests from one generation to another according to the client's wishes and with a minimum of taxes). This type of work is a component of many T&E groups.
3. Does your firm have a T&E group, or at least a tax-exempt practice within the Tax group? If so, maybe you can talk to the partners, take an assignment, and set yourself up for a future transition to the group.
4. What city are you in? Is a Tax LLM a "hidden" job requirement for T&E positions in your city? Take a look at the biographies of T&E associates for the various firms in your city to get an idea.