Tax Practice

Tax Law includes all legal aspects of taxation at the federal, state, local and international levels. Tax professionals practice in three main areas: compliance, planning and controversy. Tax compliance deals with the accurate payment and filing of tax returns on both state and federal level. Tax planning involves the structuring of both individual and entity affairs, domestic and international, in a way that is tax efficient. Lawyers specializing in tax controversy represent taxpayers in disputes in court, before the IRS or with state agencies.

Attorneys specializing in tax may engage in a broad range of litigation, transactional work or legal counseling in private practice, as in-house counsel, or in government. They may advise businesses regarding the tax implications of their decisions; assist individuals with federal, state, local and international tax problems; specialize in estate planning and wealth distribution; work for a federal or state government agency interpreting or enforcing tax law; or work with the legislature in assisting in the developing and drafting of tax legislation.

Villanova Law offers a rich array of tax coursework through its JD and Graduate Tax programs. Students planning to practice in this field may choose to pursue a JD/LLM in Taxation in which individuals work toward an LLM degree in Taxation while completing their JD degree. LLM courses are offered through the Graduate Tax Program, a joint program of the Law School and the Villanova School of Business in which lawyers and accountants learn with and from each other in integrated classes that allow for in-depth, interdisciplinary examinations of tax principles and policies.

A highlight of our JD offerings is the Federal Tax Clinic in which students advocate for low-income taxpayers in their disputes before the IRS and in Federal Court. Under the supervision of a full-time faculty member, student counselors work in teams to represent taxpayers in examinations, administrative appeals, collection matters and cases before the United States Tax Court and Federal District Courts.

Students interested in this area may also pursue an externship in the field. A hallmark of Villanova’s educational experience, our externship program offers placements in a variety of practice settings, including corporate, government, and nonprofit (see below for a list of recent placements). Externships are supervised by both an on-site field instructor and a full-time faculty member who works closely with each student to monitor progress and to ensure overall professional development.


The below list highlights Villanova Law JD courses that are fundamentally associated with this practice area. LLM/MT course offerings can be found on the Graduate Tax section of our website.

Of the courses listed below, the foundational doctrinal courses—Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Constitutional Law and Torts—and an upper level Legal Writing (Transactional or Litigation) are required. The remaining courses are helpful but not required for those interested in the field.

  • Accounting for Lawyers
  • Decedents’ Estates and Trusts
  • Introduction to Federal Taxation
  • Survey of Business Tax
  • Tax Policy
  • Wealth Planning
  • Wealth Tax

The below list highlights Villanova Law JD courses that are related, but not necessarily essential to this practice area. Students interested in this field may consider enrolling in these courses to supplement their studies. LLM/MT course offerings can be found on the Graduate Tax section of our website.

  • Administrative Law
  • Administrative Rulemaking: The Regulatory Process
  • Bankruptcy
  • Drafting Business Transactions
  • Employee Benefits
  • Law of Investment Management


Clinics and Externships