By Destiny Reese
The Federal Lawyer
Unfortunately, few undergraduate and law school students aspire to become tax attorneys. This is primarily because tax law is often mistaken to be solely concerned with preparing tax returns for wealthy people or working for the Internal Revenue Service; it is seldom acknowledged for its ability to enact social, economic, and racial change.
Due in part to such misconceptions, the lack of diversity in tax law persists. As Temple Law School professors Alice Abreu and Richard Greenstein assert, “[I]ndividuals who are members of racial or ethnic minorities are more likely than others to prioritize the professional pursuit of a particular subset of social values.” Thus, “the view of the tax system as the bastion of a monolithic set of values unconnected to the pursuit of values like justice could be contributing to the relative lack of diversity in the tax bar.”1 In addition to students who are racial or ethnic minorities, students who are members of other marginalized groups, such as low-income communities, the LGBTQ community, and women, are also more likely to engage in work that is considered “socially responsible” and can improve the lives of their respective communities. Dismantling perceptions of tax law as a field concerned with a “monolithic set of values” is therefore crucial to combat its lack of diversity.
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