THE WMU-COOLEY TAX ATTORNEYS AT PwC
Why did you choose WMU-Cooley? They had a
at ISU, I took a law class and after that, I thought it would be interesting to go to law school. I noticed that Cooley had a great reputation and learned of scholarship opportunities.
pretty generous scholarship program that I qualified for, so that was nice. My father Charles Lane (Clark Class, 1979) went to Cooley, so it’s nice to have followed in his footsteps.
What about law school stands out to you the most? Justin Call
What is your position with PwC? I work with the transfer pricing tax group. Transfer pricing is an intriguing and wonderful area of tax. We help multinational entities establish appropriate armslength transaction prices for intercompany transactions.
How has PwC helped you become a leader? PwC has wonderful training and wonderful leaders. They have smart people who have helped me grow as an individual and develop my skills even further.
Why did you choose WMUCooley? Before attending law school, I studied accounting at Idaho State University (ISU). I was always intrigued by law, tax and accounting. While
I remember Cooley being very tough. They were not easy on your grades. I took two states’ bar exams; Cooley helped me to establish the skill set to pass both on the first try.
Tell us about your family? My wife and I have four daughters. Our youngest daughter is two years old and our oldest daughter is 10. We like camping and water skiing, and we enjoy family time.
Since working your way through the ranks at PwC, currently as director of International Tax Services, how have you grown? PwC has done a lot to help me succeed. The leadership team doesn’t let you get comfortable; you are pushed and encouraged to step outside your comfort zone and take on new challenges.
Tell us a little bit about why you chose to go to law school and why you chose WMU-Cooley. I
These challenges helped me to become a better leader and grow my career at PwC.
Tell us about your path to becoming a tax attorney. I earned my undergraduate degree in business administration, marketing, and finance at Walsh College. After graduating from Walsh, I entered the Macomb (Michigan) police academy, but then set my sights on becoming a prosecutor so I entered law school. At Cooley I enrolled in a tax class and began paying attention to a more practical perspective of what opportunities existed post law school. Cooley had an LL.M. in tax, and I thought I could get an edge up against other candidates seeking positions in tax law.
What did you like best about law school? One of the things I liked best about Cooley was the professors. The professors, especially in the LL.M. program, take a very practical approach to classroom education. Most of the professors came from tax practices and had fulltime jobs during the day. They taught in their areas of expertise because they were so passionate about it. I actually work alongside some of the individuals who were professors at the time I was at Cooley.
Share a little bit about your personal side. I’m a dad; I have a 16-month-old son. I coach a fifth grade basketball team at my church. I also like to do home improvement projects.
Tell us about your work at PwC. I work in the state and local tax group. We do compliance and controversy work, and we help with issues clients may have with individual state filings.
How did Cooley help you transition to your current job? I enrolled in a tax class and actually really liked it. I talked to various professors about opportunities in tax law and they began to encourage me. I completed an internship with the IRS and found out there are actually a few adjunct professors at WMUCooley who work at the IRS. The internship was an amazing experience, so I just continued down the path of tax.
didn’t have the traditional route to law school. I didn’t start until I was 30 years old. I had various jobs in real estate, property management, and nonprofit work. I needed to work full time, so when I heard about WMU-Cooley’s part-time program, I decided to take the LSAT. I was offered a really amazing scholarship so it opened up this new pathway that I didn’t know I was still capable of doing.
How is PwC helping you grow? PWC has been super supportive. The training programs are great. I have participated in national training programs. PwC has every research database you could possibly want with access right at your fingertips on a daily basis. There also are a lot of experienced individuals who are willing to help with networking opportunities.
Can you explain a little about what your role is here at PwC? I am a senior tax associate in the state and local tax group. I do a lot of compliance work, such as
preparing and reviewing tax returns. I also do controversy work. There are many notices that come in and I help prepare appeals to both the Michigan Tax Tribunal and the Hearings Division of the Michigan Department of Treasury.
What is it about the job that you enjoy the most? Tax is very challenging. It’s very technical. It’s one of those subjects in school that I thought you had to be very bright to do. There are subjects most people can do, but I felt tax was tougher and I liked the challenge of it.
very well connected, which is probably how I got my job at PwC. The professors introduced us to tax and the accounting firm professionals. One of my professors recommended that I start networking with accounting firms and other CPAs and that’s pretty much what led me to PwC. The professors’ contacts are what really set Cooley apart.
Why did you decide to go to law school, and why did you choose Cooley? I always wanted to go to law school and decided on Cooley because I was working full time and Cooley offered weekend classes.
Tell us about your other interests. I’ve been married for seven years and have two dogs. I’m into sports. I’m big into golf and play every week, weather permitting. I like to play hockey, so I’m in a hockey league, and I’m also in a softball league.
What is it about Cooley that gave you an advantage or really made a difference in what you’re doing today in your tax field? The Cooley professors are really great. They have a ton of knowledge and experience. And they’re
Published on Dec 16, 2016
This issue of Benchmark prominently features our dear friend, alumnus and nationally renowned artist Gordon Boardman, who has made a monumen...