Graduate Tax Law Program
The Graduate Tax Program permits students to participate in activities or studies outside the traditional class room setting and receive credit. The LL.M. externship program is an outgrowth of Cooley's J.D. externship program, which has been in place since 1996, and is one of the most successful and largest externship programs in the United States.
The Graduate Tax Program's externships provide the student with the ability to perform legal tasks in the tax law arena. Externship sites include law firms and governmental agencies. In the Graduate Tax Program, externships generally involve placements with the Internal Revenue Service, the United States or Michigan Departments of Treasury (in revenue or tax policy areas), or the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Other sites may be approved if at least 75 percent of the student's work will be in the area of federal, state or local taxation.
The student's work is guided by attorneys serving as field supervisors. Cooley faculty members oversee the placement, and assist students in reflecting and enhaning the learning experience at the workplace.
The student, field supervisor and faculty supervisor work together to achieve the goals of the externship program and develop the students:
- substantive skills;
- insight into various aspects of tax practice;
- understanding of special professional responsibility and ethical considerations of tax practice; and,
- ability to reflect on and learn from the experience.
Planning An Externship
Students planning on participating in the externship program should make their arrangements early. The director of the graduate tax program assists students in obtaining externship placements and will have information about any existing externship sites.
Students may earn up to four credits in an externship. Externs are required to work six hours per credit hour each week at the placement site for fourteen weeks. Many externs will, in fact, work longer hours. Externs are not allowed to be paid for the same work for which credit is received. There are other requirements for the externship, such as keeping a time log and journal, writing a goals memorandum, and writing a substantive paper.