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Feb 23 Firm Articles

Meet The Attorneys: Laura L. Buckley

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How long have you been at Higgs?

I joined the firm in 2009. Prior to that, I was an IRS Chief Counsel attorney and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Los Angeles and San Diego offices.

What is a typical day like?

My days vary but usually consist of advising clients, communicating with the taxing authorities (IRS, FTB, EDD, BOE) and strategizing resolutions of tax issues.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment(s)?

I am proud of being an Honor’s Hire at the IRS Chief Counsel’s Office out of law school. Those are highly competitive positions as Congress only budgets a certain amount of money for them per year, and there are rigorous qualifying standards (such as rank in law school, etc.). This summer I will complete the Tax LLM program at New York University which has one of the best tax programs in the world. That is an accomplishment I am looking forward to completing!

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

In addition to continuing to build my practice and finishing the NYU Tax LLM program, I’m also working towards being selected for the California Bar Association’s Taxation Executive Committee. I am currently the Chair of the Young Tax Lawyers Committee (tax attorneys practicing for 10 years or less). It will be a lot of work, but very rewarding.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Helping clients. Tax issues can be stressful and confusing for individuals and businesses, and I enjoy helping clients navigate through the issues to a resolution. I also enjoy working with the exceptional attorneys we have here at Higgs. It can be a very collaborative experience.

Tell us about a recent successful case you handled.

The one that comes to mind is a case where the IRS was seeking an approximate $10 million in additional taxes from a wealthy client. The IRS flew their “passive activity” and “airplane” experts here from across country weeks before trial and we could not agree on a resolution. The IRS attorney was a colleague of mine from my days as an IRS attorney in the Los Angeles office. We spent days trying to resolve the case and then, two weeks before trial, the IRS fully conceded. I was not expecting that but I was elated.

What organizations are you involved with?

I am very involved in the California Bar Association’s Taxation Section. I’m the current Chair of the Young Tax Lawyer’s Committee (tax attorneys with experience of 10 years or less). I am a frequent speaker at our annual Tax Policy Conference; I teach webinars on relevant tax issues; and I am a frequent writer for the CA Tax Lawyer quarterly publication. I am also a member of the Rotary Club of San Diego. It’s the oldest Rotary club in the San Diego region and comprised of more than 500 of the area’s business, civic and community leaders. We perform more than 100,000 hours of community service each year and have contributed more than $1.5 million here at home and around the world over the past decade. It’s a great way to give back.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I have three young children (ages 6, 4, and 9 months) so I don’t have a lot of spare time right now! They are a handful to keep up with, but bring such joy to me and my husband. When I can, I enjoy Bar Method classes in Point Loma.