Future Tax Lawyers of California
On February 14, 2020, my paralegal Jessica Rodriguez and I visited De Anza High School in Richmond. One of the teachers at the high school had contacted the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA) to request a presentation by a tax lawyer.
Initially, I was surprised when the CCCBA reached out to me about this. I did not immediately understand why the teacher was interested in a presentation by a tax lawyer. The teacher, I found out, was attempting to go above and beyond for her students. The teacher indicated many of her students would be entering the work force very soon, and many of the students did not yet know what a Form W-4 was, what a Form W-2 was, what “income” was, when tax returns were due, what happens when tax returns are not filed, etc.
I was so impressed by the teacher’s foresight and desire to help her students, and I was eager to present to these students and share some simple, but highly useful tax tips with them.
We started the class with a quiz that contained some basic tax questions and discussed the answers out loud. Initially, it was a little difficult to elicit answers or discussion from the students, but it was not anything that some full-size candy bars for correct answers could not cure.
I discussed many of the topics the teacher had asked about. The students were also very interested to learn about some of my more interesting cases (And yes, there are interesting tax cases!)
I was also delighted to hear many of the questions the students had. For example, they asked: “What does it take to be a lawyer?”; “Do all lawyers work the same types of schedules?”; “Do you really need to get into a top ranked law school to have a successful career as a lawyer?” Then, there was perhaps my favorite question, “Can I interview for an internship at your firm?” Although, I am not currently hiring an intern, I was touched that some of the students might be interested in working at Mendes Weed, LLP, and impressed by their initiative.
The students could not have been more enthusiastic about careers in the law – even tax law. If the opportunity presented itself again to teach another high school class in our community, I would definitely take it. I would highly recommend that other lawyers in our community get involved in this way if there is ever an opportunity to do so. It was a highly rewarding experience, and I think everyone had fun.