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Inspiration to Career Path

When I was 14 or 15, I started working in the family business started by my grandfather and run, at that time, by my father.  I continued to work in the business through college.  In the first semester of my sophmore year of college, I was facing a dilemma I had never before faced, which was whether to drop one of the courses I had signed up for and was finding was not for me.  The course was physics.  (In the liberal arts college I was attending, I was required to take two semesters of a science, and I thought I would get something out of physics.)  I decided to turn to my father for guidance.  Since I was working at the family business after classes, I had ample opportunity to approach him. 

After presenting my dilemma to my father, he proceeded to ask me what it was I intended to major in and what I intended to do upon my eventual graduation from college.  I informed my dad that I was intending to major in business administration and do something in the business world.  My father than asked me the question that would start me on my career path.  He asked if I had ever thought about becoming a tax attorney.  In my naivete, I recall saying something like: "You mean there are different kinds of lawyers?"  My father's logic was simple: there would always be taxes, and I could find gainful employment with the government or in private practice.  Hard to argue with that!

Dad consulted a tax attorney who he had hired to assist the business on occasion, and he asked for the attorney's recommendation on coursework for me to take.  The attorney's response was that I should take all the accounting I could take. I has already taken Principles of Accounting I and II and thought I was done with that!  But, I signed up for Intermediate Accounting in the second semester of my sophmore year and never looked back.  Had my college offered a major in accounting, I would have qualified for it with all the credits I built up pursuing that area of study.

I believe it may have been the tax attorney who advised my father that I should also pursue the LLM in tax if I was really serious about tax law.  What I recall is that starting in my sophmore year of college, my sights were set on law school followed by the LLM program.  Along the way I passed i) the CPA exam, ii) two bar exams, and iii) an exam to become Board Certified in tax law by The Florida Bar.

I am extremely fortunate to have had the wisdom and guidance of my father and the maturity to listen to him!

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