Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA October 24, 2013 5 min read

Tax Lawyers: Selecting Representation - Part Two

Continued from Tax Lawyers: Selecting Representation - Part One

It helps in the initial interview with your counsel to do two things. First, listen to what they say when you describe your problem. Do they sound knowledgeable and experienced in what you have come to them for? Are they confident sounding in their answers (even if that answer is that they do not know off hand what the answer is)? Are they professional and able to walk you through the steps of your particular matter with ease, answering any questions that you may ask of them? You can tell a lot about a tax lawyer by the confidence that they have when they approach your problem. They will be honest and upfront about your matter, even if it is telling you something that you may not want to hear. All of these things are indicative of the experience that the lawyer has in handling your matter.

Second, ask them about their experience. Do they handle your type of matter often? Read their biography for clues about where their true experience lies. For example, if you read my biography, I hope you get a sense that I have a lot of experience handling problems for small and mid-size businesses. However, you should also get a sense that I have a lot of experience when it comes to criminal and civil tax matters for individuals and businesses. You are not going to find much information on this website about personal injury because that is not where my experience lies. However, you need to be absolutely sure, so ask your tax lawyer about his background and some of the types of matters he/she has handled. Experience makes a critical difference when dealing with the IRS or handling certain types of tax matters.

Tax Lawyers Selection Tip #3 - Be Wary of Reviews

I will be completely candid about review sites when it comes to attorneys: most of them are bogus. I heard of instances in private practice where clients are incentivized by tax lawyers to write positive reviews on Yelp or Avvo by being offered discounts on legal services. In addition, manipulating the Yelp review filter is a huge topic of conversation online by those who are not of the highest ethic. It does work from a marketing standpoint, as many potential clients are lured by the “positive recommendations” they see posted by others. However, think of it this way. If you have a private or particularly sensitive legal matter, generally the types handled by tax lawyers, are you going to advertise it to the world? Probably not. Have your BS detector up when reading them and be on the lookout for reviews that seem honest. Most clients will be entirely candid when posting a review and will list negatives, as well as positives, about the tax lawyer. Look for specific information or other indicators that the review is genuine. In addition, be wary of those with lots of positive reviews on their profiles. From experience, clients will rarely write an online review for a tax lawyer (they will thank the tax lawyer with referrals instead and tell all their friends), so be cautious when looking at a profile with numerous positive reviews.

In conclusion, I hope these tips have been helpful for you as you decide whether or not to hire a professional representative. Whether you ultimately decide to retain me or someone else, I am always available to answer questions or offer candid recommendations about tax lawyers that I have had experience with in practice. If you do have questions, or if I can assist you further, please contact me utilizing the information contained on this website.

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Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law



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