San Diego Midyear Meeting
The Midyear Meeting in the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel met our attendance expectations with 1090 registrants for the three-day meeting in sunny Southern California. It was great to see the committee meeting rooms filled to capacity and panels dealing with current tax developments, including guidance from the IRS and Treasury implementing the Inflation Reduction Act (the IRA). The IRS Chief Counsel’s Office played a significant role in the meeting through participation in numerous panels and hosting two booths in the Exhibit Area focusing on (i) career opportunities with the Chief Counsel’s office and (ii) upcoming guidance under the IRA. The Welcome Reception on Thursday evening (sponsored by Asbury Law Firm) and the Joint Forum Reception on Friday evening (co-hosted by the Women in Tax Forum and the LBGTQ+ Lawyers in Tax Forum and sponsored by Taylor Nelson Amitrano)—both located on the Sapphire Terrace overlooking the San Diego Bay—were delightful networking opportunities for everyone in attendance. The meeting was concluded by the Section Luncheon and Plenary Session on Saturday, featuring a presentation by Lily Batchelder, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy for the Treasury Department, the presentation of the 2023 Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award, and the recognition of the new Section Officers and Council for 2023–2024. All registrants were provided with access to the audio recordings of the Midyear Meeting at no extra cost. Non-registrants can order the audio recordings for a nominal charge.
The Next Generation of Tax Lawyers
It was great to see so many young lawyers and diverse lawyers in attendance at the Midyear Meeting and participating in panel discussions and presentations—even moderating panel discussions. As noted in my last From the Chair Column, “It’s All About Membership,” the shift to virtual and hybrid Section meetings during the pandemic exposed many Section members, including law students and members recently admitted to the bar, to the quality of our Section programs.
Law and accounting firms are hiring new tax lawyers at an unparalleled clip. Careers in tax are plentiful and “it is a great time to be a tax lawyer!” Still, it has been disconcerting to hear from a number of Section members that “my firm will not reimburse associates for attending in-person meetings unless they are speaking or participating in a panel discussion.” For those of us who appreciate what the Tax Section has to offer, this is a short-sighted approach for law and accounting firms to take. How do you get to speak or serve on a panel for a committee if you cannot first come to a Tax Section meeting to meet committee members? Signing up to work on a committee comment project is an excellent way to get involved with one of the Section’s 36 substantive committees. The substantive committees of the Section need volunteers to work on comment projects, serve on panels, lead subcommittees, and support committee activities. These opportunities open the doors for all new Section members to move into leadership positions with the committees and the Section. Committee chairs are actively recruiting young and diverse Section members to get involved. Only by attending meetings in person can members fully appreciate the relationship and network building opportunities the Section has to offer!