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June 27, 2022

American Bar Association Tax Section announces inaugural Argrett Fellows

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2022 — The American Bar Association Section of Taxation has announced its inaugural class of Loretta Collins Argrett Fellows. The three-year fellowship seeks to create a more accessible and equitable pipeline into the Tax Section and the tax bar.

Loretta Collins Argrett was the first African American staff member of the U.S. Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation. In 1993, she became the first African American woman in Justice Department history to hold a position that required U.S. Senate confirmation and was confirmed as the assistant attorney general of the U.S. Justice Department’s Tax Division.

The 2022-25 fellows are:

  • Jamal Aquil, KPMG, Washington National Tax
  • Gurnaina Chawla, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
  • Fatima Garcia, Polsinelli
  • Jessica Harris, Legal Services of Northern Virginia
  • Christopher Lincoln, C.S. Lincoln Attorney at Law LLC
  • Jalisa Mathis, IRS Office of Chief Counsel (Income Tax & Accounting)
  • Chardea Murray, IRS Office of Chief Counsel (SBSE)
  • Alice Thomas, Howard University School of Law

The goal of the Argrett fellowship is to identify, engage and infuse historically underrepresented individuals into the ABA Tax Section; create a more accessible, equitable and inclusive pathway into section leadership; and support the expansion, diversification and inclusiveness of the tax profession to create a space and sense of belonging for those looking to become involved with the section.

Applicants need not be members of the Tax Section or ABA to apply. Fellows receive complimentary ABA and section membership, waiver of registration fees for the section’s meetings and, to the extent permitted, reimbursement for travel and lodging. Fellows will be paired with two Tax Section member mentors during their fellowship and will participate in monthly educational webinars. Additionally, special fellows-only events will allow fellows to learn more about the section and its leadership. For more information on the Argrett Fellowship, click here.

“Creating a more inclusive, diverse and equitable Tax Section and tax bar is critical to the future of the Tax Section and fundamental to the section’s mission to advance a more fair and equitable tax system,” said Tax Section chair Julie Divola. The fellowship, which attracted nearly 100 applicants, “demonstrates the importance of being intentional and taking concrete actions. The eight fellows represent a wide range of tax law practice areas and backgrounds. I’m excited to see how the fellowship helps advance these already successful individuals, as well as the goals of the section.” 

“We are thrilled to welcome our first Argrett Fellows and look forward to working closely with them and others in the section to improve diversity in the tax bar and expand its leadership pipeline to include a wider variety of opinions and experiences” said Caroline Ciraolo, vice chair of Membership, Diversity & Inclusion for the Tax Section. “These efforts will include other section initiatives such as the diversity, equity & inclusion scholarships offered for each section meeting, opportunities to engage with section members and get involved in section activities and the establishment and promotion of various affinity groups. It is my fervent hope that these initiatives will help to erode, and eventually eliminate, the institutional and implicit biases in our profession.”

The Loretta Collins Argrett Fellowships are funded through the Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund. More information on the fund can be found here.

The ABA Section of Taxation is the largest professional association of tax lawyers, with approximately 11,000 members nationwide. Its goals include helping taxpayers better understand their rights and obligations under the tax laws and working to achieve a simplified tax system that is equitable and efficient. 

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.