TAX LLM PROGRAM- MY EXPERIENCE

CHIEDOZIE CHUKWU (Dozie writes from Lagos and is a Tax attorney)

Studying at postgraduate level has been my dream since I concluded my undergraduate degree in law at the University of Lagos.

Having been called to the Nigerian Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, I practised in the area of private and commercial dispute resolution for nearly 3 years, before deciding it was time to realize my dream.

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) was my first choice, not only because it is one of the top law schools in London but it has the rare tradition of involving practitioners in the academic process. For me, there should be no dichotomy between theory and practice and the importance of the views of practitioners on theoretical issues cannot be overemphasized.

Taxation is an area with vast opportunities from a nation building perspective but is yet to be convincingly appreciated in Nigeria. It is a growth (not crowded) area in Nigeria where I can carve a niche for myself. Taxation will always be relevant because as long as governments exist, they will always want to raise money through taxation. Hence, taxpayers (corporate and individual) will always need my advice as a tax lawyer Moreover, it is a subject I found enjoyable at my undergraduate level because tax practitioners were used in the teaching process.  With this in mind, QMUL was my first point of call as it is one of the few schools in the U.K. that offer a specialized Masters in Tax Law. Furthermore, the academics of the School of Tax Law are seasoned practitioners in the field. Having gone through a smooth application and admission process and having been offered the CCLS/UNILAG scholarship, QMUL was definitely the place to realize my dream.

My experience at QMUL was awesome. I met a lot of interesting people from diverse backgrounds whose views positively shaped my thinking. The academic and administrative staff members were invaluable to me in helping me settle into the process. More importantly, the level of practical knowledge covered by the LLM tax specialism was highly insightful. The guest tax lectures, in particular, were an eye-opener to the intricacies of taxation on a cross-border level.

In all, I believe my experience at Queen Mary has enhanced my intellectual horizon and prepared me for a specialised legal career.

The career pathways available to a tax LLm graduate include:

  1. Career with any of the big four accounting firms (PWC, EY, KPMG & Deloitte)
  2. Career with a law firm (Litigation and solicitor’s work)
  3. Consultancy services
  4. Career in the Academia
  5. Career with international organisations like International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), United Nations (UN) etc.
  6. Career with research bodies like International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) etc.

Tax Law firms in Nigeria include the following:

  1. WTS Adebiyi & Associates.
  2. Aelex
  3. Templars
  4. Aluko & Oyebode
  5. Le Law

Top Tax Law schools in UK & the USA include:

UK

  1. Queen Mary University of London
  2. King’s College London
  3. LSE
  4. Oxford University
  5. Cambridge University
  6. Bournemouth University

USA

  1. New York University (NYU)
  2. Georgetown University
  3. Northwestern University
  4. Harvard University
  5. Columbia University
  6. Boston University

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