structure was very helpful for me to expand my legal knowledge.”
Private client work typically involves advising ultra-high net worth individuals, families and financial institutions on managing their assets in a tax-efficient way. There is often an international element, while work may also involve complex trusts, wills, succession planning and immigration matters. From training as an opera singer to working in the tax and private client team at independent UK law firm Burges Salmon, it’s fair to say that Myra Leung’s journey into law has been anything but traditional. Enrolling onto the GDL with no pre-existing experience or knowledge of law, it was her several years’ work in arts administration that established her interest in private client law. “I was involved with a number of charitable trusts and worked with several high net worth individuals – that was how my career in law came about,” she explains. Transferable skills Odd though it might sound, the worlds of music and tax law aren’t too far apart in Myra’s experience. “Attention to detail is definitely something I have carried across frommy previous career,” she says. “To be a musician you must be really precise and thoroughly prepared. You’ve got to practise and have dedication and perseverance. Working in the arts, you have to do a lot of networking and get to know new people at events. Plus, you must ensure that you manage your time efficiently. All of these things were surprisingly helpful when transferring to a legal career.” Burges Salmon’s six-seat training contract structure enabled Myra to experience a variety of different departments, something that she found particularly advantageous as a non-law graduate. “I knew that I wanted to do private client work,” she says. “But I also knew that I wanted to get experience in other departments, such as real estate and dispute resolution, and so that training contract
What does the work of a tax lawyer actually involve? Working in the tax and private client team at Burges Salmon, Myra advises on complex and cross-border issues relating to tax, trusts, wills, succession planning and immigration. “Most of my clients are international. In terms of tax planning, I work for ultra-high net worth individuals, families and financial institutions, often with multi- jurisdictional elements,” she explains. A changing environment You don’t necessarily have to be good at maths to work in tax law, but you do have to be prepared to deal with numbers. “Of course, there are accountants who do the complicated calculations, but there are definitely times when you have to do the sums yourself,” Myra says. She explains how the work can be very technical and the fact that the law surrounding tax is constantly changing only adds to the complexity of this dynamic area. Tax lawisverysusceptible to thechangesof a fluctuating political environment, both domesticallyand internationally “Tax law is very susceptible to the changes of a fluctuating political environment, both domestically and internationally,”Myra comments. Thismeans that thoseworkingwithin this areamust keep up to speed and pre-empt any changes to the law– includingwhen the party in government is going to be replaced, or when there are developments across the globe. “Every time the government introduces a new finance legislation, it means a fewhours of reading for us! That means that a lot of my job is not just planning for what’s happening
For more firms that work in this practice area, please use the “Training contract regional indexes” starting on p197.
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