Law Student Spotlight: Erick Quezada (Tax LL.M.)

Erick Quezada (Taxation LL.M.) was intrigued by tax, not for a love of numbers, but for a number of other things; the thrill of solving puzzles, being able to lay out sound legal arguments and helping people in need counted among the top.

He explored taxation as a J.D. student and signed up for his school's tax journal, an experience that set in motion the calling he's answering today. Now, as a member of UW Law's Federal Tax Clinic, Quezada relishes his time supporting those in need.

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It doesn't take much to actually help somebody. Oftentimes, it's just reading through a document, giving it your own perspective. And sometimes that alone can help somebody.

My name is Eric Quezada and I'm in the LL.M. for taxation. I went to my undergrad in Pullman, Washington in the Washington State University, and then went to law school in Georgetown at D.C. where I lived for a while.

I've been working in a number of different firms that are focused primarily in employment, primarily plaintiff side. So, representing people suing their employers, suing businesses that have trampled on their rights in some way.

I've always had an interest in tax. While I was doing my J.D. I took several tax courses, and I even joined the tax journal there was. It was just something about the way that the law just clicked in my head. It's like a puzzle, you're just trying to figure it out. Over time, I also learned that it's a very, that tax itself is a very important part of just everyone's lives. Almost any transaction that you deal with is going to have tax.

It's really rewarding to help people, oftentimes in some of their worst points of their lives, and dealing with situations that they don't even know where to start, or how to tackle their problems. I was handed a case where it was a couple that had a substantial amount of liabilities, that was leading to their property, potentially being levied, so taken from them. But through just talking to them and laying out the options that they had in front of them, they were able to really think about how to get out of that situation in a way that wasn't going to lead them to have to get rid of the house that they live in. So, within just the first few weeks of being in the Tax Clinic, I already had the knowledge to kind of help explain what the situation that they're in is in the tax system, but also even just broadly, you know, what steps it could take in order to not really be in that situation again in the future.

There's a pretty big misconception about what a tax lawyer is or looks like. It's less about the numbers and more about the legal arguments, coming up with positions that you can stand behind, feel safe, feel comfortable about. And also, when you need to push on the court to do something.

Yeah, you don't have to be good at math. You just have to be good at the other things that make a good lawyer. You know, it's the same set of skills