Events and ​Professional Development


Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law and Policy

The Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy brings a distinguished practitioner, judge or government official who has played a significant role in shaping U.S. and international tax policy to USD each year to discuss current and developing tax law and policy trends.

The endowed lecture was established in 2009 in honor of the long and illustrious career of USD's Distinguished Professor of Law, Richard Crawford Pugh. Before coming to USD, Pugh was a professor at Columbia Law School, a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general (Tax Division), and a partner at the international law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.

2023 Pugh Lecture honoree: 

2023 Pugh Lecture honoree
Anne L. Alstott

Kimberly Clausing
UCLA School of Law
Eric M. Zolt Chair in Tax Law and Policy

Past Pugh Lecture honorees:   

Tax Law Speaker Series

Our tax law speaker series brings high-profile tax scholars to USD to present papers on topics of current research interest.


Tax Law Series Speakers 2022-2023

John (Jake) Brooks
Fordham School of Law
Professor of Law
Date: October 23, 2023
Talk: The Sixteenth Amendment and the Meaning of Income

  Professor John Brooks, Fordham

Heather Field
UC Law San Francisco
Stephen A. Lind Professor of Law &
Co-Director of Center on Tax Law
Date: November 2, 2023
Talk: Tax Enforcement by the Private Sector: Deputizing Tax Insurers

 Kirk Stark

Kirk J. Stark
UCLA School of Law
Barrall Family Professor of Tax Law and Policy
Date: November 13, 2023
Talk: Retrofitting Prop 13 through the Income Tax

  Darien Shanske

David Schizer
Columbia Law School
Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics &
Dean Emeritus
Date: November 20, 2023
Talk: Wealth Taxes and the Constitution: An Originalist Analysis

  David Schizer 

Shayak Sarkar
UC Davis School of Law
Professor of Law
Date: February 19, 2024

  Professor Shayak Sarkar

Deanna Newton
Pepperdine Caruso School of Law
Caruso Family Faculty Fellow
Date: Spring 2024
Talk: Inclusive Prosperity

 Professor Deanna Newton

RJS Law Tax Controversy Institute

  • The Institute is the premier tax controversy event in San Diego
  • This annual event brings together top tax attorneys, CPAs, tax professionals, and professors to discuss relevant and timely tax topics
  • LLM students are eligible to attend the conference for a substantially reduced fee

The California Tax Bars

  • Historically, the Graduate Tax Program at the University of San Diego School of Law has been a sponsor of the Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar and Policy Conference
  • Students have the opportunity to meet and network with current and future colleagues while attending the many educational sessions on current topics relevant to tax law and policy at a significantly reduced fee
  • Graduate Tax Program students are also eligible to participate in the Tax Bar's annual Washington DC Delegation, to present research on pertinent tax issues to legislators
  • LLM candidates can also participate in the Annual Tax Writing Competition sponsored by the Tax Bar's California Tax Lawyer publication

Professional Development

United States Tax Court

  • Each fall, judges from the United States Tax Court request, consider and interview University of San Diego School of Law LLM in Taxation candidates for clerking positions with the U.S. Tax Court upon completion of their degree
  • USD is proud to count a number of former U.S. Tax Court clerks among our alumni

Young Tax Lawyers

  • The University of San Diego School of Law is home to the San Diego Chapter of the Young Tax Lawyers Committee of the State Bar of California Taxation Section
  • The monthly meetings are held in the law school and are open to students as well as professionals
  • Students have the opportunity to hear interesting and topically substantive programs, as well as meet current and future colleagues from the state and local tax community

Tax Planning Lab

  • This unique simulation course "bridges the gap" between the classroom and real world practice, where students explore and get hands-on training in a variety of tax practice areas
  • Students work in teams on simulated tax planning exercises with lawyers from Sempra Energy & KPMG
  • Exercises include planning, counseling, and negotiating on matters related to mergers & acquisitions, corporate tax, international tax, and financial statement impact

Federal Tax Clinic

  • The University of San Diego School of Law is pleased to be one of a select number of institutions receiving funding from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
  • Participation in the clinic offers students a unique opportunity to gain federal tax controversy experience by assisting low income taxpayers in resolving disputes with the IRS, both in administrative proceedings and in the U.S. Tax Court
  • Guest lecturers for the classroom component of the clinic include members of the U.S. Tax Court, tax professionals from national accounting firms, IRS district counsel, IRS appeals officers, IRS special agents from the Criminal Investigation Division and IRS revenue agents who perform mock audits

California State Tax Clinics

  • The School of Law offers a State Income Tax Clinic and a State Sales and Use Tax Clinic
  • The Tax Appeals Assistance Program is a joint effort between the USD Legal Clinics and the California State Board of Equalization
  • Under the supervision of an attorney from the California Taxpayers' Rights Advocate Office, students assist taxpayers with state tax appeals and other issues concerning the Franchise Tax Board
  • Students receive practical training in legal skills including interviewing clients, identifying evidence, drafting appeals briefs and representing clients in negotiations with the State Board and at hearings