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Webinar: Can Uncle Sam Bridge the Gap? Tax Opportunities – and Traps – in Alternative Dispute Resolution

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April 27, 2023 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm

1.5 Participatory MCLE Credits

Every large transaction has tax ramifications for the parties, and almost every transaction can benefit from some judicious planning for those consequences.  In mediation, the contemplated settlement transaction is no different.  Similarly, the alternatives to settlement, namely litigation and arbitration, also have significant tax consequences.   A good settlement decision should take into account the tax treatment of the settlement and the tax consequences of not settling.  

Sometimes, the tax benefit to a party can bridge what otherwise seemed like an unbridgeable gap in the goals of the parties.  Other times, progress toward an agreement can be derailed when it turns out that one party is going to bear previously unanticipated tax consequences.  

Advocates and mediators improve their performance with a basic understanding of the principles governing tax treatment of litigation expenses, settlements, and judgments or awards; likewise, they should see the opportunities to create value in the structuring of a settlement.

Speakers: Charles David Anderson, Mark B. Helm, Kathleen Smalley, and Rob Wood

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Charles David Anderson has practiced tax law since 1970, and has taught tax courses at USC, UCLA and Harvard Law Schools. He has worked both on the largest tax case ever, and on collateral effects of the largest tax fraud ever.  He has also contributed his time to fixing small dollar tax problems where he thought the taxpayer was being unfairly treated by either the tax system or tax practitioners.

For a longer and more irreverent biography, see his profile at,
Dave’s favorite sub-specialty is “doing the numbers” on tax issues, which he finds can radically change understanding of tax issues and tax disputes.  See “Tax Planning: The Missing Quantitative Dimension” presented at the 1981 USC Tax Institute, and “Tax Adventures in Litigation Land” (2018) included in the materials for this presentation.

Mr. Helm of Phillips ADR has mediated disputes up to ten figures in a wide range of areas, including shareholder and consumer class actions, disputes arising from corporate transactions, regulatory enforcement actions, claims against accounting firms, administration of family trusts, copyright and trademark actions, and many others.  He has studied mediation at the Straus Institute and was previously a member of the ADR panel for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Before becoming a full-time neutral, Mr. Helm was a trial lawyer and appellate advocate at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles.   He specialized in complex disputes involving asset management firms and their portfolio companies; entertainment and intellectual property; trade secrets and employee mobility; claims against law firms; and the duties of directors, officers, and shareholders. From 2005 to 2010 he was co-managing partner, and he once served as outside general counsel for a public company.   

Mr. Helm clerked for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger on the United States Supreme Court and Judge Carl McGowan on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.

Kathleen Smalley brings more than 40 years of experience – in business roles as a corporate officer, general counsel, director, and trustee; in transactional practice; in trial and appellate litigation; and in government service – to an ADR and consulting practice focused on resolution without the delay, expense, and inconvenience inherent in litigation. She has arbitrated, as sole arbitrator, panel member, or panel chair, a wide variety of disputes covering many legal disciplines. She formerly served as general counsel of public and private companies; a director of a public company; a trustee of CalSTRS, and a partner in law firms. She has taught classes at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and UCLA Law Schools and currently teaches at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.  She served as a law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at the US Supreme Court and to Judge John Minor Wisdom of the Fifth Circuit.  She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and summa cum laude from Rice University.  She is a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the American Law Institute, the American College of Mortgage Lawyers, and the Council on Foreign Relations.  

Rob Wood handles a wide range of tax planning and tax controversy matters, and also serves as an expert witness on tax issues in legal disputes. He is best known for his expertise advising plaintiffs, defendants, and lawyers on the tax treatment of legal settlements and judgments. He authored the leading book on this topic, Taxation of Damage Awards & Settlement Payments (5th Ed 2021), as well as the Bloomberg Tax Management Portfolio, Tax Aspects of Settlements and Judgments (522).

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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