Ca. Tax Lawyer Summer 2014, Volume 23, Number 2

Message from the Chair

By Bradley R. Marsh

Earlier this week my oldest son asked me what I did at work. I already finished my morning coffee, so I was a little punchy. I said "Well, … I practice law." His response: "when do you actually do law, daddy?" It made me think. We are in one of the few lines of work that describe what they do every day as "practicing." Yes, basketball players practice, but they also play basketball. Artists don’t practice, but they do make art. Teachers don’t practice either; they instruct others on how to practice. Lawmakers legislate, consultants consult, messengers deliver, and, of course, judges rule. We practice.

I sort of like the idea that I "practice" law every day. I mean, don’t we all hope to get better at what we do with each passing day? And, I think I would hate it if my work was described as "interpreting," "arguing," "trying to figure out," or in some other way. Practicing law also subtly implies that you can’t overcome or dominate the law, you can only practice with it. In other words, it exists, and we play with it in the same arena; it is our friend and adversary all at once. And, I guess practicing also implies that there is always more to learn. It is a nice way to describe a lifelong profession and lifelong learning process. All of us tax attorneys get to do this every day and every year.

One thing about practicing all the time, though, is that when you do it, time flies. Years pass by. And, I’ve noticed that time goes faster as I get older. It isn’t just a merging of seasons due to our sunny weather in California, either. Things are, in fact, moving more rapidly. Email, texts, calls, ads, news, all hit at once. The fact that you are even reading this far into this article is remarkable, given how many other things are attempting to draw your attention away. But, here we are, making it happen. Being a tax attorney is one of the remaining few professions where taking it slow and actually reading things still matters.

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