From a kick-off cocktail party to the keynote address, the University of Miami School of Law Graduate Program in Taxation demonstrated its commitment to Latin America to the hundreds of tax practitioners attending the U.S.-Latin American Tax Planning Strategies Conference.
The conference, sponsored by the International Fiscal Association, International Bar Association, Tax Executives Institute and the Section on Taxation of the American Bar Association, was attended by in-house tax counsel and finance personnel, outside tax advisors, and government officials, addressed a wide range of tax issues that affect tax planning throughout Latin America. The conference was preceded by workshops on wealth and asset planning for in-house tax counsel.
For the third year, some recent graduates of Miami Law's tax program served as reporters for conference panels. "This is a great opportunity for our graduates, who have been able to get something published right out of the LL.M. program," said Patricia Brown, Director of the Graduate Tax Program.
Professor Brown was also asked to provide the keynote address at Friday's luncheon. In it she stressed the importance of Latin America to Miami Law's tax program.
"I knew before I got here that our ties to Latin America were going to be one of the keys to our future," said Brown. "Even so, I did not fully understand the scope of the international tax practice here in Miami. The tax work that flows into this city from Latin America is astounding. I can't think of any city where the international tax work makes up a greater percentage of the tax practice than Miami. I also can't think of any U.S. city where international tax work is done by everyone – accountants, lawyers, big firms, down to the smallest solo practice. It is an amazing place to be and an exciting time to be here."
She later explained the difference between domestic tax lawyers and international tax lawyers, "Domestic tax lawyers play chess. They have one opponent, the tax authorities of their domestic jurisdiction. International tax lawyers play poker, against multiple tax authorities with many different variables."
Earlier that week, the School of Law co-sponsored a reception with the Young IFA Network of the International Fiscal Association, in the spectacular 39th floor reception area of K&L Gates LLP. Conference speakers, recent graduates of the Graduate Tax Program and local international tax practitioners mingled over cocktails and delicious hors d'oeuvres while overlooking a vibrant downtown skyline and views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami River.
"It was an honor for K&L Gates LLP to host the cocktail reception with Miami Law and IFA USA as the kick off for the U.S. Latin American Tax Planning Strategies Conference," said Richard L. Winston, a partner at K&L Gates. "We had a great turnout from a diverse group of conference attendees."
"As a Tax LL.M. from Miami Law, the reception was a wonderful event to both meet others in my field and catch up with colleagues from other countries," said Tomás Alonso, Managing Director for Amicorp Services Ltd., a trust company with offices in 28 countries. "I look forward to an interesting and enlightening weekend."
The University of Miami has recently approved a new program, which leads to a Masters of Laws in the Taxation of Cross-Border Investment. The new program is aimed at non-U.S. tax lawyers and focuses on international tax planning, including the representation of high net worth individuals. The program's initial focus is on Latin America.