Making Your Case in Tax Court: Advocacy Tips

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 91 minutes
Recorded Date: October 07, 2020
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        • Before Tax Litigation
        • Tax Litigation: Choose Your Forum
        • Unique Features of the Tax Court
                - Pro Se Friendly
                - Discovery
                - Subpoenas
                - Unique Pre-Trial Elements of Litigation in the Tax Court
        • Filing in the Tax Court
                - Petitions
                - Redaction
                - Place of Trial
                - Remote Trials
        • Appeals

Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Recorded: October 7th, 2020


Lawyers appearing before the U.S. Tax Court may not have advocated a case for a while and will need to refresh their skills. Moderated by Chief Magistrate Judge Nannette Baker , U.S. District Court, the panelists will help attendees understand how to advocate for favorable outcomes in U.S. Tax Court, recognize procedural requirements of U.S. Tax Court and how they differ from general civil practice, how to tailor advocacy skills in U.S. Tax Court, and confidently apply oral and written advocacy tips from veteran tax court judges and attorneys.

This program was recorded on October 7th, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Michael J. Desmond

Chief Counsel
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Michael J. Desmond is the 48th Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, where he oversees a staff of more than 2,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 attorneys.

Mr. Desmond began serving as Chief Counsel on March 4, 2019, following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate on February 27, 2019. As Chief Counsel, he is also an Assistant General Counsel in the Department of the Treasury. After serving as a law clerk for the Hon. Ronald S.W. Lew in the federal district court in Los Angeles, Mr. Desmond began his legal career with the Attorney General’s Honors Program at the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. After serving in the Tax Division, he joined McKee Nelson, LLP, where he was elected partner in 2004.

In early 2005, Mr. Desmond joined the Office of Tax Policy at the Department of the Treasury, where he served as Tax Legislative Counsel through 2008. Following his tenure at the Treasury Department, he spent several years as a partner at Bingham McCutchen LLP in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, California. In January 2012, Mr. Desmond started his own boutique tax firm in Santa Barbara, California, where he practiced until his nomination as Chief Counsel in 2018.

Mr. Desmond has held several offices with the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association and served as a Regent for the American College of Tax Counsel. He also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University School of Law.

Mr. Desmond was born in Santa Monica, California and is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.

The Hon. Maurice B. Foley

Chief Judge
United States Tax Court

Chief Judge Foley received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College, a Juris Doctor from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters of Law in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

Prior to the appointment to the Court, he was an attorney for the Legislation and Regulations Division of the Internal Revenue Service, Tax Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Finance, and Deputy Tax Legislative Counsel in the U.S. Treasury's Office of Tax Policy. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton as Judge, United States Tax Court, on April 9, 1995, for a term ending April 8, 2010. Foley was the first African-American appointed to the United States Tax Court. He was reappointed on November 25, 2011, for a term ending November 24, 2026. Foley is also an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado School of Law.

Judge Foley is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore. On February 26, 2018, it was announced he would become the next Chief Judge of the Tax Court, effective June 1, 2018. On February 21, 2020, he was re-elected to a second two-year term effective June 1, 2020.

Maria Critelli

Mayer Brown

Maria Critelli is an associate in Mayer Brown's Chicago office and a member of the Tax Controversy practice.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Maria clerked for Judge Maurice B. Foley on the United States Tax Court.

The Hon. Nannette A. Baker

Chief Magistrate
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri

Nannette A. Baker is the Chief Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis Missouri. Before her appointment to that position, she was a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals. She became the first African-American woman to serve as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals in 2008. Judge Baker previously held the position of Circuit Court Judge in the City of St. Louis.

Following law school, she was a law clerk for United States District Court Judge Odell Horton in the Western District of Tennessee. She later worked in private practice at two St. Louis law firms. While working in private practice she served as the Chair of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners.

Judge Baker is a Past Chair of the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges of the American Bar Association Judicial Division. She has served on the executive committee of the NCFTJ since 2011. Before that, she was Vice Chair of the Appellate Judges Conference from 2010 until 2011. She the immediate Past Co-chair of the editorial board of the ABA’s Judges’ Journal. She is also a member of the Missouri Bar, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Women Judges, the Nationakl Bar Association Judicial Council, the Mound City Bar Association and the Women Lawyers Association of Greater St. Louis. She has also served as the Chair of the Minorities in the Legal Profession Committee and on the Executive Board of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and as Vice President of the Mound City Bar Association.

Prior to her legal career, she worked for 13 years as a television journalist in Knoxville, Memphis and St. Louis.

Hon. Juan F. Vasquez

Federal Judge
United States Tax Court

Juan F. Vasquez is an Article I federal judge for the United States Tax Court. He joined the court in 1995 after a nomination from President Bill Clinton. His original term ended in 2010, and he was nominated by President Barack Obama to a term that expires in 2026.

Juan F. Vasquez received an associate degree from San Antonio Junior College, specializing in data processing. He earned a B.B.A. from the University of Texas in 1972 in accounting. He earned his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1977 and an LL.M. in Taxation from the New York University Law School in 1978.

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