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Following Your Passion: Adam Deverett on Working in Tax Law

November 8, 2022

Alexandra Boelsterli

A Juris Doctor degree is rarely the final step in a lawyer’s career journey. In a field with so many different specialties, continuing (and specializing) education can help you achieve your career goals. This is certainly the case with Adam Deverett. Adam graduated from Queen’s Law in 2019, and while he was proud of his job at a small full-service firm, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was meant to be working in tax law. Deciding that this was his true passion, Adam returned to school to pursue the Osgoode LLM in Taxation Law. Adam sat down with us to discuss his rather unexpected journey to the Tax Legislation Division of the Department of Finance.

As with many young adults, when starting his undergraduate degree in university, Adam Deverett chose an area of study based on his interests at the time. This led him to a BA in Kinesiology and Exercise Science at Western University. “Honestly, I loved it. I truly enjoyed my program and acquired knowledge and discipline that I am able to apply to my current lifestyle.”

But when it came time to decide what to do next, Adam says, “I weighed the different options available, and began to pinpoint what I was consistently interested in. It became very obvious that the areas I found myself drawn to, involved the process of reasoning, learning and application.” This realization led Adam to law and the LSAT, and eventually to his joining the ranks of future lawyers at Queen’s Law. And while he had an amazing experience at Queen’s, he had a hard time trying to pinpoint the exact area of law that he wanted to make his career. It wasn’t until the later years of his JD that he was first exposed to tax law. “I had the privilege of having my first tax law class with the late Professor Arthur Cockfield. Then I was able to take a course in the following year with Professor Sunita Doobay which ignited my passion in tax law. Originally, I thought that upon graduation the full-service firm approach would best serve my needs.”

After graduating, Adam spent time as an associate at a full-service firm and discovered “that although it was a productive learning experience, I realized that my true passion was tax law.” And with that, Adam started on his journey towards working in tax law, applying to join Osgoode’s Professional LLM in Taxation Law.

“I find  tax Law to be an ever-evolving field, and that’s what fascinates me about this area of law. It’s constantly changing in nature and adapting to societal as well as legislative needs. I feel so energized learning about tax law and being able to apply that knowledge. I greatly look forward to the opportunities allowing me to apply my passion in a concrete way, while gaining a foundational understanding of the system.”

When speaking on what parts of his Osgoode education he enjoyed the most, Adam says, “it was the professors, to be honest with you. From my very first class with Professors Li and Wilkie, their passion for tax law, along with the way they approached tax law and its foundations – not just the ‘whys’ but the ‘hows’ – it really influenced me. I believe it will continue to influence me for my entire career. It was a pleasure to listen to their lectures and engage in the subsequent discussions.”

Adam also appreciated the ability to hone his writing and research skills. “I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process! It began with analyzing a specific issue, then developing your own arguments through your own research. For me, it was the ultimate method of learning. I can still recall the first paper I wrote in this course, on a topic I wasn’t quite comfortable with. The challenging process of gathering the information and applying the methodology I acquired, will always remain with me as being such a positive experience.”

This unique and in-depth learning style also influenced Adam as he approached his move to working in tax law. With an LLM in Taxation Law under his belt, Adam was able to secure a role in the Department of Finance in the Tax Legislation Division. “I was once again greatly influenced by the LLM Tax Program at Osgoode. A large emphasis was  placed on why these laws were created, with the understanding of how they came into effect; what they were intending to target; and questioning their overall effectiveness.  The entire process inspired me to think of tax law on an entirely different level. A level in which I could further examine and explore the issues that were extremely challenging, and arrive at a conclusion.”

Adam calls the Osgoode LLM in Taxation Law an amazing opportunity for those looking to establish a foundation in order to develop a meaningful tax law career. But the LLM isn’t just for those looking to transition into a new area of law. Adam also notes that for his peers, many of whom were already working in tax law and who had already established their own foundations, the LLM was a chance to deepen their understanding and further their knowledge in tax law.

Want to learn more about the Professional LLM in Taxation Law? Sign up for an Information Session!