Service: Human resources 

How my law degree guided me to a career in tax

20 Dec 2021

Meet Jane Clark. Jane started as a trainee at Gerald Edelman and is now a Semi-Senior in our Tax department. 

In our latest team story, we caught up with her to learn more about her somewhat unconventional route into tax, from starting with a law degree, taking a tax module by chance, and then finally taking a trainee position at GE!

What is your current role? 

There are quite a few role levels in our tax department. We start with tax trainees (which is how I started at GE), then we have Semi-Seniors, Seniors, Assistant Managers, Managers, and then Partners. I am now a Semi-Senior so my role involves having my own list of private and corporate clients that I look after and address any queries they have. This could range from completing tax returns, writing advisory reports or attending tax planning meetings. 

What do you enjoy most about your role/GE?

I really like that my role is client-facing. In my previous job, I didn’t have access to clients and was having little exposure to advisory and planning work. But at GE, I’m given my own set of clients to be responsible for and build those relationships which I enjoy.

Have you always wanted to work in tax? 

I didn’t take the conventional route into tax, that’s for sure! I went to the University of Sussex which is based in Brighton, where I completed a law degree. As part of my course, I was able to study abroad for a year, I chose Brisbane, Australia! Whilst there, I was able to study half law and half economics modules.  and one of the modules I picked was tax law which I found really interesting. Despite enjoying the tax work, when I graduated, I went straight into legal work as it seemed like the best thing to do. After a few legal roles, I wanted to try tax and I haven’t looked back since!

Why did you choose GE?

The fact the firm was mid-tier was a big selling point for me as I knew that I would have a lot more responsibility and variety in my work. It’s unusual in tax to work with a mixed portfolio of personal and corporate tax as normally you would pick a route to go down – with GE I didn’t have to choose and I gain experience working in both which is great for new grads and those early in their career because you can decide what you enjoy. 

What does your average day look like?

Tax is very seasonal however we are busy all year round!  December and January is extremely busy for us with tax return deadlines, April we have questions from clients on the Budget changes announced, July we have other filing deadlines. All whilst being in touch with multiple clients and other teams within GE on a daily basis, writing advisory reports, providing planning advice and also helping members of my team. 

What has been your biggest achievement/challenge so far?

I would say my biggest challenge has been studying towards my ATT qualification whilst working at the same time. During covid, it was really difficult as it meant I would wake up, study, work-study, and repeat the process without being able to have a change of scenery or go anywhere to take my mind off one or the other. It was difficult, but I got through it and passed my exams meaning all of my hard work was worth it!

Tell me your goals for the future

I have just finished my first qualification and have become ATT qualified. I am now starting my next qualification the CTA to become a chartered tax accountant. 

What advice would you give others that are seeking to pursue a career in Tax? 

Don’t assume that you have to have an accounting background or degree to get into the field! With tax, you don’t need any specific qualifications, but maths knowledge does definitely help. As long as you are committed to putting the work into your exams and learning you are able to get on to the first step of the ladder. 

Want to learn more about life at GE? Click here to see our other team stories, or visit our work with us page. 

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