In Uncategorized on 11/25/2020 at 15:29

I echo Herbert Kretzmer’s last-millennium lament as I scan the locked-down Tax Court website, and recall my blogpost “Aground in Dawson’s Creek,” 10/20/20.

My dream is a United States Tax Court Bar Association. No, not another magnet for practitioners’ dollars; all of us have seen plenty of those. And not another Continuing Ed vending machine, either. Ditto.

What I dreamed is voices louder than one voice. We all know (if I’m not deluding myself) that changes in the Glasshouse procedures and rules are necessary. COVID-19 rammed the lesson home. And how!

All-electronic filing is necessary. Many courts, Federal and State, have gone all-electronic, with special webpages to provide access for the self-represented. The wet-ink petition and amendments are relics, and should be recalled, if at all, in the next edition of Dubroff and Hellwig. Rule 34 points the way. Time to make it happen.

And geography is irrelevant. Remote trials are happening, and no one has noticed any material degradation in results. If there are any, these should be noted as soon as possible, and publicly, so any can be remedied. But the expense of a traveling court is a real negative. Computer access is easier to provide, and cheaper.

The Stealth Subpoena and kindred deviations from FRCP need to be examined and, where appropriate, harmonized.

Extensions of time, where clients are not prejudiced, should be mandated to be mutual. Our New York State Chief Judge’s Civility Rules have so provided for years. It should not be up to individual judges (thank you again, Judge Emin (“Eminent”) Toro) to police attorneys’ conduct, much less for bloggers to have to waste electrons thereon.

Entry of Appearance for law firms is past due. The oldest New York law firm I know of started in 1797, and I’m sure some even older are flourishing in several jurisdictions. I know Tax Court is a specialized court requiring separate admission for each attorney, but since a current certificate of good standing and fifty Georges is all it takes, why not permit a law firm to enter appearance for all its USTC-admitted attorneys on one form? If it be objected that the hardlaboring clerks can’t send communications to dozens of attorneys in the tax department of a multinational white-shoe, the form can designate a lead (sort of a tax matters partner) who gets everything, but any attorney on the form can cover a routine calendar call or similar show-up. Every firm I know of in any other court can do that, with no ill effects. Of course, showing unprepared, or without authority, for something substantive, without a real good excuse, doesn’t cut it. Ditto for USTCPs, if any are such firms.

More to follow.

But one person saying this is worthless. And other practitioners may have good arguments why any or all of the foregoing lack merit, or need major overhauls.

But without a central forum where all this can be debated, and the wheat separated from the cliché, and where Ch J Maurice B (“Mighty Mo”) Foley and his colleagues can be presented with something better and bigger than ever I could muster, all will remain The Dream I Dreamed.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: