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    January 25, 2008  


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1040 season is on its way again, which means it's time for one thing:? procrastination.? ?Uh, we mean it's time to check in on D.C.'s standout tax litigator, Paula Junghans of Zuckerman Spaeder.? If the name doesn't ring a bell, it should-Washingtonian ranked her as #16 on its recent list of best lawyers.?


Yes, that is in fact a Diet Coke can mounted on a plaque.? Paula's colleagues gave her the mock trophy after noticing how much she is wildly addicted to enjoys the beverage.


Paula was a prosecutor in the DOJ's Tax Division (and an acting Assistant AG) from 1998-2001, in the wake of a 1997 Congressional investigation into IRS tactics that weakened enforcement at the agency. ?Things have "now swung back the other way," Paula says.? "Ten years ago, people would never have imagined financial execs being prosecuted for transactions that law firms had signed off on." That's what's happening in one of Paula's highest-profile cases, her defense of Robert Copland in U.S. v. Copland, a prosecution of four Ernst & Young executives over allegedly illegal tax shelter strategies.? (She's expecting a 2009 trial date.) ?


Despite their best efforts to hide this fact, apparently tax lawyers know how to have fun.? The mask comes from a night on the town with fellow members of the ABA's tax section.? When the group came to D.C., Paula pulled a prank:? a formal presentation on the "trip privilege" (what happens at ABA meetings stays at ABA meetings).? Several gullible neophytes took furious notes.


The potential criminal liability of attorneys for opinions on tax-related transactions, Paula says, has been a hot topic of conversation within the ABA for the last few years.? Although she isn't litigating the case, she and her ABA colleagues are keeping an eye on the government's prosecution of former Brown & Wood attorney R.J. Ruble in the much-noted KPMG prosecution before Judge Kaplan in the Southern District of NY.?? Ruble, along with three former KPMG execs, is up on charges of conducting a fraudulent tax shelter scheme.?


Paula says that being a tax litigator is a bit like being an oncologist:? You've got to give the news to your clients straight, even if it's going to be painful.??


While attending law school at night at the University of Maryland, Paula didn't have designs in the tax field.? She saw herself becoming a personal injury attorney, like the ones she worked for at a Baltimore P.I. firm while making her way through school.? But after graduating, she signed on with Garbis & Schwaite, a tax litigation boutique that has launched some impressive careers.? (Marvin Garbis is now a federal District Court judge and Paige Marble, a former colleague, sits on the U.S. Tax Court.)? ?But the Tax Man may finally have met his match in Tax Woman:? Who knew that someone could find humor in the field?

McGuire Woods
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