chain of causation

a series of events in the life of a lawyer

Minor Setbacks


In World of Warcraft, Ragnaros (yes, I’m from the Molten Core days and when Marudon wasn’t in-game yet) spent a heck of a lot of time telling me, “By fire be purged!” Well, it would appear this time Mother Nature decided to avenge him with, “By water be purged!”


Written by Vincent Kan

July 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Random

LLM Post-Mortem

The last semester has been really busy as evidenced by the lack of anything between the new semester post and now. Pending the paperwork though, I have completed my Tax LLM degree. Finals season of 4 finals and 3 papers (40, 15, and 5 pages) was rough but I have made it through to be the only one of my class to finish on time in one year.

The search for success continues which is why this post will be a little short – from Saturday to Saturday of this week I will be or have done 6 networking / interview events in 7 days. Two articles are on my plate as well (I promise Melody you’re next on the priority list).

So yeah, I’m back and ready to show the world than I am an unabashed tax nerd who can navigate the Code for the best results possible.

Written by Vincent Kan

May 25, 2010 at 10:07 am

Posted in Random

New Semester, New Adventures

It’s been a while since the last post – final exams tend to make law students retract into their hermit caves. I am pleased to announce though that finals went well and that but for one errant B I would have aced the semester.

The job hunting front has been feeling a bit better. I’ve secured some alternative sources of funding in the event I go forward with the solo front after graduation. I’d be living the college student diet for a while but such is the price of making your own market. On the flip side, I’ve been working the networking as much as I can and have some leads that may pan out or not.

Tax world has been a little crazy – who would have thought that there would be no estate tax in 2010. Unfortunately for clients its going to be a massive headache as many estate plans have been built around the premise that we’d always have an estate tax and exemptions. With no tax, devises that relied on formulas based on values found in the Internal Revenue Code will be causing all manner of litigation. I suppose I shouldn’t complain about what is a positive outlook for business but it does raise concerns about whether Congress will fix the ticking time bomb that is 2011 when the Bush tax cuts sunset and a whole litany of estate planning tools go up in smoke.

Tomorrow is always another day, hopefully better than the last.

Written by Vincent Kan

January 14, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Posted in Random

More MCLE Madness

I am admitted to the Illinois and New Jersey bars which makes for MCLE tracking somewhat interesting. New Jersey just adopted a MCLE system effective 2010 replacing its 3-year post-admission MCLE program. The New Jersey system has some quirks which make for trying to make sure credits transfer from jurisdiction to jurisdiction rather interesting (NJ requires a certain number of face-to-face hours amongst other things). As of Wednesday, I’ve added another wrench to the works:

I passed the New York bar examination.

Written by Vincent Kan

November 7, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Random

Featured by Lawyer Connection and Other Tidbits

Much thanks to Gwynne Monahan for featuring me on Lawyer Connection this week. For the new (which is pretty much everyone), I am an ’08 graduate of Chicago-Kent College of Law and a licensed attorney in both Illinois and New Jersey. Having graduated right into everyone’s favorite worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression, I’ve been on the road less traveled in terms of finding that elusive first job. A few months, many resumes, and a handful of interviews later, I returned to Chicago-Kent as a full-time LLM in Taxation student, diving into my other favorite subject in law school (IP was my first but the lack of a Bachelor’s of Science the USPTO is willing to look at took me out of that market fast). These days I spend lots of time with my friend 26 USC (the Internal Revenue Code).

I continue to write in order to keep the skills sharp and continue to learn the ins and outs of networking the best I can between school, the Chicago Bar Association, and my newfound compatriots on Twitter. I also continue to ponder whether I should make that final leap and seize my own destiny by starting my own law practice right off the gate. However, like a good lawyer, I know that I’m going to need lots of information and help waiting in the wings before I go off on my own.

Gwynne, TweetCamp Chicago (@MauraHernandez, @kdc, and their helpers), and the Chicago Bar Association folks have been very helpful in keeping the spirits up and providing guidance as to what I can do to get to where I want to be. Although they get very little if any money for doing this, I think the big picture is that of the human tendency to help others in the eventuality that one day you may need help yourself. There is more to life than pursuit of the almighty dollar although even I admit that they are kind of a required element for bills to be paid =).

More of what used to go up here as short commentary has moved over to Twitter although occasionally I’ll plug something here as legal analysis does not lend itself well to being expressed in 140 characters.

  • This is a lesson that many lawyers learn the hard way but it is worth repeating for those who serve on juries. Do not disobey a judge’s order, even if you disagree with it. There is a time and place to argue but in that very judge’s courtroom and presence is not one of them. Juror Who Caused Mistrial With Online Research Must Pay Jury Fees [Lowering The Bar]
  • Sometimes I wonder how our predecessors survived as children having such dangerous weapons as knives and hunting rifles. First-Grader Beats Rap for Knife Charge [Lowering The Bar]
  • Not sure but I’m fairly certain this is probably one of the largest claims in the nature of qui tam I’ve ever heard about although one does wonder why the informant who got the IRS a case against UBS for $780M plus the back taxes and interest from taxpayers was also thrown in jail. The UBS Informant [TaxProf]

One last thing, I have a new hat to wear in addition to student and attorney – I’m also now the Legislative Liaison for the CBA’s Law Practice Management & Technology Committee. Time to see what Springfield has in store for me come next legislative session.

Written by Vincent Kan

October 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Random

Short Quips: September 6, 2009

Thank goodness for an extended weekend – it gives me time to catch up after quite a busy week between contract work and class. After next weekend life gets somewhat easier as I’m moving back downtown. Rent will hurt but I’ll be getting about 12-15 hours of my life back commuting each day.

Until next time, I will be making friends with quite a few pages of 26 USC.

Written by Vincent Kan

September 6, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Random

Back to School, The Gameplan, Odds and Ends

I’m back and already a week deep into the Tax LL.M. program @ Chicago-Kent. It appears to be last minute summer vacation week as two of my instructors were off and had stand-ins who were quite impressive in their own right. Of the classes, International Transactions and Sales and Exchanges scare me the most. The former was a veritable wall of alphabet soup on day 1 (thank you Congress) and the latter’s professor reminded me of my high school calculus professor – potentially very good but I’ll have to fight for every point with blood, sweat, and tears (probably in that order). Paper topic for the independent study seems to be decent and can be done without any advanced knowledge that I’ll need to learn here. Soon as I get my research accounts turned back on I should be ready to rock and roll – hopefully no one scoops me between now and the time I finish the paper.

Sat down with Career Services last Friday to sort out the gameplan for securing some kind of employment (solo or firm) in the next 9-ish months. Already doing many things on their list such as going to CBA meetings but need to do more such as pounding more pavement. I’d like to not say I’m living on borrowed time but I think that’s the best way to be living right now in order to make sure I really do land something by the time I get out.

As for odds and ends, Judge Wu finally issued his written decision overturning the three misdemeanor jury verdicts against Lori Drew. As expected, and hoped for by civil liberties groups, the decision was based on a constitutional challenge under the Void-for-Vagueness Doctrine holding there to be definitional and actual notice deficiencies as well as no minimal guidelines governing law enforcement. Many including myself were concerned about the delegation of the definitions of criminality to a civil contract amendable at any time by the opposing party and Judge Wu noted that under normal circumstances, breach of contract exposes a party to civil but not criminal liability. Orin Kerr has a more complete discussion @ The Volokh Conspiracy as well as the decision itself. Although I’m sure there are many who are disappointed that Ms. Drew got away without criminal penalty for her morally reprehensible acts, I believe that this is the correct result in that Ms. Drew was not convicted using a law not intended to proscribe the acts she committed.

Written by Vincent Kan

August 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Random