Why are tax lawyers so often not part of the law department?

I invite readers to enlighten me. The reason doesn’t seem to be that tax law is so arcane that a general counsel can’t manage those skilled in its cabalistic mysteries. ERISA is pretty daunting too.

It can’t be that the CFO has a particularly tight bond with tax attorneys, else why wouldn’t HR have an equivalent closeness to and reporting control over HR lawyers.

Nor can it be, it seems to me, that tax lawyers are somehow not really practicing law. They sign opinions, read cases, interpret statutes, and both point out and minimize legal risks. M&A lawyers are equally amphibious between the legal waters and the business land.

There doesn’t seem to be any unique proximity argument in favor of tax lawyers and their clients. After all, patent lawyers aren’t reporting so commonly to heads of R&D and sprinkled throughout laboratories.

The issue gives new meaning to “excise tax.” I find this perplexing structural question simply too taxing.

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