Course Syllabus

Fall 2014

Instructors: Professor Ronald W. Blasi, Prof. Willard N. Timm, Jr., Mrs. Bonnie Rich,

Special class: Saturday August 23, 2014, 8:00 a.m. – 1 p.m., Faculty Conference Room
Regular classes: Mondays 4:10 P.M. – 5:50 p.m., Room 325-B; 1st Class August 18, 2014
Clinic work in Room 150
Office Hours – Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Office Phone: 404-413-9230
Website: www.gsulitc.org

Professor Blasi’s mobile phone number: (404) 314-6183
Professor Blasi’s email address: rblasi@gsu.edu
Professor Blasi’s SKYPE address: ron.blasi

Clinic I Students

Books: The Clinic website is the electronic textbook for this course. The website contains guidance as to all aspects of your activities in the Clinic, including summaries of procedural and substantive tax law with which you will deal.

Attendance, Class Participation, and Makeup Classes: You are expected to devote approximately 9 hours, on average, each week throughout the semester to the Clinic for a total of 126 hours. Time spent in class is applied toward that time commitment. Six of those hours must take place in the Clinic offices during normal business hours. During the first couple of weeks of the term, you will probably have to work more than the average number of hours in order to familiarize yourself with your cases.

Grading Criteria:

1.         Professionalism, which includes your interaction with your clients, Internal Revenue Service personnel, fellow students and staff, appropriate dress when necessary;

2.         Compliance with statutory and administrative deadlines. Missing a statutory deadline may result in a failing grade in this course. See additional information on Clinic website relating to statutory notices;

3.         Quality of service you render to your clients as determined in part by the evaluations you will receive from your clients at the end of the semester and also by the accuracy and thoroughness of written documents and memoranda;

4.         Progress on cases especially the submission of at least one memoranda by mid-term and one or more memoranda by the end of the term and finalization of documents for submission to the I.R.S. All memoranda submitted to Professor Blasi should be saved to Word with a name containing you first name followed by an underline and the last name of the client. Thus, if your name is Jim and the client’s last name is Smith, the file should be saved as follows: “Jim_Smith” That also should be the Subject line of the email that contains the file that is sent to Professor Blasi.

5.         Proper maintenance of your electronic (Amicus) and paper files;

6.         Working the required number of hours;

7.         Attending all scheduled meetings with your supervisor, and being prepared for those meetings;

8.         Adherence to Clinic administrative and other procedures; and

9.         Success in resolving cases including timely closing cases.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to your progress during the term you should discuss them with Professor Blasi as soon as your questions or concerns arise.

Prerequisites: In order to handle the issues commonly encountered in the Clinic, students must have successfully completed Basic Federal Taxation (Law 7095).

Goals and Approach: The principal objective of the Tax Clinic is to provide you with a closely supervised environment in which you learn to exercise professional judgment and develop skills critical to the effective practice of law, including interviewing clients, gathering and verifying facts, preparing documents that will be filed in court or with administrative agencies, etc…. Considerable time will be spent drafting memoranda that are designed to improve your legal writing. Although students in the Clinic work on tax matters, the practice skills that are developed are applicable to all areas of the law.

Extra Material: There are several books designed to help understand I.R.S. procedure. Among them are Saltzman, IRS Practice and Procedure, published by Warren, Gorham & Lamont and Effectively Representing Your Client before the IRS. This is a product of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation Low-Income Taxpayers and Pro Bono Committees.

Clinic I Classes

August 18, 2014 Mission of the Clinic
  • Transition to practice
  • Professional judgment
  • Essential lawyering skills
  • Service to community
  • Success Achieved through collaboration
  • Relationship with IRS
Background of the Clinic
  • Formation
  • Advisory Committee
  • Funding
  • Graduates
Staff and their functions
  • Professor Blasi
  • Professor Timm
  • Ms. Rich
  • Ms. Ortiz
  • GRA’s
Client Confidentiality/Privileged Communication
  • Assurance to clients
  • Access to Clinic and files
  • Locker combination
  • Need for security
Use of offices
  • Accessibility
  • Equipment
  • Phones
  • Guests
Grading (See above)/Feedback
  • Mid-term reviews
  • Weekly meetings
  • Reviews of memos
Difference with other law school courses:
  • Confidentiality
  • Collegiality
  • No fixed assignments
  • Ingenuity
  • Web site
Getting Started
  • Review your files
  • Check for current POA
  • Speak with GRAs or supervisor
  • Contact your clients
  • Prepare for meeting with supervisor
August 23 Flow Chart
POA’s
Investigative Tools
Collection Alternatives
  • Offer in Compromise
  • Installment Agreement
  • Currently Not Collectible
  • Form 433
Interview Exercise
Writing Exercise
Amicus Training/File Maintenance
  • Logging on questions
  • Making time entries
  • Updating file summaries
  • Recording phone calls
  • Electronic and Paper Filing Requirements
  • Confidentiality/Shredding Policies
  • Miscellaneous Office Procedures
August 25 Innocent Spouse Relief
Injured Spouse Relief
 
September 1  No Class (Holiday)
September 8 Update on Amicus
Transcripts
September 15 Statute of Limitations
Petition and Appeals
September 29 Taxpayer Advocate
October 6 No Class
Mid-semester review meetings
November 10 Transition class


Clinic II Students

Attendance, Class Participation, and Makeup Classes: You are expected to devote approximately 9 hours, on average, each week throughout the semester to the Clinic for a total of 126 hours. Time spent in class is applied toward that time commitment. Six of those hours must take place in the Clinic offices during normal business hours. During the first couple of weeks of the term, you will probably have to work more than the average number of hours in order to familiarize yourself with your cases.

Grading Criteria:

1.         Professionalism, which includes your interaction with your clients, Internal Revenue Service personnel, fellow students and staff, appropriate dress when necessary;

2.         Compliance with statutory and administrative deadlines. Missing a statutory deadline may result in a failing grade in this course. See additional information on Clinic website relating to statutory notices;

3.         Quality of service you render to your clients as determined in part by the evaluations you will receive from your clients at the end of the semester and also by the accuracy and thoroughness of written documents and memoranda;

4.         Progress on cases especially the submission of at least one memoranda by mid-term and one or more memoranda by the end of the term and finalization of documents for submission to the I.R.S. All memoranda submitted to Professor Blasi should be saved to Word with a name containing you first name followed by an underline and the last name of the client. Thus, if your name is Jim and the client’s last name is Smith, the file should be saved as follows: “Jim_Smith” That also should be the Subject line of the email that contains the file that is sent to Professor Blasi.

5.         Proper maintenance of your electronic (Amicus) and paper files;

6.         Working the required number of hours;

7.         Attending all scheduled meetings with your supervisor, and being prepared for those meetings;

8.         Adherence to Clinic administrative and other procedures; and

9.         Success in resolving cases including timely closing cases.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to your progress during the term you should discuss them with Professor Blasi as soon as your questions or concerns arise.

In addition, as a Clinic II or GRA student, you will be evaluated on the basis of your mentoring Clinic I students. Mentoring requires that you provide as part of your clinical hours assistance to Clinic I students in working and resolving their cases and learning the administrative procedures of the Clinic. You are also required to attend the first part of the first class at 4:10 p.m. on August 18, 2014.  When the Clinic I class begins at 4:10 p.m. you will be introduced to the new students and then excused.

Prerequisites: In order to handle the issues commonly encountered in the Clinic, students must have successfully completed Basic Federal Taxation (Law 7095) and Tax Clinic I (7600).

Goals and Approach: The principal objective of the Tax Clinic is to provide you with an environment in which you learn to exercise professional judgment in a supervised setting. You will be confronted with ethical and professionalism issues. You also will develop the essential lawyering skills of interviewing clients, gathering and verifying facts, preparing documents that will be filed in court or with administrative agencies, etc… Considerable time will be spent on tasks that will improve your writing. Although students in the Clinic work on tax matters, the practice skills that are developed are applicable to all areas of the law.

Extra Material: Among them are Saltzman, IRS Practice and Procedure, published by Warren, Gorham & Lamont and Effectively Representing Your Client Before the IRS. This is a product of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation Low Income Taxpayers and Pro Bono Committees.