Skadden is bringing its tax expertise to Silicon Valley.
Tax partners Julia Kazaks and Emily Lam are relocating from the firm's Washington, D.C., office to Palo Alto. The firm has also hired Matthew Kramer, a former attorney with the Internal Revenue Service, as counsel. And it expects to transfer more tax attorneys to the Palo Alto office, which previously didn't have any tax attorneys, over the next year.
"We just think it's an area that's frankly underserved in Silicon Valley," said Kenton King, partner in charge of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom's Palo Alto office. "There are a lot of companies with very complex tax issues and are very much in need of sophisticated tax counseling."
As tech companies in Silicon Valley have grown and matured, so have their tax issues, both in the U.S. and overseas, King said. At the same time, cash-strapped local and state taxing authorities are looking to make up revenue shortfalls.
"All the taxing authorities are well poised and very actively pursuing all kinds of serious tax issues in the Bay Area," said Kazaks. "Tax planning and tax controversy go hand in hand."
Kazaks represents companies and individuals in tax disputes, advising on audits and litigating in federal courts. She's been with Skadden since 1996.
Lam works with corporations and individuals on a range of tax controversy and other matters. In 2010, she came back to Skadden after working for almost three years as an attorney adviser in the Office of Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department. She first joined Skadden in 2000.
Kramer had been an attorney in the Advance Pricing Agreement Program at the IRS since 2001, most recently as special counsel. Focusing on the semiconductor and technology industries, he negotiated transfer pricing matters between foreign governments and multinational corporations and the IRS.
The tax attorneys will work closely with the firm's executive compensation and benefits group, led on the West Coast by Joseph Yaffe, who works in the Palo Alto and Los Angeles offices.