Externship Profile: S.C. Department of Revenue

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When she was just 19 years old, Beverly Weshnak, 3L, knew she wanted to be a tax attorney. “I had a great accounting professor and a lawyer who was an adjunct professor for my undergraduate business law class,” said Weshnak.  “When I came to Charleston Law, all of that was reinforced by the fantastic tax professors as well as the opportunity to take five different tax classes before my 3L year.”

With a plethora of tax law knowledge and a passion for tax controversy, a six-week externship with the S.C. Department of Revenue was the perfect fit for Weshnak. “There are very few firms in South Carolina that specialize in tax controversy. Externing at the Department of Revenue provided me an exciting opportunity to truly work in the tax controversy field,” said Weshnak.

Although some may assume that tax law and an externship with the Department of Revenue would generally provide monotonous work, Weshnak claims the exact opposite.

“There is no ‘typical day’ at the Department of Revenue. During my externship I did everything from sit in on policy meetings regarding the State’s position on certain corporate tax issues, to help attorneys prepare for depositions to research how states handle various tax issues,” Weshnak said. Two of her most interesting research topics were blood derivatives and the definition of a prescription in regards to state sales tax.

She learned that the department tries cases for all levels of court in South Carolina, and also litigates bingo and alcoholic beverage licensing cases.

The opportunity to attend a cross motion summary judgment hearing and witness how the things she has learned at Charleston Law really do apply to real-world situations was by far been her favorite experience.

“I was the student coach for the 2013 National Tax Moot Court Champions and learned courtroom tactics from Professor Kristin Gutting and Professor Todd Bruno. I remember sitting in the courtroom and thinking my professors taught me to do that! It was satisfying to see the academic experiences actually being applied in the real world,” said Weshnak.

Weshnak is a native of Princeton, N.J. and received her bachelor’s degree from Salve Regina University before enrolling in the Charleston School of Law.

Charleston School of Law’s externship program allows students to gain practical work experience while earning course credit. Students complement their classroom studies by working under the direct supervision of members of the judiciary or attorneys in the public sector. This summer, Charleston School of Law students are at 35 exciting externships sites helping the community. Since fall 2006, Charleston School of Law students have completed approximately 82, 114 externship hours. The externship course is offered during the fall, spring and summer terms. For more information please contact Professor James Klein or Autumn Jones.

Story by: Alexis Economy
Photo by: Graham Ervin

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