Exam Prep: Taxation Law Certified Legal Specialist Exam (CA)(Audio in 2019)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

We have been holding Exam Prep courses for the CA Legal Specialist Exam since 2009.

However, we stopped holding programs in all topics other than appellate law in 2019, after the bar unexpectedly took down their links to our (and our competitor’s) Exam Prep programs.  Prior to that, links to our and our competitor’s programs were on the bar’s website for more than a decade (with an appropriate disclaimer that they did not endorse any program).  This ensured that attorneys taking the exam could easily find an appropriate and affordable prep course to help them pass the exam.

If you would like us to hold a program in your topic area, please email the bar and ask them to resume putting links to our programs – as well as our competitors like CEB – as they did for more than a decade. Were the bar to resume posting links to our programs as well as our competitors, we would go back to holding prep courses in other practice areas.  If you would like to request that they do that, please email them at: legalspec@calbar.ca.gov or email the Bar’s Executive Director, Leah T. Wilson directly at: leaht.wilson@calbar.ca.gov and request they post the links to all exam prep course providers. They do know the main providers of these courses as they would ask us for our links ever year the exam and course was held, and they posted everyone’s courses.

If you would like to take our 2019 course on Taxation Law, the description is below. You will still find it valuable, however, it is up to you to know whether there have been any changes to the law or rules since 2019.

Here is your chance to study for the CA Taxation Law Specialist Exam with guidance from Taxation Law Certified Legal Specialists and former Commissioners who wrote and graded the exam.

In this webinar recording, you will get a thorough overview of the critical substantive areas of Tax Law and a jump start on your study routine. This carefully planned program will give you tips on how to take the exam, what to expect on exam day and how to study for it. We will have a practice essay session with at least two questions found in the Bar’s sample packet, that will conclude with issue spotting and a review of how you could have best answered those questions (the practice test answers will not be graded, just discussed).

By taking this course, you can eliminate the stress that goes with the unknown when preparing for the exam and you can get guidance and subject matter review from those that have taken the exam previously (including those who just took it 2017).


Important note: Because we cannot know exactly what specific questions and issues the bar will test on, and their “potential topic list” is vast, our program covers most of those topics that the bar lists they might test, but not all. Additionally, this program was recorded in 2019, so it was not tailored to the 2023 list, which may or may not have changed since then.  This means that we cannot guarantee every single question or issue that appears on your exam is covered in our course (that would pretty much be impossible). We also strongly recommend you begin studying for the exam early – as early as summer. Last minute studying, even with the help of this course, is always a risky proposition when it comes to such a difficult exam covering so many areas of appellate law.


This program was recorded as a live webinar on August 22-23, 2019.

What You Will Learn

Day One Topics

Overview and Exam Preparation/Exam Taking Strategy

    • The exam’s format
    • How the exam is written
    • How the exam is graded and on what schedule
    • How best to study for the exam, including using old exams
      Identifying Hot Button Issues
    • Questions we will provide

Corporate Income Taxation [Subject Area 4]

4.1 Formation/Choice of entity

    • C corporation – basic features
    • S corporation – basic features
    • LLC/LTD partnership – basic features
    • Foreign corporations – basic features

4.2 Operation
4.3 Distributions
4.4 Reorganization/liquidation

Individual Income Taxation [Subject Area 3]

3.1 Compensation, benefits and other income
3.2 Exclusion from income
3.3 Business and personal deductions
3.4 Characterization of income, gains and losses
3.5 Determination of basis
3.6 Loss limitations
3.7 Charitable deductions
3.8 Grantor trusts
3.9 Reporting of foreign assets

Partnership and pass-through entity income [Subject Area 5]

5.1 Formation/Choice of entity
5.2 Operation
5.3 Reorganization/liquidation
5.4 Check-the-box regulations

Real Estate Taxation [Subject Area 6]

6.1 Acquisition
6.2 Development
6.3 Exchanges, involuntary conversions and dispositions
6.4 State and local property

Estate, Gift and Fiduciary Income Tax [Subject Area 7]

7.1 Estate and Gift Tax Planning
7.2 Generation skipping planning
7.3 Marital deduction planning and Portability
7.4 Valuation issues
7.5 Includable/excludable items
7.6 Post-mortem planning
7.7 Taxation of and distributions from estates


Day Two Topics

Professional Responsibility [Subject Area 1]

1.1 Duties to clients, opposing counsel and the court
1.3 Circular 230 and standards of practice
1.5 Conflicts and dual representation
1.6 Conduct resulting in discipline or sanctions
1.2 Bases for attorney’s fees
1.4 Fee agreements

Taxation Litigation and Procedures [Subject Area 2]

2.1 Administrative Procedures
2.2 Jurisdiction
2.3 Choice of forum/appeals
2.4 Statute of limitations
2.5 Penalties
2.6 Refunds—administrative claims and litigation
2.7 Collection matters
2.8 Reporting of foreign assets

    • Reporting of Foreign Assets: FBAR, 8938, 3520 and 3520-A (FinCEN 114)
    • Offshore Reporting and Voluntary disclosure programs (OVDP)
    • Definition of “Willful”
    • Payments to Foreign Persons


Practice Exam Question Review session

  • Issue spotting re: practice exam






The following testimonials are from our previous Tax Exam Prep courses.

“I am appreciative of the materials and approach. I now have a game plan and approach to the exam. All was well done. Excellent!” Thomas Alexander, Esq.

“These instructors are GOOD. Best preparation course for this exam. This is an excellent program. The instructors provided us with tons of information. Thanks!” David Hunter, Esq.

“Was great and organized!” Maryem Muradi, Esq.

“Professor Ross is wonderful, she is extremely knowledgeable and experienced, she was very patient and answered our questions, thank you.”

“Good speakers.” Chris Cooke, Esq.

“Extremely inclusive presentation, program is awesome.” David Hunter, Esq.

“Great!” R. Watson, Esq.

“The program was really well done.”

“The speakers were engaging and helpful.”

“Really good at breaking down essays and practice questions. Encouraging.”

“Avram Salkin was a great teacher.”

“Avram Salkin was excellent.”

“Good coverage.”


Kathleen Donelan-Maher, Esq., CPA
Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law
Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf, LLP

Kathleen joined Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf, LLP (BPW) in 2017, as a manager in the tax department. She has extensive experience, both as an accountant and as a tax attorney. Specializing in tax controversy, she has successfully resolved taxpayers’ disputes with multiple state and federal agencies. As a manager in BPW’s tax department, Kathleen utilizes her technical knowledge and ability to work with government agencies to help clients resolve issues of tax controversy. Additionally, she is experienced in tax planning and compliance matters for individuals as well as businesses.

Kathleen is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountings (AICPA) and the California State Bar. Additionally, she serves on Notre Dame’s Mendoza Graduate Alumni Board. Before moving to Santa Barbara, Kathleen was a partner with a tax law controversy firm in Sacramento. She has also taught accountancy at the University of Notre Dame and the University of California, Davis. Kathleen has earned the designation of Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law, thereby broadening her tax knowledge and qualifications as well as augmenting her abilities as an accountant.

Kathleen graduated from McGeorge School of Law, with distinction; she earned a Masters of Business Administration in Taxation, with high honors, from the University of Notre Dame; and she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in Accountancy, with honors, from the University of Louisville. Kathleen began her academic career at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Since returning to Santa Barbara, Kathleen enjoys spending time at the beach with her family and friends, and has become involved in the local community. She serves on the Board of Trustees for her local church as Treasurer and volunteers with Storyteller Children’s Center.

Howard S. Fisher, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law
Law Offices of Howard S. Fisher

Mr. Fisher is a member of the California Bar (Board Certified Taxation Specialist), and the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn ([London, England – Student Bencher]).  He studied at the American College In Paris and received his degree from the University of Southern California in 1973.  He studied law at Southwestern University (J.D. 1976), the University of Cambridge, in England (LL.B. with honours 1977, Corpus Christi College), and completed post-graduate studies in international business and taxation at Harvard University Law School (PIL).

Mr. Fisher specializes in representing wealthy entrepreneurs and their families – his practice includes tax planning, business and commercial transactions, real estate transactions, trust/estate and business litigation and tax controversy.   Mr. Fisher is a past chair of the California State Bar’s Taxation Section, is a past chair of the Beverly Hills Bar’s Taxation Section (twice), and is Past President of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. 

Mr. Fisher has published more than twenty-five articles, and has spoken at more than 120 conferences around the world.  Additionally, Mr. Fisher is the co-author of  It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built The Ark, a treatise on asset protection.  Mr. Fisher recently received the distinction of being named  by Super Lawyers as one of the top 100 lawyers in Southern California. 

Miles Friedman, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law

Miles Friedman is both an attorney and a C.P.A., and previously worked for more than 36 years in the United States Government. He was an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel, IRS and then became an Associate Area Counsel. Miles also worked in private practice during his 40+ year career in taxation law. During his tenure as an AAC, he was in charge of several programs, including oversite of both the FBAR program in Southern California and the litigation of transfer tax cases in California and elsewhere. He was also a special assistant United States attorney, both in the Central District of California and the Eastern District of Texas. He has been a speaker and a panelist before many groups, including the Section of Taxation of the California Bar. Miles was also honored to be the recipient of the Bruce I. Hochman Award at the 33rd Annual UCLA Tax Controversy Institute in October 2017, shortly after he retired from government work.

Miles has been a Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law since 1988. About 13 years ago, he was appointed by the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California to the Tax Law Advisory Commission. He served for almost a decade on the TLAC, and chaired the Commission several times. He was then appointed to the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California.  His term on the BLS ended at the end of 2018.   

While serving on the TLAC and the BLS, Miles participated in writing, reviewing, and grading questions on the last five specialized Bar examinations in taxation law, contributing to the bank of multiple choice and essay questions during his tenure.  

Miles is now happily retired and spends his time learning the game of duplicate bridge.

Elizabeth Roberson, Esq.
Principal/Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law
Law Office of Elizabeth Ann Roberson

Prior to starting her own firm, Elizabeth worked with a financial services company where she represented the company’s clients before the Internal Revenue Service and several of the state taxing authorities throughout the nation. Elizabeth successfully negotiated Offer in Compromise settlements on behalf of her clients, and she has also obtained successful results through audit representation, audit reconsideration, innocent spouse relief, partial pay installment agreements, installment agreements, and penalty abatement for her clients. 

Elizabeth obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from California State University, Northridge with honors. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of West Los Angeles, School of Law cum laude. While in law school, she received eight Witkin Legal Institute Awards for academic achievement in various subjects, and she also received a Scholarship for her excellent academic achievement in the subject of Evidence. Elizabeth was admitted to the California State Bar in June of 2012. She is also admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court and the United States District Court, Central District of California.

Elizabeth also has experience in Real Estate Contracts, Mortgage, Collections, Bankruptcy, and Criminal Defense.

Avram Salkin, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law
Hochman Salkin Toscher Perez P.C.

 Avram Salkin, a founding member of the firm, is recognized for his unparalleled excellence and integrity in the practice of tax law. He has over forty years of extensive experience in resolving complex Federal and state tax controversies and disputes, in structuring and negotiating complex transactional matters (including the acquisition and disposition of real estate and businesses), family wealth planning, estate planning and probate.

Recognizing a lifetime of achievements and contributions to the field of taxation, in 2003 the Taxation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association bestowed its highest honor on Avram Salkin, the Dana Latham Award. Mr. Salkin is a former Member of the Board of Governors for the Beverly Hills Bar Association and was the Chair for the Tax Advisory Commission for the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. He is a Past-Chair of both the Business Law Section and the Taxation Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and has served on the Executive Committee of the Taxation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Previously, he served as the Tax Articles Editor of the Los Angeles Lawyer and the Los Angeles County Bar Journal.

Avram Salkin’s many lectures include presentations at the ABA Section of Taxation, the University of Southern California Institute on Federal Taxation; California CPA Education Foundation Conferences (Member, Planning Committee, Pass-Thru Entities Conference); the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations; programs by the California Continuing Education of the Bar on real estate taxation, professional corporations, partnership taxation, and tax procedure; and the California State University Continuing Education Program in real estate taxation. He has also written extensively on many tax-related subjects, including real estate taxation, S corporations, operating loss carryovers, employment tax issues, attorney-client privilege matters, and partnership tax issues.

Mr. Salkin is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Fifth Circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He received his undergraduate degree, with honors in accounting, from the University of California at Los Angeles and his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Avram Salkin holds an "A-V" rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is often referred to as "The Tax Lawyer’s Tax Lawyer."

Avram Salkin’s community activities include serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Winward School and serving on the Board of Directors of the Guardians of the Jewish Home for The Aging and American Friends of Tel Aviv University.

Michel Stein, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law
Hochman Salkin Toscher Perez P.C.

Michel Stein is a principal at Hochman Salkin Toscher Perez, specializing in tax controversies, as well as tax planning for individuals, businesses and corporations.  For almost 20 years, he has represented individuals with sensitive issue civil tax examinations where substantial penalty issues may arise, and extensively advised individuals on foreign and domestic voluntary disclosures regarding foreign account and asset compliance matters.

Mr. Stein is well respected for his expertise and judgment in handling matters arising from the U.S. Government’s ongoing enforcement efforts regarding undeclared interests in foreign financial accounts and assets, including various methods of participating in a timely voluntary disclosure to minimize potential exposure to civil tax penalties and avoiding a criminal tax prosecution referral. He has assisted hundreds of individuals who have come into compliance with their foreign reporting requirements through the OVDP, Streamline or otherwise.

Throughout his career, Mr. Stein has represented thousands of individual, business and corporate taxpayers involved in civil examinations and administrative appeals, tax collection matters as well as with possible assertions of fraudulent conduct and in defending criminal tax investigations and prosecutions at every administrative level within the IRS. He has litigated tax cases in the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. District Court, and various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. He continues to provide tax advice to taxpayer’s and their advisors around the world.

Mr. Stein is a frequent lecturer at national and regional conferences on topics including tax compliance sensitive issues, IRS examinations, State and Federal worker classification issues, etc. Mr. Stein received his LL.M. in Taxation from the NYU School of Law and graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He gained further expertise as Attorney-Adviser to the Honorable Judge Larry L. Nameroff of the U.S. Tax Court. He is a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization.

Gregory Zbylut, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law
Singer Burke Zimmer, LLP

Gregory Zbylut has been a Tax Manager with Singer Burke Zimmer, LLP since 2018. He is a Certified Public Accountant (IL) and Attorney at Law (IL & CA) with a Certification in Taxation Law (CA). He is a Martindale-Hubbell® AV-Preeminent®-rated attorney who focuses his practice on tax controversy, business transactions (including formations and dissolutions) and business litigation.

Greg’s work has repeatedly been recognized by his peers. He has been listed as a “Rising Star” (a peer-nominated distinction awarded to less than 2% of attorneys nationwide) every year since 2012, and in 2013 and 2014 was named one of Pasadena’s Top Attorneys.

Greg also participates in Bar delegations to Sacramento and Washington D.C., where he works with government officials to discuss current law from a practitioner’s perspective. Legislators have taken notice: in 2014, assembly bill 2244 (AB2244) was introduced in response to his presentation as part of the State Bar of California’s first Sacramento delegation in February 2013 (later published in the July 10, 2013 issue of State Tax Notes magazine, a Tax Analysts® publication). That presentation also led to his being invited to participate in the State Bar’s annual Eagle’s Lodge retreat, an invite-only event consisting of high-level state tax officials and private practitioners whose purpose is find solutions to tax issues affecting California taxpayers. On the federal tax side, he has traveled to Washington D.C. annually since 2012, presenting proposals on the Marketplace Fairness Act, late ‘S’ elections, and cancellation of debt.

One of Greg’s strengths is his ability to help business owners understand complex legal issues, a skill which comes from his extensive accounting background. In addition to being licensed in Illinois as a Certified Public Accountant, he spent 15 years in a variety of accounting positions for companies large and small, including Fortune 500 members Exelon and General Motors. His experience includes developing accounting structures for small companies, migration of the accounting software for a major corporation, cost reduction initiatives, budgeting and forecasting, and financial analysis. He holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in International Business and Finance from Loyola University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.



Audio Recording & Materials Package – CD or Download: $750

For CDs please add $8.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.


We recommend ordering the download to receive your audio faster – CDs will take two-three days to arrive. We ship by two-day mail.

We’re sorry, but we do not give refunds for audio downloads under any circumstances.  Our audio downloads are tested independently by three different entities to be sure they work before we post them for sale. We are happy to two-day or overnight you replacement CDs if your computer will not download properly or if you cannot find your download folder or you cannot find the audio to play it once it has been downloaded. We are also happy to troubleshoot the issue with you or your IT person or have our IT person do the same with your IT person.

CLE Credit

CA General:  This program is approved for 8.25 units of general CLE in California.

CA Self Study (only) Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 8.25 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California until it expires 8/21/2024 as follows:

  • A/1.25; B/1.50; C/1.50; D/.75; E/1.50; H/1.00; L/.75

CA Participatory Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 8.25 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California until it expires 8/21/2021 as follows:

  • A/1.25; B/1.50; C/1.50; D/.75; E/1.50; H/1.00; L/.75

Exam tips and practice exams cannot be counted in the approved CLE units, per the bar.


*General Participatory CLE:  For those states that make a distinction between self-study and Participatory CLE (CA and NY), please write down the Verification Codes read out during the program by speakers or our announcer and email them to us at info@pincusproed.com and we will issue your Participatory CLE certificate. 


Self-Study CLE certificates are already included in your recorded package, in the “Materials” Folder. 

This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above.


Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $8.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$750.00 each

Recorded on August 22-23, 2019.