Jim Fuller has appeared for years in Who’s Who Legal, which once described Fuller as one of the three “most highly regarded” US tax practitioners. Fuller and his firm have represented six of the top 10, over 50 of the top 100, and over 100 of the top Fortune 500 companies in US federal tax matters. They have also served as counsel in over 150 large-corporate appeals proceedings and over 75 federal tax court cases. The International Tax Review named Fenwick San Francisco tax firm of the year nine times, and US tax litigation firm of the year four times.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER?
I decided to go to law school while in college (NYU Stern), thinking it would serve me well in business. I enjoyed law school and decided then on a law career.
HOW HAS CORPORATE TAX PRACTICE CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED PRACTISING?
Corporate tax practice has not really changed much (despite what others might think). From the beginning, it was clear that one had to work hard to stay current and provide the best advice. This requires being both practical and creative. Changes have happened in the tax world on a fairly regular basis but that’s what makes tax interesting and challenging.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
Changes in the tax law seem to happen almost daily. Developments in clients’ business often seem to be ahead of the tax law. Keeping current and being practical and creative through all of this are both the challenges and the reward.
WHAT DO CLIENTS LOOK FOR IN A CORPORATE TAX SPECIALIST?
Clients want a tax adviser who knows the law well and has had practical experience applying it in business situations. Creativity and being practical are important. Keeping at the cutting edge of new developments is important. Integrity is important.
HOW DOES REPRESENTING A FORTUNE 100 COMPANY DIFFER FROM WORKING WITH A SMALLER CLIENT?
Virtually all of our clients are large corporations with knowledgeable in-house tax executives. They know what they want. You need to give them what they want. These people know good tax advice from poor tax advice, and they appreciate seeing an application of the law to situations that require creativity and being practical. It’s very rewarding.
WHAT MAJOR TRENDS DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE IN CORPORATE TAX WORK IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
More changes in the tax laws of the world’s countries. But this was always the case. Today we have BEPS and the new US corporate international tax rules. But these changes are good. Life never gets boring in the tax world. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
YOU HAVE ACHIEVED A GREAT DEAL IN YOUR CAREER TO DATE. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH?
I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done. Dealing with the challenges that these changes bring makes practising tax law very rewarding.
WHERE, IN YOUR OPINION, DOES THE FUTURE OF THE PRACTICE AREA LIE?
In the international tax area. It’s exciting. Changes are happening all around you. You need to work with good practitioners in other countries.
James Fuller is noted by sources to be "one of the top practitioners" in the country. His enviable practice sees him advise a range of clients on M&A and transfer pricing.
Jim Fuller is a partner in the tax group at Fenwick & West LLP in Mountain View, California. He is one of the world’s top 25 tax advisers, according to Euromoney.
Fuller is the only US tax adviser to receive a Chambers “star performer” rating (higher than first tier) in Chambers USA (2018).
Ten Fenwick tax partners have appeared in Euromoney’s World’s Leading Tax Advisors, eight appear in ITR’s World’s Tax Controversy Leaders and five have appeared in Euromoney’s World’s Leading Transfer Pricing Advisors.
Fenwick & West LLP has represented six of the Fortune Top 10 companies, over 50 of the Fortune 100 companies, and over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies in federal tax matters.
Fuller and his firm have served as counsel in over 150 large corporate IRS appeals proceedings and over 75 federal tax court cases.
Fenwick & West was named San Francisco Tax Firm of the Year nine times by International Tax Review. Fenwick also was named ITR’s US Tax Litigation Firm of the Year four times.