A former Associated Students' President, Paul J. Sax graduated with the B.A. in Social Science from Sacramento State College in 1965. He obtained his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law in 1968 and LL.M. (in taxation) from New York University School of Law in 1969. While at NYU, he served as Graduate Editor of the Tax Law Review and as a Kenneson Fellow. Mr. Sax joined the San Francisco law firm of Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliff in 1969 and became a partner in 1975. He served for eight years as Chair of the firm's Tax, Employee Benefits, and Personal Estates Department. The firm now has offices in ten cities here and abroad.
Mr. Sax is one of the nation's preeminent tax lawyers. In a 1993 National Law Journal peer survey, he was the only tax lawyer in California included in the list of the nation's top tax lawyers. He has been named in every edition of Best Lawyers in America, published since 1987. He also is listed in the Euromoney publications, Leading U.S. Tax Lawyers and Leading West Coast Lawyers. He has received nearly every honor offered in his profession as a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Life Sponsor of the American Tax Policy Institute, and a member of the American Law Institute Tax Advisory Group.
An active writer and speaker on professional topics, Mr. Sax has served on the editorial and advisory boards of the NYU Tax Institute and several major journals. He has served as editor-in-chief of The Tax Lawyer. He has delivered lectures at all of the major national tax programs including the Tulane Tax Institute and the Texas Federal Tax Institute, as well as numerous American Bar Association and California State Bar forums. In 1999-2000, Mr. Sax served as Chair of the 20,000 lawyer Tax Section of the American Bar Association, a role that included testimony before the Senate Finance Committee and House Committee on Ways and Means.
In addition to an active law practice, Mr. Sax is widely known for his leadership role in developing standards of ethics in tax practice. He was the principal draftsperson of two major pronouncements on ethics in tax practice (both now adopted in applicable law and Treasury regulations), the first regulating tax opinions in tax shelter practice and the second determining when a position properly may be advanced in a tax return.
The Program in Social Science and the entire College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies are proud to claim Paul Sax as an alumnus and a member of the Academy of Distinction and Honor.
"The resource I most treasure is our young people. Sometimes they listen to what we say; more often they emulate what we do. It is important to provide them an example worthy of their best aspirations. In my years in the practice of the law I have tried to do that, and would like to believe I performed adequately. If so, it speaks well of our legal system and indeed all of us that it is possible to combine success in a ferociously competitive business environment with a high degree of principle, and thoroughgoing professionalism."