Student News

Photograph by Kim Lee Schmidt

When it comes to taxes, it might be an understatement to say that Sherfon Coles-Williams, L’19, has a particular passion.

“The first time I ever had to do a tax return, I got excited about it,” she said. “I realized that there must be something pretty special about me that I think it’s cool to file a tax return.”

Coles-Williams first encountered tax law through a clinic at Elon Law School before transferring to Richmond Law as a 2L.

“I really enjoyed the fact that [the clinic] helped low-income and elderly people, people who may not know the different benefits and deductions that they can get,” said Coles-Williams. “That’s also one of the reasons that I love tax law: It affects everyone.”

When she started at Richmond Law, Coles-Williams promptly enrolled in Hayes Holderness’ federal income tax course. She went on to earn a CALI award for the highest grade in Holderness’ partnership tax course — known as the hardest of the tax law courses — and serve as his research assistant.

She further enhanced her experience through a clinical placement in the Virginia attorney general’s Financial Law & Government Support section, where she helped review bills going through the state’s general assembly, and at CarMax in Richmond, where she’s worked on a sales and use tax project as an intern.

Coles-Williams plans to dive deeper into the tax law landscape this fall when she begins a yearlong LL.M. degree program in taxation at Georgetown University. She’ll also take more specialized tax courses, in addition to hands-on externships because, as Coles-Williams is quick to point out, tax law is “complicated and always changing, so there’s always something new to learn.”