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Sara G. Neill | Law Firm Leader

Sara G. Neill, 37, Shareholder, Capes Sokol Goodman & Sarachan, St. Louis

Practice areas: Civil and criminal tax controversy/tax litigation

Law school: University of Missouri (J.D.), Washington University, LLM in taxation (expected in 2015)

At one point, Sara Neill’s civil and criminal tax controversy and litigation practice group wasn’t much of a group — just her and her mentor, David Capes. But over several years they built a niche tax controversy practice and became one of the go-to firms in St. Louis to call when the IRS comes knocking.

After Capes stepped down as a shareholder in 2012, Neill became the head of the multi-attorney practice. This year, she was lead counsel in an IRS case against a family-owned trucking company alleged to have transferred millions of dollars worth of intangible assets and failed to report the gain. With her practice group’s help, Neill persuaded the U.S. Tax Court to rule in favor of the taxpayer, saving the client millions of dollars.

Sara heads the Taxation Section of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. She is also co-chair of the ABA Tax Section’s Civil and Criminal Penalties Committee’s Sub Committee on Important Civil Developments. She serves on the advisory board for the University of Missouri Tax Law Society and teaches federal tax practice and procedure at MU as an adjunct professor.

Who is your legal hero?

My mentor and dear friend, David Capes. He is a tremendous lawyer – passionate about his clients and cases, always a zealous advocate, persuasive and well-respected by his adversaries at the DOJ and the IRS

What was your least-favorite class in law school?

Definitely torts. Although I was fond of the line of cases involving people who slipped on banana peels.

What’s been your favorite moment as an attorney so far?

Anytime I get to call a client who has had the stress of a federal investigation or tax audit hanging over his or her head and deliver the fantastic news of “you are not going to prison” or “you are not going to be indicted.”