Erica Pless, J.D. LL.M., started at GLS as a student extern in the summer before her graduation from Stetson University College of Law. She worked under Curtis Raven who managed the LITC (low-income taxpayer clinic) program. After graduating in December of that year, she was offered a contract position with the LITC program and began working with us as a staff member in 2009.
While she had maintained positions working in tax, litigation, and audit support before, she was drawn to representing income tax controversies. At GLS, she got to do exactly that and was quickly thrust into the world of negotiating installment agreements and hardship status for clients. After Erica’s grant ended, and she found employment in Tampa as a tax attorney. However, she missed being able to help those in need and soon opened her own firm.
Erica never dreamed of opening her own firm. As a child, she wanted to be a doctor, but after a scary experience at a local hospital, she decided to rethink her career path – when a technician drew her blood, she missed the vein and Erica, at first sight of the blood, immediately passed out! She decided then that being a doctor might not be the best fit.
After graduating from Eckerd College, Erica was hired at a local accounting firm and took an interest in tax preparation, accounting, and bookkeeping. She loved completing tax returns and found “rush” times to be the most exciting. Erica ultimately decided to attend law school to become a tax attorney and went on to receive her J.D. cum laude with the highest grades in Federal Tax Practice and Procedure (4.0) & Florida Practice (3.75). At Stetson, she also received the Williams F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award. She completed her formal education at the University of Alabama School of Law, where she received her LL.M. in Taxation.
Her choice to open her own law firm was really rooted in the experiences she had at GLS. She saw a large need for representation in middle-income clients, those who made too much to be served by the LITC program, but not enough to afford legal representation at a big firm. She does everything she can to help them – including giving free consultations. You can learn more about what her firm does here.
After opening the firm in 2011, Erica has co-authored several publications on tax law, including three books, and is an experienced public speaker. She was awarded the Super Lawyers title of “Rising Star” in both 2018 and 2019. On top of all that, she had her first child in 2017 and has two King Charles Spaniels! She recently hired a full-time paralegal and hopes to continue growing her firm and providing assistance to those in need. She also was a sponsor for our first Highwaymen Reception in September.
Thank you, Erica, for letting GLS be a small part of your incredible journey. We’re so proud of your tenacity, your determination, and your amazing success!