How this Bay Street lawyer broke into the competitive world of tax law

To burnish his credibility in the practice area, he enrolled in the taxation law specialization of the Osgoode Professional LLM
Headshot of Hennadiy Kutsenko
Portrait of Hennadiy Kutsenko

Hennadiy Kutsenko

Osgoode LLM: Taxation Law, 2019
Associate, Bennett Jones LLP
Year of call: 2015

When Hennadiy Kutsenko took the corporate tax course in law school, he found his true passion. Sure, he admits, the subject was “ridiculously difficult” and poring over the convoluted caselaw could “hurt your brain.” But he loved the intellectual challenge. Once he was called to the bar in 2015, he tried to land a position as a junior tax lawyer.

He soon realized, however, that he had a big problem. As a student, his only work experience had been in family, labour and pension law. In the hyper-competitive tax bar, his resumé failed to demonstrate enough devotion to the practice area. Kutsenko couldn’t even get a job interview.

He needed to burnish his credibility. So he enrolled in the taxation law specialization of the Osgoode Professional LLM, a rigorous graduate program that he could complete on a part-time basis. The impact on his career was immediate. Shortly after he was accepted to the program, he joined a small tax firm in Vaughan. Today, the 35-year-old is an associate in the tax group at Bennett Jones LLP.

In that role, Kutsenko helps businesses tackle a wide range of tax problems. In the past, for instance, he’s advised clients on how to set up a pension plan or launch a subsidiary in the United States. No matter the task, he often relies on skills that he acquired in the professional master’s program. “The faculty were real-world practitioners who brought their up-to-the-minute experience into the classroom,” he says. “It gave me a head start in being a real-life lawyer.”

Fast facts about the Osgoode Professional LLM

1. Flexible: The program is designed for professionals. Evening and weekend classes let you earn a degree while working.

2. Specialized: Dive deep into one of 15 areas of specialization, including tax, securities, criminal, constitutional, business, and dispute resolution.

3. Rigorous: Throughout the program, you’ll complete detailed papers on a complex area of law, honing your legal writing and analytical skills.

Osgoode’s Professional LLM is designed with the working lawyer in mind. To learn more, visit the program’s website or call (416) 673-4670.

This story is from our Summer 2022 Issue.