LL.M. Programs

Back to Meet Graduate Tax Program Alumni

Willette Elder

Willette Elder
I really grew to like the interaction between the soft side of family law and family interpersonal relationships and the hard and sometimes ominous side of the tax code and collection of revenues.

Q & A with Willette

Why did you decide to pursue an LL.M. degree?

I decided to pursue an LL.M. because I really wanted to make myself
more marketable as a new lawyer. I wanted to have a niche area, and I
had a general interest in tax, But, I didn't really feel that I was
prepared to practice in such a technical area, so I chose to build up
my tax knowledge by pursuing an LL.M.

Why did you choose BU Law?

I chose BU because I wanted to practice in Portland, Maine, and BU was
a great place to get to know New England better. Also, the BU
Graduate Tax Program was highly recommended. I learned that the
Program was well respected, and that is was taught by practitioners. I
felt that being in Boston, learning from and studying with current
practitioners, would benefit me in many ways.

What made you decide to pursue a concentration in estate planning?

I pursued a concentration in estate planning because I genuinely just
enjoy it. I had done some estate planning work in a law firm, and I
really grew to like the interaction between family law and
personal relationships and the rigid and sometimes ominous side of the
tax code and revenue agencies.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

After graduation, I will be practicing in the field of tax, trusts,
and estate planning at Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A. in
Portland, Maine.

What have you enjoyed most about living and studying in Boston?

I’ve enjoyed the people I've met and learning about all the different
reasons that people have for coming to live, work and study in Boston
and the stories that have led them here. It is definitely the most
eclectic and diverse place that I've lived, and I've grown to
appreciate the various perspectives, not only in the classrooms where
I first witnessed them, but also in my day-to-day life outside of

Do you have any advice for students applying to the Graduate Tax Program at Boston University?

My advice for new students is to really take the time to enjoy the learning experience. Take advantage of the knowledge that your peers and professors have. Make friends. Make professional contacts. For me, the LL.M. program was a great transition into practice. I treated it differently than law school, I felt that I was in the presence of colleagues and so I was rarely intimidated or
nervous about expressing my opinions. It’s important to understand that classmates and professors are comrades on a journey that not many
attorneys will take.