Skip to main content

Bhuvana Rai found her groove in taxation law

June 6, 2024

Elisa Romano

Bhuvana Rai has a judge to thank (at least partly) for her Professional LLM in Taxation Law.

Just days into her clerkship at the Tax Court of Canada, one of Rai’s judicial mentors – obviously sensing potential in the fresh law school grad – had some advice for her:

“He told me that if I really like tax, I should do an LLM in Taxation Law,” Rai says.

When she saw him again the next day, the judge repeated his suggestion.

“After a few days of this, I finally applied. And I’m really grateful that I got nagged into doing it,” Rai says. “If you want to be a tax lawyer, it’s a great way to feel comfortable in the area a long time before you otherwise would.”

Over the course of her career, Rai has never been afraid to take big swings.

“I like to try a lot of different things and learn about the best parts of each,” she says. “I don’t know that I regret much.”

At the end of her undergraduate course in philosophy at the University of Calgary, Rai declined the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in the subject, deciding it wasn’t for her even though she had received the Faculty of Arts Silver Medal for the highest GPA in the department.

“I had kind of gotten what I wanted from it,” Rai says. “It taught me to structure my thoughts and to understand myself and others and what the world could be.”

After enrolling in law school, Rai again failed to connect with much of the content, before her open-mindedness paid off when she took a tax law course on a whim.

“I loved it and wanted to do more of it,” she says. “In my international law class, I started looking at international tax systems and I basically found a way to make every other course about tax.”

The theme has continued in Rai’s practice, where she has approached taxation law from almost every angle, including spells in the tax litigation department at Justice Canada, as an associate a major national law firm and as a member of the legal team at one of the Big Four global accounting giants.

Almost a decade of experimentation and refinement culminated in 2022, when Rai founded her own firm Mors & Tribute, a taxation law boutique offering planning and advice to a wide variety of clients seeking top quality assistance without the overhead of a full-service law firm.

“It’s amazing when you do the thing that you’re meant to be doing how much it feels like the right place and the right time,” Rai says. “I feel very lucky to have the chance to do what I always ultimately wanted to do, which is thinking through some hard problems, coming up with some answers and feeling good about the solutions.”

Although she started her Professional LLM in Taxation Law relatively soon after earning her JD degree, Rai says she could feel the impact it was having almost immediately.

“One thing that surprised me was how much more comfortable I got with the same concepts that I had learned in my first law degree,” she says. “I could apply the law better, have better conversations with professors and colleagues. It took me to the next level and I was able to start working from that higher baseline straight away.”

Rai remains struck by the depth of expertise and diversity of teaching styles among the Taxation Law LLM’s faculty, who included working lawyers and judges, as well as full-time Osgoode academics. Her highlights included classes on topics as varied as tax administration, international tax and provincial tax.

“It has really helped shape the way I practice tax litigation today,” she says. “I got to think about tax in a way I had never thought about before.”

Wondering if the Professional LLM is right for you? Get information on course requirements, application dates, tuition and more!