UM Accountancy Alumni Find Success in International Tax Practice

Trio recently helped establish new London office for Butler Snow

Barry Cannada

OXFORD, Miss. – Three graduates from the Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi are doing big things in the world of international tax law practice. They helped establish Butler Snow‘s first overseas office, which opened in London earlier this year.

Brad Westerfield, Samantha Moore and Kurt Rademacher are attorneys who also hold accountancy and tax degrees from UM, as well as LL.M. degrees in taxation from New York University and their law degrees. They are among four lawyers on the staff of Butler Snow UK LLP.

R. Barry Cannada, chairman of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada’s business department, holds both accountancy and law degrees from UM. He said the new UK office has an impressive list of clients, including billionaires from around the world who trust Westerfield, Moore and Rademacher.

“They are as good as anyone in the world at what they do,” Cannada said.

The three have added a whole new list of clients and new business to Butler Snow, which has more than 240 attorneys on staff in 12 offices across the United States, plus the international office in London. The firm’s headquarters is in Ridgeland.

Samantha Moore

“They bring us great talent,” Cannada said. “What they have added is a dimension on international tax with a whole new orbit of clients. The value they bring to us in that arena is significant and growing.”

Earlier this year, the Patterson School of Accountancy had all three of its degree programs ranked among the annual Public Accounting Report‘s top 10 university programs in the nation. The undergraduate program was No. 4 nationally, with the master’s and doctoral programs coming in at fifth and eighth, respectively.  UM’s Patterson School was also the top SEC school in the national rankings for all three degree programs.

Rademacher, who is from Brandon, holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a master’s in taxation, both from UM, as well as a law degree from Notre Dame University. He was a partner with a large international law firm based in London and was a founding partner of its Hong Kong office. He represents ultra-high net worth families and family-controlled businesses throughout the world, among other duties at Butler Snow.

“The foundation of what I’m doing now was laid at Ole Miss,” Rademacher said. “I don’t just mean that academically. The accountancy program was very rigorous. You had to study really hard to do a good job, and that was great.

Kurt Rademacher

“But in particular, (Professor Emeritus Jimmy Davis) in the accountancy program was very good at making sure people were prepared for the business world in nonacademic ways. He encouraged professionalism and relationships. He was always working for students to get them jobs and professional experience.”

The university’s accountancy programs offer great education inside the classroom, but also help students develop in other ways, Rademacher said.

“When people come out of the Ole Miss accountancy programs, they tend to be very good academically, but also have the professional and social skills that allow them to do well wherever they go,” he said. “You find a lot of people who leave Ole Miss and go into leadership roles.”

Rademacher credited Karen Green, an Ole Miss law professor and Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association Distinguished Lecturer, as being instrumental in his career choice. He said she has also inspired many other Ole Miss graduates to become tax lawyers.

Moore, of Wiggins, holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, a master’s degree in taxation and a law degree, all from UM. She is a certified public accountant and works in estate planning and administration, international taxation and general taxation. She said her training at Ole Miss made the transition into tax law much easier.

“It was really foundational for tax school because a lot of people will go to law school and then go to tax school not having an accounting background,” Moore said. “It’s

Brad Westerfield

much harder for those people to get caught up to where they are supposed to be, even on simple concepts. Kurt, Brad and I all had that going in, which made tax school much easier on us, which lead to us being much better tax lawyers in the long run.”

Westerfield, also from Brandon, holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a master’s degree in taxation, both from UM, as well as a law degree from Mississippi College. He helps ultra-high net worth families and their advisers with issues related to U.S. federal income, estate and gift tax issues, with an emphasis on U.S. inbound and outbound investment structuring, international estate planning and U.S. taxation of foreign trusts, among other cross-border tax issues.

“With the training I received in the Ole Miss accountancy program, as well as the master’s program, I was exposed to some law school tax classes, which really sets a strong foundation for someone going into accountancy, especially if they want to springboard into tax law,” Westerfield said.

The alumni’s successes are a testament to the foundations they received at UM, said Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy.

“We are very proud of these students and their many successes,” Wilder said. “They are great ambassadors for the university as well as the Patterson School of Accountancy.  The Accountancy program at Ole Miss provides a strong foundation for a variety of career opportunities, and these three alumni are tremendous examples of this.”