Bernard Marks

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All of my working time since I left high school has been connected with the law, and most of it has been spent within the intricacies of taxation law. However, I am delighted to say that I am now virtually fully retired.

I completed Law School at Sydney Uni in 1965. Under the antiquated system at the time, I was able to "article" for the last 2 years in a solicitor's office and hence I was admitted as a practitioner in early 1966. I then went to the US with a Fulbright to the University of Illinois where I completed an LL.M. While there I was asked if I wanted to learn Japanese and specialise in Japanese business transactions. I accepted the offer and, as a Ford Fellow, I spent 2 years in Seattle at the Far Eastern Institute and the University of Washington the Law School. By that time, I was able to translate Japanese legal documents and I had sufficiently worked with Japanese lawyers, written papers etc., that I received another master's degree. The next 5 years were spent in North America teaching at law schools and practising (I even got admitted in Canada).

I returned to Australia in 1974 to establish a tax program at the University of Adelaide Law School. I had expected to be there for 2 years but stayed a few years longer. I then moved to Melbourne to take up a new chair in tax law at the University of Melbourne where I established the post-graduate tax program (for lawyers and accountants). I left that position in 1995.

I have had an extensive domestic and international tax practice since I came back in 1974. Unfortunately, I spent too much time at airports, on jets, and living in hotels. For quite a few years, I had the ATO as my client and was involved in just about every complex tax audit matter that they had. I have also been counsel to Federal Cabinet, a Prime Minister, Treasurers, etc., on taxation matters, as well as the NZ Inland Revenue, the OECD, the German and US tax authorities. On the other side, I have acted for numerous major corporates in their battles with tax authorities here and overseas. Since the early 1990's, I principally was retained by a number of Australia's super wealthy families to sort out their convoluted worldwide tax affairs. As a group, I found these families interesting and generously rewarding for successful results. The downside was that they took control of my life.

As a specialist tax lawyer, I thrived on the two pillars of tax law - increasing complexity and constant change - which formed the basis of both academic work and legal practice. However, at the end of 1990's I began to think that there must be other things to interest me. By the end of last year I realized that I was in the fortunate position that I didn't have to work ever again and I have thus been in the process of rapidly winding down my practice by not taking any new matters. However, I still have one matter which requires frequent visits to Tokyo.

I married Joyce in 1968 (ex-Cremorne Girls High). She finished her architecture degree at Illinois. We are still very much in love. We have 3 fabulous girls. Caroline, 29 years, a lawyer with an MBA and lives in London where she works in interactive television and 3G wireless; Genevieve, 27 years, who is a dentist in Melbourne and who is just about to start a specialty in oral medicine; and Danielle, 25 years, another lawyer who works in a mid-size law firm in Melbourne.

I now spend my time reading and playing golf but will soon start studies in history and art.