Kaitlin Kelleher ’18 won the 2018 Bruce I. Hochman Award for Excellence in the Study of Tax Law, the highest honor that UCLA School of Law presents to outstanding graduates in the field.
Kelleher recently passed the California bar exam and will soon start work as an associate at Cox, Castle & Nicholson in Century City. The $15,000 award, bestowed every year since 2002, is presented by the law school’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy.
“I love tax law, and I’m honored that my professors recognized that enthusiasm when they nominated me for this award,” says Kelleher, who served as an officer of UCLA Law’s Tax and Estate Planning Law Association (TEPLA) and a graduate student tutor for the LL.M. program’s course in federal income taxation. “Bruce Hochman was an inspirational attorney, and I will proudly carry this award throughout my career.”
A fixture of the Los Angeles legal landscape for nearly a half century, Hochman was a member of UCLA Law’s first graduating class in 1952. He worked as a judge advocate general in the U.S. Air Force and a federal prosecutor before founding his own firm in 1956 and becoming one of the most respected litigators in the federal tax bar. Hochman was also a prominent philanthropist and the regional chairman of the Anti-Defamation League. After his death in 2001 at age 72, his family established the award in his memory.
Noah Metz ’13, a previous Hochman Award winner, says Kelleher can now expect to reap benefits that include association with Hochman’s family.
“It was nice to be able to connect with the Hochman family; there’s a real connection to a lawyer who was involved in the tax community for a long time,” Metz says. Also a recipient of UCLA Law’s Thomas A. Kirschbaum Scholarship in Tax Law, Metz co-founded TEPLA at UCLA Law. Now an associate at the Bowen Tax Law boutique firm in Los Angeles, he has worked as a tax attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Paul Hastings.
“I have certainly always put the award at the top of my résumé,” Metz says. “I think people, particularly in the L.A. area, know what it is and understand that it’s a big deal. … It’s not just a check in the mail. It’s a real connection with the tax community.”