Craig Ashford ’11
Alumnus lands amazing opportunity with IRS
Craig Ashford ’11 came to the University of Oregon in 2008 with a set of goals and a supportive family. As a tax attorney for the Internal Revenue Service of the Office of the Chief Counsel in Salt Lake City, Utah, Ashford prepares and conducts tax litigation cases for the IRS in the United States Tax Court, provides technical guidance regarding property rights and collection litigation for Montana and Nevada, and provides technical guidance on abusive tax shelters for injunctions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Ashford chose Oregon Law because it offered a well-rounded program in a family-friendly city well-suited for his wife and children. Ashford was already working in the legal field when he applied for Oregon Law. He brought with him a B.A. in Communications from Brigham Young University and previous experience as a paralegal for firms in California and Texas. His work at these firms exposed him to tax law, estate planning, and business law, but it wasn’t until he attended Oregon Law that he realized his “true calling in life” lay in tax law.
While in school Ashford was an officer for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and a research assistant for professors Roberta Mann and Dean Michael Moffit. He also participated in Oregon Law’s Small Business Clinic, where he provided legal counseling to emerging local businesses.
Ashford leveraged his involvement in school activities and previous experience as a paralegal to obtain a summer externship in 2009 with the United States District Court in Portland, Ore. There, he prepared draft opinions for pending criminal and civil cases and researched bench memoranda regarding key legal issues in pending cases. The following summer, Ashford worked as a legal administrative specialist for the Internal Revenue Service of the Office of Chief Counsel in Salt Lake City, Utah. He subsequently began working for the IRS full-time upon graduating in 2011.
Ashford graduated first in his class from Oregon Law in with a certificate of completion in taxation law. He was inducted into the Order of the Coif for his academic performance, and left the school having co-founded the student group CertainTTE: Tax, Trusts, and Estates, an organization that still exists today.
To ensure he made the most of his educational experience, Ashford set benchmarks for himself in advance. Having a family made it crucial to obtain a solid job after graduating, so Ashford made schoolwork a priority. He was constantly in awe of his classmates, which pushed him to give his best effort in everything he pursued. His dedication and sacrifice put him on a path to success that ultimately led him to his current position, allowing him to support his family while engaging in work for which he’s passionate.
“I have found an education that has filled out and complemented my life,” Ashford said.