Reflection on the Impact of Nina Olson by Soreé Finley

We welcome Soreé Finley a senior attorney in the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. Soreé’s personal recollection of her first encounter with Nina reminds us how hard it is to start in a new area of practice. Keith

I can’t remember the exact year of my first LITC conference. I do however remember the elevator ride to the Hilton’s meeting rooms: There are several attendees on the elevator, all hoping to be seated by 8:30am. I am a new attorney and I want to impress my LITC Director with my timeliness, but I’m struggling with the early start time.

I walk into this big meeting room and there’s a nervous and excited energy among the attendants. I’m nervous too, of course—it’s my first legal conference and I’m in a room full of attorneys. As I look for my table, I keep hearing the word “N.I.N.A.”, and figure it’s one more IRS acronym I’ll have to learn.

I sit at my table as my watch displays 8:30. Someone approaches the podium and the room goes silent. It’s Nina—not N.I.N.A.—Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate. For the first time, but not the last, I am blown away by her profound and contagious commitment to taxpayer advocacy.

Years after my first introduction to Ms. Olson, I am still inspired by her courage and willingness to ensure taxpayers and tax practitioners have a positive and consistent experience when interfacing with the IRS. There are millions of taxpayers who may never know Nina Olson’s name, but her legacy and impact on taxpayer advocacy will continue long after she retires.