Mayer Brown announced today that Zal Kumar, the former director of business tax services for the New York City Department of Finance (DOF), has joined the firm in New York as a partner in its State & Local Tax (SALT) group. Mr. Kumar will focus his practice on the full range of SALT legal services, with a particular emphasis on the financial services sector.

“Through his impressive background working with one of the premier tax departments in the country, Zal has built an excellent reputation in the SALT arena,” said Jason Bazar, co-leader of Mayer Brown’s Tax Transactions & Consulting practice. “He is a natural addition to our specialized offerings to financial institutions and funds, and we are delighted to welcome him to our team.”

Mr. Kumar is a highly accomplished lawyer with a distinguished history of legislative initiatives and audit assistance. During his tenure with the DOF, Mr. Kumar was responsible for supporting legislative, regulatory and compliance initiatives as well as drafting and publishing technical memoranda, notices, publications, and audit policies and procedures. In particular, he was a principal drafter of New York City’s 2015 corporate tax reform legislation. Before joining the DOF as the senior counsel for the Audit Division, Mr. Kumar was an attorney in private practice and focused on complex partnership transactions, including fund formations and real estate joint ventures.

“Mayer Brown’s SALT team earned my admiration and respect in our years working across from one another, and I join with great enthusiasm,” said Mr. Kumar. “The team is investing creativity, persistence and energy into a host of exciting projects, and consistently staying ahead of the curve. I’m thrilled about the work we can do together, and the resources we can bring to bear.”

“Zal’s arrival in New York expands our SALT group and enhances our global tax advisory and controversy services,” said Richard Spehr, the partner-in-charge of Mayer Brown’s New York office. “His extensive experience in the private and public sectors puts him in a strong position to provide strategic counsel to our clients.”

In 2017, Mayer Brown significantly expanded its SALT group with the addition of a prominent three-lawyer New York City-based team that included Leah Robinson and Amy Nogid. The arrival of Mr. Kumar maintains Mayer Brown’s momentum in this strategic area, particularly as it relates to services for financial institutions.