Jones Walker LLP is proud to announce partner and Tax Practice Group leader Bill Backstrom received the 2023 Council On State Taxation (COST) Paul Frankel Excellence in State Taxation Award at a ceremony during the COST Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 19, 2023. The Paul Frankel Excellence in State Taxation Award is presented annually to individuals making outstanding contributions to the state and local tax (SALT) profession. Paul Frankel, a well-known SALT attorney often described as “the godfather of state and local taxation,” was the inaugural recipient of the award in 2009.

“Bill is truly a trailblazer in the state and local tax arena, and he lives the values practiced by Paul Frankel in his personal and professional life,” stated COST president and executive director Doug Lindholm. “He is deeply committed to COST and the state tax profession and to mentoring the next generation of state and local tax attorneys.”

Over the years, Bill has not only established himself in the state tax field but also has become one of the most renowned SALT attorneys in the United States. Some of his career highlights include helping the state of Louisiana pass a tax package designed to help businesses impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, leading the taxpayers’ litigation team to strike down an illegal regulation of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) in the landmark case UTELCOM Inc. v. Dep’t of Revenue, and working on numerous tax legislative efforts to support business retention and growth in Louisiana. Bill is especially proud of the growth of the Jones Walker SALT team and his work in mentoring the next generation of SALT professionals.

“In addition to being a nationally recognized figure in the state and local tax bar, Bill has been the leader of Jones Walker’s full Tax Practice Group for many years, presiding over a great period of growth and success. Additionally, his leadership skills, personality, and sense of humor have made him a firm leader in the broadest sense and a good friend of clients and fellow attorneys,” said Jones Walker managing partner Bill Hines.

Speaking on Bill’s achievement, Kimberly Lewis, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Louisiana State University, former LDR secretary, and former Jones Walker partner, said, “Bill Backstrom has been one of the greatest influences in my professional life. He has been a mentor, a friend, a confidant, a co-conspirator, and a cheerleader.”

Bill and the Jones Walker SALT team have carved out a particular niche in helping businesses identify and utilize tax and business incentives and credits, as well as navigate the treacherous waters of state and local taxation in Louisiana and numerous other states. In addition to his notable career work, Bill and the SALT team run the Cooking with SALT blog. Created in 2014, Cooking with SALT provides timely insights on recent legal and practical developments concerning clients in many state and local taxing jurisdictions on matters involving income, franchise, net worth, gross receipts, sales/use, business and occupational licenses, severance, ad valorem property, and other miscellaneous taxes.

About Jones WalkerJones Walker LLP ( is among the largest 135 law firms in the United States. With offices in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Texas, we serve local, regional, national, and international business interests. The firm is committed to providing a comprehensive range of legal services to major multinational public and private corporations, Fortune 500 companies, money center banks, worldwide insurers, and emerging companies doing business in the United States and abroad.

About the Council On State TaxationThe Council On State Taxation (COST) is the premier state tax organization representing taxpayers. COST is a nonprofit trade association consisting of more than 500 multistate corporations engaged in interstate and international business. COST’s objective is to preserve and promote equitable and nondiscriminatory state and local taxation of multijurisdictional business entities. COST was formed in 1969 by a handful of companies under the aegis of the Council of State Chambers of Commerce, an organization with which COST is still associated.