Well, it may be too soon to use a tax attorney. How extensive an explanation did you provide? In the letter that denied your request for abatement, did the IRS provide the address of the "Penalty Appeals Coordinator" where you could appeal the denial of your abatement request? This is an extra administrative step that basically gives you a "second chance" to provide a professional appeal before you actually have to go through the formal appeals process. At this point, you are still asking for relief for either "reasonable cause" or requesting relief under the "first time abatement" procedures.
If you have to go through the formal IRS Appellate Division, then an attorney may be advisable if there are any specific laws or regulations involved that may be interpreted in your favor.
A couple of questions:
1. What type of entity is being penalized?
2. Did you have any professional assistance when the 5472 was supposed to be filed?
3. Did your (or any) CPA prepare the initial abatement request or did you do it yourself?
If you've been given the option of appealing the denial of the abatement request to the "Penalty Appeals Coordinator", then there's a reasonable chance of success of establishing reasonable cause; clearly worth the attempt as the cost isn't usually prohibitive given the alternative of the $60,000. assessment. The worse case could be lowering the assessment to $10,000., still unacceptable given the nature of the violation. Also, the timing is important of when this problem arose as the rules were changing in terms of when & how the 5472 was to be submitted, possibly another reasonable cause of non-compliance.
So, if you can answer those questions and provide any additional details of what the facts and circumstances were, I can either give you additional thoughts on how to proceed or possible give you a proposal to provide a draft abatement request that you can submit over your own signature.
Also, please identify your position with the taxpayer who was assessed; ie. are you a partner, officer, owner, member of an LLC or what?