I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

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richalvarez
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I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby richalvarez » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:34 pm

I completed my B.S. in accountancy (3.4 gpa) and I'm currently studying for the LSAT's. I live in San Diego, so naturally USD is high on my radar. I have heard great things about their tax program, specifically the LL.M. in Taxation, and the fact they allow you to complete the LL.M. in just one extra semester. Eventually, I would like to work in LA or SD as a tax attorney for a large firm, and I'm wondering what other schools I should be looking into. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

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gwuorbust
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby gwuorbust » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:43 pm

you don't need a LLM to practice tax. in fact, getting an LLM would probably be the worst decision you could make because you will miss out on the normal hiring cycle, which could injure your ability to practice in tax. idk how USD does in tax, but generally you should go to a school in an area where you will be fine living after graduation.

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Verity
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:44 pm

Gastroenterologist. You might want to get a head start on those ulcers.

richalvarez
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby richalvarez » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:57 pm

gwuorbust wrote:you don't need a LLM to practice tax. in fact, getting an LLM would probably be the worst decision you could make because you will miss out on the normal hiring cycle, which could injure your ability to practice in tax. idk how USD does in tax, but generally you should go to a school in an area where you will be fine living after graduation.



As of now, I would prefer to live in LA. I'm wondering if I should attend an LA school, or if USD's tax program is prestigious enough to get me a job practicing tax law in LA.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:00 pm

Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.

richalvarez
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby richalvarez » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:04 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


Really? So even though a school is known for having a good program in an area of law that you plan to practice, it will not offset the school's overall low ranking? Interesting, thanks for the input. Keep it coming guys.

Z3RO
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby Z3RO » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:06 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


This, I think. I should say "I think" after every sentence, because I'm an 0L.

richalvarez wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


Really? So even though a school is known for having a good program in an area of law that you plan to practice, it will not offset the school's overall low ranking? Interesting, thanks for the input. Keep it coming guys.


Who tells you that it's a good school? Is it attorneys that you know who have jobs that you envy?

A 3.4 in science ain't shabby. Rock the LSAT and go to UCLA.

richalvarez
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby richalvarez » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:15 pm

Z3RO wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


This, I think. I should say "I think" after every sentence, because I'm an 0L.

richalvarez wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


Really? So even though a school is known for having a good program in an area of law that you plan to practice, it will not offset the school's overall low ranking? Interesting, thanks for the input. Keep it coming guys.


Who tells you that it's a good school? Is it attorneys that you know who have jobs that you envy?

A 3.4 in science ain't shabby. Rock the LSAT and go to UCLA.


I got it off some website called TaxProff Blog and he says that it's ranked #6 in 2011 U.S. News Tax Law Rankings ( http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... -2011.html ). I would of done better then a 3.4, had a 3.85 in the beginning, but being a self-employed, single-father really took a toll on me toward the end of my undergrad.

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swinger
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby swinger » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:16 pm

gwuorbust wrote:you don't need a LLM to practice tax. in fact, getting an LLM would probably be the worst decision you could make because you will miss out on the normal hiring cycle, which could injure your ability to practice in tax. idk how USD does in tax, but generally you should go to a school in an area where you will be fine living after graduation.


warning: my post does not answer your overall question, but it might help with the gameplan.

the first sentence "you don't need a LLM to practice tax" is technically correct. you don't need one, but most of the big firms I have spoken to have either stated that it "helps tremendously" or "is basically a requirement." I am sure you can get a job with tons of firms without having an LLM, especially not right out of school, but if you're looking to work at a great firm I can't imagine them not asking you to get your LLM soon after graduating. Tax is a very specific field and the LLM allows you to get a lot more information on the specific, tough issues that Fed Income Tax I (and other regular tax law courses) probably wont cover. go to law school first, take some tax classes and make sure that is what you want to do. even with your accounting background you might take some other electives and realize that you want to do something a little bit or completely different. if tax is still for you, go for the LLM.

after your 2L year you will (hopefully) work with the firm you will be working for upon graduation. i would imagine this firm will be thrilled that you are staying to get your LLM (you are getting it on your own dime and they will have an associate with an LLM). they will likely either take you a semester late or make you wait until the next round in which case you spend more time studying for the bar.

my recommendation, just so you dont run the risk of missing out on the "normal hiring cycle" (a claim i think is off because the firm will just hire you after 2L summer and wait for you to finish) is to go to law school, make sure tax is for you, summer with your firm, mention that you want to get your LLM, get hired, work for a little bit, and, like most people, go back and get your LLM. the extra semester of class is worth being on a normal cycle and not committing to an LLM program when you arent positive that is what you want to do.

Sadly my post is unhelpful regarding your actual question of USD's prestige. As an east-coaster I have no idea what they look for on the west coast, I just know it aint me.

Z3RO
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby Z3RO » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:20 pm

richalvarez wrote:
Z3RO wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


This, I think. I should say "I think" after every sentence, because I'm an 0L.

richalvarez wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


Really? So even though a school is known for having a good program in an area of law that you plan to practice, it will not offset the school's overall low ranking? Interesting, thanks for the input. Keep it coming guys.


Who tells you that it's a good school? Is it attorneys that you know who have jobs that you envy?

A 3.4 in science ain't shabby. Rock the LSAT and go to UCLA.


I got it off some website called TaxProff Blog and he says that it's ranked #6 in 2011 U.S. News Tax Law Rankings ( http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... -2011.html ). I would of done better then a 3.4, had a 3.85 in the beginning, but being a self-employed, single-father really took a toll on me toward the end of my undergrad.


Sorry man. Not even in the top 10. Notice UCLA's spot right below Harvard, though.

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... w-rankings

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Kilpatrick
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:23 pm



Even if it was on that list though, those lists are meaningless. Only the overall rankings matter. You really think there are Stetson grads getting jobs because they're at the top of the legal writing rankings or whatever?

Z3RO
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby Z3RO » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:27 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:


Even if it was on that list though, those lists are meaningless. Only the overall rankings matter. You really think there are Stetson grads getting jobs because they're at the top of the legal writing rankings or whatever?


Well, they aren't completely meaningless. I mean, if he's interested in Tax, knowing that Gtown has an excellent tax program is good info. He may even be better off going there than Cornell or Duke, despite their higher overall ranking.

That said, I agree with you that nobody should choose University of Florida over Harvard because of their tax ranking.

richalvarez
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby richalvarez » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:28 pm

swinger wrote:
gwuorbust wrote:you don't need a LLM to practice tax. in fact, getting an LLM would probably be the worst decision you could make because you will miss out on the normal hiring cycle, which could injure your ability to practice in tax. idk how USD does in tax, but generally you should go to a school in an area where you will be fine living after graduation.


warning: my post does not answer your overall question, but it might help with the gameplan.

the first sentence "you don't need a LLM to practice tax" is technically correct. you don't need one, but most of the big firms I have spoken to have either stated that it "helps tremendously" or "is basically a requirement." I am sure you can get a job with tons of firms without having an LLM, especially not right out of school, but if you're looking to work at a great firm I can't imagine them not asking you to get your LLM soon after graduating. Tax is a very specific field and the LLM allows you to get a lot more information on the specific, tough issues that Fed Income Tax I (and other regular tax law courses) probably wont cover. go to law school first, take some tax classes and make sure that is what you want to do. even with your accounting background you might take some other electives and realize that you want to do something a little bit or completely different. if tax is still for you, go for the LLM.

after your 2L year you will (hopefully) work with the firm you will be working for upon graduation. i would imagine this firm will be thrilled that you are staying to get your LLM (you are getting it on your own dime and they will have an associate with an LLM). they will likely either take you a semester late or make you wait until the next round in which case you spend more time studying for the bar.

my recommendation, just so you dont run the risk of missing out on the "normal hiring cycle" (a claim i think is off because the firm will just hire you after 2L summer and wait for you to finish) is to go to law school, make sure tax is for you, summer with your firm, mention that you want to get your LLM, get hired, work for a little bit, and, like most people, go back and get your LLM. the extra semester of class is worth being on a normal cycle and not committing to an LLM program when you arent positive that is what you want to do.

Sadly my post is unhelpful regarding your actual question of USD's prestige. As an east-coaster I have no idea what they look for on the west coast, I just know it aint me.


I absolutely know I want to practice tax law. I became a licensed tax preparer through H&R Block and opened up my own tax practice in 2009. I love the challenge that comes with each client, as no two are the same. I also enjoy reading up the new changes from year to year, and doing tax research (I know kinda nerdy). And thank you for your input, I really appreciate it.

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swinger
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby swinger » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:35 pm

richalvarez wrote: I absolutely know I want to practice tax law. I became a licensed tax preparer through H&R Block and opened up my own tax practice in 2009. I love the challenge that comes with each client, as no two are the same. I also enjoy reading up the new changes from year to year, and doing tax research (I know kinda nerdy). And thank you for your input, I really appreciate it.


Then my recommendation would be to try to talk with some lawyers working in tax departments at firms you're interested in. Try to reach out to a hiring partner. I know this is tough to do before you are in law school because you might not have any real contacts, but try to get a feel for how the climate is in LA: Do they "require" an LLM in someone they are looking to hire out of school or are they patient, prefering that you work with them a couple years and then go back for the LLM? Can you work your entire tax career in LA at a firm you see yourself at without an LLM? Do THEY think that staying that extra semester will really hurt you in your job search (again, I doubt it)? Good luck (I love tax too, people look at me funny, I understand where you are coming from)

richalvarez
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby richalvarez » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:47 pm

swinger wrote: Then my recommendation would be to try to talk with some lawyers working in tax departments at firms you're interested in. Try to reach out to a hiring partner. I know this is tough to do before you are in law school because you might not have any real contacts, but try to get a feel for how the climate is in LA: Do they "require" an LLM in someone they are looking to hire out of school or are they patient, prefering that you work with them a couple years and then go back for the LLM? Can you work your entire tax career in LA at a firm you see yourself at without an LLM? Do THEY think that staying that extra semester will really hurt you in your job search (again, I doubt it)? Good luck (I love tax too, people look at me funny, I understand where you are coming from)


Thanks. I'm going to take your advice and give that a shot after I take my LSAT.

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nealric
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby nealric » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:47 pm

I am a tax lawyer at a large New York firm.

My advice is to go to a top ranked school if you get in (T14 + USC/UCLA for west coast), or go somewhere cheap. Perhaps things are different on the west coast, but nobody I know of in tax has any idea what schools are supposedly "best" in tax outside of NYU, Georgetown, and Florida.

I've found that tax tends to be even more prestige oriented than other practice areas. My guess is that a big part of the reason for this is that most lower-end tax work is done by accountants, who generally undercut lawyers on price. The massive drawdown on the estate tax has meant that estate planning practices tend to be much less tax focused except for very high net-worth clients. As a result, tax tends be strongly focused towards large firms doing work for corporate clients and the hiring practices that go with them. The IRS is a bit of an exception to this, but they are quite the crapshoot in terms of getting an offer and still require top grades. Big 4 is also a bit less prestige oriented, but most Big4 jobs offered to newly minted JDs are basically the same thing they would offer to a newly minted accounting undergrad.

RE LLMs: This can be a very firm-by-firm thing. Some value them tremendously and some do not. Many firms that value them expect you to do them part time in your first few years of practice. Big firm hiring is largely done before the start of 2L year and before you would even have any tax grades- let alone an LLM. Firm interviewing for LLM students has been pretty pathetic over the past few years- it's not usually a good idea to plan on doing an LLM straight through.

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gwuorbust
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby gwuorbust » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:12 am

nealric wrote:I am a tax lawyer at a large New York firm.

My advice is to go to a top ranked school if you get in (T14 + USC/UCLA for west coast), or go somewhere cheap. Perhaps things are different on the west coast, but nobody I know of in tax has any idea what schools are supposedly "best" in tax outside of NYU, Georgetown, and Florida.

I've found that tax tends to be even more prestige oriented than other practice areas. My guess is that a big part of the reason for this is that most lower-end tax work is done by accountants, who generally undercut lawyers on price. The massive drawdown on the estate tax has meant that estate planning practices tend to be much less tax focused except for very high net-worth clients. As a result, tax tends be strongly focused towards large firms doing work for corporate clients and the hiring practices that go with them. The IRS is a bit of an exception to this, but they are quite the crapshoot in terms of getting an offer and still require top grades. Big 4 is also a bit less prestige oriented, but most Big4 jobs offered to newly minted JDs are basically the same thing they would offer to a newly minted accounting undergrad.

RE LLMs: This can be a very firm-by-firm thing. Some value them tremendously and some do not. Many firms that value them expect you to do them part time in your first few years of practice. Big firm hiring is largely done before the start of 2L year and before you would even have any tax grades- let alone an LLM. Firm interviewing for LLM students has been pretty pathetic over the past few years- it's not usually a good idea to plan on doing an LLM straight through.


thank you for setting the record straight, I feel like there has been a lot of misinformation ITT.

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Verity
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby Verity » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:21 am

Sir, how do you spell relief?

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PDaddy
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby PDaddy » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:26 am

richalvarez wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


Really? So even though a school is known for having a good program in an area of law that you plan to practice, it will not offset the school's overall low ranking? Interesting, thanks for the input. Keep it coming guys.


I disagree with this assessment. USD is a fine school. The facilities suck, but you will receive a very good education if you go there and work hard.

CanadianWolf
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:40 am

LLM courses are a great way to satisfy state bar continuing education requirements if that is your practice area, your firm or company reimburses tuition, fees & books, and you have a local part-time evening program available locally.

richalvarez
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby richalvarez » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:32 pm

PDaddy wrote:
richalvarez wrote:
Kilpatrick wrote:Nothing about USD is prestigious. Specialty rankings don't matter. They should really put that in big bold letters at the top of this website.


Really? So even though a school is known for having a good program in an area of law that you plan to practice, it will not offset the school's overall low ranking? Interesting, thanks for the input. Keep it coming guys.


I disagree with this assessment. USD is a fine school. The facilities suck, but you will receive a very good education if you go there and work hard.



I do not doubt that I will receive a quality education at USD, rather, I worry about the degree's weight and the job prospects available to a USD grad.

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Verity
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Re: I want to practice tax law... where should I go?

Postby Verity » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:13 pm

R-O-L-A-I-D-S.




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