How are part-time programs viewed?

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JJ123
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How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby JJ123 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:16 am

I'm considering a part-time program as a possibility. It's a T2, and they've offered me full tuition + a stipend. I want to work in tax law, and I wonder if I worked at a public accounting firm during the day for 4 years, how would this be viewed by employers?

For example, would employers look at someone who is a senior tax accountant looking for a tax position differently than someone else from a T2 school?

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dowu
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Re: How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby dowu » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:33 am

JJ123 wrote:I'm considering a part-time program as a possibility. It's a T2, and they've offered me full tuition + a stipend. I want to work in tax law, and I wonder if I worked at a public accounting firm during the day for 4 years, how would this be viewed by employers?

For example, would employers look at someone who is a senior tax accountant looking for a tax position differently than someone else from a T2 school?

I doubt it. If you do well, I don't see why an employer would shy away from hiring you (bar anything else that might exempt you from employment).

Someone else with actual experience would be great to hear from on this topic.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:43 am

The problem with tax is that a lot of great tax lawyers didn't know a damn thing about tax before law school. So despite your credentials you'll be competing with everyone who wants tax from all of the schools with better reputations than the one you're considering. This is in contrast to something like IP, where you can spend 20 years in law school and not catch up to the guy with the chemistry Ph.D.

You should go in assuming that your ability to obtain employment won't be much different from people at your school with similar grades. The fact that the program is part time won't hurt you.

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Optimist Prime
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Re: How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby Optimist Prime » Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:13 pm

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Last edited by Optimist Prime on Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dowu
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Re: How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby dowu » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:58 pm

Bump

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twenty
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Re: How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:04 pm

I would imagine having four years of full-time work on your resume would more than offset any antagonism about your part-time status.

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dowu
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Re: How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby dowu » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:41 pm

twenty wrote:I would imagine having four years of full-time work on your resume would more than offset any antagonism about your part-time status.

I agree.

But are firms choosing part timers for SAs?

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twenty
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Re: How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:05 pm

Can't part-timers participate in OCI as well? This is where my 0Ldom kind of sneaks in, but I would think that a 3rd year part time student would actually have more grades on his/her transcript than would a 2L.

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downinDtown
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Re: How are part-time programs viewed?

Postby downinDtown » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:05 pm

dowu wrote:
twenty wrote:I would imagine having four years of full-time work on your resume would more than offset any antagonism about your part-time status.

I agree.

But are firms choosing part timers for SAs?

Yes, PTers at my (non-T14) school did very well and all PT students are eligible to participate in OCI after their 2nd year (beginning of their 3rd year). Prior to OCI, I heard about some firms had reputations for not taking PTers, but if you have good grades and solid WE (especially if it relates to the practice areas at the firm), you can really stand out in a positive way. It's still not "traditional" and some people will ask why you chose to go PT, but if you have a legit(-sounding) reason for it (e.g., wanted to minimize the amount of debt I incur ITE; I knew I wanted to practice X-type of law, but not sure what, so I wanted to get more WE to develop my interests; I have a family and need to support them, etc.), then it usually allays any concerns they may have. Also, you have an opportunity to get WE that FT students may not be able to get--since FTers don't work until their 1L summer, most usually just have a judicial clerkship, with some having a firm SA position. Since PT students do OCI after 2 years of law school, they have 2 school years (and 2 summers) to get a good range of experience. But that means you also have to keep your grades up for 2 years as well.

Most firms that recruit at law schools with PT programs are familiar with the setup of the program and the caliber of the students. Some individual lawyers may not understand how it works, especially if they went to a school w/o a PT program. At OCI, you basically can say you are now a 2L and that the 1L year courses were split over 2 years, but that you got to take some other electives/required courses and that help you further your interest in X practice area. I don't think firms overall have too much of a stigma against qualified PTers, but I think it does remain with certain individuals who perceive PT programs as having inferior/lower caliber students (which may be true to a certain extent). But working 40+ hours a week and doing well in 4 classes is harder, not easier, than just taking 5 or 6 classes. Plus you have more WE to discuss on the resume which can be a really good thing if you have a resume-reader type of interview.

With that being said, if you're in a PT program and not working at least part-time/maximizing your WE, I think that could be viewed negatively. Some (but not all) interviews may ask how much you work per week, and if you say ~10 hours per week, it can look pretty bad. But if you're only work 10 hours a week and taking 4 classes, you should have kick-A grades.




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