Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

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fourwinds

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Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby fourwinds » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:11 pm

I'm interested in going to law school to focus on tax law. After law school, I want to work at a medium-sized firm. An $80,000 salary floor would honestly be fine; I'm not willing to work at the megafirms that pay $120,000+ straight out of law school. Also, I care more about the city I live in and having a bit of choice of where to live than working at the most prestigious firms in the country.

I've lived in Florida almost my whole life. I'm in undergrad in Florida now. If I work in Florida, I want to work in Miami. The other markets I'm interested in are Austin, Silicon Valley, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Atlanta - in that order.

University of Florida seems like a no-brainer. Minimal debt, I pay in-state, it's good for one of my target markets (Miami), and it has a good tax program. However, I want more options than just UF. I want some advice for my shortlist of schools. Here it is:

- Berkeley
- UCLA
- University of Southern California
- University of Florida
- University of Miami
- Emory
- Duke
- UT Austin
- U Virginia
- Georgetown

What do you think? We're assuming stats that get me comfortably into UF and Duke and Georgetown would be a realistic stretch.

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Johann

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby Johann » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:21 pm

First of all, what type of tax law do you want to do?

High level intl tax exists in 3 cities in the US - NYC, SF, and half Chicago half D.C.
Employee benefits is more widespread and so is estate planning. Out of Florida you are probably looking at estate planning and private client planning. If you fuck up and come up short, get the Florida tax llm.

All those other schools just depend where you want work. I'd recommend Georgetown because they have a good tax program but if you're trying to be I. Cali, do the cali places etc.

Wouldn't go to Miami. Rest are fine.

fourwinds

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby fourwinds » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:56 pm

I have some interest in estate planning. I think the exact specialization will become more clear once I start taking classes in law school. I'm really interested in startups too. I'm someone who would enjoy starting a tech company, but I lack the technical expertise to do so. I find emerging tech to be incredibly fascinating. However, saying I want to do IP in Silicon Valley puts me in a pool with millions of others. Austin would probably be a better market for some type of startup law specialization for me personally.

Austin and Atlanta are particularly interesting markets because they aren't bloated (see: NYC, SF) and the cities are still growing. Property is cheap. Texas (and Florida) have no income tax. I'm looking for a job that has 8 to 10-hour days with good pay and benefits. I'm not looking to work at a top firm and bust my ass 24/7 just to meet the billable hour quota. I want to feel like I'm doing more than running on a wheel. My law school classes will probably push me in a direction that will be less corporate robot and more interesting to me.

California is a cool place, but the cost of living is astronomical (especially in SF) and the job market is really competitive. With UF being a cheap in-state option at $20k a year sticker price for me, it seems dumb to pay twice that to attend a school in Cali in order to live in a city where my housing will cost significantly more than Miami (not to mention Austin or Atlanta), especially if UF is a legitimately solid option and not just a backup school.

lavarman84

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:26 am

Keep in mind that a UF LLM is always an option even if you don't go to UF. LLMs generally are not useful (from what I understand) except for Tax LLMs from the top few schools (NYU, Georgetown, and UF).

Although, I'd keep an eye on the UF tax program. It's in a state of change right now. Three of the top professors (Friel, McMahon, and Calfee) are retiring from what I've heard. The school is currently working on replacing them. I'd keep an eye on that to see who replaces them. The tax professors are the biggest part of a school's reputation when it comes to tax programs.

fourwinds

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby fourwinds » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:38 am

If the Florida tax LLM is a desirable credential, wouldn't it make sense for me to do my JD at Florida and then just stay there for the LLM? It'll cut down on my tuition costs since I get in-state for both.

If I'm really interested in doing tax law in Miami, UF seems like the obvious choice for me.

cavalier1138

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:14 am

fourwinds wrote:If the Florida tax LLM is a desirable credential, wouldn't it make sense for me to do my JD at Florida and then just stay there for the LLM? It'll cut down on my tuition costs since I get in-state for both.

If I'm really interested in doing tax law in Miami, UF seems like the obvious choice for me.


If you want to stay in-state, then yes, UF would probably be your best choice. But as far as I know, that doesn't really affect your chances at their LLM program. Think about where you want to practice in general before thinking about tax LLM programs, because your JD will still impact where you can work.

fourwinds

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby fourwinds » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:33 am

Miami is my top choice of places to work. Then Austin, Silicon Valley, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Atlanta - in that order.

Honestly, UF is looking more and more attractive the closer I get to applying to law school. I graduate from undergrad in May 2018.

cavalier1138

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:35 am

fourwinds wrote:Miami is my top choice of places to work. Then Austin, Silicon Valley, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Atlanta - in that order.

Honestly, UF is looking more and more attractive the closer I get to applying to law school. I graduate from undergrad in May 2018.


Well, you've got plenty of time. The only thing I'd say is that if you want the option of working at any of the locations you listed outside of Miami, you need to go to a T14 school to give you that flexibility. But if you're absolutely set on staying in FL, just max out your LSAT and get a full ride to UF.

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kalvano

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby kalvano » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:07 am

fourwinds wrote:Austin and Atlanta are particularly interesting markets because they aren't bloated (see: NYC, SF) and the cities are still growing. Property is cheap. Texas (and Florida) have no income tax. I'm looking for a job that has 8 to 10-hour days with good pay and benefits. I'm not looking to work at a top firm and bust my ass 24/7 just to meet the billable hour quota. I want to feel like I'm doing more than running on a wheel. My law school classes will probably push me in a direction that will be less corporate robot and more interesting to me.


You can likely write off Austin without top-notch credentials AND a compelling reason to be there. It's a very difficult market to get into because it's very small and highly sought after.

Also, I don't know if you've looked recently, but property isn't cheap. It's much less expensive than NYC or San Francisco, but the cost of living in Austin has shot up in recent years.

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Re: Creating a School Shortlist for Tax Law

Postby favabeansoup » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:43 am

fourwinds wrote:
Austin and Atlanta are particularly interesting markets because they aren't bloated (see: NYC, SF) and the cities are still growing. Property is cheap. Texas (and Florida) have no income tax. I'm looking for a job that has 8 to 10-hour days with good pay and benefits. I'm not looking to work at a top firm and bust my ass 24/7 just to meet the billable hour quota. I want to feel like I'm doing more than running on a wheel. My law school classes will probably push me in a direction that will be less corporate robot and more interesting to me.


Yeah not to shoot down your dreams here, but I'm gonna shoot down some dreams.

I went to UT and I'll say the following of Texas. Austin has some of the most expensive property in Texas. It is smaller than Houston and Dallas, but it will cost you more to live in Austin than those two cities. Yes, you don't have a state income tax, which is awesome, but that should not be the sole reason for moving here.

The Austin legal market isn't "bloated", but it is **small** and **competitive**. People love Austin and everyone wants to work here. You basically have 3 options for working in Austin as a lawyer. (1) Working for the state government in some form (2) Working one of the *very* few biglaw positions (3) small law firm. (2) is basically out

There are several smaller law firms in Austin that focus on estate planning and tax issues. Issues you might run into going down this route are (1) getting hired and (2) pay. These firms typically take very few new graduates, if any, each year, as they are probably 2-15 people shops. Plus, you will most certainly not be getting paid a "good" salary, at least compared to biglaw. You'll probably make $75k or less.

If you are dead set on not working in government or in a biglaw position, I would highly caution you on taking out a large amount of debt for law school. Get your LSAT score as high as possible and get large scholarships to these schools. That will do more to open up options for you than anything else.



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