Accounting and LAW

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williamsmatt
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:15 pm

Accounting and LAW

Postby williamsmatt » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:11 pm

I'm interested in getting my CPA license and going to law school too. Is there any benefit to doing this or does it say that I'm going in too many directions? Or, dare do I say, should I stick with accounting?

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angiej
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Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby angiej » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:19 pm

Maybe it would be beneficial if you were to work in corporate, trust and estates, or tax law. The T & E attorney I worked for also did corporate work and he would have to refer clients to a CPA pretty often.

Tacitus
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Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:14 pm

Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby Tacitus » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:24 pm

WM, I am in the same boat as you. During undergrad I worked for an accounting firm , and I want to pursue a CPA along with my law license. I am completely certain that being more specialized is something that can only help you--not necessarily in a sense that you place yourself in some obscure niche, just that you can bring more to the table than your average lawyer.

IMO, attaining a CPA will help you in any field of law that you go into. Over one summer, after tax season, I worked as a paralegal for an attorney in general practice, and he constantly ran into financial/accounting/valuation issues in matters ranging from divorce to contracts.

Take, for example, if you do corporate law, you will be able to perform due diligence at a much higher level, you will understand tax implications much better and you can help make business transactions much more efficient. As a tax lawyer, it adds credibility. Would you rather go to a JD or a JD/CPA if you had a tax issue? Who would you be willing to pay more?

Overall, there is nothing at all wrong with getting a CPA. CPAs are trained to know 1) regulations, 2) auditing (forensic accounting/analysis), 3) cost efficiencies and 4) financial/tax accounting. If you deal with ANY business, these skills will be invaluable. If you deal with any individual, these skills will also be invaluable. Basically, if you deal with any entity that has a legal issue that involves money, you will be in a much better position to analyze and deal with their situation (which is practically all of BigLaw).

So, in short, don't get it if you're going to work for the ACLU or public interest. But if you do anything else, and you have the drive and ability to attain it, get a CPA. It will also make you more valuable to law firms. Who is more easily replaceable (or denied for partnership), the JD or the JD/CPA? You have a unique knowledge base that adds value, and you're not just another drone working 100 hours/week that is easily interchangeable.

HTH my fellow future JD/CPA :D

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APHill
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Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby APHill » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:37 pm

Future JD/CPA here also. Have an active CPA license and have been admitted to a T30 law school with schollie.

I have heard that JD/CPA:

- is the best combo for tax attorney
- increases chances of landing biglaw job without high class rankk and law review
- is great for securities law
- is a desirable combo for CFO path
- is an awesome combo for sole practice.

Either way you look at it, you might just be one notch higher than your class mates with Poli Sci degree and grades slightly better than yours.
Last edited by APHill on Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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crazycanuck
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Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby crazycanuck » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:49 pm

I have a friend who is a hiring partner at one of the 7 national law firms in Canada, and he told me that every firm gets excited when a CA (Canadian CPA)/JD is about to graduate, especially if they have worked for one of the big 4. Apparently there's only 1 or 2 every few years and this individual gets the red carpet recruiting treatment and usually starts at a higher salary than the other hires. First the accounting knowledge is extremely valuable to the firm (just like any organization), and also the big 4 experience is very similar to a big law environment and so they know you have experience and training that is superior to any of your classmates. Apparently they barely look at grades for these individuals, a B average and they are set.

I'm also getting my CA, unsure of whether I will go the JD route too though. I'm starting at Deloitte in the summer!

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APHill
Posts: 230
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby APHill » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:35 pm

I have heard that JD/CA in Canada = name your own price. JD/CPAs are still rare in the US, but unfortunately do not get nearly the same treatment as JD/CA's in Canada. Look like on Taxtalent.com quite a few JD/CPAs are managers for Big4, making 90-110 a year. JD/CPA in the US is a highly desirable combo, but unfortunately you still have to do your homework and play your card right.

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adrib
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:03 pm

Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby adrib » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:39 pm

Damn, this sounds rosy. i hope y'all are right! note to self: consider Canada ;)

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crazycanuck
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Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby crazycanuck » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:53 pm

adrib wrote:Damn, this sounds rosy. i hope y'all are right! note to self: consider Canada ;)


Also remember that our firms don't start at 160k. In Toronto/Calgary the big firms start their students are around 90k, in Vancouver they are started at 75k, although in Vancouver the hours are way less. The firm I know has required billables of 1600, the highest any associate billed last year 1762. It is typically expected to bill 1650-1700, the superstars bill 1800-1900. I don't know what the hours are in Toronto/Calgary, probably around 2000 hours/year.

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APHill
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Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby APHill » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:59 pm

90K C$ a year at a top law firm is brutal. With current exchange rate it is around 90K U$, but I guess it used to be 45K U$?

Everybody please keep in mind - CA exam is harder and longer than CPA exam. CA certification is also considerably more valuable internationally (as it is an international license really) and can be used in virtually any country with IFRS. CPA is only required to be able to sign external audit report in the US...

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TheBigMediocre
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:53 pm

Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby TheBigMediocre » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:06 pm

Accounting guy here too. Keep in mind that if you're going straight from UG to LS like I am, you might be able to sit for the CPA exam but you won't be able to call yourself a CPA until you get the 2000 hours.

I still plan on sitting for the exam and getting it out of the way (hopefully before IFRS inclusion) and then either picking up hours along the way somehow or just making a note of it on my resume.

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APHill
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Re: Accounting and LAW

Postby APHill » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:17 pm

Hopefully if you make it into big law tax department they will let you use that experience...




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