LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

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harvey2L
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LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby harvey2L » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:38 pm

I'm a 2L at a lower T14 with a 3.52 so far (roughly top 1/3). I got an A- in federal income tax. I have absolutely no background in accounting, finance, or economics. Any idea how hard it would be to get into somewhere like NYU or GULC for tax LLM? Are there lower-ranked tax LLM programs that would give $$$?

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:40 pm

Since you got a good grade in Tax, presumably you know better than to do this right out of school. :wink:

And there are three Tax LLM programs that are worth doing. You named two; the third is Florida.

harvey2L
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby harvey2L » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:48 pm

ScaredWorkedBored wrote:Since you got a good grade in Tax, presumably you know better than to do this right out of school. :wink:


Well, I might not have any other options; I don't have any employment prospects right now. . .

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2807
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby 2807 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:04 pm

Sorry for the elementary question but this is a field (tax law) that interests me. Is a background in finance/accounting generally viewed as a necessity?

I am drawn to estate planning, and I thought tax law would be a common thread. Is that reasonable or do you think they are actually separate fields that I would be better off doing one or the other?

Thanks

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YCrevolution
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby YCrevolution » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:16 pm

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NayBoer
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby NayBoer » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:16 pm

Anyone with questions should visit taxtalent.com. It's a good resource for this stuff.

harvey2L wrote:I'm a 2L at a lower T14 with a 3.52 so far (roughly top 1/3). I got an A- in federal income tax. I have absolutely no background in accounting, finance, or economics. Any idea how hard it would be to get into somewhere like NYU or GULC for tax LLM? Are there lower-ranked tax LLM programs that would give $$$?
Could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that LLM programs generally don't do scholarships.

I can't speak as to chances at the top programs, except that they look mostly at your tax grades.

2807 wrote:Sorry for the elementary question but this is a field (tax law) that interests me. Is a background in finance/accounting generally viewed as a necessity?

I am drawn to estate planning, and I thought tax law would be a common thread. Is that reasonable or do you think they are actually separate fields that I would be better off doing one or the other?

Thanks
Finance is definitely not a prerequisite. Accounting is a common background, but this may have more to do with CPAs escaping their jobs through law school. Accounting experience is not required to be a tax lawyer, but having a CPA will probably help get a Big 4 job. Some people use the CPA to signal tax focus to employers in place of an LLM. I think the LLM is usually considered more valuable, since it focuses on the subject matter. I couldn't tell you whether it's worth it to be a CPA with JD-LLM.

Anybody without a CPA or comparable tax experience probably needs a tax LLM do to tax law. And fair warning: tax LLMs complain about their job prospects as much as JDs (including some unemployed NYU LLMs) so don't run to it as a safe haven. Do it because you want to, not because it seems sheltered from the economy.

Estate planning and tax practices do overlap, sometimes because it's convenient to get a client on a tax issue and then do their estate planning. I couldn't tell you whether this is a good business idea or how common it is, but I know it happens.

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YCrevolution
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby YCrevolution » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:22 pm

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NayBoer
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby NayBoer » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:15 pm

YCrevolution wrote:+1. I've a got friend whose brother is doing the tax LLM at NYU, and they're having a rough time finding jobs like the rest of us.
I think part of the problem is that the recent LLMs have the least experience. LLM programs are mostly populated by people trying to create a resume to break into tax. But whereas biglaw has an established tradition of hiring huge volumes of know-nothing JDs and training them into competency, tax doesn't necessarily like to train green LLMs. In this economy, they have enough experienced tax attorneys that they don't need to make as much investment training LLMs.

Something for anyone to think about before getting an LLM. I've also heard suggestions that the LLM can sort of typecast you into tax, making it hard to do other things. I don't know how big of a danger that is.

I'm still leaning towards it myself. Northwestern lets you do it in 6 semesters, so I could take the classes over 1L summer and graduate JD-LLM by taking tax courses 2L and 3L. Some people argue this helps you in OCI, with more tax exposure to present to employers. I imagine it helps with tax jobs, but the extra grades could be a curse.

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2807
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby 2807 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:57 pm

Thanks. I am just interested in it, not looking for the job security issues at the moment, (but thanks for the heads up). I am way off from actual employment, right now I am just looking at options. (and studying for the LSAT)

Of my short-list of daydreams, estate planning and tax law issues is in the top. I will look at that recommended website too. Thanks again.

Nice options there at Northwestern. True, lots of grades and work, but that is a nice end-result. I may not need that specialty if I intend to just be a small local guy helping in the community, but maybe from a competition standpoint I am naive, and might need everything I can get... Time will tell. Thanks for the info.

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NayBoer
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby NayBoer » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:08 pm

2807 wrote:Thanks. I am just interested in it, not looking for the job security issues at the moment, (but thanks for the heads up). I am way off from actual employment, right now I am just looking at options. (and studying for the LSAT)

Of my short-list of daydreams, estate planning and tax law issues is in the top. I will look at that recommended website too. Thanks again.

Nice options there at Northwestern. True, lots of grades and work, but that is a nice end-result. I may not need that specialty if I intend to just be a small local guy helping in the community, but maybe from a competition standpoint I am naive, and might need everything I can get... Time will tell. Thanks for the info.
Well, if you just want to help people with those issues, you might consider working as a financial planner or an accountant. They cover similar ground and don't require the same investment as a law degree. Something to ponder, at any rate. Good luck.

LA1234
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby LA1234 » Mon May 03, 2010 3:56 am

LLM in Tax programs will look at your grades (but some to keep in mind the fact that schools have different mandatory curves/medians) so they will likely ask for a certified letter from your Registrar's office explaining the curve and grading policies. They won't usually ask for your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score.

They do however want transcripts, and some want to know whether you've excelled in (or even taken) tax courses as a JD.

As for scholarships, I was accepted to 2 LLM's (last year they were ranked in the Top 10,this year just outside) with scholarship. I have a friend who received a full scholarship to Gtown and 1/2 ride to NYU - it is possible, but they give very few scholarships to income students - usually anywhere between 2-6 - some have additional scholarships that you must apply for when you apply (i.e., Gtown).

Anonymous Loser
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby Anonymous Loser » Mon May 03, 2010 8:10 am

YCrevolution wrote:Tag.


Didn't one of the other mods create a stickied thread asking posters to use the "bookmark topic" and "subscribe topic" features rather than tagging?

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YCrevolution
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby YCrevolution » Mon May 03, 2010 8:21 am

..

Anonymous Loser
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby Anonymous Loser » Tue May 04, 2010 8:50 am

Sorry, man - didn't notice the date on your earlier post. :oops:

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NayBoer
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby NayBoer » Wed May 05, 2010 11:28 am

Anybody interested in a Tax LLM can read these papers by TaxProf on SSRN:

Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Why and When?

Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?

Note that his co-authors on both are Loyola profs, so the paper somewhat lowballs the costs of going to a less prestigious program. Also, it doesn't fully stress the fact that Tax LLMs (especially those with no other tax-related resume lines) are struggling to find jobs as much as JDs are. Even from NYU.

JOThompson
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby JOThompson » Wed May 05, 2010 11:34 am

Tag also.

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YCrevolution
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby YCrevolution » Wed May 05, 2010 11:39 am

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270910
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby 270910 » Wed May 05, 2010 11:49 am

The biggest issue with tax LLMs is that firms very often have their associates go get the LLM instead of hiring new people from the LLM. True, there is entry level hiring after one - but it's not nearly as robust as entry level big law hiring at a school like GULC or NYU, which is what a lot of people expect / hope / fantasize about.

GULC and NYU are more than happy to take their tuition checks. Welcome to the legal and legal education profession world.

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NayBoer
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Re: LLM in tax--how hard to get in? any merit aid available?

Postby NayBoer » Wed May 05, 2010 1:01 pm

My rule of thumb re tagging is to always make some sort of contribution to the thread, rather than tag it without comment, because I like to see all my threads in the View Your Posts page. They only appear there, I think, if you post in them.

disco_barred wrote:The biggest issue with tax LLMs is that firms very often have their associates go get the LLM instead of hiring new people from the LLM. True, there is entry level hiring after one - but it's not nearly as robust as entry level big law hiring at a school like GULC or NYU, which is what a lot of people expect / hope / fantasize about.

GULC and NYU are more than happy to take their tuition checks. Welcome to the legal and legal education profession world.
I get the impression that Big 4 does this much more than biglaw. Since accounting firms pay less than law firms, a lot of LLMs (and basically all those who weren't CPAs) are looking for biglaw.

Unfortunately, people try to launder their JDs through LLMs, as though they will ignore your Tier 2/3/4 school and hire you based on your LLM only. If the JD was holding you out of biglaw before, then the LLM won't help. If you're right on the cusp of biglaw, then an NYU LLM might push you over.

The analogy I read over at TaxTalent was that the JD is the woman and the LLM is the dress. I suppose a less sexist version would be something like 'the JD is the house and the LLM is the furniture.' But either way, the point is an LLM does not erase a bad school from your resume.




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