To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
chesterfan1230
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:59 pm

To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby chesterfan1230 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:01 am

Hey Guys,

I'm currently going into my Senior year at Rutgers University. Studied Accounting, have a 3.9 GPA and am super active at my school and pretty well respected.

Originally, I planned on taking the LSAT october 1st and then applying to law school this fall for fall 2012. However, being an accounting major i want to get my CPA. Originally I thought i could just slowly take the exams (over 18 months) but recently I found out that I have to work at least one year in a public accounting firm to get my CPA.

I also refuse to NOT get my cpa. My parents are also telling me that I shouldn't take off from school and continue to law school because they feel that I might get tempted by the money but I don't think so!

My options are:

(A) Take 2 years off and work at a public accounting firm and practice auditing and tax and slowly take the CPA exam. Then go to law school afterwards.

(B) Go to a law school and work part time? (is this do-able?)

(C) Forget about taking the CPA exam.

(D) Other Alternative that I havent thought of

I'm leaning towards A or B, but my parents are advising me otherwise against A. It's not that they're dumb people, dentist who graduated from NYU, but I don't think they understand that I need to get my public experience NOW.

Public accounting firms (The big 4) really overwork their employees and I don't think I'd want to work 80-90 hours a week while only make 50-60k after I graduate from law school.... I'd expect a little more.

Advise please

User avatar
YaSvoboden
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby YaSvoboden » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:23 am

I'm in a pretty similar situation. 3.9 GPA Accounting, looking at law with interest in tax law, taking LSAT in Oct., except people are telling me to get a job (I am probably a few years older than you though.) I have asked around about this a fair amount on here, from professors that have both designations, admissions committees, etc.

What are your goals and why do you want the CPA? If you want to go to a top law school and get big law and do something there, the CPA won't really help you with admissions, it may give a marginal edge when it comes to getting a job and a little respect when getting clients, but not really worth 2 years of work.

Law school and part time work isn't a good idea from what everyone says. Plus, I doubt you will get much responsibility as a part time worker and you are looking for the experience.

One thing you haven't thought of is aiming for a big 4 firm after law school. With a tax emphasis (LLM preferred) you can get in to a big 4 firm and make more than that 50k, though not the 160k biglaw salary. I am pretty sure that these can count as hours for the CPA qualification and certain law courses can count towards requirements for education.

It all really depends on what you actually want to do. If it is work at a firm, not worth it really. If you want to own your own small tax practice or something, meh... could be helpful.

User avatar
chesterfan1230
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:59 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby chesterfan1230 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:37 am

YaSvoboden wrote:I'm in a pretty similar situation. 3.9 GPA Accounting, looking at law with interest in tax law, taking LSAT in Oct., except people are telling me to get a job (I am probably a few years older than you though.) I have asked around about this a fair amount on here, from professors that have both designations, admissions committees, etc.

What are your goals and why do you want the CPA? If you want to go to a top law school and get big law and do something there, the CPA won't really help you with admissions, it may give a marginal edge when it comes to getting a job and a little respect when getting clients, but not really worth 2 years of work.

Law school and part time work isn't a good idea from what everyone says. Plus, I doubt you will get much responsibility as a part time worker and you are looking for the experience.

One thing you haven't thought of is aiming for a big 4 firm after law school. With a tax emphasis (LLM preferred) you can get in to a big 4 firm and make more than that 50k, though not the 160k biglaw salary. I am pretty sure that these can count as hours for the CPA qualification and certain law courses can count towards requirements for education.

It all really depends on what you actually want to do. If it is work at a firm, not worth it really. If you want to own your own small tax practice or something, meh... could be helpful.


I'm pretty young, will be graduating at 20...

I want CPA because one day I'd like to open up a consulting firm that does both legal / accounting / tax services. Not a small mom / pop business but more of a large firm. I understand that I could always hire a CPA though to do the accounting / tax services.

I think your idea of working at a Big 4 firm after law school would be a GREAT idea... Something I haven't thought of thanks! Only thing is I want to focus on business law and not tax law... Wonder how that'll work out.

I certainly don't want to work while in law school though.

User avatar
DaftAndDirect
Posts: 381
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:28 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby DaftAndDirect » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:41 am

Work first. I think it does wonders. You also said you REFUSE not to get your CPA. Getting your CPA to go to LS part time is kind of dumb, just go through and get it. If you really push it, it doesn't have to take 18 months. My ex-gf did it in 8.

I've also been drinking. But srsly, take the time to work. The most succesful lawyers in any practice are the ones who understand how to sell and maintain business. Get the experience while you can.

User avatar
YaSvoboden
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby YaSvoboden » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:58 am

chesterfan1230 wrote:I'm pretty young, will be graduating at 20...

I want CPA because one day I'd like to open up a consulting firm that does both legal / accounting / tax services. Not a small mom / pop business but more of a large firm. I understand that I could always hire a CPA though to do the accounting / tax services.

I think your idea of working at a Big 4 firm after law school would be a GREAT idea... Something I haven't thought of thanks! Only thing is I want to focus on business law and not tax law... Wonder how that'll work out.

I certainly don't want to work while in law school though.


Yeah, I'll graduate at 26 or 27 so I have a little more reason to really start a career.

I say go ahead and get some work experience, get your CPA and then see if you still want a law degree to meet your career goals or if an MBA or MS Finance or something like that would be better for you. You will be starting law school at about 23 anyway with that plan and going in at 20 would make you much younger than average.

Taking a couple years off of school doesn't make it that hard to go back, it gives you clear perspective about why you are going and I think with a couple years of working you will probably refine your goal and help you understand what education would really help with it. The LSAT is good for 5 years, so you could get it out of the way now and still have a good chance of using your score in the future if now is a good time for you to study for it.

ManofGod78
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:15 am

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby ManofGod78 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:24 am

.
Last edited by ManofGod78 on Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
chesterfan1230
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:59 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby chesterfan1230 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:19 am

ManofGod78 wrote:Based on your long-term goal, I say work and get CPA, then attend law school. For one, you'll knock the work experience requirement out the way prior to law school--all while gaining practical experience at a prestigious accounting firm (assuming you get hired at a BigFour firm) making yourself more credible in the future. Secondly, who wants to study for both the CPA exam and Bar exam after completing law school?

By the way, I'm a CPA and will be attending law school in the fall.


Thanks guys for the views. Sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else to get it through...

User avatar
reasonable_man
Posts: 2200
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:30 am

Don't even think about this twice. Get your CPA first. Work 2 years. Then, if you really want to, apply to LS. Having a CPA as a lawyer is a great thing to have.

User avatar
swinger
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:09 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby swinger » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:47 am

Not sure if my experience affects your decision at all, but I thought I should put it out there:

I was also an accounting major set on getting a CPA. I worked for a big 4 firm after junior year of college and decided that accounting was not something I wanted to do long-term. There were SEVERAL CPAs there who had their JD and they urged me to look at law schools, so I did. I took the LSAT in December of my senior year and applied (it NEVER hurts to apply- except financially haha). The LSAT is good for I think like 5 years and it would be way easier to study for it over the summer/during college than it would when you have a full-time job at a large accounting firm.

I'd recommend taking the LSAT now and seeing what your options are. I ended up being able to go to a great law school so I took that route and took my CPA exams over the summer before LS, winter between semesters, and summer after 1L (I didn't find that they require that much studying if you got a good undergrad education in accounting- the tests are pretty basic). I inquired a few times and never got an answer to this, but for some reason I was under the impression that the working requirement is generally that you have to work under a CPA- NOT necessarily in accounting. If that is the case in your state, most big law firms, and many smaller firms, are going to have some CPAs in the office who can "supervise" you during that work period.

There you have it, best of both worlds (hopefully). Go straight through, crank out the tests during the summers and winter (really not that hard) and get the work requirement done after law school.

User avatar
chesterfan1230
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:59 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby chesterfan1230 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:40 am

swinger wrote:Not sure if my experience affects your decision at all, but I thought I should put it out there:

I was also an accounting major set on getting a CPA. I worked for a big 4 firm after junior year of college and decided that accounting was not something I wanted to do long-term. There were SEVERAL CPAs there who had their JD and they urged me to look at law schools, so I did. I took the LSAT in December of my senior year and applied (it NEVER hurts to apply- except financially haha). The LSAT is good for I think like 5 years and it would be way easier to study for it over the summer/during college than it would when you have a full-time job at a large accounting firm.

I'd recommend taking the LSAT now and seeing what your options are. I ended up being able to go to a great law school so I took that route and took my CPA exams over the summer before LS, winter between semesters, and summer after 1L (I didn't find that they require that much studying if you got a good undergrad education in accounting- the tests are pretty basic). I inquired a few times and never got an answer to this, but for some reason I was under the impression that the working requirement is generally that you have to work under a CPA- NOT necessarily in accounting. If that is the case in your state, most big law firms, and many smaller firms, are going to have some CPAs in the office who can "supervise" you during that work period.

There you have it, best of both worlds (hopefully). Go straight through, crank out the tests during the summers and winter (really not that hard) and get the work requirement done after law school.


Could you tell me which state you were able to do this in? I'm in New Jersey... and am SERIOUSLY Thinking about this

theantiscalia
Posts: 320
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:18 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby theantiscalia » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:45 am

chesterfan1230 wrote:
swinger wrote:Not sure if my experience affects your decision at all, but I thought I should put it out there:

I was also an accounting major set on getting a CPA. I worked for a big 4 firm after junior year of college and decided that accounting was not something I wanted to do long-term. There were SEVERAL CPAs there who had their JD and they urged me to look at law schools, so I did. I took the LSAT in December of my senior year and applied (it NEVER hurts to apply- except financially haha). The LSAT is good for I think like 5 years and it would be way easier to study for it over the summer/during college than it would when you have a full-time job at a large accounting firm.

I'd recommend taking the LSAT now and seeing what your options are. I ended up being able to go to a great law school so I took that route and took my CPA exams over the summer before LS, winter between semesters, and summer after 1L (I didn't find that they require that much studying if you got a good undergrad education in accounting- the tests are pretty basic). I inquired a few times and never got an answer to this, but for some reason I was under the impression that the working requirement is generally that you have to work under a CPA- NOT necessarily in accounting. If that is the case in your state, most big law firms, and many smaller firms, are going to have some CPAs in the office who can "supervise" you during that work period.

There you have it, best of both worlds (hopefully). Go straight through, crank out the tests during the summers and winter (really not that hard) and get the work requirement done after law school.


Could you tell me which state you were able to do this in? I'm in New Jersey... and am SERIOUSLY Thinking about this


I'm a CPA. I practiced for four years before I went to law school. Here's my perspective:

Go work at an accounting firm for two years. I did this, and law firms love it. I interviewed with six law firms as a 1L... and I'm not a diversity candidate, and I didn't have my grades back yet. I ended up accepting an internship on the 8th Circuit... which I got because the judge was a CPA.

It also seemed to help slightly in admissions, it gave me a lot of maturity, and it helped me save for law school. (And at PwC, I rarely worked over 55 hours a week, except during busy season.)

theantiscalia
Posts: 320
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:18 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby theantiscalia » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:58 am

theantiscalia wrote:
chesterfan1230 wrote:
swinger wrote:Not sure if my experience affects your decision at all, but I thought I should put it out there:

I was also an accounting major set on getting a CPA. I worked for a big 4 firm after junior year of college and decided that accounting was not something I wanted to do long-term. There were SEVERAL CPAs there who had their JD and they urged me to look at law schools, so I did. I took the LSAT in December of my senior year and applied (it NEVER hurts to apply- except financially haha). The LSAT is good for I think like 5 years and it would be way easier to study for it over the summer/during college than it would when you have a full-time job at a large accounting firm.

I'd recommend taking the LSAT now and seeing what your options are. I ended up being able to go to a great law school so I took that route and took my CPA exams over the summer before LS, winter between semesters, and summer after 1L (I didn't find that they require that much studying if you got a good undergrad education in accounting- the tests are pretty basic). I inquired a few times and never got an answer to this, but for some reason I was under the impression that the working requirement is generally that you have to work under a CPA- NOT necessarily in accounting. If that is the case in your state, most big law firms, and many smaller firms, are going to have some CPAs in the office who can "supervise" you during that work period.

There you have it, best of both worlds (hopefully). Go straight through, crank out the tests during the summers and winter (really not that hard) and get the work requirement done after law school.


Could you tell me which state you were able to do this in? I'm in New Jersey... and am SERIOUSLY Thinking about this


I'm a CPA. I practiced for four years before I went to law school. Here's my perspective:

Go work at an accounting firm for two years. I did this, and law firms love it. I interviewed with six law firms as a 1L... and I'm not a diversity candidate, and I didn't have my grades back yet. I ended up accepting an internship on the 8th Circuit... which I got because the judge was a CPA.

It also seemed to help slightly in admissions, it gave me a lot of maturity, and it helped me save for law school. (And at PwC, I rarely worked over 55 hours a week, except during busy season.)


Also, I know it is no sure thing, and would depend heavily on where you went to law school, but I serve as an adjunct in the accounting department at my school. It helps pay for law school... and they wouldn't let me do it without several years experience and the CPA...

GJWheeler
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:20 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby GJWheeler » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:11 pm

A. Final answer, Regis.

071816
Posts: 5511
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:06 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby 071816 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:12 pm

reasonable_man wrote:Don't even think about this twice. Get your CPA first. Work 2 years. Then, if you really want to, apply to LS. Having a CPA as a lawyer is a great thing to have.

User avatar
CurbYourEnthusiasm
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:49 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby CurbYourEnthusiasm » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:40 pm

swinger wrote:Not sure if my experience affects your decision at all, but I thought I should put it out there:

I was also an accounting major set on getting a CPA. I worked for a big 4 firm after junior year of college and decided that accounting was not something I wanted to do long-term. There were SEVERAL CPAs there who had their JD and they urged me to look at law schools, so I did. I took the LSAT in December of my senior year and applied (it NEVER hurts to apply- except financially haha). The LSAT is good for I think like 5 years and it would be way easier to study for it over the summer/during college than it would when you have a full-time job at a large accounting firm.

I'd recommend taking the LSAT now and seeing what your options are. I ended up being able to go to a great law school so I took that route and took my CPA exams over the summer before LS, winter between semesters, and summer after 1L (I didn't find that they require that much studying if you got a good undergrad education in accounting- the tests are pretty basic). I inquired a few times and never got an answer to this, but for some reason I was under the impression that the working requirement is generally that you have to work under a CPA- NOT necessarily in accounting. If that is the case in your state, most big law firms, and many smaller firms, are going to have some CPAs in the office who can "supervise" you during that work period.

There you have it, best of both worlds (hopefully). Go straight through, crank out the tests during the summers and winter (really not that hard) and get the work requirement done after law school.


Awesome post. Am thinking of doing something similar. Do you know if law school credits count towards the 150 hour requirement? I only have the 120+ credits from undergrad, and am assuming that law school classes would be able to count towards the extra credits, considering one can go to community college and take basket weaving to help achieve this.

User avatar
chesterfan1230
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:59 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby chesterfan1230 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:36 pm

CurbYourEnthusiasm wrote:
swinger wrote:Not sure if my experience affects your decision at all, but I thought I should put it out there:

I was also an accounting major set on getting a CPA. I worked for a big 4 firm after junior year of college and decided that accounting was not something I wanted to do long-term. There were SEVERAL CPAs there who had their JD and they urged me to look at law schools, so I did. I took the LSAT in December of my senior year and applied (it NEVER hurts to apply- except financially haha). The LSAT is good for I think like 5 years and it would be way easier to study for it over the summer/during college than it would when you have a full-time job at a large accounting firm.

I'd recommend taking the LSAT now and seeing what your options are. I ended up being able to go to a great law school so I took that route and took my CPA exams over the summer before LS, winter between semesters, and summer after 1L (I didn't find that they require that much studying if you got a good undergrad education in accounting- the tests are pretty basic). I inquired a few times and never got an answer to this, but for some reason I was under the impression that the working requirement is generally that you have to work under a CPA- NOT necessarily in accounting. If that is the case in your state, most big law firms, and many smaller firms, are going to have some CPAs in the office who can "supervise" you during that work period.

There you have it, best of both worlds (hopefully). Go straight through, crank out the tests during the summers and winter (really not that hard) and get the work requirement done after law school.


Awesome post. Am thinking of doing something similar. Do you know if law school credits count towards the 150 hour requirement? I only have the 120+ credits from undergrad, and am assuming that law school classes would be able to count towards the extra credits, considering one can go to community college and take basket weaving to help achieve this.



Yes they do. ANY Type of collegiate, university level education will count towards your 150- Information from Becker Review.

UCLAtransfer
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:36 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby UCLAtransfer » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:00 pm

chesterfan1230 wrote:I want CPA because one day I'd like to open up a consulting firm that does both legal / accounting / tax services. Not a small mom / pop business but more of a large firm. I understand that I could always hire a CPA though to do the accounting / tax services.


This isn't really relevant to your current question about which route to take, but just wanted to note that you will find (once you take professional responsibility in LS) that there are a number of issues with your long-term goal, especially w/r/t the bolded. There are very strict rules prohibiting sharing fees with non-lawyer partners in a business, which is one reason there really aren't businesses like you describe. Mainly b/c they would pretty much have to all be lawyers even doing the accounting/tax stuff, and there are a number of economic realities making such an arrangement relatively unattractive (for both the firm and the clients).

More on point to your OP, my good friend in LS worked for a big 4 firm for 2 years to get his CPA, saved a bunch of money that helped pay for living expenses during school, and had solid experience on his resume which it seems like really helped him land a biglaw gig. I think getting a year or two of work experience is always credited, and can only help you in terms of landing solid jobs during and after LS.

parsi
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:16 am

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby parsi » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:49 pm

One thing to consider is your GPA

I applied to law school at the beginning of my senior year with a 3.9 as well. After senior year, my GPA is definitely not a 3.9 anymore and I dont feel as if I would have gotten into some of the schools I did if I waited till after undergrad to apply

User avatar
Panther7
Posts: 455
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:34 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby Panther7 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:07 am

get the CPA first. and it's a great thing to have. trying to get a CPA after/during law school is not an easy thing to do, as loans begin to rape you.

User avatar
swinger
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:09 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby swinger » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:43 pm

Panther7 wrote:get the CPA first. and it's a great thing to have. trying to get a CPA after/during law school is not an easy thing to do, as loans begin to rape you.


agree that its not easy to do after law schoool when you are working tons of hours as a 1st/2nd year associate... but do realize that the summer before your first semester of law school, the winters b/w semesters, and even possibly the summer after 1L present a great opportunity to knock the tests out. There are only four of them and if you take a consolidated review course, like Becker Fast-Pass (which was incredible), there is NO reason you cant knock them all out quickly. Do 2 the summer b/w college and law school, 1 the winter between 1st and 2nd semester, and 1 during your 1L summer. study your ass off for a couple/few weeks before each test and knock them out and then have your CPA and save some time.

User avatar
CurbYourEnthusiasm
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:49 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby CurbYourEnthusiasm » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:07 pm

swinger wrote:
Panther7 wrote:get the CPA first. and it's a great thing to have. trying to get a CPA after/during law school is not an easy thing to do, as loans begin to rape you.


agree that its not easy to do after law schoool when you are working tons of hours as a 1st/2nd year associate... but do realize that the summer before your first semester of law school, the winters b/w semesters, and even possibly the summer after 1L present a great opportunity to knock the tests out. There are only four of them and if you take a consolidated review course, like Becker Fast-Pass (which was incredible), there is NO reason you cant knock them all out quickly. Do 2 the summer b/w college and law school, 1 the winter between 1st and 2nd semester, and 1 during your 1L summer. study your ass off for a couple/few weeks before each test and knock them out and then have your CPA and save some time.


Do you remember what you paid for the fast pass course? Heard Becker is very expensive, but well worth it.

User avatar
swinger
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:09 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby swinger » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:18 pm

CurbYourEnthusiasm wrote:
swinger wrote:
Panther7 wrote:get the CPA first. and it's a great thing to have. trying to get a CPA after/during law school is not an easy thing to do, as loans begin to rape you.


agree that its not easy to do after law schoool when you are working tons of hours as a 1st/2nd year associate... but do realize that the summer before your first semester of law school, the winters b/w semesters, and even possibly the summer after 1L present a great opportunity to knock the tests out. There are only four of them and if you take a consolidated review course, like Becker Fast-Pass (which was incredible), there is NO reason you cant knock them all out quickly. Do 2 the summer b/w college and law school, 1 the winter between 1st and 2nd semester, and 1 during your 1L summer. study your ass off for a couple/few weeks before each test and knock them out and then have your CPA and save some time.


Do you remember what you paid for the fast pass course? Heard Becker is very expensive, but well worth it.


b/w 2500 and 3k i think. well worth it. great material, live class was incredible, forces you to study and really teaches to the test.

User avatar
robotclubmember
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:53 am

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby robotclubmember » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:51 pm

swinger wrote:
CurbYourEnthusiasm wrote:
swinger wrote:
Panther7 wrote:get the CPA first. and it's a great thing to have. trying to get a CPA after/during law school is not an easy thing to do, as loans begin to rape you.


agree that its not easy to do after law schoool when you are working tons of hours as a 1st/2nd year associate... but do realize that the summer before your first semester of law school, the winters b/w semesters, and even possibly the summer after 1L present a great opportunity to knock the tests out. There are only four of them and if you take a consolidated review course, like Becker Fast-Pass (which was incredible), there is NO reason you cant knock them all out quickly. Do 2 the summer b/w college and law school, 1 the winter between 1st and 2nd semester, and 1 during your 1L summer. study your ass off for a couple/few weeks before each test and knock them out and then have your CPA and save some time.


Do you remember what you paid for the fast pass course? Heard Becker is very expensive, but well worth it.


b/w 2500 and 3k i think. well worth it. great material, live class was incredible, forces you to study and really teaches to the test.


Any Big Four firm will pay for your Becker materials, and give you a 3k bonus when you pass the exam. With a 3.9, OP can definitely get Big Four, and should. I second every reason that's been listed above. Things I'd add:

I wish I took the LSAT in undergrad before I started working and doing the CPA thing. You will be pretty exhausted with tests by the time you get to the LSAT after taking four sections of the CPA exam while working in public accounting.

The LSAT is still more important than your work experience. If I could pick between a 170 with no WE and no CPA, as opposed to a 165 with 2 years WE and a CPA, I'd take the 170. You'd get into a better school. Something a lot of people don't think about, but from a financial (not personal) perspective, if you're going T14, it makes the most sense to matriculate as early as you can. You could either have two years of $50K in public accounting now, or exchange it for two years of $150K in Big Law later. If you've got the numbers to get into T14 and you're aiming for Big Law, giving up those two years of lawyer salary for accountant salary is a huge opportunity cost. If you're just going to any law school, then that opportunity cost may not really exist.

It's been touched on, but you'll need 150 credits to sit. You can get that doing anything as long as 30 credits are accounting. Take a seminar course in CPR or online course in astronomy if you need to get to 150 before law school. don't kill yourself for the MACC. No one, and I mean no one cares about whether or not you have a MACC as long as you have the CPA. If you have the MACC and no CPA, you look like a failure who couldn't pass the exam, if you have the MACC and CPA, that makes you equal to someone with no MACC and CPA. Law school courses will bump you to 150 also.

spinecho202
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:06 pm

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby spinecho202 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:31 pm

to add to what everyone else has been saying, I'm a cpa 3 years out, thought about going to law school, go work as a CPA for 2-3 years. After that, you'll have the option to either go to law school, or continue to work as a CPA. At that point, you'll be making at least ~70k; so if push comes to shove going to law school would only make sense for you if you were going to a T14, or any T30 w sizable scholarship and/or in-state

User avatar
robotclubmember
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:53 am

Re: To work and get CPA or go straight to law school

Postby robotclubmember » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:23 am

spinecho202 wrote:to add to what everyone else has been saying, I'm a cpa 3 years out, thought about going to law school, go work as a CPA for 2-3 years. After that, you'll have the option to either go to law school, or continue to work as a CPA. At that point, you'll be making at least ~70k; so if push comes to shove going to law school would only make sense for you if you were going to a T14, or any T30 w sizable scholarship and/or in-state


Three years as a CPA does not guarantee 70k salary. I was definitely not at 70K by year 3, and had killer evals too. One of my friends is a senior at a Big Four firm on his sixth year still under 70k. This is common, as raises have been scaled back dramatically (think 3% - 8% per annum, as opposed to 8% - 20% during tho Sarbanes Oxley boom). It's just as true for accounting as it is for law that this is not the 90's anymore.

It also depends on the market you're in. That said, in Big Four, everything I've heard almost unanimously supports that regardless of market, very few auditors will be at 70k after 2-3 years. One of my friends in the New York office only got a 5.8% raise even during his promotion year, even though he got good reviews and was promoted early. 55K was starting salary in Chicago and New York for Big Four audit last I checked. In my mid-market region, class of 2011 audit hires were being started at 45K.

Lastly, as noted before, if you have the stats for T14 and are pretty sure it's where you're headed and you can make big law, just go now. The cost of the CPA is giving up a couple years of 130-160K salary in exchange for a couple years of 45-60K salary depending on market. You could be sacrificing as much as 200K in before tax salary as an opportunity cost to pursuing the CPA if you worked two years as a CPA, so put some thought into whether the CPA will pay that 200K back over the course of your career before committing to an investment in it.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], NCGuy, oliviaj_j and 4 guests