Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

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thexfactor
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby thexfactor » Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Transferthrowaway wrote:Haven't read most of this thread, so I apologize if this has been covered already. I was an accounting UG who decided to go to law school.

1) MAcc Programs can be very expensive. I know Michigan's is something in the realm of $70k. Granted, this is less than 3 years of law school, but $70k for an outside shot at a job that pays $55k/year isn't so appealing.
2) Most entry level Big4 auditors, even if they've done a MAcc, have secured their full-time employment during UG.
3) Auditing sucks. Seriously. The hours are terrible and you do the most menial shit sometimes. One of my good friends does audit at a big 4 in NYC. He is literally working until 1-2 in the morning every night to be taking home $65k/year in NYC.


1. Its not an outside shot for jobs that pay 55k. Firms outside the big 4 pay close to 50k.
It costs 200k for most law schools. The avg law school graduate prob will not make 50-60k.
2. My significant other is in a MACC program. Her MACC program is at a good but not great school ( Not mich, usc or texas). They take about 40-50 students each year for the 1 year program and about half the students in the program are foreign. Almost all of the us citizens in her program have good accounting jobs lined up. Some big 4 some with firms right outside the big 4. The people who have problems are the foreign students. Outside the big 4, there are very few firms that hire individuals without a greencard.
She just got a job with a big4 firm with slightly above median grades + no work experience. Starting salary is around 55-60k in the east coast (not nyc) She told me that many contacts that she has networked with told her that the big4 is hiring back at pre recession levels. Unlike law, accounting has rebounded nicely.

The top schools (umich, usc, texas) have recruiters from ibanks, f500 companies for corp fin and also more accounting firms outside the big 4.

Transferthrowaway
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby Transferthrowaway » Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:41 pm

You can whiteknight accounting all you want, I used having the UG degree as a major selling point during OCI. I'm just trying to let OP know that big4 accounting isn't some magical safe harbor for him to escape to.

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TUP
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby TUP » Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:45 pm

Look into public accounting before making a decision. It's miserable. The corporate finance exit options are even worse.

LeBronBBall
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby LeBronBBall » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:46 pm

Transferthrowaway wrote:Haven't read most of this thread, so I apologize if this has been covered already. I was an accounting UG who decided to go to law school.

1) MAcc Programs can be very expensive. I know Michigan's is something in the realm of $70k. Granted, this is less than 3 years of law school, but $70k for an outside shot at a job that pays $55k/year isn't so appealing.
2) Most entry level Big4 auditors, even if they've done a MAcc, have secured their full-time employment during UG.
3) Auditing sucks. Seriously. The hours are terrible and you do the most menial shit sometimes. One of my good friends does audit at a big 4 in NYC. He is literally working until 1-2 in the morning every night to be taking home $65k/year in NYC.


Thanks for your feedback.

I thought auditing gets only crazy hours during 'busy' season, no? One of my friends does external audit at Big4 and he works 50-60 hours a week on average. But, he works in Chicago, not NYC. Or, maybe Big4 at NYC branch have worse hours?? (actually I think my friend mentioned something like NYC has worse hours than other offices for Big4 because they're short staffed or something)

Also, I heard that where you go to accounting school doesn't matter much for getting an audit job at Big4, is this true? If this is true, I think I will go to a cheap, no-name state school near my home (Chicago) to take advantage of cheaper tuition. I don't want to spend extra 10-20k on tuition if I can get the same recruiting opportunities out of cheap state schools near Chicago, as opposed to attending UIUC or Michigan, which are more prestigious but much more expensive.

Do you know anything about how recruiting works at MAcc level? Do Big4 firms discriminate against you if you didn't major in accounting UG, or can you still do OCI at MACC.... Ughh, this really is a confusing shit.

Lastly, is accounting any more boring than other jobs out there in your opinion. I've come to conclusion that any respectable job in the business world including accounting is better than being unemployed and I don't really care if the job is kinda boring. Also, I read many posts here that complain of BigLaw's terrible hours and boring nature of work. So, I am not sure if other options I have are that much better in that regard.

LeBronBBall
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby LeBronBBall » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:55 pm

thexfactor wrote:
Transferthrowaway wrote:Haven't read most of this thread, so I apologize if this has been covered already. I was an accounting UG who decided to go to law school.

1) MAcc Programs can be very expensive. I know Michigan's is something in the realm of $70k. Granted, this is less than 3 years of law school, but $70k for an outside shot at a job that pays $55k/year isn't so appealing.
2) Most entry level Big4 auditors, even if they've done a MAcc, have secured their full-time employment during UG.
3) Auditing sucks. Seriously. The hours are terrible and you do the most menial shit sometimes. One of my good friends does audit at a big 4 in NYC. He is literally working until 1-2 in the morning every night to be taking home $65k/year in NYC.


1. Its not an outside shot for jobs that pay 55k. Firms outside the big 4 pay close to 50k.
It costs 200k for most law schools. The avg law school graduate prob will not make 50-60k.
2. My significant other is in a MACC program. Her MACC program is at a good but not great school ( Not mich, usc or texas). They take about 40-50 students each year for the 1 year program and about half the students in the program are foreign. Almost all of the us citizens in her program have good accounting jobs lined up. Some big 4 some with firms right outside the big 4. The people who have problems are the foreign students. Outside the big 4, there are very few firms that hire individuals without a greencard.
She just got a job with a big4 firm with slightly above median grades + no work experience. Starting salary is around 55-60k in the east coast (not nyc) She told me that many contacts that she has networked with told her that the big4 is hiring back at pre recession levels. Unlike law, accounting has rebounded nicely.

The top schools (umich, usc, texas) have recruiters from ibanks, f500 companies for corp fin and also more accounting firms outside the big 4.


Did your SO have accounting background from college or not? Hmmm, based on this, I think getting a Big4 audit job is much easier than getting BigLaw, no??

LeBronBBall
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby LeBronBBall » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:58 pm

bdubs wrote:I would guess that your lack of substantive internships hurt you as much, or more than, your GPA in the job search overall. However, all of the consulting firms I know of have GPA floors around 3.5 or so.

At Northwestern about 2/3 of the class gets a job at a reasonably large law firm (not all paying 160,000 though). However, full freight tuition, plus living expenses for 3 years is going to run you well over $200,000. The 1/3 of the class who don't get a job are essentially screwed.

Law school is not a great thing to go through if you're just looking for a job that pays well. It's not a degree with a lot of general relevance, so it's only good for doing one thing practicing law. Unless you know you want to be a lawyer because it's the kind of work you're interested in, I wouldn't do it.


Thank you for your thoughtful responses. The dominant reason I thought of law school was that I was never interested in health care or engineering type of careers, but I could see myself entering business world or law. Also, most of my friends from college who couldn't line up decent jobs seemed to prepare for law school, because lawyers tend to make a lot of money if you make it to a big firm. Honestly, before coming to lurk around this forum, I didn't have any idea that the legal job market is as terrible as it really is.

Btw, if over 60% of kids at NU get good firm jobs, I think that is a pretty good percentage of success. I was thinking it was closer to like 40% at low T14 getting BigLaw.
Just curious, why did you decide to leave consulting and enter law?

bdubs
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby bdubs » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:45 am

LeBronBBall wrote:Btw, if over 60% of kids at NU get good firm jobs, I think that is a pretty good percentage of success. I was thinking it was closer to like 40% at low T14 getting BigLaw.
Just curious, why did you decide to leave consulting and enter law?


Yeah, I don't know that a 1/3 chance of striking out is really that great. It's a really expensive lottery ticket. Also, NU does better than some of its peers because it requires 1-2 years of post graduate work experience, and legal employers like experience. T14 law schools used to be able to legitimately claim 90%+ placement, but that's just not the case anymore.

I was in a relatively specialized area of consulting that had a lot of interaction with the law. I liked the legal aspects and I knew I needed a grad degree to keep my career on track. I'm not really in the same boat as most people at my school though because I'm in the JD/MBA program (more $$ but also more job security). There's a chance that I will end up not going into law at all if things don't pan out the way I want, but I'm fairly confident I can find a good job through Kellogg.

slacker
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby slacker » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:56 am

Transferthrowaway wrote:You can whiteknight accounting all you want, I used having the UG degree as a major selling point during OCI. I'm just trying to let OP know that big4 accounting isn't some magical safe harbor for him to escape to.


Do firms actually care that much about having done accounting in UG? Only ask because you said major selling point.

Transferthrowaway
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby Transferthrowaway » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:18 am

slacker wrote:
Transferthrowaway wrote:You can whiteknight accounting all you want, I used having the UG degree as a major selling point during OCI. I'm just trying to let OP know that big4 accounting isn't some magical safe harbor for him to escape to.


Do firms actually care that much about having done accounting in UG? Only ask because you said major selling point.

I guess I should downgrade "major selling point" to just "selling point." I definitely used it as a way to distinguish myself from the typical history/english major, as well as a starting point to flesh out the practice areas I'm interested in. Further, I was able to talk financial accounting and finance intelligently during my interviews, not just, "herp derp I was an accounting major."

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Bronte
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby Bronte » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:35 am

slacker wrote:
Transferthrowaway wrote:You can whiteknight accounting all you want, I used having the UG degree as a major selling point during OCI. I'm just trying to let OP know that big4 accounting isn't some magical safe harbor for him to escape to.


Do firms actually care that much about having done accounting in UG? Only ask because you said major selling point.


Finance or accounting degrees play really well in NYC big law interviews. It's not just the line on the resume, but it's the fact that unlike most of your peers you have a vague idea what big law firms actually do.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby birdlaw117 » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:41 am

Bronte wrote:
slacker wrote:
Transferthrowaway wrote:You can whiteknight accounting all you want, I used having the UG degree as a major selling point during OCI. I'm just trying to let OP know that big4 accounting isn't some magical safe harbor for him to escape to.


Do firms actually care that much about having done accounting in UG? Only ask because you said major selling point.


Finance or accounting degrees play really well in NYC big law interviews. It's not just the line on the resume, but it's the fact that unlike most of your peers you have a vague idea what big law firms actually do.

Oh how I hope this is my experience during interviews...

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thexfactor
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Re: Becoming a lawyer vs becoming a CPA

Postby thexfactor » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:23 am

LeBronBBall wrote:
thexfactor wrote:
Transferthrowaway wrote:Haven't read most of this thread, so I apologize if this has been covered already. I was an accounting UG who decided to go to law school.

1) MAcc Programs can be very expensive. I know Michigan's is something in the realm of $70k. Granted, this is less than 3 years of law school, but $70k for an outside shot at a job that pays $55k/year isn't so appealing.
2) Most entry level Big4 auditors, even if they've done a MAcc, have secured their full-time employment during UG.
3) Auditing sucks. Seriously. The hours are terrible and you do the most menial shit sometimes. One of my good friends does audit at a big 4 in NYC. He is literally working until 1-2 in the morning every night to be taking home $65k/year in NYC.


1. Its not an outside shot for jobs that pay 55k. Firms outside the big 4 pay close to 50k.
It costs 200k for most law schools. The avg law school graduate prob will not make 50-60k.
2. My significant other is in a MACC program. Her MACC program is at a good but not great school ( Not mich, usc or texas). They take about 40-50 students each year for the 1 year program and about half the students in the program are foreign. Almost all of the us citizens in her program have good accounting jobs lined up. Some big 4 some with firms right outside the big 4. The people who have problems are the foreign students. Outside the big 4, there are very few firms that hire individuals without a greencard.
She just got a job with a big4 firm with slightly above median grades + no work experience. Starting salary is around 55-60k in the east coast (not nyc) She told me that many contacts that she has networked with told her that the big4 is hiring back at pre recession levels. Unlike law, accounting has rebounded nicely.

The top schools (umich, usc, texas) have recruiters from ibanks, f500 companies for corp fin and also more accounting firms outside the big 4.


Did your SO have accounting background from college or not? Hmmm, based on this, I think getting a Big4 audit job is much easier than getting BigLaw, no??


Yes big4 is much easier but the pay is much less than biglaw. Prob about 30-40% of biglaw.
Id say the payout from a school outside of (umich,usc,texas) is about the same as going to wustl/emory/uiuc without scholarship depending on your risk preference.
umich,usc,texas might be equal to ucla/usc/vandy.
She had an engineering degree in Ugrad with a couple of accounting classes.

The school doesn't matter that much for the big4 and regional firms directly in the area of your school. However, schools like usc,mich,texas often get more firms right outside of the big4 that attend oci + major offices of big4 ie LA,NY,Chicago that hire directly + jobs like corp fin and ibanking (if you are lucky)...




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