Would a master's degree hurt my chances at law school?

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Innocent13

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Would a master's degree hurt my chances at law school?

Postby Innocent13 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:29 pm

My LSAT is not exactly where I would like it to be at. I have taken it twice and saw a MAJOR boost between the two scores, 155 to a 165 from September to December test, but I would like to retake as I know it could still be better. I am out of time to apply to law schools this cycle, but am open to applying next cycle.

Durning the downtime I was planning on completing a graduate degree in accounting. I have an accounting and economics undergrad and have the opportunity to attend the graduate program at my current university for free. I am concerned however, that this will hurt my chances in law school as it is not a super highly regarded graduate program.It is a Big10 University and the program is a Top 50 Accounting program, but barely. Many articles discuss the importance of your master's coming from a really good school, so I am concerned this would reflect poorly.


I also received a full time job offer from a Big Four Accounting firm I could take instead of receiving the master if that would look better, I just honestly don't think I would enjoy it as much as I would enjoy pursuing my masters. Additionally, I am not attending the master's programs in hopes of making my academics look better as I know that is not helpful. Right now I am sitting at an LSAC calculated GPA of a 4.13.

Thoughts? Would this hurt my application?

***EDIT: My end goal is to attend a Top 50 law school with close to a full ride.

uhwrestler

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Re: Would a master's degree hurt my chances at law school?

Postby uhwrestler » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:29 pm

it definitely wont hurt
will it help for admission? likely not if all else is equal it might differentiate you slightly from someone with equal stats but no work experience or grad degree....but any benefit from this will be small
it might actually help you better with employment....law firms might find you more attractive if you looking to work in tax law(not sure about this though)


anyway from a financial perspective taking the job is the way better option....legal employment is really bad and debt loads are high so the more money you can save up the better

CanadianWolf

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Re: Would a master's degree hurt my chances at law school?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:59 pm

LSAC GPA is based only on your first undergraduate degree.

Would love to know which Big Four & which practice area (tax, auditing, consulting, international, etc.). Also curious as to which Big 10 offers free masters.

Big Four work experience trumps masters program in accounting, but most need additional college credits in order to be eligible for the CPA exam.

Nobody & no firm gives a darn where your masters in accounting was earned unless, I guess, maybe Texas or Penn (Wharton); and I would like to emphasize the word "maybe".

Too bad PM is out or I could offer some specific useful guidance.

CanadianWolf

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Re: Would a master's degree hurt my chances at law school?

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:35 am

Earning a masters degree in accounting should enable you to spend adequate time to prepare for a retake of the LSAT--which is important for one wishing to attend law school on a full tuition scholarship. Also, because of your outstanding GPA, an LSAT score of 170 or better should yield several substantial scholarship offers from T-14 law schools (so no need to focus on top 50 law schools).

Working at a Big Four accounting firm entails biglaw hours at half the pay--so little time to prepare for the LSAT if aiming to beat 170.

As another poster noted above in answer to your question, a masters degree in accounting will not harm your chances for admission to law school--it should be a slight enhancement, in my opinion.

Natural avenues to pursue would be tax, mergers & acquisitions, corporate restructuring & possibly finance related areas if you have taken, or will take, at least the equivalent of a minor in finance.

Furthermore, a masters in accounting will make you an even more sought after Big Four accounting firm recruit if you decide against attending law school.

Innocent13

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Re: Would a master's degree hurt my chances at law school?

Postby Innocent13 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:44 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Would love to know which Big Four & which practice area (tax, auditing, consulting, international, etc.). Also curious as to which Big 10 offers free masters.

Big Four work experience trumps masters program in accounting, but most need additional college credits in order to be eligible for the CPA exam.

Nobody & no firm gives a darn where your masters in accounting was earned unless, I guess, maybe Texas or Penn (Wharton); and I would like to emphasize the word "maybe".


CanadianWolf:

Right now I have accepted a job offer at Deloitte in their tax department. I was also offered positions by KMPG and E&W and a non-big four firm BDK but ultimately choose Deloitte over culture. There we no openings at PCW at the time I applied, otherwise I would have also applied there.

Big 10 offers are from Ohio State, Indiana and Nebraska. If you wait long enough to apply they will waive the need for a GMAT and after you apply they throw some pretty nice scholarships at you. There are several others that waived GMATs that were surprisingly great programs but I did not apply as staying in the Midwest is extremely important to me, so I am not sure what their TA programs and scholarships look like. I was not really planning on going this route otherwise I would have taken the GMAT and applied to different schools (Texas).

Also, @CandianWolf, in response to your second post, I am very glad to hear that full tuition is possible! As of right now, I would rather not go into Big Law so a full ride is a necessity for me.

Update: Deloitte has offered to allow me to start this summer after graduation from undergrad and then take a year off to obtain the masters and CPA, and then return to work. So I may end up taking this route as it give me a little of both! Thoughts?


Thank you all for your answers! I am glad to hear that no one believes a master's degree will hurt in the application process. I will for sure still consider the job; however, through internships I know that a career in accounting is probably not what is best for me. A short summer at a Big Four and a master's degree, plus obtaining my CPA hopefully will give me more insight into if I really would like to be a CPA or not.

Law school is on the back burner for now, due to financial implications, but I am glad to hear that if the CPA thing goes south (which I am expecting it to...) my chances a law school will not be ruined.

Law 202x

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Re: Would a master's degree hurt my chances at law school?

Postby Law 202x » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:35 am

Just curious, why the 155? Everything else suggests that it should have been higher. What was different the second time around?

181plz

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Re: Would a master's degree hurt my chances at law school?

Postby 181plz » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:52 am

Just wanted to say that with your 4.x and 165 I wouldn’t be surprised if u were offered a t20 full ride, with a 170 you could get a t13 full ride and 173+ may earn you a t6 full. You’ll have great options, especially if you improve upon retaking



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