llm tax

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Anonymous User
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llm tax

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:42 am

Wondering if anybody had any experience/thoughts about the tax llm. information isnt that easy to come by, but the consensus seems to be that the only schools worth going to are nyu, gtown, fla (nw, harv reviews seem mixed). I am interested in placement information, like what kind of oci they offer; and if the degree is worth sinking money into? thanks for any help.

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NayBoer
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Re: llm tax

Postby NayBoer » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:59 am

TaxTalent.com (specifically, the forum) is a good place to go for information. Even though NYU, Georgetown, and Florida are the best schools to go to for a tax LLM, none of these schools are going to guarantee you a job. There are definitely unemployed NYU LLMs. It's important that you have some demonstrated interest in tax prior to getting the LLM. A lot of JDs find themselves unemployed at the end of 3L so they jump into tax programs to get into biglaw. The consensus at TaxTalent is that you probably won't get a second chance at biglaw. If you're on the border before the LLM, you might have a chance, but don't shell out the money for an LLM for that small shot.

An LLM is probably more useful in helping you practice tax law than getting you the job in the first place. It's not a requirement like a JD; it's just a nice bonus. In order to get biglaw, you still need to go to a good law school and you still need to have good law school grades. An LLM from NYU will not make up for a JD from Pace. A boost at law firms, yes, but it's not game changing. The JD is still king.

If you want to work for an accounting firm as a tax lawyer, a CPA is helpful, but probably not required. If you're not a CPA or MST, then the LLM might be the only way to get into an accounting firm, but you might be at a disadvantage against CPAs in this economy. Big 4 pays well, but much less than biglaw.

If you want to try for a tax court clerkship, the LLM is basically mandatory.

LLMs can also work for the IRS. The LLM is not mandatory, but it helps. If you have worked as a lawyer less than a year, you qualify for the IRS Honors Lawyer Program - it's sort of like the IRS' OCI recruiting. If you work more than one year as a lawyer, then you're competing with every lateral attorney who goes to USAJobs.gov. If you work less than a year and you want to use an LLM to work for the IRS, then you're in a narrower pool of fresh recruits. The IRS can hire you at the main office in DC or one of the branch offices around the country.

In short, if you're not already in law school, make sure you go to the best law school you can and get the best grades you can. An LLM from a prestigious school won't make up for a JD from a bad one. It doesn't always make you more competitive, but it's very useful on the job. It might be a small boost in hiring, but your JD and grades have to pass inspection first for law firms. There are a lot more accounting jobs for LLMs than there are firm jobs.

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nealric
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Re: llm tax

Postby nealric » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:20 pm

I just completed my LLM in tax.

My specific advice would depend on where you are right now. (i.e. school year, what school you go to, grades, etc.). Generally, the ideal way to get into tax is biglaw OCI. An LLM can be a second chance, but it's a very risky and expensive one.

There is LLM OCI at Georgetown and NYU (it's a combined event for both schools), but it is anemic at best. Most of my fellow LLMs who didn't have jobs lined up prior to starting the program got their jobs through networking.

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Re: llm tax

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:43 pm

op here, thanks for the responses, very helpful. Since I struck out on oci the first time around, the advice on an llm not making up for that is appreciated. I dont necesarily want nyc/dc biglaw. I am in a much smaller market and was wondering if the llm plays better with "biglaw" firms in 150-250k cities? So, if anyone can speak to that. Thanks again, greatly appreciated.

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nealric
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Re: llm tax

Postby nealric » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:56 am

I dont necesarily want nyc/dc biglaw. I am in a much smaller market and was wondering if the llm plays better with "biglaw" firms in 150-250k cities?


I'm not sure what you mean by "150-250k cities", but unless you are planning on doing estate planning or other small law practice, most small cities simply don't do much of the stuff you would be training for as a tax llm. Firms that are hiring won't be hiring ever year- you could graduate in a year where not a single person is hired to do biglaw tax work in your market.

As a general matter, I would be wary of specializing if you are set on practicing in a small market UNLESS you know that specialty is in specific demand in that market. For example, doing water law in Phoenix is probably a good niche. Doing international tax in North Dakota is basically impossible.

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Re: llm tax

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:08 am

nealric wrote:
I dont necesarily want nyc/dc biglaw. I am in a much smaller market and was wondering if the llm plays better with "biglaw" firms in 150-250k cities?


I'm not sure what you mean by "150-250k cities", but unless you are planning on doing estate planning or other small law practice, most small cities simply don't do much of the stuff you would be training for as a tax llm. Firms that are hiring won't be hiring ever year- you could graduate in a year where not a single person is hired to do biglaw tax work in your market.

As a general matter, I would be wary of specializing if you are set on practicing in a small market UNLESS you know that specialty is in specific demand in that market. For example, doing water law in Phoenix is probably a good niche. Doing international tax in North Dakota is basically impossible.

nealeric, i've been following a lot of your tax posts (b/c I'm a CPA and want to do tax BigLaw). Are you in BigLaw?

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nealric
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Re: llm tax

Postby nealric » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:49 am

nealeric, i've been following a lot of your tax posts (b/c I'm a CPA and want to do tax BigLaw). Are you in BigLaw?


Starting biglaw in January.

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Re: llm tax

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:51 am

very helpful posts, thank you all. So heres my takeaway: how valuable an llm is really depends on your specific situation (this includes debt, jd stats, location, etc..). since its a specialized degree it is most useful in larger markets like dc,nyc. My origianl thought was that the degree would carry some sort of presitge in a smaller market, as there are less tax llm's walking around. However, as nealric pointed out, there are also less tax jobs walking around in smaller markets. Still though, I am left wondering if an llm would help you land a "biglaw" job in Akron, Scranton, Trenton, or cities of that size. Results seem inconclusive, but given the expense of the degree, the payoff from small city firms may not be all that impressive. Personally, since I am interested in more of the estate planning side of things it would seem that in a smaller market the degree would not help me as much, and it would probably be better for me to just hustle to get a good job in my current location as opposed to moving to dc or nyc for a year and racking up more debt.

Also, thanks for the taxtalent.com reference; really helpful stuff there and I would encourage anyone else interested in the llm to check the site out.

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Re: llm tax

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:17 pm

nealric wrote:
nealeric, i've been following a lot of your tax posts (b/c I'm a CPA and want to do tax BigLaw). Are you in BigLaw?


Starting biglaw in January.



"Generally speaking, law firms wet the bed when a new associate rolls up to the firm and announces that he or she wants to do tax. Nobody wants to do tax, ever, and if you apply to firms with a cover letter stating that you want to do tax AND have legitimate tax experience (not just taking Tax in law school), the lights will dim, the disco ball will drop, Dream Weaver will start playing, and interviews will be yours for the picking…."

--LinkRemoved--

is that really true? why does tax have such a bad rep?

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Re: llm tax

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
nealeric, i've been following a lot of your tax posts (b/c I'm a CPA and want to do tax BigLaw). Are you in BigLaw?


Starting biglaw in January.



"Generally speaking, law firms wet the bed when a new associate rolls up to the firm and announces that he or she wants to do tax. Nobody wants to do tax, ever, and if you apply to firms with a cover letter stating that you want to do tax AND have legitimate tax experience (not just taking Tax in law school), the lights will dim, the disco ball will drop, Dream Weaver will start playing, and interviews will be yours for the picking…."

--LinkRemoved--

is that really true? why does tax have such a bad rep?

ok, i started reading some of the comments.

"ATL's advice is absolutely wrong -- it's not any easier to get a job in tax than in any other field. Big law will be just as selective, and there aren't many positions to go around"

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RMUDelicious
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Re: llm tax

Postby RMUDelicious » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:35 pm

I would think if Tax law is really your career goal, a Masters in Taxation would be a good way to go. Two of my close friends who are accountants have their firms begging them to do a local program part time. You could get the masters, work for an accounting firm for 2-3 years (maybe get your CPA) and then apply to law firms with a solid resume. I know of one person who is doing this and their accounting firm (regional not Big four) is completely paying for the degree. Best of luck whatever you decide to do.

BeautifulSW
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Re: llm tax

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:25 pm

Interesting thread. I've also wondered when/if the M.S.T. would be a better choice than the LL.M.(tax) even for lawyers. At a few schools, like Denver University, the degrees are identical. At others, comnpletely separate even though they cover essentially the same ground: Code and Regs.

CanadianWolf
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Re: llm tax

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:56 pm

LLM Tax courses satisfy continuing education requirements, are often eligible for employer tuition reimbursement plans & , somewhat akin to executive MBA programs, build professional contacts since many, if not most, instructors are actively practising attorneys.

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Perseus_I
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Re: llm tax

Postby Perseus_I » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:49 pm

If I had the option of a 1-year CPA qualification and an LLM in Tax from NYU, which would be preferable?

My target market is NYC. However, nearly everything about me screams "Texas," including the MPA, if I got it. I am really concerned about ties because aside from my 3 years abroad, NYC firms have every rational right to be skeptical of my desire to work in NYC.

The MPA could be added debt free (don't want to out myself more than I really have, so I won't get into details), but the LLM would mean I would finish my legal education with about $60,000 in loans (JD included).

My first-year grades are competitive for Big Law coming from UT (about top 5th or top 6th - though we don't rank officially). Also, I might actually PREFER to work at an Accounting firm vs. a law firm -- given what I hear about the work culture at each. But even with Accounting firms, Dallas (near where I grew up) is my fallback, NYC is my preferred market.




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