Tax law and Big 4 firms

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Anonymous User
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Tax law and Big 4 firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:33 pm

I'm interested in going into tax law, but I've been hearing that it's increasingly difficult to find Biglaw work and a lot of JD-holders or tax LLM-holders go to work in the big accounting firms like PwC. Is this a growing trend? Do you work as a lawyer or a CPA at these places, how difficult is it to get in (from a non-T14 school) and how does the pay compare to Biglaw? Should I not be considering tax law? I don't want to pay through my nose for an expensive JD and then end up as an accountant.

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Pato_09
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Re: Tax law and Big 4 firms

Postby Pato_09 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:44 pm

Big 4 summer internships are a back-up plan for someone who did not land a big firm job (assuming you want to be a tax lawyer).

If you want to practice tax law, do not tell the interviewer in OCI you are absolutely positive you want to practice tax law. Rather, tell them you are interested in tax law for X, Y, Z reason, and then also say you are interested in other practice areas as well.

As you bid for the firms in OCI, you can look at the firm's NALP Forms and tailor your bid to firms that have big tax departments.

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Pato_09
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Re: Tax law and Big 4 firms

Postby Pato_09 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:47 pm

Also, the pay for the Big 4 compared to Big law firms is substantial. Probably half.

Also, to your question of how hard it is to crack the Big 4, or Big law firm jobs, it of course depends on your grades. It is a lot easier to work at a Big 4 than big law firm. Again, it is more of a plan B situation, for someone that struck out from big law.

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ggocat
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Re: Tax law and Big 4 firms

Postby ggocat » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:59 pm

Pato_09 wrote:Also, the pay for the Big 4 compared to Big law firms is substantial. Probably half.

I agree. Perhaps even less than half. IIRC, when I inquired about 3-4 years ago, pay was about $60K at Deloitte for newly minted JDs. Biglaw in this secondary market was $135K. And the hours didn't sound too much better than biglaw.

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Re: Tax law and Big 4 firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:59 pm

OP here. Thanks for the replies.

Agreed that I won't limit my practice area to tax law, I would definitely prefer an actual Biglaw job in a non-tax practice instead of a Big 4 work in tax, especially considering the huge difference in pay. That's really low pay for a tax attorney though - do you even do legal work in a Big 4 gig, or is it mostly accounting work with some legal stuff on the side? Just trying to understand why there's such a difference in pay - it can only mean that you don't actually do legal work when you join a Big 4 firm.

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ggocat
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Re: Tax law and Big 4 firms

Postby ggocat » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for the replies.

Agreed that I won't limit my practice area to tax law, I would definitely prefer an actual Biglaw job in a non-tax practice instead of a Big 4 work in tax, especially considering the huge difference in pay. That's really low pay for a tax attorney though - do you even do legal work in a Big 4 gig, or is it mostly accounting work with some legal stuff on the side? Just trying to understand why there's such a difference in pay - it can only mean that you don't actually do legal work when you join a Big 4 firm.

I believe most attorneys (who "do legal work") make less than big 4 pays.

Anonymous User
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Re: Tax law and Big 4 firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:42 pm

Tax adds a back-up plan in the form of the big 4. However, there is no reason to go to the big 4 over biglaw. You're already at something of an advantage in biglaw recruiting for being interested in tax, as tax associates are, generally speaking, more in demand than corporate or litigation associates relative to supply.* It is difficult to get biglaw in tax, but no more difficult than it is difficult to get biglaw in general. In addition, even if you like tax, you may prefer working in a smaller law firm in some other practice area to working in the big 4. The big 4 basically do all of the shitty work that the biglaw tax groups don't want to do themselves, so it's not nearly as interesting as biglaw tax.


*That said, unless it's a firm with a big tax department (more than 10 tax associates is a good guideline), mention tax as a potential interest alongside other areas, as they may not be interested in hiring anyone for tax in a given year.

blind bomber
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Re: Tax law and Big 4 firms

Postby blind bomber » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:01 pm

OP, check out the forums on taxtalent.com




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