Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

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Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:50 am

Should have gotten a big firm job with my credentials but didn't. I know why, but that's not important here.

I have the opportunity to work in the tax department of a big 4 accounting firm in NYC, which regularly hires JD's; I think they want me in the transfer pricing division of international tax. I like tax, but I do not have an accounting background; I was hired on the basis of grades, school, language ability, and aptitude. I know that law firms pay better entry salaries, though, even if the exit options from the big 4 often pay better.

So is it better to take this position or to scrounge for a small firm or government job to be best set up for 3L OCI, or a tax court clerkship, with a focus on tax? It seems the big 4 position would be, hands down, the best experience for entry into the tax field, but it seems that legal professionals are funny and defensive about "practicing law" and sometimes put it on a pedestal over real experience in a specialized field.

Another thing: I am doing a legitimately legal government internship in transactional law during the school-year, so in light of this, is the big 4 position (which I want to take) really as bad an idea as everyone around me says it is? I am not only willing to do tax (regulatory would be fine also), but it seems like my best bet for getting a job inside or outside of law. Most importantly, big 4 internships pay around $1500 a week. No other non-big law job is likely to pay that much.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:00 am

I'm a 3L and interviewing with big 4 for tax. I had creditials for 2L big law, struck out, and ended up with a public interestish/regulatory summer internship. I couldn't get anything after the fall interview season regarding firms. I probaly had 15 interviews during that, and then maybe two the rest of the year even though I was constantly applying/networking.

If you'd be crushed you're not going to be an attorney, then it probably isn't the right call. If you don't care about that, then you put in some years and have plenty of options to make good money w/o working 70-80 hours every week of the year. From the government internship I'm doing this semester, tax people at banks seems to have it pretty nice. For me, I've realized that I'd much rather be on the business side than legal side if I wasn't going to be doing big law tax straight out of school (couldn't help but laugh about your comment about legal professionals). FWIW transfer pricing & international pay the most at entry level than the other departments of big 4 tax. If I get a position with one, I'm taking it and not looking back. Yes, I'll make a lot less than peers in the beginning, but long term will probably actually be able to have a decent living - a concern that looms over every unemployed 3L. You also might have the option of having Columbia/NYU pull weight for you in the legal field, but I don't really have that luxury.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby de5igual » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Should have gotten a big firm job with my credentials but didn't. I know why, but that's not important here.

I have the opportunity to work in the tax department of a big 4 accounting firm in NYC, which regularly hires JD's; I think they want me in the transfer pricing division of international tax. I like tax, but I do not have an accounting background; I was hired on the basis of grades, school, language ability, and aptitude. I know that law firms pay better entry salaries, though, even if the exit options from the big 4 often pay better.

So is it better to take this position or to scrounge for a small firm or government job to be best set up for 3L OCI, or a tax court clerkship, with a focus on tax? It seems the big 4 position would be, hands down, the best experience for entry into the tax field, but it seems that legal professionals are funny and defensive about "practicing law" and sometimes put it on a pedestal over real experience in a specialized field.

Another thing: I am doing a legitimately legal government internship in transactional law during the school-year, so in light of this, is the big 4 position (which I want to take) really as bad an idea as everyone around me says it is? I am not only willing to do tax (regulatory would be fine also), but it seems like my best bet for getting a job inside or outside of law. Most importantly, big 4 internships pay around $1500 a week. No other non-big law job is likely to pay that much.


couldn't you do Big 4, then after a year or two, go for a tax court clerkship, then pretty much do whatever the hell you want to do related to tax? i believe Big 4 reimburses you for a NYU Tax LLM too.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:46 pm

do big4 hire SA's? if so, how do u apply?

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby XM3045 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:05 pm

The tax work lawyers do at law firms and accounting firms has very little to do with an accounting background so I wouldnt stress about that. If you like tax, I would check out the accounting firm and see what you think. Big 4/law firms/gov't is a fairly open revolving door especially in transfer pricing. While it is easiest to start at a law firm, if you get the experience you can slide from Big 4 to a law firm if you want to go that route down the line. Feel free to PM me if you want. Good luck!

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:19 pm

This is good to hear.

The way I understand it, big 4 pays about 80,000 in NYC, which is actually better than any other legal job other than big law (about equal to mid law). Big 4 partners make as much as many big law partners (at least most big law partners below the V50 mark), and the exit options are nearly equivalent to big law exit options from a monetary point of view.

Isn't tax a bit limiting as far as earning power goes, though? I like it and all, but I could also see myself doing some types of advisory work - which can include tax - that might have higher-paying exit options. How easy is it for attorneys to land advisory positions at the big 4 absent a business undergrad but with the willingness and ability to add a Macc in-between 2L and 3L? (assume cost/debt is not a big issue). It seems like even audit has better exit options than tax, even though it seems like a waste for an attorney to start there with drastically lower pay than they would get in tax. Like I said, this is just a 2L internship, so I have another year to try for other departments, etc. Is it realistic to expect to have a chance at advisory at some point, perhaps as a 3L?

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:45 pm

Perhaps someone can enlighten me here, but I thought that only CPA's could be partners in an accounting firm. Thus, I thought that a lawyer for a Big 4 could never be a partner, unless they were also a CPA.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Perhaps someone can enlighten me here, but I thought that only CPA's could be partners in an accounting firm. Thus, I thought that a lawyer for a Big 4 could never be a partner, unless they were also a CPA.


That's true but it doesn't mean that they can't be equity holders. The equity holders that aren't CPA's are simply called principals. The only difference is the title, everything else is the same. Big4 consulting has this issue, so their partners are simply called principals.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:10 pm

I would take big four within a heartbeat.

First, big 4, if 3L OCI does not work out (and this is a BIG possibility) is meaningful employment with opportunities for growth down the line. That differs with most of "small law" where success down the line is merely a function of luck, and even then, there will be tons of elitists who might look down upon you.

Second, I do not see why Big 4 would be a disadvantage. You go to 3L OCI interview and tell them you really want to do tax. I had some exposure through law classes, but I also wanted to see how accounting firms approach the issue. I learned a ton from the experience (and here you talk about all the things that you gained and other law firm candidates lack), but at the end of the day, I also figured that I want to be in a law firm because of bla bla bla.
A common theme in my CBs was that it is a good thing for attorneys to take business classes and particularly accounting for lawyers... go to those interviews as a 3L telling them how you know how to read financial statements, you know business side of things, and via law school, you know legal side of things. Full package in my humble mind. Maybe add a tax judge internship during Sping Semester, and I think you have a good narrative.

Disclaimer: I am a 2L.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:do big4 hire SA's? if so, how do u apply?


Bump.
+1?

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:32 pm

Recent law grad here working at one of the large public accounting firms in their tax department. If you are thinking about applying to these tax positions you should really try and get an idea as to the type of work you will be doing. For example, I work in the federal tax compliance group and yet my day consists of filling out blanks in software. The job requires little tax knowledge, or thinking at all for that matter. As far as exit options go, there is no interaction with clients until you reach manager which can take anywhere from 4-6 years. Fortunately I have a CPA to go along with my JD so getting promoted to manager is at least a possibility, whereas those who continue to work without passing the exam can only be promoted to senior associate. However, the worst part about the job has to be the hours. You essentially work biglaw hours for shitlaw pay. I am in a mid-sized market and only make about $55k a year as a first year associate. Normally I wouldn't complain about this salary, but during busy season the higher ups "recommend" (read: require) you to bill around 60-70 hours a week. This works out to some of us working hours ranging from 80-100 a week. I am not exaggerating. It'd be one thing if there was at least some light at the end of the tunnel, whether it be eventual exposure to clients or actually learning something about tax, but alas there is not. Sitting in a cubicle entering numbers into a software program for 9+ hours a day will drive you crazy. I asked multiple questions during my interview as to what to expect working for the company and was not given truthful information. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby AFS » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Recent law grad here working at one of the large public accounting firms in their tax department. If you are thinking about applying to these tax positions you should really try and get an idea as to the type of work you will be doing. For example, I work in the federal tax compliance group and yet my day consists of filling out blanks in software. The job requires little tax knowledge, or thinking at all for that matter. As far as exit options go, there is no interaction with clients until you reach manager which can take anywhere from 4-6 years. Fortunately I have a CPA to go along with my JD so getting promoted to manager is at least a possibility, whereas those who continue to work without passing the exam can only be promoted to senior associate. However, the worst part about the job has to be the hours. You essentially work biglaw hours for shitlaw pay. I am in a mid-sized market and only make about $55k a year as a first year associate. Normally I wouldn't complain about this salary, but during busy season the higher ups "recommend" (read: require) you to bill around 60-70 hours a week. This works out to some of us working hours ranging from 80-100 a week. I am not exaggerating. It'd be one thing if there was at least some light at the end of the tunnel, whether it be eventual exposure to clients or actually learning something about tax, but alas there is not. Sitting in a cubicle entering numbers into a software program for 9+ hours a day will drive you crazy. I asked multiple questions during my interview as to what to expect working for the company and was not given truthful information. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.


If the full-time salary is only $55k, why is OP getting paid $1500 a week? That's about half biglaw salary.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:23 am

I haven't been able to find any info on big 4 legal internship jobs (barring those outside of the US).

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:43 pm

Deloitte interviewed for summer positions on my symplicity. t25

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Deloitte interviewed for summer positions on my symplicity. t25


Around what time did they post the jobs up on Symplicity?

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:24 pm

Sort of skimmed the rest of the thread, but wondering if this is something I should look into. I was an accounting major in undergrad so I have some accounting background. Is working in tax at a Big 4 firm something I should look into (since I seem to have struck out at OCI)?

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Deloitte interviewed for summer positions on my symplicity. t25


Around what time did they post the jobs up on Symplicity?


was around 2 weeks ago maybe. not a major market though.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:30 pm

AFS wrote: If the full-time salary is only $55k, why is OP getting paid $1500 a week? That's about half biglaw salary.


NYC employees get paid more and he also said he is hoping for an internship, meaning he would get paid hourly as opposed to salary. If they have the interns working longer hours (which isnt unheard of) then $1,500 a week is absolutely possible. You end up working biglaw hours for half the salary.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby iperess » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:23 am

I am going to answer some of the questions from a law grad/llm perspective who has been hired by the big 4 as well as had friends hired by the big 4. There are a lot of myths that I have seen on this board so I will try to clear a lot of them up. First the most important thing - salaries. For llms in NYC this year (2015 start) in M&A tax (TAS in EY etc...) the salaries are generally as follows E&Y is $115,000 + $5,000 signing bonus, PwC $115,000 + $0 signing bonus, Deloitte $110,000 + $10,000 signing bonus, KPMG $105,000 + $0 signing bonus. Most of the accounting firms had 2nd year staff/senior raises range from 8-15% last year. There is an 1,800 chargeable hour requirement (strictly adhered to - no more/no less than these hours). Second - the job, there will be some financial analysis E&P calculations, basis and valuations, there will also be structuring (i.e. if you are having a PE fund with foreign investors and tax exempt orgs, where to structure the blocker corporation etc...), there will also be due diligence, reading APA's etc....(that is asset purchase agreements etc...), Big 4 may not formally draft but they do draft agreements (they are just not allowed to draft inside the documents). In other words, you ARE an attorney. You will have memos due on tax positions, i.e. under § 385 how debt-like may a particular instrument be and still be considered equity for tax purposes. There are a lot of myths on this board and it is time to straighten them up a bit. It is worthwhile getting your llm prior to starting at the accounting firms since you start at a much higher pay scale. The job market has improved a lot. NYU, Georgetown, and Northwestern do very well in general (as does UF, and BU). The exit opportunities are plenty: (1) PE firms hire straight out of B4 at manager level and above (most LLM that I know made Manager 3-5 years out), (2) Consulting firms are always looking for experienced B4 people, (3) Mid-size law firms are hiring - 1 to 3 years out with continued writing and publishing via a bar association's tax section (we can talk about this), (4) V 50 law firms are hiring - especially if you get good reviews and do a stint afterward in Washington National Tax, (5) Corporations are hiring and pay a hefty salary after 5 years or so, and (6) you can always try for partner - salaries start at 350K for partner (1st-3rd year) and 500K plus afterward, if you have equity credits you can go easily over 1MM+. Big law might sound like more on paper but not every equity partner makes full PPP at most firms. I hope this helps some of you. I can tell you that NYU's LLM is amazing, but be prepared for some stiff competition from your classmates, they are all much smarter than me! I really hope this post helps answer some of your questions and remember this is a career not a job, so enjoy the ride, you never know what life brings you!!!

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:21 pm

I am a 2L, going to a b4 in Northern California this summer.
I'm getting paid hourly, but the hourly pay is pegged to about 70k a year.
Is it possible to transfer to something better paying, and if so, when? I'm just worried about CoL/Loans.
I won't have an llm, but I'll get my JD from a t14 if that matters. Around median-ish.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby iperess » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:31 pm

I was a T14 student top 33% as well. You have to have an LLM to get the extra pay. On the bright side, if you take the job try to get the B4 to pay for your LLM. On the downside, you will be part time and it will take 2-4 years. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and that is that almost all the JD's who did their LLM this way wound up in Big Law. Hope this answers your question if not please let me know I will try to answer with more specifics.

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Re: Struck out: work in big 4 tax or any "legal" job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:11 pm

I randomly came across this while googling the Big 4 salaries in different markets. It's my understanding that hiring out of law schools is becoming a more common practice for accounting firms, due to the lack of quality out of the IRS (and the lack of IRS staff, period). It's actually a great time to be looking into that as an option, if you really like tax.

I was told by one of the partners at Deloitte that getting my LLM was highly recommended. I don't know if I would have received an offer from them if I were not pursuing it, though I did take many LLM courses as a JD, and I'm sure that helps. There are obviously differences between Big Law and Big 4, and I guess salary varies widely between markets. My offer was $120k, which is comparable to KPMG and PwC here, but higher (apparently much higher) than E&Y. I was seriously considering government, so anything above $80k sounds great to me, and the salary was just not a deciding factor.




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