Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:42 pm

Call your co-workers then.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Call your co-workers then.


Look, my question is whether someone here can give me a second opinion. I will try to find out things on my part, but I don't expect a junior attorney there to tell me much over the phone. The person most likely will not even have any biglaw experience.

The difference in salary is tens of thousands of dollars. And I just want to know if there would be a substantial (let's say 300-500 real hours) difference in work load.

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dingbat
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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby dingbat » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Call your co-workers then.


Look, my question is whether someone here can give me a second opinion. I will try to find out things on my part, but I don't expect a junior attorney there to tell me much over the phone. The person most likely will not even have any biglaw experience.

The difference in salary is tens of thousands of dollars. And I just want to know if there would be a substantial (let's say 300-500 real hours) difference in work load.

What difference does the bolded make? Just call and ask about typical work-load, expected hours, frequency of late nights, etc.

I've done that for every job I've ever had and generally gotten honest answers

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby thegrayman » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:45 pm

you'll work your ass off

I worked big4 before law school, most I ever billed was 98 hours in a week. It was hell on earth. Tons of hours, tons of stress, don't kid yourself otherwise just because you're getting paid less than biglaw. I made less than $50K and was still expected to bust my ass, give up quite a few of my weekends, travel on the weekends instead of friday/monday so when I had to travel (all the time), I would lose a solid chunk of my weekend.

But, on the bright side, it's a solid, respected gig. Also, you'll have some good exit options if you can stick it out a few years, and those opportunities will improve a lot if you can stick it out until manager.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:27 am

thegrayman wrote:you'll work your ass off

I worked big4 before law school, most I ever billed was 98 hours in a week. It was hell on earth. Tons of hours, tons of stress, don't kid yourself otherwise just because you're getting paid less than biglaw. I made less than $50K and was still expected to bust my ass, give up quite a few of my weekends, travel on the weekends instead of friday/monday so when I had to travel (all the time), I would lose a solid chunk of my weekend.

But, on the bright side, it's a solid, respected gig. Also, you'll have some good exit options if you can stick it out a few years, and those opportunities will improve a lot if you can stick it out until manager.


What was your job? If not advisory/consulting, do you think that advisory/consulting would be different?

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby thegrayman » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
thegrayman wrote:you'll work your ass off

I worked big4 before law school, most I ever billed was 98 hours in a week. It was hell on earth. Tons of hours, tons of stress, don't kid yourself otherwise just because you're getting paid less than biglaw. I made less than $50K and was still expected to bust my ass, give up quite a few of my weekends, travel on the weekends instead of friday/monday so when I had to travel (all the time), I would lose a solid chunk of my weekend.

But, on the bright side, it's a solid, respected gig. Also, you'll have some good exit options if you can stick it out a few years, and those opportunities will improve a lot if you can stick it out until manager.


What was your job? If not advisory/consulting, do you think that advisory/consulting would be different?


I was audit. Advisory/Consulting will be slightly different, but not so much that they aren't comparable.

Consulting is more cyclical and deal driven. When times are good, they rake it in, when times are bad, they are being laid off in a heartbeat. Consulting travels a lot, and they really depend on the client. For example, I worked on the west coast, and I had a client on the east coast. One of our team members was a consultant who was based out of the west coast, yet her long-term client was on the east coast. It sucked for her because our travel policy was travel on the weekends, so she essentially couldn't go home on the weekends, and was stuck where her client was located. She had been on that single client for over a year, with no end in sight. Other times, your office might take on a new consulting gig and staff you on it even though it is in a different state. Again, if this turns into a long-term project, you might end up effectively living in another state for more than a year.

Advisory I am not as familiar with, I believe that their job was fairly similar to ours in audit, we worked with some advisory people doing SOX 404 work on occasion.

I think for audit my target was somewhere around 1850 billable hours, however we didn't include things like recruiting (which you pretty much have to do or else you look like you're not a "team player"), and there was a week of training tossed in there too which didn't count. I think billing over 1900 was pretty normal, so that would be actual working hours well over 2000. Things like flying from the east coast to the west coast are time you aren't sitting at home relaxing, but those hours aren't reflected in your hours unless you work on the flight. Also, if you get stuck on a job that is over budget, you will bill 8 hours yet work until midnight. The unspoken rule is "bill what you work, and work what you bill," but that is a load of shit. You will be expected to eat hours, so that needs to be taken into account as well.

Overall, I would imagine the people are relatively the same across the board. I saw the issue this way:

On an audit team, we typically had a team of 5-7 total people, from first year staff to partner. Our teams worked together in the same room for the most part, with the occasional exception. A lot of the reason for the long hours, in my experience, was the fact that it was the kind of culture where not being a hard worker is taboo. Nobody wants to be the one to suggest packing up at a reasonable hour, nobody wants to be rational and suggest that we go home at 5:00 because we don't have anything to work on. This lead to many days as a junior staff where I honestly had nothing to do, but would stay until the "team" decided to pack up for the day. Now, you take a group of people, none of whom want to look like they aren't a hard worker, and you can see how this would turn into long hours night after night.

On every team, there is going to be at least one miserable soul who will work crazy hours because they either are legitimately busy or are just working late to work late, because everyone else works late and you don't want to stick out as the person who doesn't work late. For the times that you are truly swamped, you just have to suck it up and deal with it. The most frustrating feeling, however, are the days where you have honestly done your work and have nothing else to do for the day, yet because of the stigma you feel very strongly that packing up and leaving before the rest of the team is out of the question.

This also comes into play around lunchtime, when nobody wants to speak up and suggest we actually stop working long enough to go get something to eat. Or the most awesome is when you go and get something to eat, and then you bring it back to the audit room and then everyone just goes back to work because nobody wants to actually eat, they just keep working and take a bite of something every few minutes, so that you feel like a douche if you actually fully commit to eating your lunch (and being the lazy ass that is taking 5 minutes off to eat when he could be tapping random keys to look intense)

Sorry for the tangent :lol:

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:55 am

thegrayman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
thegrayman wrote:you'll work your ass off

I worked big4 before law school, most I ever billed was 98 hours in a week. It was hell on earth. Tons of hours, tons of stress, don't kid yourself otherwise just because you're getting paid less than biglaw. I made less than $50K and was still expected to bust my ass, give up quite a few of my weekends, travel on the weekends instead of friday/monday so when I had to travel (all the time), I would lose a solid chunk of my weekend.

But, on the bright side, it's a solid, respected gig. Also, you'll have some good exit options if you can stick it out a few years, and those opportunities will improve a lot if you can stick it out until manager.


What was your job? If not advisory/consulting, do you think that advisory/consulting would be different?


I was audit. Advisory/Consulting will be slightly different, but not so much that they aren't comparable.

Consulting is more cyclical and deal driven. When times are good, they rake it in, when times are bad, they are being laid off in a heartbeat. Consulting travels a lot, and they really depend on the client. For example, I worked on the west coast, and I had a client on the east coast. One of our team members was a consultant who was based out of the west coast, yet her long-term client was on the east coast. It sucked for her because our travel policy was travel on the weekends, so she essentially couldn't go home on the weekends, and was stuck where her client was located. She had been on that single client for over a year, with no end in sight. Other times, your office might take on a new consulting gig and staff you on it even though it is in a different state. Again, if this turns into a long-term project, you might end up effectively living in another state for more than a year.

Advisory I am not as familiar with, I believe that their job was fairly similar to ours in audit, we worked with some advisory people doing SOX 404 work on occasion.

I think for audit my target was somewhere around 1850 billable hours, however we didn't include things like recruiting (which you pretty much have to do or else you look like you're not a "team player"), and there was a week of training tossed in there too which didn't count. I think billing over 1900 was pretty normal, so that would be actual working hours well over 2000. Things like flying from the east coast to the west coast are time you aren't sitting at home relaxing, but those hours aren't reflected in your hours unless you work on the flight. Also, if you get stuck on a job that is over budget, you will bill 8 hours yet work until midnight. The unspoken rule is "bill what you work, and work what you bill," but that is a load of shit. You will be expected to eat hours, so that needs to be taken into account as well.

Overall, I would imagine the people are relatively the same across the board. I saw the issue this way:

On an audit team, we typically had a team of 5-7 total people, from first year staff to partner. Our teams worked together in the same room for the most part, with the occasional exception. A lot of the reason for the long hours, in my experience, was the fact that it was the kind of culture where not being a hard worker is taboo. Nobody wants to be the one to suggest packing up at a reasonable hour, nobody wants to be rational and suggest that we go home at 5:00 because we don't have anything to work on. This lead to many days as a junior staff where I honestly had nothing to do, but would stay until the "team" decided to pack up for the day. Now, you take a group of people, none of whom want to look like they aren't a hard worker, and you can see how this would turn into long hours night after night.

On every team, there is going to be at least one miserable soul who will work crazy hours because they either are legitimately busy or are just working late to work late, because everyone else works late and you don't want to stick out as the person who doesn't work late. For the times that you are truly swamped, you just have to suck it up and deal with it. The most frustrating feeling, however, are the days where you have honestly done your work and have nothing else to do for the day, yet because of the stigma you feel very strongly that packing up and leaving before the rest of the team is out of the question.

This also comes into play around lunchtime, when nobody wants to speak up and suggest we actually stop working long enough to go get something to eat. Or the most awesome is when you go and get something to eat, and then you bring it back to the audit room and then everyone just goes back to work because nobody wants to actually eat, they just keep working and take a bite of something every few minutes, so that you feel like a douche if you actually fully commit to eating your lunch (and being the lazy ass that is taking 5 minutes off to eat when he could be tapping random keys to look intense)

Sorry for the tangent :lol:


Thanks. Very informative about the general culture. They did emphasize that teamwork is very important.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby dingbat » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:42 am

thegrayman wrote: Consulting travels a lot, and they really depend on the client.

The one advantage here is that you don't need to live in the city you're based out of, although I'm not sure if you can do this right from the start.
A friend of mine was based out of NY (with NY pay), but was living in Florida (low cost of living). Because he traveled practically every week (and often several places each time), it really didn't matter where he lived

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Perseus_I » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:24 am

A lot of these comments are from people who worked in audit before law school. Let me tell you, I don't think it is an accurate comparison. As an attorney, you'd be working in either advisory or tax (I have never heard of tax advisory). Advisory typically hires more MBA's than JD's, and tax typically hires JD's and CPA's.

Tax hours are cyclical, depending on the time of year. You may work 100 hours/week during some times of the year, and you may count the hours till 5:00 during other days (the summer and fall are particularly light). From what I've been told, the hours are more predictable than big law, and you get more vacation days. Overall, you work fewer hours than big law. Advisory can work you almost as bad as big law, but you have the potential to get paid a lot if you stick around (especially at Deloitte - the only big 4 with an advisory practice worth putting time into). Tax pay is more reliable (less likely to get laid off, less stressful, fewer Type A people) but has less upside if you exit. Granted, I am only familiar with International Tax; other groups may be different.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:29 am

I have never worked for the Big4 but know several people that started as attorneys there. According to them, the hours are pretty rough. I don't know whether they are 3/4 of biglaw, as the OP suggested, because it is hard to even say what biglaw hours are in a given market and at a given firm.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Talar » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:30 am

.
Last edited by Talar on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:I have never worked for the Big4 but know several people that started as attorneys there. According to them, the hours are pretty rough. I don't know whether they are 3/4 of biglaw, as the OP suggested, because it is hard to even say what biglaw hours are in a given market and at a given firm.


Secondary market ... big law may have comparable/better hours and much better pay. NYC ... big 4 has better hours and much less pay than big law. I'd say big 4 could be a good choice if you don't mind living in poverty but want time to actually enjoy NYC.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Jwb0711 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:26 am

I worked Big4 before law school as well, in International Tax. I do have quite a few friends in different advisory divisions. From what I can tell in advisory, you will likely have a very "up and down" schedule in terms of workload. Some weeks you will pull 50 hrs billable, which is nice, and others you will likely do 90+. It's all on what the client needs. Generally speaking, advisory is considered the best "gig" in big 4, due to the work/life balance and exit options. However, that being said I don't want you to think it is all roses either, my buddy in advisory got a call one night at 1 AM from the firm telling him that he had a 6AM flight out to NY for some last minute transactional project, or some crap like that. Sounds kinda cool and important right? Not when you are working 14 hr days on top of that. Very brutal. Advisory is also the "feast or famine" part of the big four firms. If the economy does well, so does advisory, as it is a very high profit margin for the big 4 firms. If the economy sucks, as it does, advisory can be pretty slow as companies don't want to pay the exorbitant fees for consulting work. Back in 2007/2008, advisory saw massive lay offs at my big 4 firm. We were barely touched in International Tax (as people need to file their taxes), but it was pretty scary.

Also, please keep in mind that there are lots of attorneys that go from law firm -> big 4, but not the other way around. Kinda kills your legal career.

Honestly, I would take Big Law/Midlaw over Big 4. (If either was even an option)

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:16 pm

Perseus_I wrote:A lot of these comments are from people who worked in audit before law school. Let me tell you, I don't think it is an accurate comparison. As an attorney, you'd be working in either advisory or tax (I have never heard of tax advisory). Advisory typically hires more MBA's than JD's, and tax typically hires JD's and CPA's.

Tax hours are cyclical, depending on the time of year. You may work 100 hours/week during some times of the year, and you may count the hours till 5:00 during other days (the summer and fall are particularly light). From what I've been told, the hours are more predictable than big law, and you get more vacation days. Overall, you work fewer hours than big law. Advisory can work you almost as bad as big law, but you have the potential to get paid a lot if you stick around (especially at Deloitte - the only big 4 with an advisory practice worth putting time into). Tax pay is more reliable (less likely to get laid off, less stressful, fewer Type A people) but has less upside if you exit. Granted, I am only familiar with International Tax; other groups may be different.


I am in advisory. Thanks for the info.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:25 pm

Jwb0711 wrote:I worked Big4 before law school as well, in International Tax. I do have quite a few friends in different advisory divisions. From what I can tell in advisory, you will likely have a very "up and down" schedule in terms of workload. Some weeks you will pull 50 hrs billable, which is nice, and others you will likely do 90+. It's all on what the client needs. Generally speaking, advisory is considered the best "gig" in big 4, due to the work/life balance and exit options. However, that being said I don't want you to think it is all roses either, my buddy in advisory got a call one night at 1 AM from the firm telling him that he had a 6AM flight out to NY for some last minute transactional project, or some crap like that. Sounds kinda cool and important right? Not when you are working 14 hr days on top of that. Very brutal. Advisory is also the "feast or famine" part of the big four firms. If the economy does well, so does advisory, as it is a very high profit margin for the big 4 firms. If the economy sucks, as it does, advisory can be pretty slow as companies don't want to pay the exorbitant fees for consulting work. Back in 2007/2008, advisory saw massive lay offs at my big 4 firm. We were barely touched in International Tax (as people need to file their taxes), but it was pretty scary.

Also, please keep in mind that there are lots of attorneys that go from law firm -> big 4, but not the other way around. Kinda kills your legal career.

Honestly, I would take Big Law/Midlaw over Big 4. (If either was even an option)


Thanks for the info. I am not that worried about getting laid off (as long as it's not within the first year). Top MBA=>ibank or biz management is always an option for me, and a Big4 advisory gig is "resume gold". I also think that the recent uncertainty in taxation may lead to a higher demand for tax attorneys.

I reckon that many of the tax attorneys in advisory can't lateral out partly because of their school credentials (non-T14 school, for example). I have good credentials (top undergrad, top 30% from a T14). The truth is, my options are limited: V100 firm with a small tax dept (and I don't even know if it needs people), or Big4 Advisory. And I want to do tax. Even if I want to lateral out later as a tax attorney, Big4 Advisory may still sound better than my V firm. Am I right?

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Jwb0711 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Jwb0711 wrote:I worked Big4 before law school as well, in International Tax. I do have quite a few friends in different advisory divisions. From what I can tell in advisory, you will likely have a very "up and down" schedule in terms of workload. Some weeks you will pull 50 hrs billable, which is nice, and others you will likely do 90+. It's all on what the client needs. Generally speaking, advisory is considered the best "gig" in big 4, due to the work/life balance and exit options. However, that being said I don't want you to think it is all roses either, my buddy in advisory got a call one night at 1 AM from the firm telling him that he had a 6AM flight out to NY for some last minute transactional project, or some crap like that. Sounds kinda cool and important right? Not when you are working 14 hr days on top of that. Very brutal. Advisory is also the "feast or famine" part of the big four firms. If the economy does well, so does advisory, as it is a very high profit margin for the big 4 firms. If the economy sucks, as it does, advisory can be pretty slow as companies don't want to pay the exorbitant fees for consulting work. Back in 2007/2008, advisory saw massive lay offs at my big 4 firm. We were barely touched in International Tax (as people need to file their taxes), but it was pretty scary.

Also, please keep in mind that there are lots of attorneys that go from law firm -> big 4, but not the other way around. Kinda kills your legal career.

Honestly, I would take Big Law/Midlaw over Big 4. (If either was even an option)


Thanks for the info. I am not that worried about getting laid off (as long as it's not within the first year). Top MBA=>ibank or biz management is always an option for me, and a Big4 advisory gig is "resume gold". I also think that the recent uncertainty in taxation may lead to a higher demand for tax attorneys.

I reckon that many of the tax attorneys in advisory can't lateral out partly because of their school credentials (non-T14 school, for example). I have good credentials (top undergrad, top 30% from a T14). The truth is, my options are limited: V100 firm with a small tax dept (and I don't even know if it needs people), or Big4 Advisory. And I want to do tax. Even if I want to lateral out later as a tax attorney, Big4 Advisory may still sound better than my V firm. Am I right?


I'm a 1L, so take what I say with that in mind. If you want to be a lawyer, I would go with the law firm. "Tax lawyers" at big four are not what you are thinking, at Big 4 you are more an accountant with a law degree, rather than a "lawyer". I know that whenever we had an issue with the IRS, we would send the problem to tax controversies( who all have JD's), and then if they couldn't resolve it with the IRS, they would send it to a firm we had on retainer.

If you don't want to practice as a lawyer, and want to be a businessman (or woman), then maybe big 4 would be ok. But if you want to be a lawyer, (tax litigation, tax planning etc) I strongly suggest you do not do big 4. But maybe someone else will give you different advice.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:47 pm

Just talked to a friend who worked in advisory in Chi. Hours are highly "up and down," but the target is 1600-1700.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:as audit my hours are around 2200 billable 2500 total. no way 1400 is accurate


You are getting fucked brother. In audit at my big 4 firm, last year, I billed 1150 (utilization of around 85%) hours and was one of the top utilized staffers for my year.

I worked in the tax pool for April doing personal tax returns. It was 9-5. The people on the tax floor arrive at 9/10 and leave at 5 most days.

This is a fairly big market. I can't really give more detail as I don't want to out myself as it would be super easy to put 2 and 2 together.

Typically January-June is quite busy for tax as that's when audits (lots of tax work in conjunction with audit) are happening and when companies are filing their tax returns.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:03 am

Perseus_I wrote:A lot of these comments are from people who worked in audit before law school. Let me tell you, I don't think it is an accurate comparison. As an attorney, you'd be working in either advisory or tax (I have never heard of tax advisory). Advisory typically hires more MBA's than JD's, and tax typically hires JD's and CPA's.

Tax hours are cyclical, depending on the time of year. You may work 100 hours/week during some times of the year, and you may count the hours till 5:00 during other days (the summer and fall are particularly light). From what I've been told, the hours are more predictable than big law, and you get more vacation days. Overall, you work fewer hours than big law. Advisory can work you almost as bad as big law, but you have the potential to get paid a lot if you stick around (especially at Deloitte - the only big 4 with an advisory practice worth putting time into). Tax pay is more reliable (less likely to get laid off, less stressful, fewer Type A people) but has less upside if you exit. Granted, I am only familiar with International Tax; other groups may be different.


Tax advisory is a lot of tax planning, estate planning, trust planning, etc. It can be quite interesting.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:26 pm

To people with experience, any way for a law student to gun for one of these tax positions at a big 4? I am a 2L T-14, but no big law SA lined up at the moment. Is there any big 4 recruiting equivalent of a wall street oasis/mergers & inquisitions like they have in i-banking? My school's OCI does not do big 4 recruiting.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To people with experience, any way for a law student to gun for one of these tax positions at a big 4? I am a 2L T-14, but no big law SA lined up at the moment. Is there any big 4 recruiting equivalent of a wall street oasis/mergers & inquisitions like they have in i-banking? My school's OCI does not do big 4 recruiting.


Take tax classes, get good grades, than apply to Big4 online through their websites.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:19 pm

timeline being mid-late august?

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:timeline being mid-late august?

No, I did it in mid November. They didn't post the jobs until mid Sept.

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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To people with experience, any way for a law student to gun for one of these tax positions at a big 4? I am a 2L T-14, but no big law SA lined up at the moment. Is there any big 4 recruiting equivalent of a wall street oasis/mergers & inquisitions like they have in i-banking? My school's OCI does not do big 4 recruiting.


Take tax classes, get good grades, than apply to Big4 online through their websites.


Experience is also important. At the very least join VITA, participate in a tax clinic, etc. Write a paper related to tax, and try to get published. You need to demonstrate a real interest in the area because Big 4s are on the look out for law students who are turning to them as a last resort (I have been told this directly from HR).

Also, applying online is a long shot. You need to network. The best way to do this is through internships, but find other ways if possible. The best internship would be at a big 4, but also apply to smaller accounting firms, and government agencies. The attorneys at the IRS, and state and local tax agencies, have connections at the big 4. Those internships can also provide valued experience. E-mail alumni at big 4 and ask to go to lunch to pick their brain. Does the big 4 recruit at the undergrad connected to your university? If so, see how you can take advantage of the undergrad events.

Also, do you have a CPA? It is not necessary, but it will help tremendously if you only have a JD (and not an LLM). If it is relatively easy for you to qualify for your state's CPA exam, then I would look into it. While it is possible, it is very difficult to obtain a position in the big 4 without either a CPA or an LLM.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big4, Tax Advisory Attorney, What are the hours like?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:as audit my hours are around 2200 billable 2500 total. no way 1400 is accurate


You are getting fucked brother. In audit at my big 4 firm, last year, I billed 1150 (utilization of around 85%) hours and was one of the top utilized staffers for my year.

I worked in the tax pool for April doing personal tax returns. It was 9-5. The people on the tax floor arrive at 9/10 and leave at 5 most days.

This is a fairly big market. I can't really give more detail as I don't want to out myself as it would be super easy to put 2 and 2 together.

Typically January-June is quite busy for tax as that's when audits (lots of tax work in conjunction with audit) are happening and when companies are filing their tax returns.


Former EY Tax Senior here. Audit definitely gets hit harder than tax. Our goal was 83% utilization, and most associates hovered around there. 83% utilization means you have to bill a little over 1,700 hours per year, since it is based on a full year (2080 hours) ignoring vacations and holidays. I had one year where I billed 1,600 hours and attained the highest rating in the office, because they don't promote you based on hours billed. You get rated based on fuzzy stuff that HR sets out in the "goals" every year.

Anyway, it just really depends on your practice area. There were people in tax who billed 1,600 hours, 1,800 hours, and many that billed 2,000+ hours. Everyone gets paid roughly the same and the hours have no impact on your salary whatsoever. I will say that those who worked the most hours usually weren't rated as highly as people who stayed around the goal, since they didn't have time to do the crap that HR cared about that really factored into the ratings.

Also, it's a like a law firm in that if you're a gunner and try to work alot, there will always be more work to do. The key is to realize that it's ok to leave things unfinished, and that it's better to do a good job and bill fewer hours than it is to do a mediocre job and bill a ton of hours, at least as far as your ratings (and tiny bonus, and possible early promotion to mgr/sr mgr) are concerned. The biggest secret here is that it's ok to decline projects. Your year end ranking is only affected by projects that you worked on- nobody cares if you turn something down. Also, if you work with a team on bringing in a new account, even if you are just the glorified secretary handing papers to the partner, it will earn you an early promotion and it has nothing to do with hours. Biglaw and Big4 are different in this regard, I think.




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