Big 4 work environment

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Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Big 4 work environment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:50 pm

Spring 2014 grad, starting a job at a Big4 in a few weeks (NYC office). The practice deals solely with international tax systems, so the US tax season doesn't really come into play.

What are the hours expectations generally?
How does the work environment compare to working in a large law firm?
Also, do you expect I will be treated any differently as a lawyer (besides getting paid more and getting more research and writing oriented work)?

Thanks for any advice!!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Big 4 work environment

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:49 am

bump

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Big 4 work environment

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:09 pm

Worked Big4 before law school, now a junior associate in Biglaw. These are my experiences (and I wasn't in tax), so take it with a grain of salt:

1. Hours - while Big4 does track your chargeable hours, there isn't as much of an obsession with them as in Biglaw. You'll find that your salary is only somewhat related to the hours and there aren't hard cutoffs as there are in biglaw (e.g., 2100 or 2000 billable "requirements"). In Big4, as long as you're relatively well-utilized, you're good. As far as workflow is concerned, this will entirely depend on your practice group. Generally speaking, though, comparing Big4 Transactions with Biglaw corporate work, Big4 work is much less cyclical. Your deals are somewhat smaller and occur more frequently, so you might have ups and downs, but they vary by days as opposed to possibly weeks/months in Biglaw.

2. Work environment - too many variables here. For myself, I found Big4 to be a bit more stuffy and less intellectual overall (you need to keep in mind that Big4 hires from pretty much all accounting programs in the country and even the hiring class from the smaller offices is probably still bigger than the biggest Biglaw SA program). Maybe with more lawyers in the tax group, the environment might be different.

3. No idea.

UndecidedMN
Posts: 151
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:05 pm

Re: Big 4 work environment

Postby UndecidedMN » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:37 pm

Not in Big 4, but have many friends who are in 2 of them. This is not like any kind of law work you expect. If you want to practice "real" law, then do not do this. First, the environment is completely different. Forget offices or in some cases even cubicals. One firm has just long tables you share and you never even get a set seat to keep your stuff in the same spot.

One of my friends work in the international tax group. He does review laws, but, its how to help determine the best way to avoid taxes. They generally provide opinion letters on how to complete a transaction. If you think you will argue tax cases, you will not be. If a problem ever comes up, it goes to contracted legal counsel.

My friends feel like glorified accounts with legal training. Granted they are not completing financial statements, but they are determining the best way to structure an estate or trust.

You have to put in minimum 10 years to make partner if your lucky. They also do track billables. One of the things that these firms tried to sell my friends during interviews was the "life balance" they offer over law firms. That you are working like 9-6 instead of 7-9. Yes, there is less stress about that. But it is not as much as you think.

At my school, I believe 10-15 people were hired by firms. Although I could be wrong, I know of at least 6 for sure. 2 Love it, 2 are ok, and 2 hate it and are trying to get out. Really talk to alumni about their experiences who are there. I promise you, it will not be like what you expect.




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