BigLaw(?) v. Big4

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joeschmoe

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BigLaw(?) v. Big4

Postby joeschmoe » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:13 pm

So I go to a TTT but was lucky enough to get an offer at a >100 law firm in flyover country (not where I want to end up). I also had an interview at a Big4 on Friday and another Big4 wants me to fly out to their office next week. My question is this: Would I be in a better position to lateral to a mid-sized law firm in my desired location (secondary/tertiary market in flyover country) if I accepted the offer at the law firm or with 2-3 years under my belt at a Big4 doing anything from tax compliance to M&A work?

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nealric

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Re: BigLaw(?) v. Big4

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:33 pm

Based, on your goals, probably the firm. But it's hard to give good advice without more info. It's unlikely that a midlaw firm in a secondary or tertiary market is going to be doing a lot of public company M&A tax work (for example) that would make the Big4 experience relevant. There may only be one or two tax partners and one or two tax associates at firms like that.

It's helpful to know what you are talking about with "biglaw"- 100+ attorney isn't necessarily what people are talking about when they say biglaw. There's likely a big difference between a 120 lawyer firm in a tertiary market and a V20 firm in terms of how it sets you up career-wise. Is the firm offer tax, or something else?

How small a market are we talking about when you say secondary/tertiary "flyover"? We talking Chicago or Tulsa or Amarillo?

Are there any large companies headquartered or with major offices in your desired city? Would you be OK with going from Big4 to in-house?

joeschmoe

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Re: BigLaw(?) v. Big4

Postby joeschmoe » Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:57 pm

Thanks for the reply. To give more specifics, the offer isn't with a firm that most people on here would consider "BigLaw." The firm (100-200 attorneys) offer is for an associate position in their transactional practice. Probably some tax here and there but not solely tax. Market size is more like Tulsa; think Reno, Boise, Spokane, SLC, Billings. There are a handful of large companies headquartered in my desired city. I would love to go from Big4 to in-house. Is it possible/likely to go from Big4 (say 2-5 years) and then go directly in-house in a legal role instead of a tax role? One of the Big4 I am interviewing for is for M&A while the other (EY) is for a diversified group aka they make you do a handful of different types of tax for the first 2 years.

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nealric

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Re: BigLaw(?) v. Big4

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:20 pm

joeschmoe wrote:Thanks for the reply. To give more specifics, the offer isn't with a firm that most people on here would consider "BigLaw." The firm (100-200 attorneys) offer is for an associate position in their transactional practice. Probably some tax here and there but not solely tax. Market size is more like Tulsa; think Reno, Boise, Spokane, SLC, Billings. There are a handful of large companies headquartered in my desired city. I would love to go from Big4 to in-house. Is it possible/likely to go from Big4 (say 2-5 years) and then go directly in-house in a legal role instead of a tax role? One of the Big4 I am interviewing for is for M&A while the other (EY) is for a diversified group aka they make you do a handful of different types of tax for the first 2 years.


I'm in house at a f500. One of my co-workers in tax legal came over from Big4, so it's certainly doable. I think the key is figuring out what type of practice you want and what type of practice the jobs are offering. I will offer some pros and cons:

Big 4 Pros:
Bigger upside potential if you stay with them
Access to more high-end public company work
Likely more sophisticated transactions to work on
Better name recognition for lateral moves
May be able to transfer between offices- and they have offices all over the place

Big4 Cons:
Work-life balance likely inferior
May get pigeonholed doing drudgery- things like reviewing invoices for sales tax audits
May not get good legal training- they may push you into a more accounting-focused role
Practice may not align with any practices in your desired market

Firm Pros:
Practice closer to what is likely common in your desired market
Likely better work-life balance
Better legal training
Likely less hierarchical,
Likely better partnership prospects

Firm Cons
Potentially poor name recognition outside home market
Likely less sophisticated transactions
Less focused practice- may not be able to develop focused tax expertise

joeschmoe

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Re: BigLaw(?) v. Big4

Postby joeschmoe » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:52 pm

I appreciate you help. To go in-house at a f500, do the companies look at your education or are they more concerned about previous work experience? Aka am I screwed out of a tax/legal in-house gig at f500 coming from Big4 tax if I went to a TTT?

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nealric

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Re: BigLaw(?) v. Big4

Postby nealric » Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:21 am

joeschmoe wrote:I appreciate you help. To go in-house at a f500, do the companies look at your education or are they more concerned about previous work experience? Aka am I screwed out of a tax/legal in-house gig at f500 coming from Big4 tax if I went to a TTT?


They are more concerned with work experience, though education can still be a factor. Depends on the proclivities of who is doing the hiring and what the competition is for a position.



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