Anonymous User wrote:Anonymous User wrote:Anonymous User wrote:Anonymous User wrote:NYU/G-Town Tax LLM student. Graduated from T40 top-third and mostly As/A-s in tax classes during JD. Some relevant tax experiences during law school (clinic, internships).
Received offers from 2 of Big 4 International in one of the major markets.
I'm curious about the following, especially international:
1) The nature of the work (structuring, compliance, controversy even with Sarbanes-Oxley)?
- Both firms seemed to sell that there won't be compliance work and mostly drafting legal memos for structuring work. I'm not buying it yet.
2) Career projections (promotions, exit ops),
- How long from associate to senior associate, then to manager? Are lawyers treated differently? Is Biglaw ever in the run?
3) Pay scale progression (Year to year raise %?, bonus %?)
- Ran excel spreadsheet based on some assumptions and it seems dismal at least until Manager, but I hope to be proven wrong.
4) Hours?? (Some say biglaw light, others say substantially better, some say as bad as biglaw w/o biglaw $)
- What time do you usually get out?? Weekends? Do you actually get to take vacations and have life? Assume NYC/DC. Again, work/life balance was what they were selling but it was hard to believe.
I ask because if I accept either of the offers, I won't be able to participate in TIP. Big dilemma, but it feels nice to have a job right now and not worry about this semester's grades.
Talked to A LOT OF big4 attorneys but I don't think I got an honest answer. All biglaw tax folks told me to turn them down but they all went to T6 and don't understand the struggles of a T40. Career Office is telling me to take it but I don't know what their incentives are. Thus the anonymous posting & asking for some TLS wisdom.
big4 tax here but not in international, in a major non nyc market.
1. Some lawyers get caught in the compliance b/c of staffing issues, usually because there arent enough cpas to do it. However it is entirely possible to do all consulting/controversy work.
2. Depends on at what level you come in as (associate or senior) but assuming the very bottom of the totem pole, 2-3 years to senior (depending on firm), then ~3 years to manager, and ~3-5 years to senior manager. Exit options from what I have seen are other accounting firms (obviously), biglaw tax (a little rare though), boutique law, inhouse tax counsel, in house tax manager/senior manager (i think this is more or less the same as in house tax counsel, but I am not sure...).
3. Raises and bonuses arent that great unless it is a promotion year and is based on a % which factors in firm and individual performance (supposedly).
4. From what I have seen, it is most definitely better than biglaw. Me and my big4 lawyer buddies do get an occasional crazy day/week but that isnt surprising. Overall from a lifestyle perspective I would say it is much better than biglaw, imo.
Your offer seems really good (much higher than most attorneys get at big4, even with LLMs), at least for the non-NYC markets. Maybe big4 is paying more these days...
Thank you for the long answer. I don't want to out myself, but this is in NYC and I think that might be why the salary is slightly higher than other markets? (I mean, a tiny studio half the size of my garage back home in the midwest is $2500/month...). I'm looking at apartments right now and think I'll just commute from somewhere far out in Queens, like Elmhurst or something, to actually pay back loans if I were to accept...
When you say "controversy" though, what's the nature of the work? I'd imagine you can't go to court representing clients through a big 4. International arbitration maybe? Negotiations?
Based on many of the answers given on TLS including you, I think I'm just going to accept. If I like the job, I'll stay; if I don't, I'll try my best to lateral somewhere else. From my perspective as a student, the work seems very substantive and I would be happy to help out structuring deals both from legal and accounting perspectives, and I would imagine having solid numbers in the end to show to the client would be strength behind Big 4.
Previous anon poster here.
You are right we dont go to court but i would say the vast majority of our controversy gets settled at the administrative level anyway (IRS, CA FTB, various other department of revenues...). I think its pretty rare that a client would want to actually litigate because a lot of money has to be at stake and you have to pay the liability before you can even go to court. A lot of it is audit defense that requires a lot of research and writing. My big4 hires hires ex-biglaw including at the partner level to expand this practice group.
Hope everything works out for you, goodluck!
You are right. Administrative levels anyway, and CPAs can represent there too so lawyers sure will have a role to play. Very excited about it!