JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

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JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:36 pm

If I have a median GPA on my JD, but an honors level GPA in my tax LLM program... Will Big law firms with tax practices look at the JD gpa and not consider me? Anyone have experience in this?

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:40 pm

Do you have any relevant work experience ?

Are you willing to work a few years at a Big 4 ?

Which LLM Tax programs are you considering ?

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:46 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Do you have any relevant work experience ?

Are you willing to work a few years at a Big 4 ?

Which LLM Tax programs are you considering ?


I have worked doing tax controversy issues but only at a clinic at my school. We pretty much handled everything outside of actually appearing at tax court, since it was a pro-bono clinic etc. We got cases close then handed them off if it got that far. My law firm experience has been in insurance bad faith, construction defect and a sprinkle of business tort/personal injury. No law firm tax experience.

I am willing to work at big 4, but ultimately I would probably want to move on.

I am only considering programs in CA, as I have a wife/kids. I've been accepted at USD and waiting to hear from Loyola Marymount.

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:51 pm

I'll try to answer based on scant information regarding your background.

Much depends upon the hiring partner(s) & needs of the firm. Many tax dept. heads at NYC biglaw firms have been quoted as saying they prefer a high GPA/class rank from a top law school versus an LLM Tax. But it's a bit different if that LLM degree is from NYU. And it's different if you have a few years of relevant work experience in the firm's area of need. Also, different if you have Big 4 or major regional experience. Also, different if your prior w/e is with a current or targeted client or specialty area.

So, just to be clear, the answer to your question is yes/no/maybe/it depends. Hope that helps.

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:57 pm

A few years with a Big 4 should enable you to get biglaw. With respect to the little I know about the California market, you will get hired instantly in San Francisco or Silicon Valley area by Big 4, but pay will likely not exceed $120,000 or so to start. Maybe less. Your housing costs will be astronomical. Tough if you have a family, not so tough for 3 years if single with no dependents.

Southern California, hopefully, will be a better environment. Your best information should be from Univ. of San Diego placement office.

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:02 pm

Tax controversy/tax resolution w/o tax court practice seems to be concentrated in Southern California, Denver/Boulder area of Colorado & Florida with very small firms scattered in various states. An LLM Tax will open your eyes to the world of a tax practice, but not on tax return preparation which is the primary focus of accounting firms. Big 4 now toying with tax controversy/tax resolution, but not lucrative compared to biglaw, plus they would want you to teach them & your experience is too thin.

P.S. Tax court is the easiest gig you'll ever get. Almost all cases get settled right before your hearing.

P.P.S. Court of Claims & District Court are much tougher because the government already has your money.

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:08 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Tax controversy/tax resolution w/o tax court practice seems to be concentrated in Southern California, Denver/Boulder area of Colorado & Florida with very small firms scattered in various states. An LLM Tax will open your eyes to the world of a tax practice, but not on tax return preparation which is the primary focus of accounting firms. Big 4 now toying with tax controversy/tax resolution, but not lucrative compared to biglaw, plus they would want you to teach them & your experience is too thin.

P.S. Tax court is the easiest gig you'll ever get. Almost all cases get settled right before your hearing.

P.P.S. Court of Claims & District Court are much tougher because the government already has your money.


Thanks for all the insight, I appreciate it.

I doubt I would be able to get into NYU as a median student? Even if I could convince my wife to pack it up for a year. Also, do people view the online Tax LLM from NYU of the same value?

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:16 pm

NYU, BU & Georgetown are offering online LLM. I suspect, but do not really know, that it is not as respected as the on-campus programs. Relatively new programs.

Need for SALT (state & local taxation), but not biglaw pay level & corporate in-house need for international tax talent.

In my opinion, better to attend USD or Loyola Marymount than online (which is really for active tax practitioners) in order to get personal connections.

Big 4 love CPA or EA licenses/licensees.

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:21 pm

With respect to your original question: A high LLM GPA is expected. LLM Tax programs are more like college & less like a primary professional graduate school such as JD or MBA programs. JD & MBA primarily try to teach one to think like a lawyer or a manager; LLM Tax is more specialty focused. Learning specifics & specific tax theory & tax resources is the goal. Much less stressful than law school or big-time MBA programs.

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Re: JD GPA vs. LLM GPA for tax students

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:28 pm

If I were young & single, I would look at Georgetown's LLM in Tax due to the incredible externship/internship opportunities. But, it would not be wise, in my opinion, to uproot one's family from Southern California to DC or NYC for an LLM Tax without a substantial scholarship--and those are rare. USD and maybe Loyola Marymount should get you many opportunities in California.



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