Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

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What should I do after 1 year in big law?

Leave in August to start at NYU/Gtown tax LLM full-time
1
13%
Leave in the Fall to start at a new job and do NYU/Gtown tax LLM part-time (Get LLM and find a government job)
1
13%
Leave after the year to start a new job (do not get the LLM)
6
75%
 
Total votes: 8

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Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:08 pm

Hi All:

I am a first year in big law practicing tax. Given a number of reasons, I plan to stay only for a year. The cons of working at the firm include the people I work for; the work itself; and the hours/stress/lifestyle. The only pro thus far is the pay and honestly, that's not significant enough for me to want to stay here any longer.

The mid-level associates I work directly under seem to hate their jobs even more than I do and spend every moment they can making sure I know it. It causes a lot of stress; I've cried 3 out of 5 days in a week this month. Note, however, on average, I cry ~1-2 times a month. This is probably just because I still have thin skin at this point in my career, but having to interact with such miserable people on a daily basis is undeniably upsetting. On top of that, I find a large chunk of my work to be mind-numbing, dry and frankly not real attorney work. For example, the work I do now, I did while I was a summer/clerk. This is a large chunk of the work the second years do as well. And lastly, of course, the lifestyle sucks. I hate the idea of getting comfortable with working 10-12 hours per day, working weekends, and not taking actual vacations. Most of the folks around me also hate their jobs and generally seem depressed and unfulfilled. It's an unnecessarily cynical way to live your life.

I have a lot of debt, but I'd rather have debt than make myself miserable for any longer. Given all of that background, here are the options I am considering:

-Leaving in August to start at NYU/Gtown tax LLM full-time. The hope is here that I will be able to get additional more opportunities from being in the program if I cannot find a job beforehand.
-Leaving in the Fall to start at a new job and do NYU/Gtown tax LLM part-time. - This is an ideal situation, but it requires finding a job that is more accommodating than my current one, so probably not big law.
-Leaving after the year to start a new job. - This is a option that requires forgoing the LLM. It could make sense depending on your views of the LLM generally.

I do not think it is plausible to do LLM part-time while working at my current firm. It would be incredibly difficult and the partners I work directly under do not have an LLM so I don't believe they see the value in it. Note that I was accepted into one of NYU/Gtown last year and deferred for a year.

Any thoughts or guidance would be great. Thank you.

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:39 pm

If you don't like tax what's the point of getting an LLM? What kind of work are they having you do?

dabigchina

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby dabigchina » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you don't like tax what's the point of getting an LLM? What kind of work are they having you do?


Yeah getting a (what I assume to be) tax LLM seems like it would be an expensive way to pigeonhole you into something you hate?

This is pretty interesting. I always hear tax is miserable but not that miserable compared to other transactional specialties.

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Johann

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Johann » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:29 pm

I would not get a tax llm considering you already have tax experience in biglaw( and thus should be able to get the same jobs out of the llm you can get right now -big 4, biglaw, etc). I'd start looking for a job in big 4/in hours or govt. 1 year of the right tax experience might be enough.

Also, with the chance of significant tax reform coming down the pipeline, now is a less than average time to seek a tax llm. But mainly, it won't do you any good anyways.

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:24 pm

To clarify, the bulk of legal work I do is not related to tax. However, when I am given tax assignment, I enjoy it.

Edit: This is OP.

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:27 pm

Johann wrote:I would not get a tax llm considering you already have tax experience in biglaw( and thus should be able to get the same jobs out of the llm you can get right now -big 4, biglaw, etc). I'd start looking for a job in big 4/in hours or govt. 1 year of the right tax experience might be enough.

Also, with the chance of significant tax reform coming down the pipeline, now is a less than average time to seek a tax llm. But mainly, it won't do you any good anyways.


What do you mean that now would be "a less than average time to seek a tax llm"? Wouldn't now be a great time to be in tax?
Any thoughts on how it might fit into a 10-year plan?

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:28 pm

dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you don't like tax what's the point of getting an LLM? What kind of work are they having you do?


Yeah getting a (what I assume to be) tax LLM seems like it would be an expensive way to pigeonhole you into something you hate?

This is pretty interesting. I always hear tax is miserable but not that miserable compared to other transactional specialties.



I don't hate tax as a general matter, but I do dislike the specific project I am tasked with and which makes up around 90% of my billables. As noted above*, the work I do is less related to tax, and more related to something a contract attorney would do.

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby umichman » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you don't like tax what's the point of getting an LLM? What kind of work are they having you do?


Yeah getting a (what I assume to be) tax LLM seems like it would be an expensive way to pigeonhole you into something you hate?

This is pretty interesting. I always hear tax is miserable but not that miserable compared to other transactional specialties.



I don't hate tax as a general matter, but I do dislike the specific project I am tasked with and which makes up around 90% of my billables. As noted above*, the work I do is less related to tax, and more related to something a contract attorney would do.


Can you move to another firm where u do pure tax

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:39 pm

umichman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you don't like tax what's the point of getting an LLM? What kind of work are they having you do?


Yeah getting a (what I assume to be) tax LLM seems like it would be an expensive way to pigeonhole you into something you hate?

This is pretty interesting. I always hear tax is miserable but not that miserable compared to other transactional specialties.



I don't hate tax as a general matter, but I do dislike the specific project I am tasked with and which makes up around 90% of my billables. As noted above*, the work I do is less related to tax, and more related to something a contract attorney would do.


Can you move to another firm where u do pure tax


Perhaps. That is an option I've considered, but I hate the lifestyle/hours as well. Does it make sense to put myself through the misery for another year and then decide to leave again after a year? I'm not sure.

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
umichman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you don't like tax what's the point of getting an LLM? What kind of work are they having you do?


Yeah getting a (what I assume to be) tax LLM seems like it would be an expensive way to pigeonhole you into something you hate?

This is pretty interesting. I always hear tax is miserable but not that miserable compared to other transactional specialties.



I don't hate tax as a general matter, but I do dislike the specific project I am tasked with and which makes up around 90% of my billables. As noted above*, the work I do is less related to tax, and more related to something a contract attorney would do.


Can you move to another firm where u do pure tax


Perhaps. That is an option I've considered, but I hate the lifestyle/hours as well. Does it make sense to put myself through the misery for another year and then decide to leave again after a year? I'm not sure.



are you in debt? other than from gambling of course.

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
umichman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you don't like tax what's the point of getting an LLM? What kind of work are they having you do?


Yeah getting a (what I assume to be) tax LLM seems like it would be an expensive way to pigeonhole you into something you hate?

This is pretty interesting. I always hear tax is miserable but not that miserable compared to other transactional specialties.



I don't hate tax as a general matter, but I do dislike the specific project I am tasked with and which makes up around 90% of my billables. As noted above*, the work I do is less related to tax, and more related to something a contract attorney would do.


Can you move to another firm where u do pure tax


Perhaps. That is an option I've considered, but I hate the lifestyle/hours as well. Does it make sense to put myself through the misery for another year and then decide to leave again after a year? I'm not sure.



are you in debt? other than from gambling of course.


I'm in debt, but I don't really care about that. I anticipate making a move to government and staying there for awhile at some point in my career.

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Johann

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Johann » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Johann wrote:I would not get a tax llm considering you already have tax experience in biglaw( and thus should be able to get the same jobs out of the llm you can get right now -big 4, biglaw, etc). I'd start looking for a job in big 4/in hours or govt. 1 year of the right tax experience might be enough.

Also, with the chance of significant tax reform coming down the pipeline, now is a less than average time to seek a tax llm. But mainly, it won't do you any good anyways.


What do you mean that now would be "a less than average time to seek a tax llm"? Wouldn't now be a great time to be in tax?
Any thoughts on how it might fit into a 10-year plan?


Depends what tax area you're getting into. If you pick value added tax, maybe would be a great call if a border adjustment tax becomes a thing. If you pick international tax and the worldwide tax system is wiped out(which was trumps last proposal) good luck you'll need everything you can get.

Which is why my whole point is now is probably not a good time to be picking a specific tax industry niche if you can avoid it. If you insist on doing tax, I'd lean into state and local rather than international right now and avoid international at all costs until the reform starts taking more shape.

But if you're of the opinion that tax reform would create more demand for tax lawyers, you're almost definitely wrong with the current proposals.

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:25 pm

Johann wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Johann wrote:I would not get a tax llm considering you already have tax experience in biglaw( and thus should be able to get the same jobs out of the llm you can get right now -big 4, biglaw, etc). I'd start looking for a job in big 4/in hours or govt. 1 year of the right tax experience might be enough.

Also, with the chance of significant tax reform coming down the pipeline, now is a less than average time to seek a tax llm. But mainly, it won't do you any good anyways.


What do you mean that now would be "a less than average time to seek a tax llm"? Wouldn't now be a great time to be in tax?
Any thoughts on how it might fit into a 10-year plan?


Depends what tax area you're getting into. If you pick value added tax, maybe would be a great call if a border adjustment tax becomes a thing. If you pick international tax and the worldwide tax system is wiped out(which was trumps last proposal) good luck you'll need everything you can get.

Which is why my whole point is now is probably not a good time to be picking a specific tax industry niche if you can avoid it. If you insist on doing tax, I'd lean into state and local rather than international right now and avoid international at all costs until the reform starts taking more shape.

But if you're of the opinion that tax reform would create more demand for tax lawyers, you're almost definitely wrong with the current proposals.


While I appreciate the advice, I think you're jumping the gun (and missing the point here). I intend to be a tax lawyer regardless of the political climate. I have not specialized in any area of tax at the moment, nor do I intend on doing so until I get more than a year or two of experience. I'm not sure where you got that I was going to get an llm to specialize in a specific area, but that is false.

Also, international tax encompasses indirect taxes, or is at least an offshoot.

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nealric

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby nealric » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:17 am

The hours and stress are probably a given, but the other items aren't necessarily universal in biglaw. You might consider lateraling if you aren't gelling with the people you work with. While I'm glad I left to go in-house, I certainly wasn't miserable, and neither were the other tax associates I worked with.

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nealric

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby nealric » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:Also, international tax encompasses indirect taxes, or is at least an offshoot.


I'd consider indirect tax a totally different sub-specialty. Most international specialists I've worked with do not do indirect tax. They are totally different classes in an LLM program with essentially no overlap. I suppose that could change a bit with a potential border-adjustment tax, though my confidence drops by the day as to whether any of the reform proposals are going anywhere.

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:27 am

nealric wrote:The hours and stress are probably a given, but the other items aren't necessarily universal in biglaw. You might consider lateraling if you aren't gelling with the people you work with. While I'm glad I left to go in-house, I certainly wasn't miserable, and neither were the other tax associates I worked with.


Mind if I PM you?

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nealric

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Re: Need Help with Career Trajectory (Tax LLM)

Postby nealric » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:The hours and stress are probably a given, but the other items aren't necessarily universal in biglaw. You might consider lateraling if you aren't gelling with the people you work with. While I'm glad I left to go in-house, I certainly wasn't miserable, and neither were the other tax associates I worked with.


Mind if I PM you?


Go ahead.



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