A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

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A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:42 pm

After creeping on the TIP/TARE 2018 thread (which was a fantastic use of crowdsourcing and I could not find a similar thread from any earlier years that compared [keep up the transparency]), I'm seeing a lot of NYU/GULC grads going into the Big4 making around 135k in major markets to 95k in regional offices.

I'm wondering what is the salary trajectory from there at a Big4. My tax professor told me that you start out making a lot less money at accounting firms than Biglaw, but eventually make more (maybe because people eventually just leave biglaw).

Any insight would be helpful!

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:09 pm

I work at a regional office of a Big4 and heard about similar things. That said, you probably won't earn more than your BigLaw peers until you reach senior manager level and/or above.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:After creeping on the TIP/TARE 2018 thread (which was a fantastic use of crowdsourcing and I could not find a similar thread from any earlier years that compared [keep up the transparency]), I'm seeing a lot of NYU/GULC grads going into the Big4 making around 135k in major markets to 95k in regional offices.

I'm wondering what is the salary trajectory from there at a Big4. My tax professor told me that you start out making a lot less money at accounting firms than Biglaw, but eventually make more (maybe because people eventually just leave biglaw).

Any insight would be helpful!


It's more like 110k to 125k in major markets.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:16 pm

I have to say, I took a job straight out of law school in NYC (but in transfer pricing, which I hear pays less), and I feel pretty screwed by these salaries. I'm getting 100k (95 + 5k bonus) and after seeing 135+ salaries, I'm wondering if I should have gone for an LLM...

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:59 pm

I know that managers in bigger cities (DC/NY) are in the low 200s. So, yes, you will be lower than your peers in biglaw, but unless you’re really stupid, you will make manager in an accounting firm in 4-6 years. I heard you really don’t get pushed out of accounting firms and they’ll just keep you at Director forever if you’re a decent worker.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby dabigchina » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work at a regional office of a Big4 and heard about similar things. That said, you probably won't earn more than your BigLaw peers until you reach senior manager level and/or above.

You won't beat law firm earnings until a few years after you make partner. There were fairly senior directors who made about as much as a senior associate.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:51 am

dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I work at a regional office of a Big4 and heard about similar things. That said, you probably won't earn more than your BigLaw peers until you reach senior manager level and/or above.

You won't beat law firm earnings until a few years after you make partner. There were fairly senior directors who made about as much as a senior associate.


"Won't" is a pretty strong word. An MD in my office said she has started to earn more than her law school classmates since a couple of years ago.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:41 am

Many more people will become directors at big 4 than senior associates at biglaw firms. After probably 6 years, you will be making more simply because your biglaw counterpart has probably left at that point.

Some speciality tax groups have hoardes of directors.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:52 am

My guess is that there are less people who burn out and go do something random like open cupcake shops. (This may also be because they don't manage to save enough to undertake a venture like this).

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:12 am

I was going to say, I see a lot more directors here who don't seem to actively hate their lives or worry about being pushed out.

I guess the real question at some point is whether a director is likely to make more than whatever exit options are common to biglaw associates, which is highly group-dependent.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby dabigchina » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I work at a regional office of a Big4 and heard about similar things. That said, you probably won't earn more than your BigLaw peers until you reach senior manager level and/or above.

You won't beat law firm earnings until a few years after you make partner. There were fairly senior directors who made about as much as a senior associate.


"Won't" is a pretty strong word. An MD in my office said she has started to earn more than her law school classmates since a couple of years ago.


Law school classmates in biglaw?
How senior of a director was she?

In either case, what you are saying doesn't contradict what I said at all. A director can make more than a senior associate (although it will take longer to get there). There's very little chance that a senior manager will make more than a senior associate who makes market.

Also, let's dispel the notion that big4 director is some kind of lifestyle position. It's pretty stressful and I know plenty of directors who hate their lives.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:35 pm

I knew directors who regularly worked from 8-430 everyday. I also knew directors who worked crazy hours all the time. Clearly some are trying to make principal/partner others are not.

You will not find a senior associate coasting with those hours at any larger firm.

However, the former director type I mentioned seems more like an of counsel position.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:47 pm

dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I work at a regional office of a Big4 and heard about similar things. That said, you probably won't earn more than your BigLaw peers until you reach senior manager level and/or above.

You won't beat law firm earnings until a few years after you make partner. There were fairly senior directors who made about as much as a senior associate.


"Won't" is a pretty strong word. An MD in my office said she has started to earn more than her law school classmates since a couple of years ago.


Law school classmates in biglaw?
How senior of a director was she?

In either case, what you are saying doesn't contradict what I said at all. A director can make more than a senior associate (although it will take longer to get there). There's very little chance that a senior manager will make more than a senior associate who makes market.

Also, let's dispel the notion that big4 director is some kind of lifestyle position. It's pretty stressful and I know plenty of directors who hate their lives.


Sorry for not making this clear in my first post but yes, she said she's been earning more than her law school classmates in BigLaw.

I did't see any reference to manager in your original response. And I think the statement "senior managers in Big4 make less than senior associates in BigLaw" general holds true, though Big4 salary is not as transparent as BigLaw.

What I heard is totally anecdotal anyways. It is based on nothing but what my MD told me. Assuming she's not lying, "a couple of years back" for her means when she was still a senior manager. That's why I said "you probably won't earn more than your BigLaw peers until you reach senior manager level and/or above.

But if the point you are trying to make is that senior associates in BigLaw should really be comparable to manager/senior manager rather than MDs because of the years it takes to get there, I tend to agree. And again, BigLaw senior associates, as a general matter, is still likely to earn more than managers in Big4 .

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have to say, I took a job straight out of law school in NYC (but in transfer pricing, which I hear pays less), and I feel pretty screwed by these salaries. I'm getting 100k (95 + 5k bonus) and after seeing 135+ salaries, I'm wondering if I should have gone for an LLM...


Is it too late/do they not incentivize an LLM? I was under the imporession you needed an LLM, MS in Tax, or a COA to be up for principal/partner.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby dabigchina » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have to say, I took a job straight out of law school in NYC (but in transfer pricing, which I hear pays less), and I feel pretty screwed by these salaries. I'm getting 100k (95 + 5k bonus) and after seeing 135+ salaries, I'm wondering if I should have gone for an LLM...


Is it too late/do they not incentivize an LLM? I was under the imporession you needed an LLM, MS in Tax, or a COA to be up for principal/partner.

It's all about the business case and who can come up to bat for you.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have to say, I took a job straight out of law school in NYC (but in transfer pricing, which I hear pays less), and I feel pretty screwed by these salaries. I'm getting 100k (95 + 5k bonus) and after seeing 135+ salaries, I'm wondering if I should have gone for an LLM...


I think the $135k salaries are few and far between (and, from what I've seen, usually for M&A folks). I have an offer for a regional office M&A. I do not have an LLM. Offer is for $75k. I was told, however, that in 4-5 years when I make Manager that my pay will be = to those with LLMs at ~$150k.

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Re: A Tax LLM's Big4 Salary Trajectory

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2018 4:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I think the $135k salaries are few and far between (and, from what I've seen, usually for M&A folks). I have an offer for a regional office M&A. I do not have an LLM. Offer is for $75k. I was told, however, that in 4-5 years when I make Manager that my pay will be = to those with LLMs at ~$150k.


Does the pay vary that much across practice groups? And to clarify, do you mean that JDs and LLMs converge at the manager level? As in, while LLMs start higher, JDs would be getting higher raises and finally meet after 4-5 years?



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