Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

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dabigchina

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby dabigchina » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are hours like? If you have big law there's no reason to consider big 4 right?


OP here who has researched and talked candidly with Big 4 employees, but not experienced Big 4 life personally: At my CB I was told if I got the job I wouldn't have billables, guaranteed 5 week vacation upon signing that I can actually take without fear of retribution, six month guaranteed job security for birth/adoption of child, and opportunity to move within groups/offices (even for pre-approved temporary periods). They also pay for your LLM after a year of working for them and offer other incentives like child and elder care, car purchases at dealer rates, etc.

You have to consider tradeoffs. As an older student, I'd rather take my five weeks vacation and be able to enjoy some time with my family than be working on a Saturday afternoon, missing my kid's soccer game. In the long run, with a paid off LLM and hike increase from it, you're still making good money. Especially after compounding 10% pay increase each year after twenty years versus being miserable at biglaw and eventually moving in-house with a starting pay lower after a few years than someone with the same number of years put in at a Big 4 with a marketable LLM.


This sounds like Deloitte. OP, classifying big4 as a one big category is a misnomer - each firm and the groups within are very different. I work at a big4 M&A tax (transferred from international) and we pull 100 hour weeks on a consistent basis. International was more like 60 hours a week with occasional weekends. It also depends on the type of international tax, office and the firm. I have friends who work 9-6 everyday, are 80%+ utilized (so the firm doesnt bother then) and are happy with their lives. We have people here who consistently pull all nighters waiting for that time to gtfo asap as well.

I want to argue that exit ops in big4 can be better than biglaw in the tax world, because at the end of the day you wouldn't just be a doc monkey drafting tax provisions of LPAs all day. But theres also a possibility you may get stuck doing compliance and cannot distinguish your skills from the accountants. Big4 is huge and depending on how you shape your experience, you can exit to really good inhouse opps that easily pay 250-300k all-in at the manager/director level (4-7th years). But while you are in the big4, the pay is definitely going to suck compared to biglaw (JD/LLM directors, i.e., 5-8th years, get paid similar to biglaw 1-3rd year associates). I've seen a lot of people go to biglaw from the big4 especially in the past year, but this may be because of the tax reform.

250 all in is f500 tax director money. No way anybody is pulling that after 4 years, even with jd+llm

TXgal

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby TXgal » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:51 am

Does anyone know what JD-only comp is like for the Big 4 in Texas? Just curious.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:20 pm

TXgal wrote:Does anyone know what JD-only comp is like for the Big 4 in Texas? Just curious.

Also curious about this as someone who is JD-only and currently making 115-120 in NY (been at firm 2 years) but looking to relocate to TX. Honestly in the LinkedIn research I have done, seems like the Houston Big 4 firms hire a lot fewer attorneys than in NY.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:52 pm

dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are hours like? If you have big law there's no reason to consider big 4 right?


OP here who has researched and talked candidly with Big 4 employees, but not experienced Big 4 life personally: At my CB I was told if I got the job I wouldn't have billables, guaranteed 5 week vacation upon signing that I can actually take without fear of retribution, six month guaranteed job security for birth/adoption of child, and opportunity to move within groups/offices (even for pre-approved temporary periods). They also pay for your LLM after a year of working for them and offer other incentives like child and elder care, car purchases at dealer rates, etc.

You have to consider tradeoffs. As an older student, I'd rather take my five weeks vacation and be able to enjoy some time with my family than be working on a Saturday afternoon, missing my kid's soccer game. In the long run, with a paid off LLM and hike increase from it, you're still making good money. Especially after compounding 10% pay increase each year after twenty years versus being miserable at biglaw and eventually moving in-house with a starting pay lower after a few years than someone with the same number of years put in at a Big 4 with a marketable LLM.


This sounds like Deloitte. OP, classifying big4 as a one big category is a misnomer - each firm and the groups within are very different. I work at a big4 M&A tax (transferred from international) and we pull 100 hour weeks on a consistent basis. International was more like 60 hours a week with occasional weekends. It also depends on the type of international tax, office and the firm. I have friends who work 9-6 everyday, are 80%+ utilized (so the firm doesnt bother then) and are happy with their lives. We have people here who consistently pull all nighters waiting for that time to gtfo asap as well.

I want to argue that exit ops in big4 can be better than biglaw in the tax world, because at the end of the day you wouldn't just be a doc monkey drafting tax provisions of LPAs all day. But theres also a possibility you may get stuck doing compliance and cannot distinguish your skills from the accountants. Big4 is huge and depending on how you shape your experience, you can exit to really good inhouse opps that easily pay 250-300k all-in at the manager/director level (4-7th years). But while you are in the big4, the pay is definitely going to suck compared to biglaw (JD/LLM directors, i.e., 5-8th years, get paid similar to biglaw 1-3rd year associates). I've seen a lot of people go to biglaw from the big4 especially in the past year, but this may be because of the tax reform.

250 all in is f500 tax director money. No way anybody is pulling that after 4 years, even with jd+llm


No it is not- maybe that's accurate for base salary or for a smaller F500 based in a low cost of living area. I made about $250k all-in after 4 years with a JD + LLM. Not sure exactly what tax director makes (very performance dependent at that level), but it's likely around double that based on pay grade.

dabigchina

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby dabigchina » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are hours like? If you have big law there's no reason to consider big 4 right?


OP here who has researched and talked candidly with Big 4 employees, but not experienced Big 4 life personally: At my CB I was told if I got the job I wouldn't have billables, guaranteed 5 week vacation upon signing that I can actually take without fear of retribution, six month guaranteed job security for birth/adoption of child, and opportunity to move within groups/offices (even for pre-approved temporary periods). They also pay for your LLM after a year of working for them and offer other incentives like child and elder care, car purchases at dealer rates, etc.

You have to consider tradeoffs. As an older student, I'd rather take my five weeks vacation and be able to enjoy some time with my family than be working on a Saturday afternoon, missing my kid's soccer game. In the long run, with a paid off LLM and hike increase from it, you're still making good money. Especially after compounding 10% pay increase each year after twenty years versus being miserable at biglaw and eventually moving in-house with a starting pay lower after a few years than someone with the same number of years put in at a Big 4 with a marketable LLM.


This sounds like Deloitte. OP, classifying big4 as a one big category is a misnomer - each firm and the groups within are very different. I work at a big4 M&A tax (transferred from international) and we pull 100 hour weeks on a consistent basis. International was more like 60 hours a week with occasional weekends. It also depends on the type of international tax, office and the firm. I have friends who work 9-6 everyday, are 80%+ utilized (so the firm doesnt bother then) and are happy with their lives. We have people here who consistently pull all nighters waiting for that time to gtfo asap as well.

I want to argue that exit ops in big4 can be better than biglaw in the tax world, because at the end of the day you wouldn't just be a doc monkey drafting tax provisions of LPAs all day. But theres also a possibility you may get stuck doing compliance and cannot distinguish your skills from the accountants. Big4 is huge and depending on how you shape your experience, you can exit to really good inhouse opps that easily pay 250-300k all-in at the manager/director level (4-7th years). But while you are in the big4, the pay is definitely going to suck compared to biglaw (JD/LLM directors, i.e., 5-8th years, get paid similar to biglaw 1-3rd year associates). I've seen a lot of people go to biglaw from the big4 especially in the past year, but this may be because of the tax reform.

250 all in is f500 tax director money. No way anybody is pulling that after 4 years, even with jd+llm


No it is not- maybe that's accurate for base salary or for a smaller F500 based in a low cost of living area. I made about $250k all-in after 4 years with a JD + LLM. Not sure exactly what tax director makes (very performance dependent at that level), but it's likely around double that based on pay grade.

I know a tax director and a VP tax, both in high col areas, both at large f500s, and they both make under 300 base. It's possible that they clear over 300 all in. However, both left after making director at their big4s. Your post is the first time I have heard of someone leaving from the big4 for that much money after only 4 years
Your experience is out of the ordinary.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:27 pm

dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are hours like? If you have big law there's no reason to consider big 4 right?


OP here who has researched and talked candidly with Big 4 employees, but not experienced Big 4 life personally: At my CB I was told if I got the job I wouldn't have billables, guaranteed 5 week vacation upon signing that I can actually take without fear of retribution, six month guaranteed job security for birth/adoption of child, and opportunity to move within groups/offices (even for pre-approved temporary periods). They also pay for your LLM after a year of working for them and offer other incentives like child and elder care, car purchases at dealer rates, etc.

You have to consider tradeoffs. As an older student, I'd rather take my five weeks vacation and be able to enjoy some time with my family than be working on a Saturday afternoon, missing my kid's soccer game. In the long run, with a paid off LLM and hike increase from it, you're still making good money. Especially after compounding 10% pay increase each year after twenty years versus being miserable at biglaw and eventually moving in-house with a starting pay lower after a few years than someone with the same number of years put in at a Big 4 with a marketable LLM.


This sounds like Deloitte. OP, classifying big4 as a one big category is a misnomer - each firm and the groups within are very different. I work at a big4 M&A tax (transferred from international) and we pull 100 hour weeks on a consistent basis. International was more like 60 hours a week with occasional weekends. It also depends on the type of international tax, office and the firm. I have friends who work 9-6 everyday, are 80%+ utilized (so the firm doesnt bother then) and are happy with their lives. We have people here who consistently pull all nighters waiting for that time to gtfo asap as well.

I want to argue that exit ops in big4 can be better than biglaw in the tax world, because at the end of the day you wouldn't just be a doc monkey drafting tax provisions of LPAs all day. But theres also a possibility you may get stuck doing compliance and cannot distinguish your skills from the accountants. Big4 is huge and depending on how you shape your experience, you can exit to really good inhouse opps that easily pay 250-300k all-in at the manager/director level (4-7th years). But while you are in the big4, the pay is definitely going to suck compared to biglaw (JD/LLM directors, i.e., 5-8th years, get paid similar to biglaw 1-3rd year associates). I've seen a lot of people go to biglaw from the big4 especially in the past year, but this may be because of the tax reform.

250 all in is f500 tax director money. No way anybody is pulling that after 4 years, even with jd+llm


No it is not- maybe that's accurate for base salary or for a smaller F500 based in a low cost of living area. I made about $250k all-in after 4 years with a JD + LLM. Not sure exactly what tax director makes (very performance dependent at that level), but it's likely around double that based on pay grade.

I know a tax director and a VP tax, both in high col areas, both at large f500s, and they both make under 300 base. It's possible that they clear over 300 all in. However, both left after making director at their big4s. Your post is the first time I have heard of someone leaving from the big4 for that much money after only 4 years
Your experience is out of the ordinary.


I was from biglaw, although we've hired a big4 Manager at similar salary. Keep in mind that base is a much lower portion of salary than at biglaw or big4. My base has historically been around 60% of my all-in (keep in mind that many companies have 401k match and pension contributions, which few firms provide below the partner level).

Also, some companies use different titles. At my company, "tax director" = VP tax (director is the head, and there is only one). Others use "VP Tax" as the title for the head, and have a director or two as their deputies.

dabigchina

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby dabigchina » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I was from biglaw, although we've hired a big4 Manager at similar salary. Keep in mind that base is a much lower portion of salary than at biglaw or big4. My base has historically been around 60% of my all-in (keep in mind that many companies have 401k match and pension contributions, which few firms provide below the partner level). Also, some companies use different titles. At my company, "tax director" = VP tax (director is the head, and there is only one).

Well aware of the differences in title. Some companies have a VP of tax above the director.

My experience has been that people exiting from biglaw seem to have a higher salary outside of certain groups like m&a. If I were an llm starting in salt or intl, I would not expect a 250k payday after 4 years.

As to your discretionary comp, I'm happy you are getting compensation that's 130% of your base, but that's more than I've ever heard. Neither of the people I know do. I would suggest people temper their expectations.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:44 pm

dabigchina wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I was from biglaw, although we've hired a big4 Manager at similar salary. Keep in mind that base is a much lower portion of salary than at biglaw or big4. My base has historically been around 60% of my all-in (keep in mind that many companies have 401k match and pension contributions, which few firms provide below the partner level). Also, some companies use different titles. At my company, "tax director" = VP tax (director is the head, and there is only one).

Well aware of the differences in title. Some companies have a VP of tax above the director.

My experience has been that people exiting from biglaw seem to have a higher salary outside of certain groups like m&a. If I were an llm starting in salt or intl, I would not expect a 250k payday after 4 years.

As to your discretionary comp, I'm happy you are getting compensation that's 130% of your base, but that's more than I've ever heard. Neither of the people I know do. I would suggest people temper their expectations.


I suspect it can be very industry specific. My frame of reference is the energy industry.

KME89

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby KME89 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:30 pm

Are there any noticeable pros/cons between starting out at midlaw versus a Big 4?

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:49 am

For various reasons I ended up in the TP service line after some time in biglaw, and I'm pretty miserable. Hours are probably better (like 9-7/8 and no weekends) and the one solid perk is that people really do use all of their vacations. I think some of my colleagues aim for at least one long weekend on months they don't have vacations planned.

Other than that, though, it's pretty miserable because it feels like a waste of a law degree. I'm not practicing, I don't think my particular group is very friendly to having lawyers, I've literally been asked whether I actually have a law degree. I'm unlikely to have a legal job again. Maybe things would be better if I went into the international tax group or the M&A group as far as long-term options go, but can't do much more than speculate and try to transfer internally.

FWIW one of my friends at another Big4 applied for an internal transfer to the Int'l tax group and said it went well until they asked her what her long term plans were if she didn't make partner (basically specifically worded to see what she'd do if not work in this group). She said she'd probably then want to go in-house as a tax counsel. That answer made them question her commitment to tax consultancy as opposed to legal practice, and she didn't get the transfer. Considering that people have gotten jobs here after openly saying they're looking to transfer client-side down the line, I think the hesitancy has more to do with the fact that she expressed interest in going to a more traditional legal role down the line, than saying that she wanted to go client-side. She also told me that they pushed back hard on her point that Int'l tax was a good place for a lawyer to build some semblance of a legal career. Like they doubled down on the fact that nothing they did was similar to legal practice.

So my two cents is it seems to be no place for a lawyer who wants to be lawyer. If you have no other options or are looking to do a soft transfer out of legal practice, it might be better.

Edit as to add relevant information for the OP: I'm in NYC and make $100k. I joined too near the end of the fiscal year (in October) but I hear raises are 10% to 20% a year depending on performance. That's another thing that's been a rude shock from biglaw, where you'll get raises as long as you're working there.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For various reasons I ended up in the TP service line after some time in biglaw, and I'm pretty miserable. Hours are probably better (like 9-7/8 and no weekends) and the one solid perk is that people really do use all of their vacations. I think some of my colleagues aim for at least one long weekend on months they don't have vacations planned.

Other than that, though, it's pretty miserable because it feels like a waste of a law degree. I'm not practicing, I don't think my particular group is very friendly to having lawyers, I've literally been asked whether I actually have a law degree. I'm unlikely to have a legal job again. Maybe things would be better if I went into the international tax group or the M&A group as far as long-term options go, but can't do much more than speculate and try to transfer internally.

FWIW one of my friends at another Big4 applied for an internal transfer to the Int'l tax group and said it went well until they asked her what her long term plans were if she didn't make partner (basically specifically worded to see what she'd do if not work in this group). She said she'd probably then want to go in-house as a tax counsel. That answer made them question her commitment to tax consultancy as opposed to legal practice, and she didn't get the transfer. Considering that people have gotten jobs here after openly saying they're looking to transfer client-side down the line, I think the hesitancy has more to do with the fact that she expressed interest in going to a more traditional legal role down the line, than saying that she wanted to go client-side. She also told me that they pushed back hard on her point that Int'l tax was a good place for a lawyer to build some semblance of a legal career. Like they doubled down on the fact that nothing they did was similar to legal practice.

So my two cents is it seems to be no place for a lawyer who wants to be lawyer. If you have no other options or are looking to do a soft transfer out of legal practice, it might be better.

As someone at Big 4 international tax, I strongly agree with the bolded, even though my group has maybe even a majority of lawyers. Substantive work comes along every once in a while, but there's just so much admin, compliance, and other bullshit that occupies my time. The selling point for Big 4 for attorneys used to be work-life balance, but I've seen that erode significantly since I started a few years ago. Not to mention, business is booming and the pay increases this year did not reflect that.

I've seen several people move on to biglaw this year, but those were mostly high performers and/or people who had biglaw-ish credentials before starting here. Don't get me wrong, demand for people with any international tax experience is crazy high right now due to tax reform, but so many of the positions are with other accounting firms or in-house at companies doing compliance, where the pay isn't great and they likely prefer to hire a CPA with relevant experience rather than pay more for a lawyer. Personally I've been starting to look around recently, and hope to get lucky and snag a biglaw job due to current tax reform demand, but that looks to be an uphill climb.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:32 pm

Yeah, TP person here, and I'd probably say that the worklife so far is solidly better than biglaw (PE M&A), but not great by other standards, and debatably worth the trade off in pay. Also, there are less fire drills, so people here definitely take off to get dinner/go to a show/do yoga before logging back on to chip away at more work. No weekends, and the ability to take long weekends on the regular is pretty nice.

On a slightly off-topic, if anybody's in international tax and willing to give a referral, I'd love to chat. Being in a group that's majority lawyers might cut out some of the more miserable factors about being in TP.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Taxlaw1234 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yeah, TP person here, and I'd probably say that the worklife so far is solidly better than biglaw (PE M&A), but not great by other standards, and debatably worth the trade off in pay. Also, there are less fire drills, so people here definitely take off to get dinner/go to a show/do yoga before logging back on to chip away at more work. No weekends, and the ability to take long weekends on the regular is pretty nice.

On a slightly off-topic, if anybody's in international tax and willing to give a referral, I'd love to chat. Being in a group that's majority lawyers might cut out some of the more miserable factors about being in TP.


Can you PM me?

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Taxlaw1234 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yeah, TP person here, and I'd probably say that the worklife so far is solidly better than biglaw (PE M&A), but not great by other standards, and debatably worth the trade off in pay. Also, there are less fire drills, so people here definitely take off to get dinner/go to a show/do yoga before logging back on to chip away at more work. No weekends, and the ability to take long weekends on the regular is pretty nice.

On a slightly off-topic, if anybody's in international tax and willing to give a referral, I'd love to chat. Being in a group that's majority lawyers might cut out some of the more miserable factors about being in TP.


TLS is not allowing me to reply to your PM cause I just joined. Would appreciate it if you can PM me your email

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby 2013 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yeah, TP person here, and I'd probably say that the worklife so far is solidly better than biglaw (PE M&A), but not great by other standards, and debatably worth the trade off in pay. Also, there are less fire drills, so people here definitely take off to get dinner/go to a show/do yoga before logging back on to chip away at more work. No weekends, and the ability to take long weekends on the regular is pretty nice.

On a slightly off-topic, if anybody's in international tax and willing to give a referral, I'd love to chat. Being in a group that's majority lawyers might cut out some of the more miserable factors about being in TP.


Would you be open to relocating? If so, PM me

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:10 pm

Hi all!

Thanks for the replies so far. I belatedly realized that my request is going to hijack the thread, so I created a burner email.

big4transfer@gmail.com

Thanks!

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:10 pm

Hi all!

Thanks for the replies so far. I belatedly realized that my request is going to hijack the thread, so I created a burner email.

big4transfer@gmail.com

Thanks!

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:17 pm

Any thoughts on taking a Big 4 2L SA then trying to switch to a firm if you hate it for 3L post-grad? Super difficult/unrealistic?

Along the same lines, how soon after joining a Big 4 full-time in M&A/SALT/ITP do you burn that law firm bridge?

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:22 pm

TP anon here. Would not recommend either if you want to go to biglaw.

Biglaw does most of its hiring through the 2L SA. If you miss that boat, it becomes so much harder to get a biglaw job, let alone a good one (at a firm you like in a practice group you like). You never burn the bridge (either as a 3L or as an associate), it's just not an easy transition because you're less desirable than somebody who summered at a biglaw firm as a 2L, or somebody lateraling from another biglaw firm, and there are always plenty of those to go around.

So really going to reiterate that if it's a choice between big4 and unemployment, big4 is obviously worth it, and biglaw is not flatly impossible. But it is far easier to go biglaw -> big4 than the other way around.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:TP anon here. Would not recommend either if you want to go to biglaw.

Biglaw does most of its hiring through the 2L SA. If you miss that boat, it becomes so much harder to get a biglaw job, let alone a good one (at a firm you like in a practice group you like). You never burn the bridge (either as a 3L or as an associate), it's just not an easy transition because you're less desirable than somebody who summered at a biglaw firm as a 2L, or somebody lateraling from another biglaw firm, and there are always plenty of those to go around.

So really going to reiterate that if it's a choice between big4 and unemployment, big4 is obviously worth it, and biglaw is not flatly impossible. But it is far easier to go biglaw -> big4 than the other way around.


Anon from above: I'm median (almost the top 1/3) at a T50 in a market I don't have professional connections in to help me land something this late in the game, so the biglaw SA boat has sailed for me. I'm choosing between midlaw and Big 4 at this point. I want to be making legal determinations for clients and want to eventually get into deal making for multinational corporations. I just don't know if my best bet for that is to eventually go in-house, and so the Big 4/midlaw debate isn't that big of a deal for me.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:34 pm

What practice group for midlaw? I have a hard time
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:TP anon here. Would not recommend either if you want to go to biglaw.

Biglaw does most of its hiring through the 2L SA. If you miss that boat, it becomes so much harder to get a biglaw job, let alone a good one (at a firm you like in a practice group you like). You never burn the bridge (either as a 3L or as an associate), it's just not an easy transition because you're less desirable than somebody who summered at a biglaw firm as a 2L, or somebody lateraling from another biglaw firm, and there are always plenty of those to go around.

So really going to reiterate that if it's a choice between big4 and unemployment, big4 is obviously worth it, and biglaw is not flatly impossible. But it is far easier to go biglaw -> big4 than the other way around.


Anon from above: I'm median at a T50 in a market I don't have professional connections in to help me land something this late in the game, so the biglaw SA boat has sailed for me. I'm choosing between midlaw and Big 4 at this point. I want to be making legal determinations for clients and want to eventually get into deal making for multinational corporations. I just don't know if my best bet for that is to eventually go in-house, and so the Big 4/midlaw debate isn't that big of a deal for me.


Yeah, I'd go midlaw for sure. It's better than forever questioning whether what you're doing has any overlap with legal work. Also, even if I'm wrong, midlaw for a year-> big4 is much easier than big4 for x amount of time-> midlaw.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby nealric » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:TP anon here. Would not recommend either if you want to go to biglaw.

Biglaw does most of its hiring through the 2L SA. If you miss that boat, it becomes so much harder to get a biglaw job, let alone a good one (at a firm you like in a practice group you like). You never burn the bridge (either as a 3L or as an associate), it's just not an easy transition because you're less desirable than somebody who summered at a biglaw firm as a 2L, or somebody lateraling from another biglaw firm, and there are always plenty of those to go around.

So really going to reiterate that if it's a choice between big4 and unemployment, big4 is obviously worth it, and biglaw is not flatly impossible. But it is far easier to go biglaw -> big4 than the other way around.


Anon from above: I'm median (almost the top 1/3) at a T50 in a market I don't have professional connections in to help me land something this late in the game, so the biglaw SA boat has sailed for me. I'm choosing between midlaw and Big 4 at this point. I want to be making legal determinations for clients and want to eventually get into deal making for multinational corporations. I just don't know if my best bet for that is to eventually go in-house, and so the Big 4/midlaw debate isn't that big of a deal for me.


I'd probably lean towards midlaw in your position as well, provided your midlaw firm has a good tax group that handles reasonably complex business tax issues. On the other hand, the right Big4 tax group can provide access to much more complex and sophisticated work than midlaw. However, the wrong Big4 tax group could be the worst of both worlds.

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:46 pm

Is it possible to go from doing cap markets/finance as a junior in big law to big 4? I have a CPA license prior to law school but never practiced tax at all and never worked in public accounting either. Just wondering what kind of opportunities there are to exit to big 4 having been in big law, understanding that it is probably highly unusual for that to happen unless the big law attorney practiced tax. I am thinking if this is a soft exit out from law which I was never a big fan of and a chance to transition more to a business type role in the future (even if it means big 4 and then client side eventually from that).

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:06 pm

Another point I'd add is that after even a year of midlaw, you'll be in a much better position to understand where the overlaps between big4 work and midlaw is. It's possible to carve out a good set of skills in biglaw, but you have to know what engagements to take on, and which to try and avoid. You'll receive virtually no support for developing a legal skillset that will make you marketable for in-house tax counsel positions, to the extent those consider big4 candidates. (And actually, at least in my group, mentioning these career goals has landed me in hot water).

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Re: Anyone have inside knowledge on Big 4 compensation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it possible to go from doing cap markets/finance as a junior in big law to big 4? I have a CPA license prior to law school but never practiced tax at all and never worked in public accounting either. Just wondering what kind of opportunities there are to exit to big 4 having been in big law, understanding that it is probably highly unusual for that to happen unless the big law attorney practiced tax. I am thinking if this is a soft exit out from law which I was never a big fan of and a chance to transition more to a business type role in the future (even if it means big 4 and then client side eventually from that).


Sorry, I'm on a role today because I'm super slow at work.

It will be very easy if you play your cards right. What market are you in?

My general advice is to find a manager or higher to speak to. If you reach out to friends, don't have them drop you in the portal, since recruiters are generally required to find the most cookie-cutter candidates and will ding you because you don't meet their check boxes. Ask your friends to connect you to a manager or higher. Whether that's a straight-up referral or getting them to hook you up on a coffee date with a manager to learn more about making the switch and "getting on the business side of things". Do this until a manager offers to refer you to a partner. Then you're probably good to go.

People will generally be impressed by your biglaw credentials and pass you on to the partner. CPA will really help.

But see above. I don't have many good things to say about my career progression so far after a similar move. If you give me your username, I'll PM you. If you're in NYC, I might have some helpful, and potentially out-able recommendations to make.



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