Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:01 pm

I am a tax first year at a v10. Since I started, I've billed over 200 hrs every month (with the exception of the first month, when I billed 110 despite a bunch of mandatory training). I get that tax has a steep learning curve, and stuff is going to take me a lot longer to do, but are tax people everywhere pulling these kinds of hours consistently? My mid-levels and seniors are also billing 200+ every month, and their response is pretty much "you get used to it." I'm having a hard time coping with the hours and am thinking about lateraling, but I am afraid that it's going to be the same everywhere else. If it really is like this, I'm thinking about moving to a different practice area, because I can't see myself billing 200+ every month for a few years before I can GTFO.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:08 pm

200+ doesn't seem like a crazy bad month for a v10....I assume you're looking at about 2500 for the year, which I agree isn't great, but I don't think it's anything crazy for a v10, especially if you're in NY.

Maybe think about getting through 2 years learning tax at your v10 to climb the steep learning curve, and try to lateral to somewhere where hours hover around 2000 for the year. If you got 2 years under your belt, I'm sure you'd be a pretty desirable candidate for most of the rest of the v100. But, if those hours are really already getting to you, you may not be cutout for biglaw and maybe you should just start looking to go in-house ASAP. Even billing ~2000/year, you're going to have plenty of 200+ hour months.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:11 pm

Is it really that common for tax? In my (limited) experience, my hours have been harder than my classmates'. I don't have easy diligence hours, for instance.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:15 pm

Those hours probably aren't necessarily high for a NY V10 but my hours as a tax associate in at V50 in secondary market are closer to 2000-2100 per year. I agree with the above that (in my opinion) tax hours are "harder" than an hour in corp or lit. Both in terms of mental effort and in terms of how much work you need to generate hours.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:34 pm

200 is normal for any practice group. There isn’t as much mindless paper pushing in tax that makes each hour harder than corporate groups, but like someone said above you may not be cut out for biglaw. Plenty of corp people in my V50 work 300+ hours on a consistent basis.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:38 pm

To clarify: billing 200 is fine. My concern is billing 200+ in perpetuity with no end in sight.

2013

Bronze
Posts: 275
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:29 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby 2013 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To clarify: billing 200 is fine. My concern is billing 200+ in perpetuity with no end in sight.


I’m just very confused by this. You’re at a v10. It’s almost a given that you’ll be billing 2400+ hours at some of the top firms.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:46 pm

So it's not like this everywhere, but just at "top firms"? That's actually a huge relief.

User avatar
Wild Card

Silver
Posts: 559
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:48 pm

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Wild Card » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:46 pm

2013 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To clarify: billing 200 is fine. My concern is billing 200+ in perpetuity with no end in sight.


I’m just very confused by this. You’re at a v10. It’s almost a given that you’ll be billing 2400+ hours at some of the top firms.


He probably thought tax would be easy street wherever he went.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:09 pm

Might also be because of the TCJA and the new prop/final regs being issued for 163j, GILTI, BEAT, 199A, the new partnership audit rules, etc. I’ve had at least 40 to 60 hours of nonbillable work per month in the past few months due to all the crazy updates. Consider yourself lucky being able to bill all your time cause for me all these hours are eating into the bonus.

User avatar
papermateflair

New
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:49 pm

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby papermateflair » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:12 pm

I think it depends on your specific tax sub-practice, as well as how your group is staffed - I've never done two 200+ hour months in a row, but I also haven't worked for a V10. One of the struggles with being a tax junior is that you have to learn SO many rules for your specialty, and it can feel like you're drowning even if you aren't billing 200+ a month. You could also try and get a feel for what the hours are like in other tax specialty groups - I know at my firm that the difference in hours across specialty groups is huge (like, 160 in mine to 200 in others). If you show interest in another tax specialty group, you may be able to take on more and more work from them until you get officially moved to their group. That's hard to do if you're billing 200 a month, obviously, but it may be easier than lateraling to try and find a less crushing group.

In any case, there's usually a fair amount of demand for junior tax associates, and should be able to lateral after a year or two - make sure to take vacations when you can.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Might also be because of the TCJA and the new prop/final regs being issued for 163j, GILTI, BEAT, 199A, the new partnership audit rules, etc. I’ve had at least 40 to 60 hours of nonbillable work per month in the past few months due to all the crazy updates. Consider yourself lucky being able to bill all your time cause for me all these hours are eating into the bonus.


My firm gives up to 50 hours billable credit for client updates. But after that, yeah, it sucks.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:58 pm

Op --- does your group do primarily deal support or planning for corporations? My understanding is that deal support will necessarily be more unpredictable and intense than planning, which may relate to the aspect of choosing a tax sub-specialty with smoother hours as the poster above referenced. I'd be curious to hear experiences from other posters, either in other tax sub-specialty practice groups (and what exact tax sub-specialties exist) as well as those billing 200+ per month in groups like litigation, healthcare, and other areas where the hours may be more steady and perhaps more sustainable.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:03 pm

FWIW, I've been a corporate associate at two AmLaw 50 firms on Cravath scale and have never billed more than 2200 in a year and am almost always between 2000-2100. Most people don't actually bill 2400 or whatever.

kaiser

Gold
Posts: 2912
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:34 pm

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby kaiser » Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:FWIW, I've been a corporate associate at two AmLaw 50 firms on Cravath scale and have never billed more than 2200 in a year and am almost always between 2000-2100. Most people don't actually bill 2400 or whatever.


Having worked in 2 biglaw firms, I second this. I feel like anyone who says that V10 folks bill 2400 consistently are overstating things (and I would venture a guess that anyone who says that likely hasn't started working yet).

User avatar
5ky

Diamond
Posts: 10834
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby 5ky » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:01 am

Anonymous User wrote: Plenty of corp people in my V50 work 300+ hours on a consistent basis.


uh huh

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:15 am

Color me skeptical, but only a handful of lawyers at my megafirm bill 2800 a year, so I'm having a hard time believing plenty of corporate lawyers bill 300+ on the regular.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:17 am

Op here: I do 100% deal support. It's a pretty big part of what makes my job so stressful.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:04 am

OP: it really depends on the culture of your group and the nature of the work. If you only do deal support, then your tax partners’ paycheck comes from corporate and thus you’ll be subject to corporate timelines (which means everything needs to be done ASAP). If you join a tax group that does litigation or tax planning, the hours would be very different. You might still bill over 200+ but the hours won’t be as stressful.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3084
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby nealric » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:58 am

I didn't find being a tax junior to be that bad. Hours weren't materially different from corporate, but they were more consistent and I was much less likely to be waiting around for work until the afternoon. Even on deal work, I found tax to be less stressful, as most tax issues are resolved much earlier in the deal process when things were less hectic.

User avatar
papermateflair

New
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:49 pm

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby papermateflair » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:Op here: I do 100% deal support. It's a pretty big part of what makes my job so stressful.


That makes sense - deal support IS stressful. In particular, corporate associates are working on 2 or 3 deals at once (maybe), while a tax specialist could be working on literally every deal that's happening at the firm (I once had 20 deals happening at once), and multiple deals could blow up at once. Are you able to get your assistant or a paralegal to help with anything, like printing documents etc.? For what it's worth, you should know that as you get better at the deals, they'll take less time - and as you build your "brand" within the firm, you'll be able to push back on certain things (within reason).

Also, is there a way to get some experience doing tax planning/counseling? I can't imagine trying to learn all the tax rules just in the deal context, so not sure if that's part of the issue.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:15 pm

Unfortunately, my group is small and does 100% deal support. I would need to move offices/firms if I wanted to get more varied experience.

Thanks for the encouraging words. It sounds like it could be better elsewhere.

Anonymous User
Posts: 333407
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:05 pm

What's the difference between tax planning and deal support work? I had always thought deal support is part of tax planning.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3084
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby nealric » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:What's the difference between tax planning and deal support work? I had always thought deal support is part of tax planning.


Deal support is a form of planning, but the posters are talking about planning work that is independent of a pending deal. For example, re-configuring a company's foreign holding structure in the wake of tax reform. Typically, there isn't a hard deadline for such work and its driven by the tax organisation (rather than a deal team).

User avatar
papermateflair

New
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:49 pm

Re: Does being a tax junior suck this much everywhere?

Postby papermateflair » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:31 pm

nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What's the difference between tax planning and deal support work? I had always thought deal support is part of tax planning.


Deal support is a form of planning, but the posters are talking about planning work that is independent of a pending deal. For example, re-configuring a company's foreign holding structure in the wake of tax reform. Typically, there isn't a hard deadline for such work and its driven by the tax organisation (rather than a deal team).


Exactly - looking around the halls at the other tax associates in my office, only 3 or 4 of us are actually involved in M&A on a regular basis. Our tax group does a lot of tax planning that isn't related to deal work, and lots of associates don't work on deals at all.



Return to “Legal Employment?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.