wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

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dans
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wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby dans » Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:50 pm

I am a 2l, with median grades, nothing lined up for this summer. I want to do a tax llm when I graduate, and just take some classes this summer, so basically my question is if I can treat this summer as a 1l summer or not ( I know of jd/mbas who did this) thank you.

random5483
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby random5483 » Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:53 pm

You can do whatever you want and still succeed. However, I would strongly advise you to take a summer internship. Eventually, you are going to be looking for a job. Work experience (especially law related work experience) increases the size of your network, provides valuable references, and is overall an important factor in post law school hiring.

Since you are planning to go directly into an LLM program, the importance of a summer internship is likely less than on a student planning to work immediately after the JD. However, in both cases, summer internships are important. You want to have multiple internship experiences during law school. Basically, in this economy, we all need to do something to differentiate ourselves from the herd. Granted, the few lucky students graduating at the top of their class from HYS can probably get away without internships (even they would benefit greatly by them); however, the majority of us are not attending H, Y, or S, and the majority of us will likely not be in the top 5-10% of our class.


Takeaway? You don't have to do an internship, but you probably should.

BeautifulSW
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby BeautifulSW » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:25 pm

The OP might think twice about a tax LL.M. unless s/he has an undergrad degree in accounting (not general business) and either is a CPA or has passed the CPA exam. This is for two reasons: 1) "Median" grades might mean that BigLaw is not a possibility. An accounting background is a large advantage for getting into tax practice elsewhere; and 2) tax law isn't for everyone. It's useful to know what tax practice is like before borrowing/spending $50K on an LL.M.

If the OP can find an entry position in tax with his/her background without the LL.M., that's a better way to go. Eventually the employer might pay the freight.

pandacot
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby pandacot » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:01 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:The OP might think twice about a tax LL.M. unless s/he has an undergrad degree in accounting (not general business) and either is a CPA or has passed the CPA exam. This is for two reasons: 1) "Median" grades might mean that BigLaw is not a possibility. An accounting background is a large advantage for getting into tax practice elsewhere; and 2) tax law isn't for everyone. It's useful to know what tax practice is like before borrowing/spending $50K on an LL.M.

If the OP can find an entry position in tax with his/her background without the LL.M., that's a better way to go. Eventually the employer might pay the freight.


Good post.

Go to taxtalent.com message boards, and there is significant information on this topic.

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nealric
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby nealric » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:23 pm

I am a 2l, with median grades, nothing lined up for this summer. I want to do a tax llm when I graduate, and just take some classes this summer, so basically my question is if I can treat this summer as a 1l summer or not ( I know of jd/mbas who did this) thank you.


The tax llm just gives you an extra year to hustle for a job. It's MUCH better to get a job BEFORE you get your llm.

The OP might think twice about a tax LL.M. unless s/he has an undergrad degree in accounting (not general business) and either is a CPA or has passed the CPA exam. This is for two reasons: 1) "Median" grades might mean that BigLaw is not a possibility. An accounting background is a large advantage for getting into tax practice elsewhere; and 2) tax law isn't for everyone. It's useful to know what tax practice is like before borrowing/spending $50K on an LL.M.


I disagree about the LLM. Having a CPA will get you into a big4 accounting firm. But if that was your goal, law school was pretty pointless. Unless you can snag a spot at the national tax offices (which mostly only hire laterals), you will be doing the same thing at big4 firms as you would without the law degree. Other than that, having your CPA is a soft factor at best. Tax law is not accounting.

That said, you need to have a plan for what you want to do within tax. Since your background is business, it sounds like you want to do business tax stuff. Problem is, that's mostly biglaw territory and that boat has already sailed if you are a 2L. The only other options are IRS (probably not an option without better grades), or a tax consulting firm. An llm could get you there, but it's by no means a sure bet.

BeautifulSW
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby BeautifulSW » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:33 pm

Sorry, nealric, but I don't get from your post exactly where you disagree with me about getting the tax LL.M. Are you saying that the OP should go ahead and do it even though, as you so eloquently put it, the BigLaw boat has already sailed?

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nealric
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby nealric » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:27 pm

Sorry, nealric, but I don't get from your post exactly where you disagree with me about getting the tax LL.M. Are you saying that the OP should go ahead and do it even though, as you so eloquently put it, the BigLaw boat has already sailed?


Sorry if my thoughts were disorganized. I'm on vacation 8)

I just think you were overemphasizing the need for an undergraduate accounting background.

BeautifulSW
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby BeautifulSW » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:54 pm

In the context, I probably was overemphasizing it. Mostly I wanted to suggest that going directly for a self-financed LL.M. might be a very expensive mistake.

Riles246
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby Riles246 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:38 am

I just left a Big 4 in the NY metro market to focus on law school full time. I spent three years in the tax practice with only an undergrad degree and my CPA exam passed. About 30% of each class of new hires is composed of lawyers at my particular company (although I'm sure the other 3 are the same). If you have an accounting background, 1) law school doesn't matter and 2) LLM really doesnt matter.

Your law degree will certainly bring more money, but you'll quickly see that it wasn't worth it since the difference between the undergrad starting salary and the lawyer starting salary won't make up the 3 years of lost income for a long time. By then, you might have people with undergrads making more than you anyway since after 5 years or so, your salary is much more based on your merit than your degree. I'm not sure if there was ANY additional bump for LLM, but even if there were, you would face the same scenario.

As far as the work, you will be doing exactly the same work as the people with undergrad degrees, masters degrees, and non-LLM JDs. I know this for a fact as I had a team working under me at a client and I had two JDs making copies for 8 hours (doesn't happen all the time, but sometimes the copies have to be made). If you can get in before getting your LLM, at least you can go at night and have the firm pay for it. However, that comes with a 3 year commitment and if you quit before then, you have to reimburse the school expenses within 30 days.

If your only goal in life is to make partner at a Big 4, then you just wasted 3 years in law school, so don't waste another getting an LLM. But, if you intend to gain some experience for a few years at a Big 4 then move to private industry, the law degree is incredibly useful as many of the largest companies have a glass ceiling for tax professionals without JDs. Still not sure if the LLM matters, though, as I worked with many tax department heads in my time there (not blowing smoke- I usually sat in the back of the room and took notes), and I don't recall any of them with LLMs though most had JDs. Out in the tax world, experience is valued much higher than education, although a law degree is seen as a big help since much of the high level work involves interpreting the regs and taking a position on things.

This is a tad off-topic since you are just asking about a summer internship, but I just wanted to drive home the point that a Tax LLM isn't really worth much out in the real world. As far as the original question, you missed the Big4 internship hiring by about 3 months, but I think I'm focusing too much on Big4 here since you didn't mention it in the OP. I'm tired and I'm going way off on a tangent!

BeautifulSW
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:45 am

Not off-topic at all. Thanks for a very useful and informative post.

dans
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby dans » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:20 pm

I do not want to work for a big 4 or biglaw. I want a mid size firm (or boutique) for estate planning practice and/or general tax. I was thinking an llm would give me a plus for these places (and give me more national portability).

CanadianWolf
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:52 pm

Consider working for a company or law firm that will reimburse you for the cost of your LLM degree while attending on a part-time basis. This should also satisfy any state bar continuing education requirements as well as other professional continuing education requirements for CPA, CFP, insurance and/or real estate licenses (among others).

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nealric
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby nealric » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:04 pm

I do not want to work for a big 4 or biglaw. I want a mid size firm (or boutique) for estate planning practice and/or general tax. I was thinking an llm would give me a plus for these places (and give me more national portability).


I would try to find a job in the field FIRST. Estate planning, especially in smaller firms, isn't just a tax practice. I'm not really convinced that a national LLM will change the employment picture all that much.

BeautifulSW
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Re: wanna do a tax llm when I graduate, still need to work now?

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:03 pm

nealric is right; an estate planning practice is not just, or even primarily, tax. It is possible to get an LL.M. in estate planning but I don't know whether the investment would be worth it. In the small city small state where I practice, there are two or three small firms doing estate planning (and apparently making pretty good money doing it) but I don't think that any of the lawyers involved has an LL.M.

OTOH, one such local practitioner just took himself off to Miami for an LL.M. Whether tax or EP I don't know but EP was what he was doing when he left. I guess HE thinks it will be worth it.




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