Should I get a CPA after law school?

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seanturner30

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Should I get a CPA after law school?

Postby seanturner30 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:33 pm

Right now I’m a 3rd year year law student and I’m considering sitting for the CPA exam after the bar exam. I was a finance major in college and am taking tax classes in law school so after I graduate I’ll just need to take 6 more units at a community college to satisfy the 150 hours educational requirement to sit for the CPA exam. My question is will it be worth it to spend 6-12 months getting this credential? I’m not passionate about any area of law in particular. Not doing family law. If i wanted to go into corporate law, tax law, business transactions/M&A, estate planing, white collar crimes, consulting, I feel than getting a CPA will make me more attractive to employers since my law school is in TTTTrouble and was put on probation by the ABA. How valuable are Attorney-CPAs in the legal market? Does anybody care at all if you have a CPA or is it all about work experience?

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nealric

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Re: Should I get a CPA after law school?

Postby nealric » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:00 pm

It's a nice little credential for tax law, and does give you a leg-up if you are looking to start at a Big4 CPA firm. If your law school reputation is holding you back, it does give you options at employers who may be less sensitive to law school prestige. If you are almost there and can pass the exam, and it doesn't interfere with other employment, why not give it a shot?

dabigchina

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Re: Should I get a CPA after law school?

Postby dabigchina » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:42 pm

nealric wrote:It's a nice little credential for tax law, and does give you a leg-up if you are looking to start at a Big4 CPA firm. If your law school reputation is holding you back, it does give you options at employers who may be less sensitive to law school prestige. If you are almost there and can pass the exam, and it doesn't interfere with other employment, why not give it a shot?


On a related note: does having a CPA make you more marketable if you are already in biglaw tax and want to exit to in house? Can you get by with less Biglaw experience than you would otherwise? (Sorry to threadjack)

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nealric

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Re: Should I get a CPA after law school?

Postby nealric » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:59 pm

dabigchina wrote:
nealric wrote:It's a nice little credential for tax law, and does give you a leg-up if you are looking to start at a Big4 CPA firm. If your law school reputation is holding you back, it does give you options at employers who may be less sensitive to law school prestige. If you are almost there and can pass the exam, and it doesn't interfere with other employment, why not give it a shot?


On a related note: does having a CPA make you more marketable if you are already in biglaw tax and want to exit to in house? Can you get by with less Biglaw experience than you would otherwise? (Sorry to threadjack)


Being a CPA is probably better for in-house than biglaw actually. Biglaw allows you to insulate yourself from the real numbers to a far greater degree. Not having an accounting background never bothered me in biglaw, but I've had to pick up a lot more accounting after going in house (though I will never have a CPA credential as it would entail way too much classwork to justify). As for going in house earlier... you can do that after 2-3 years with or without the CPA.

seanturner30

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Re: Should I get a CPA after law school?

Postby seanturner30 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:05 pm

Thanks. Another question: If I started working at Big 4 after I pass the bar and CPA exams and start out in a non legal position can you switch into their legal department with only 6 months of legal internship experience at the PD's office? Or would you need to work at a law firm and then reapply to work in the big 4 legal department?

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nealric

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Re: Should I get a CPA after law school?

Postby nealric » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:09 pm

seanturner30 wrote:Thanks. Another question: If I started working at Big 4 after I pass the bar and CPA exams and start out in a non legal position can you switch into their legal department with only 6 months of legal internship experience at the PD's office? Or would you need to work at a law firm and then reapply to work in the big 4 legal department?


There's no such thing as a "legal department" at the Big 4 within the U.S. (some firms have captive law firms in other jurisdictions). Big 4 does tax planning work, however, which can be essentially indistinguishable from the sort of tax planning work you will do in biglaw. You want to get into an international or M&A group, however (or even better Washington national tax offices).



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