What is tax law like? Do I need a CPA, etc.?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
tlsforumid
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:36 pm

What is tax law like? Do I need a CPA, etc.?

Postby tlsforumid » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:41 pm

What is the practice of tax law like? I have heard different things from boring to intellectually stimulating to interesting to tedious. What is the lifestyle like of a tax lawyer at a mid-law or biglaw firm? I know billable hours still play a role, but is the lifestyle more predictable/less chaotic and stressful? What's the difference between tax controversy and advisory? What is the employment outlook like for tax lawyers? Basically I know very little about the subject and any insight would be appreciated. Thanks!

tlsforumid
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:36 pm

Re: What is tax law like? Do I need a CPA, etc.?

Postby tlsforumid » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:42 pm

And do you need a CPA to be competitive, or would an LLM from NYU/GULC suffice?

racrfish
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:31 am

Re: What is tax law like? Do I need a CPA, etc.?

Postby racrfish » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:54 am

I'm also interested in this. I can answer one of your questions, though - CPA is not necessary.

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9652
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: What is tax law like? Do I need a CPA, etc.?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:14 am

I dont think you need an LLM either.

I think a quantitative background (math, statistics, quant heavy econ, accounting) would be highly recommended to be competitive for large firm tax practice though

User avatar
nealric
Posts: 2398
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: What is tax law like? Do I need a CPA, etc.?

Postby nealric » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:24 am

I am a tax lawyer. CPA is a nice plus , but far from required. In big law land, tax is a lot less quantitative than you would think. I have an LLM. It's also one of those nice to have but not required. Best not to use an LLM to fix a job strikeout at the JD level.

Tax is relatively hard to break into at the junior levels, but experienced tax lawyers (especially big law background) are sought after.

User avatar
holdencaulfield
Posts: 478
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:12 pm

Re: What is tax law like? Do I need a CPA, etc.?

Postby holdencaulfield » Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:47 pm

Tax lawyers that handle disputes with the IRS in tax court are their own breed - this is probably what you're referring to as tax controversy. I have no idea what their practice is like, but I know they can make piles of money.

As to transactional tax lawyers, you're right, it can be tedious. This is especially true for estate tax planning, or any area where you do essentially the same "tax planning" over and over again. The stimulating tax work comes from large mergers or acquisitions or unique transactions where the tax issues have to be identified and dealt with. By "stimulating" I mean being locked in your office reviewing how a deal is structured, reviewing/revising the actual documents to address any tax issues, writing memos to assure there will be no horrible tax consequences, etc.

Transactional tax work is certainly less stressful than other areas; for instance, most deals I'm working on don't have strict deadlines, and if they do, I get my input in and work done early in the process. Stress comes with any short-fuse type deal, or if deal blows up and changes at the last minute.

CPA and big four experience is a plus, but not necessary.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests