Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

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dabigchina
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Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby dabigchina » Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:28 am

My decision to go to law school will hinge entirely on how good exit opportunities are for transactional tax lawyers. I looked around but did not find anything.

Background:
Currently working in accounting. I have several T14 acceptances from CCN down. I'm really interested in tax law (I currently do tax accounting and I only want to gouge my eyes out on some days). I will be graduating with 0 debt.

Questions:

1. what types of roles can a transactional tax lawyer exit into after 3 years? 5 years?
2. how much do these roles pay?

Any insights would be helpful, even if they are for vanilla transactional/corporate people.

NEdelton1987
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:57 am

Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby NEdelton1987 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:03 pm

dabigchina wrote:My decision to go to law school will hinge entirely on how good exit opportunities are for transactional tax lawyers. I looked around but did not find anything.

Background:
Currently working in accounting. I have several T14 acceptances from CCN down. I'm really interested in tax law (I currently do tax accounting and I only want to gouge my eyes out on some days). I will be graduating with 0 debt.

Questions:

1. what types of roles can a transactional tax lawyer exit into after 3 years? 5 years?
2. how much do these roles pay?

Any insights would be helpful, even if they are for vanilla transactional/corporate people.


Overall, very good. Tax lawyers exit into banks, funds, corporations. Depends on your firm. Cravath/S&C tax lawyers have quality exit options that rival exit options of M&A lawyers.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:15 pm

You'll have too many options to list.

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dabigchina
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby dabigchina » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:11 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:You'll have too many options to list.


NEdelton1987 wrote:
dabigchina wrote:My decision to go to law school will hinge entirely on how good exit opportunities are for transactional tax lawyers. I looked around but did not find anything.

Background:
Currently working in accounting. I have several T14 acceptances from CCN down. I'm really interested in tax law (I currently do tax accounting and I only want to gouge my eyes out on some days). I will be graduating with 0 debt.

Questions:

1. what types of roles can a transactional tax lawyer exit into after 3 years? 5 years?
2. how much do these roles pay?

Any insights would be helpful, even if they are for vanilla transactional/corporate people.


Overall, very good. Tax lawyers exit into banks, funds, corporations. Depends on your firm. Cravath/S&C tax lawyers have quality exit options that rival exit options of M&A lawyers.


Thanks, how much do these roles typically pay?

Also as a side note, I will be targeting CA. Are there any reputable tax groups out here? I know Gibson Dunn is band 1 on Chambers but I have no idea if they do tax work in CA. Also, I heard Chambers is full of shit.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:16 pm

Tax is everywhere but most of the jobs are in New York. At cc n You may be able to crack into Cali's market as a first year but it's not a guarantee.
Edit options are decent and salaries when you factor in benefits and equity usually track biglaw pay pretty well.

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dabigchina
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby dabigchina » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:50 am

Do the big sv shops have tax departments on the west coast or do they farm out work to the NYC offices? Granted, from experience, startups tend to be pretty simple on the tax front.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:38 am

dabigchina wrote:Do the big sv shops have tax departments on the west coast or do they farm out work to the NYC offices? Granted, from experience, startups tend to be pretty simple on the tax front.

Both the native SV offices and the NY satellites do tax out there. You might want to PM a poster named Nealric. He worked in NYC biglaw for a few years and then transitioned to an in-house role in a secondary market.

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nealric
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby nealric » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:20 pm

dabigchina wrote:My decision to go to law school will hinge entirely on how good exit opportunities are for transactional tax lawyers. I looked around but did not find anything.

Background:
Currently working in accounting. I have several T14 acceptances from CCN down. I'm really interested in tax law (I currently do tax accounting and I only want to gouge my eyes out on some days). I will be graduating with 0 debt.

Questions:

1. what types of roles can a transactional tax lawyer exit into after 3 years? 5 years?
2. how much do these roles pay?

Any insights would be helpful, even if they are for vanilla transactional/corporate people.


I went from v100 transactional tax to in-house tax counsel at a F500 company as a 3rd year associate. Base pay was a touch under what I made as a first year, but benefits were much more generous (401k match, pension, etc.), bonus potential was better, and I also moved to a lower COL/tax area. Hours went from biglaw insane to stable 40hrs/wk. Accounting background will be a big plus in house, as you have to engage with accounting issues a lot more in house than you do in biglaw. I didn't have one and am still getting up to speed on many accounting concepts.

My role would have been essentially the same if I had come in as a 5th year, but probably would have ended up with slightly higher base pay. To get significantly more pay/responsibility (come is a general counsel of tax or tax director), you would have to lateral as a biglaw partner.

I have heard of more finance/banking oriented in-house tax positions that pay considerably more, but those are going to have biglaw intensity. You can also lateral to Big4, but my impression is that route only makes sense if you are already a biglaw partner as making partner in the big 4 is even harder than biglaw. A 3-5th year would probably come in as a manager in big4, which would probably entail a pay cut without a decrease in hours or stress.

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dabigchina
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby dabigchina » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:36 pm

nealric wrote:
dabigchina wrote:My decision to go to law school will hinge entirely on how good exit opportunities are for transactional tax lawyers. I looked around but did not find anything.

Background:
Currently working in accounting. I have several T14 acceptances from CCN down. I'm really interested in tax law (I currently do tax accounting and I only want to gouge my eyes out on some days). I will be graduating with 0 debt.

Questions:

1. what types of roles can a transactional tax lawyer exit into after 3 years? 5 years?
2. how much do these roles pay?

Any insights would be helpful, even if they are for vanilla transactional/corporate people.


I went from v100 transactional tax to in-house tax counsel at a F500 company as a 3rd year associate. Base pay was a touch under what I made as a first year, but benefits were much more generous (401k match, pension, etc.), bonus potential was better, and I also moved to a lower COL/tax area. Hours went from biglaw insane to stable 40hrs/wk. Accounting background will be a big plus in house, as you have to engage with accounting issues a lot more in house than you do in biglaw. I didn't have one and am still getting up to speed on many accounting concepts.

My role would have been essentially the same if I had come in as a 5th year, but probably would have ended up with slightly higher base pay. To get significantly more pay/responsibility (come is a general counsel of tax or tax director), you would have to lateral as a biglaw partner.

I have heard of more finance/banking oriented in-house tax positions that pay considerably more, but those are going to have biglaw intensity. You can also lateral to Big4, but my impression is that route only makes sense if you are already a biglaw partner as making partner in the big 4 is even harder than biglaw. A 3-5th year would probably come in as a manager in big4, which would probably entail a pay cut without a decrease in hours or stress.


Damn this should be stickied.

Could in house tax counsel look at 200k after a few years? Would it be worth it for me to defer another year, get a year as tax manager under my belt so I can legitimately claim that I know both sides of the tax coin and maybe come in at a little bit more senior level?

Yeah I'm not really looking into the big4 as a lateral @ manager. I already work there and would probably make manager this year/next if i stayed. Overall, I would say big4 hours are not as easy as people think. Many are on a free market system on the tax side so if you are good you absolutely raped. Also, shitty pay for the amount of work.

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nealric
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby nealric » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:20 pm

dabigchina wrote:
nealric wrote:
dabigchina wrote:My decision to go to law school will hinge entirely on how good exit opportunities are for transactional tax lawyers. I looked around but did not find anything.

Background:
Currently working in accounting. I have several T14 acceptances from CCN down. I'm really interested in tax law (I currently do tax accounting and I only want to gouge my eyes out on some days). I will be graduating with 0 debt.

Questions:

1. what types of roles can a transactional tax lawyer exit into after 3 years? 5 years?
2. how much do these roles pay?

Any insights would be helpful, even if they are for vanilla transactional/corporate people.


I went from v100 transactional tax to in-house tax counsel at a F500 company as a 3rd year associate. Base pay was a touch under what I made as a first year, but benefits were much more generous (401k match, pension, etc.), bonus potential was better, and I also moved to a lower COL/tax area. Hours went from biglaw insane to stable 40hrs/wk. Accounting background will be a big plus in house, as you have to engage with accounting issues a lot more in house than you do in biglaw. I didn't have one and am still getting up to speed on many accounting concepts.

My role would have been essentially the same if I had come in as a 5th year, but probably would have ended up with slightly higher base pay. To get significantly more pay/responsibility (come is a general counsel of tax or tax director), you would have to lateral as a biglaw partner.

I have heard of more finance/banking oriented in-house tax positions that pay considerably more, but those are going to have biglaw intensity. You can also lateral to Big4, but my impression is that route only makes sense if you are already a biglaw partner as making partner in the big 4 is even harder than biglaw. A 3-5th year would probably come in as a manager in big4, which would probably entail a pay cut without a decrease in hours or stress.


Damn this should be stickied.

Could in house tax counsel look at 200k after a few years? Would it be worth it for me to defer another year, get a year as tax manager under my belt so I can legitimately claim that I know both sides of the tax coin and maybe come in at a little bit more senior level?

Yeah I'm not really looking into the big4 as a lateral @ manager. I already work there and would probably make manager this year/next if i stayed. Overall, I would say big4 hours are not as easy as people think. Many are on a free market system on the tax side so if you are good you absolutely raped. Also, shitty pay for the amount of work.


Sure. Depends on company and profitability of course. Senior tax counsels (roughly 10-15 years experience or more) at my company base around $200k and top out at around $300k all in. General tax counsel (15-20 years in, if you make it) is around $300k base, $500k all in. Tax Director/VP of tax is a bit more opaque to me because comp tends to be more stock based, but certainly north of $500k total comp. Senior tax counsel is pretty much a given if you stick around long enough. Above that will depend on winning out in the rat race. Different companies may structure their departments differently, so YMMV of course.

I think having a year as Manager would help you get the job, but doubt it would bump a 3-5 year associate up to senior tax counsel.

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dabigchina
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby dabigchina » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:40 pm

Thanks nealric this was super helpful.

2 last questions:

1. if I were choosing between nyu and Columbia, would I go nyu for its reputation in tax or Columbia for it's better biglaw placement?

2. With my experience, is llm going to be necessary?

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nealric
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Re: Exit Opportunities for Transactional Tax Lawyers?

Postby nealric » Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:34 pm

dabigchina wrote:Thanks nealric this was super helpful.

2 last questions:

1. if I were choosing between nyu and Columbia, would I go nyu for its reputation in tax or Columbia for it's better biglaw placement?

2. With my experience, is llm going to be necessary?


1. Columbia unless NYU throws money your way

2. They are never strictly necessary, although some firms will pay for you to do them at night. I did mine with my JD in a joint degree.




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