Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Aldo_Raine
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:32 am

Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby Aldo_Raine » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:09 pm

I am a Sophomore Finance major (3.8 gpa) with an accounting internship this summer at a F100 company. I am interested in going to a top law school or working @ a big 4 firm after graduation. I am struggling with this decision and planning for my future has always been something that stresses me out. With that being said I will just let you guys know what I like/don't like about each path and maybe you guys could share some wisdom.

Law School -- If I went to a top law school I would hope to eventually be a corporate/transactional lawyer in biglaw. Going to law school and working in biglaw is attractive because of the pay ($160k starting) and the exit opportunities are good. What I don't like is that the hours suck even at the non-equity partner level and the work sounds like it could be very dull.

Big 4 -- I like this because I don't have to spend well over $100k and 3 years on extra school. The hours during non-busy season also sound better than law. I would like to work in advisory/TAS and the work sounds somewhat interesting, I enjoy travel and the exit opps are good. What I don't like is that the career progression in accounting seems pretty stagnant outside of the CFO path, but working in corporate finance/accounting doesn't really interest me. It would also take something like 10 years or more to make the kind of money biglaw attorneys make.

I appreciate any advice. Thanks.

dabigchina
Posts: 1076
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby dabigchina » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:19 pm

Work in Big4 for a couple of years and see if you like it. If you don't, you can always take that work experience with you. Big4 experience is fairly useful during OCI.

People like to romanticize how good accountants have it on this forum. I personally didn't enjoy it but different strokes for different folks. To be fair, I didn't work in advisory so you experience might be different.

Npret
Posts: 1155
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:42 am

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby Npret » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:36 pm

Aldo_Raine wrote:I am a Sophomore Finance major (3.8 gpa) with an accounting internship this summer at a F100 company. I am interested in going to a top law school or working @ a big 4 firm after graduation. I am struggling with this decision and planning for my future has always been something that stresses me out. With that being said I will just let you guys know what I like/don't like about each path and maybe you guys could share some wisdom.

Law School -- If I went to a top law school I would hope to eventually be a corporate/transactional lawyer in biglaw. Going to law school and working in biglaw is attractive because of the pay ($160k starting) and the exit opportunities are good. What I don't like is that the hours suck even at the non-equity partner level and the work sounds like it could be very dull.

Big 4 -- I like this because I don't have to spend well over $100k and 3 years on extra school. The hours during non-busy season also sound better than law. I would like to work in advisory/TAS and the work sounds somewhat interesting, I enjoy travel and the exit opps are good. What I don't like is that the career progression in accounting seems pretty stagnant outside of the CFO path, but working in corporate finance/accounting doesn't really interest me. It would also take something like 10 years or more to make the kind of money biglaw attorneys make.

I appreciate any advice. Thanks.

Don't go to law school for a biglaw starting salary.
Even partners work long hours.
Most people last about 2 years. Not all of them leave voluntarily.

Be an accountant or something else.

User avatar
Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash
Posts: 1136
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:27 pm

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:37 pm

See if you like accounting first.

I went that route. Turns out I hate accounting, but at least I know now. Makes staring down the debt more manageable knowing I do not want door #2.

Eta: Also you'll get a better idea of what your career will look like once you're two years into it. I thought I knew what accounting progression would look like 2 years ago, but I was wrong. You'll have a better understanding once you actually finish your internship, go through recruitment, and see what your office life is like.

CPA-->JD
Posts: 186
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 12:30 pm

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby CPA-->JD » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:05 pm

Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:See if you like accounting first.

I went that route. Turns out I hate accounting, but at least I know now. Makes staring down the debt more manageable knowing I do not want door #2.

Eta: Also you'll get a better idea of what your career will look like once you're two years into it. I thought I knew what accounting progression would look like 2 years ago, but I was wrong. You'll have a better understanding once you actually finish your internship, go through recruitment, and see what your office life is like.

+1 to the idea of trying it first especially if you can land advisory. I did big 4 tax and it was brutal. 80+ hour weeks for 60k~ salary so just know what you are getting yourselves into.

User avatar
gsy987
Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 8:38 pm

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby gsy987 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:07 pm

The biggest problem with this post:OP hasn't taken the LSAT yet!

Honestly if you're spoiling for BigLaw, that strikes me as kind of silly, plus what people have said about the standard of living and lifestyle are true. But man you should at least take the LSAT first to see if BigLaw is even an option for you at this point! (And given that you're a sophomore, you're still a year away from needing to worry about it. Keep the GPA up and try to enjoy undergrad.)

User avatar
Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash
Posts: 1136
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:27 pm

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:53 pm

gsy987 wrote:The biggest problem with this post:OP hasn't taken the LSAT yet!

Honestly if you're spoiling for BigLaw, that strikes me as kind of silly, plus what people have said about the standard of living and lifestyle are true. But man you should at least take the LSAT first to see if BigLaw is even an option for you at this point! (And given that you're a sophomore, you're still a year away from needing to worry about it. Keep the GPA up and try to enjoy undergrad.)


Yeah, IDK how I missed that. I will say that I found taking the LSAT before leaving school to be a huge benefit, no way I would have gotten my score if I were doing all of my studying while working. IDK if it's the right choice for you, but I'd take a look at the three years you have on a score.

User avatar
dbalkaran
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:16 pm

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby dbalkaran » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:51 pm

You're a sophomore you have plenty of time left to figure out what you want to do. I would try and get an internship with one of the Big4 accounting firms and see if you like that. The summer programs give you a good idea of what the job is like and they provide you with excellent networking opportunities. I work for a consulting firm that competes directly with Deloitte and while I'm sure the consulting side is slightly different than the accounting side people seem to be very happy there. I'd check out the programs they have and go from there. Doesn't hurt to see if you can speak with some people from a law firm and compare what they do to what you'd be doing at an accounting firm.

dabigchina
Posts: 1076
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby dabigchina » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:07 pm

dbalkaran wrote:I work for a consulting firm that competes directly with Deloitte and while I'm sure the consulting side is slightly different than the accounting side people seem to be very happy there.

FYI OP, Big4 consulting is very different from Big4 accounting practices as far as quality of life and upward mobility goes.

User avatar
dbalkaran
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:16 pm

Re: Big 4 (accounting) vs. Biglaw

Postby dbalkaran » Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:50 am

dabigchina wrote:
dbalkaran wrote:I work for a consulting firm that competes directly with Deloitte and while I'm sure the consulting side is slightly different than the accounting side people seem to be very happy there.

FYI OP, Big4 consulting is very different from Big4 accounting practices as far as quality of life and upward mobility goes.


This is true. Salary wise I make quite a bit more than my former college roommate who is in audit at PwC. He also doesn't have to do nearly as much traveling and works a little less. Regardless of whether you end up in a Big4 accounting firm or in BigLaw I hope you're ready to work.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bridgeinbrooklyn, Google Adsense [Bot], HastingsStudent2016, run26.2, stevengnehs and 4 guests