Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
Apple Tree
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:19 pm

Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby Apple Tree » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:19 pm

My situation: Got into UVA, $25k/year scholly, deferred a year to save money for school. I’m a CPA and working as a tax accountant for a private company. I like the part of my job that involves problem solving, but not the tax return preparation part (ironically).

Reasons I applied to law school: liked my legal classes; liked working for a small family law firm and their work seemed interesting; wanted a change from my current job; and wanted a better pay.

Reasons I’m hesitant about going to law school: When I applied, I had my goal set on big law. But with this year off, I started to realize I definitely do not want to work insane hours (>60 hours) all the time and I want to do something that really interests me. I would be at least $70k + interest in debt when I graduate. The fields that interest me are family law, public interest law, etc. But I know these places rarely hire fresh grads. The only upper hand I have in finding employment is my CPA and tax related experience. I hope to steer away from the tax field because of lack of interest, but I’m afraid I’ll be sucked back in because of the pressure to pay off loan. I know practicing tax law is different from doing a tax return, but I just don’t know how excited I could get for a new tax code like my boss does.

I have a great deal of interest in some non-legal fields and could go to school w/o loan. I won’t make that much when I graduate but I’ll be doing something I care about. The worst case scenario: I fail to work in the field I desire, but at least I’ll be debt free.

My dilemma: I don’t want to pass up such a good opportunity at UVA. I absolutely loved the school and people there when I visited. But I don’t know how my grades will be, and the job prospect really scare me. I know many people work at jobs they don’t care to afford the things they do; but to me work takes up too much of my life for me to not think about it.

Sorry for the rambling. Any input is appreciated.
Last edited by Apple Tree on Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby General Tso » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:20 pm

current and expected long-term salary w/ CPA alone?

Apple Tree
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:19 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby Apple Tree » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:22 pm

You mean stay at my current job?
Current: 50k
LT: Don't really know but I imagine could go up to 70-80k.

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby General Tso » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:22 pm

Apple Tree wrote:You mean stay at my current job?
Current: 50k
LT: Don't really know but I imagine could go up to 70-80k.


if more $$ is your objective I think UVA is the right choice. 70k debt is not that bad.

Bumi
Posts: 947
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby Bumi » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:25 pm

Don't go. I'm on the waitlist. :lol:

Apple Tree
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:19 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby Apple Tree » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:25 pm

Bumi wrote:Don't go. I'm on the waitlist. :lol:

:lol: Good luck!

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby Veyron » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:28 pm

Don't go unless you want be a lawyer more then you want to do anything else in the world. You are what your career is, and if you hate your job, or wish you were working another you'll hate your life. Its not worth it. Go do what you want to do, don't be one of the 50% of lawyers that hates their job just because you lacked a little courage.

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby Renzo » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:48 pm

It sounds to me like being a tax lawyer might be right up your alley. It's all problem-solving and no filing returns, and the hours are at least more consistent than other biglaw specialties.

User avatar
OperaSoprano
Posts: 4410
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:54 am

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby OperaSoprano » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:08 pm

Apple Tree wrote:My situation: Got into UVA, $25k/year scholly, deferred a year to save money for school. I’m a CPA and working as a tax accountant for a private company. I like the part of my job that involves problem solving, but not the tax return preparation part (ironically).

Reasons I applied to law school: liked my legal classes; liked working for a small family law firm and their work seemed interesting; wanted a change from my current job; and wanted a better pay.

Reasons I’m hesitant about going to law school: When I applied, I had my goal set on big law. But with this year off, I started to realize I definitely do not want to work insane hours (>60 hours) all the time and I want to do something that really interests me. I would be at least $70k + interest in debt when I graduate. The fields that interest me are family law, public interest law, etc. But I know these places rarely hire fresh grads. The only upper hand I have in finding employment is my CPA and tax related experience. I hope to steer away from the tax field because of lack of interest, but I’m afraid I’ll be sucked back in because of the pressure to pay off loan. I know practicing tax law is different from doing a tax return, but I just don’t know how excited I could get for a new tax code like my boss does.

I have a great deal of interest in some non-legal fields and could go to school w/o loan. I won’t make that much when I graduate but I’ll be doing something I care about. The worst case scenario: I fail to work in the field I desire, but at least I’ll be debt free.

My dilemma: I don’t want to pass up such a good opportunity at UVA. I absolutely loved the school and people there when I visited. But I don’t know how my grades will be, and the job prospect really scare me. I know many people work at jobs they don’t care to afford the things they do; but to me work takes up too much of my life for me to not think about it.

Sorry for the rambling. Any input is appreciated.


I know we talked earlier, but my $0.02: law school is one hell of an experience. I can't imagine having been able to put myself through this if I didn't want it more than anything else in the world. I think that kind of motivation is required to put in the time and sustain your interest and be happy while you are in school, never mind once you are practicing. Like you, I came to law school not really wanting a biglaw job, and that does make the career trajectory much less certain. (I also knew, given my background, that I probably couldn't have one anyway. You, however, have credentials that can be put to use in all sorts of other fields.)

I am a major proponent of personal happiness, and I think happiness in your day to day life is worth a pay cut, debt, whatever it takes to get to the place where you actually enjoy your job and feel justly proud of your accomplishments. That doesn't have to include law school, though it certainly could. A large scholly at UVA is very difficult to leave on the table, and Cville is a pretty amazing place, but that doesn't guarantee that it's right for you. If you possibly can, spend some time at UVA and go back to visit the other schools you are considering, and talk to current students. Also talk to graduates and people pursuing the fields you are thinking about. I found that the more talking I did, the better sense I got for what I actually wanted. Even OCI interviews helped me sort that out!

I should note that $70k debt sounds like a lot, but is about a third of what many students have to take on for a legal education. (I am jealous and think you got a fabulous deal!) As others have said, you can pay it off if law is what you want, but it's silly to jump in the pressure cooker if you feel like there is something else you really want to be doing. UVA isn't going anywhere, and if you ultimately decide you do want to go to law school, you will be a better student and job applicant for having had diverse experience. I'm sorry I can't be much more helpful than this-- it's a difficult decision to make, and what I would choose may not be right for you.

Apple Tree
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:19 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby Apple Tree » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:15 pm

Thanks for all the replies.
OS, yes I will definitely talk to the people in both fields to get a better picture. Thank you so much for all the help!

User avatar
bmwhype2
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:49 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby bmwhype2 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:37 pm

why kill yourself in a top14 if youre not going for biglaw? i am guessing that with your CPA and tax experience, you could leverage that for estate planning / family law.

User avatar
YCrevolution
Posts: 4714
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:25 am

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby YCrevolution » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:41 pm

..

Apple Tree
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:19 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby Apple Tree » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:39 pm

YCrevolution wrote:
Apple Tree wrote:Thanks for all the replies.
OS, yes I will definitely talk to the people in both fields to get a better picture. Thank you so much for all the help!

Any interest in being a tax lawyer?


Not as of right now. I don't really like the tax part of my current job. But I'm afraid my tax experience will be the only thing employers are interested in if I have a mediocre GPA, therefore I will have to go back to tax again if I want a job. I know practicing tax law is different from preparing a tax return, but I'm not clear to what extent. I guess I need to go talk to some tax attorneys.

User avatar
bmwhype2
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:49 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby bmwhype2 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:49 pm

Apple Tree wrote:
YCrevolution wrote:
Apple Tree wrote:Thanks for all the replies.
OS, yes I will definitely talk to the people in both fields to get a better picture. Thank you so much for all the help!

Any interest in being a tax lawyer?


Not as of right now. I don't really like the tax part of my current job. But I'm afraid my tax experience will be the only thing employers are interested in if I have a mediocre GPA, therefore I will have to go back to tax again if I want a job. I know practicing tax law is different from preparing a tax return, but I'm not clear to what extent. I guess I need to go talk to some tax attorneys.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=123587

User avatar
dominkay
Posts: 355
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: Can’t believe I’m asking this: to go or not to go?

Postby dominkay » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:56 pm

GO. You aren't making so much now that law school isn't a good investment, and your scholarship makes UVA a very good deal.

Tax law is a lot more problem solving than numbers crunching. A friend's dad practices tax law at a top firm and he really, really loves his job.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests