Law School vs Alternatives

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RHawk
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:49 pm

Law School vs Alternatives

Postby RHawk » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:04 am

I just got my October score, 162, not terrible but certainly not great (3.5 GPA in Accounting so similar for that too). I was wondering what the general opinion is of attending a strong regional (Tulane/Villanova/Wake) or if I'd be better off simply getting a Masters in Accountancy at a similar institute? I'd prefer to practice law but looking at this through a cost benefit breakdown I can't help but feel I would be foolish to enter law given the job market.

Cost/Benefit:
I could probably complete a Masters in Accountancy in 12-14 months instead of the 36 months a JD would require. Additionally most of the programs I am looking at for law would likely cost me at least 40k a year, granted I could probably go to a lower T2/T3 or state school and get some cash, or I could get out with the MAC at about 30k total. When I also started to consider opportunity cost of remaining in law school for an additional two years it seems like the numbers are simply overwhelmingly in favor of me getting a CPA. I am uncertain of how the job opportunities/markets would compare, however if I chose the CPA route I am assuming I'd likely earn a similar salary?

Does anyone see any major flaws in my thinking? Did I overlook anything important, is there some rational manner I could justify pursuing a JD to myself?

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starrydreamz3
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Re: Law School vs Alternatives

Postby starrydreamz3 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:47 pm

Why not get the CPA and be an accountant for a few years. If after 5 years you are as bored as I assume most accountants are, then reapply to law school. Only about 1/3 of incoming JD students are straight from undergrad. Make some money first and see what you like.

You could also get a job and do a part-time law program if you're worried about the opportunity cost of 2 years without a job. But ITE, you better love the law. It's not a big money making career anymore.

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fugitivejammer
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Re: Law School vs Alternatives

Postby fugitivejammer » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:02 am

u should def go for the MAcc/CPA route and work for 4-5 yrs at least in accountancy. i feel like in general there is just so much more options there. the short/mid-term NPV of that decision is just win compared w/ dumping a lot more $$$ for a degree that'll likely get u a similar salary (possibly lower as compared w/ working in acctng for 3 years, or possibly no law job 0.0).

my gf just graduated from a not-great/not-bad school, that has some weight in our region w/ the same GPA as urs in acct and got a few great job offers and is currently gettin 55k/yr (no MAcc/CPA yet). not bad but she has had a real ez time gettin internships or interviews before that which leads me to believe (at least in my market) that acct has relatively good hiring atm. still competitive, i know, but ur MAcc/CPA combo will make u pretty competitive.

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thexfactor
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Re: Law School vs Alternatives

Postby thexfactor » Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:33 pm

fugitivejammer wrote:u should def go for the MAcc/CPA route and work for 4-5 yrs at least in accountancy. i feel like in general there is just so much more options there. the short/mid-term NPV of that decision is just win compared w/ dumping a lot more $$$ for a degree that'll likely get u a similar salary (possibly lower as compared w/ working in acctng for 3 years, or possibly no law job 0.0).

my gf just graduated from a not-great/not-bad school, that has some weight in our region w/ the same GPA as urs in acct and got a few great job offers and is currently gettin 55k/yr (no MAcc/CPA yet). not bad but she has had a real ez time gettin internships or interviews before that which leads me to believe (at least in my market) that acct has relatively good hiring atm. still competitive, i know, but ur MAcc/CPA combo will make u pretty competitive.


same. my GF is in the same situation.
Guess what. All the financial regulations are not geared so much towards lawyers as accountants.... Law is benefiting from the regulations, but not nearly as much as accounting.

get a 650+ on gmats and go to Utexas or USC. If you get 670 check out michshitgan. If you go to a top program, you have an outside chance of doing ibanking or consulting too..... Accounting is much more versatile than law.

1Levening2013
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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Law School vs Alternatives

Postby 1Levening2013 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:40 pm

accounting truly sucks, but having the work experience doesnt
work a few years, see if you can leverage that into something better than typical audit type work, and if not re-evaluate law school then.
i dont think you understand how beneficial the work experience will be, from a resume perspective, and from a maturity perspective

retiree
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:52 pm

Re: Law School vs Alternatives

Postby retiree » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:07 pm

[quote="RHawk"]I just got my October score, 162, not terrible but certainly not great (3.5 GPA in Accounting so similar for that too). I was wondering what the general opinion is of attending a strong regional (Tulane/Villanova/Wake) or if I'd be better off simply getting a Masters in Accountancy at a similar institute? I'd prefer to practice law but looking at this through a cost benefit breakdown I can't help but feel I would be foolish to enter law given the job market.../quote]

May I suggest that you read the Oct 27, 2010 article in http://www.slate.com (http://www.slate.com/id/2272621/pagenum/1) entitled, "A Case of Supply v. Demand," subtitle: Law schools are manufacturing more lawyers than America needs, and law students aren't happy about it. By Annie Lowrey

Indeed, this article should be mandatory reading for everyone. Students are now suing their law schools for what amounts to false advertising about the ability to be employed after graduation. I know a highly educated lawyer (in a big city) with 4 degrees, who is making $15/hr, doing lawyer work, but getting paid what some paralegals might get.

You have a very marketable skill. The BLS is forecasting a 22% growth rate in the accounting profession (stats posted for 2008-2018). The growth rate for lawyers is about 13% or about as fast as the employment rate. Graduates have lofty dreams of making a 6-figure salary, and that is unrealistic. Do your homework on why you really want to become a lawyer (especially if you want to work in a law firm for 60 hours a week). You might find that working as a CPA in a law firm turns out to be more lucrative.

Assuming you do go to law school, you might want to open your own solo practice and, say, combine your work as an accountant in serving the solopreneur market; now that might be something to look into. Your business model would need to go beyond the "dollars for hours" model, though. I have found that reasonable business services for the solopreneur or small businessman are practically non existent. I have cut my client list (I am an executive communications coach) by switching to a different business model, and am bringing in more revenue as a result, leaving more free time to do what I want. It can be done. But it all takes homework (and a good coach!).




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