Getting a CPA certification before law?

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PowderedWater
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:50 pm

Getting a CPA certification before law?

Postby PowderedWater » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:41 pm

Hi again,

I was wondering if it would be a good idea to get some work experience before getting into law school?

You see, I'm graduating in about a year or so and I've been debating with myself over applying to law school as soon as possible, or to get work in accounting before attending law. It would take me about two/three years before getting my CA (Chartered Accountant) designation here in Quebec and from what I've heard, is that certain states in the US - such as Illinois - allows a relatively smooth transition from being a CA in Canada, to getting a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certification in the US.

This all said, the following worries me;

1) Even if I were to get a CPA certificate, it wouldn't be all that useful in getting a job in law or give me a substantial boost in the admissions process.
2) That by the time that I do get into law, I would be about 26 years old. Some folks have told me that age would be considered "late" for law school.

Anyway, I'd be glad if any of you could give me your input on the matter. Thanks!

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summer4627
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Re: Getting a CPA certification before law?

Postby summer4627 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:51 pm

I have thought about the same thing. In the US the CPA exam takes roughly a year to complete, with all the studying and taking all four parts of the exam, and is very difficult and a huge commitment of time and energy. You have to think long and hard about if you really want to work in accounting or law. You can later work in business without a CPA if you get your JD, but if you want to earn more money with only an accounting degree, a CPA is a must. There is also a requirement that you have one year work experience under a CPA before you can be certified, after passing the exam. I'm not sure what the requirements are like for you. Basically unless you are super serious, getting a CPA will only consume more time (not to mention $ for prep materials and the test itself). Really evaluate where you want to be in your career before going ahead with the accounting certification.

It's very difficult to balance both professions, but it can be done I'm sure.....there is also the issue of maintaining that certification....

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PowderedWater
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Re: Getting a CPA certification before law?

Postby PowderedWater » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:07 pm

summer4627 wrote:I have thought about the same thing. In the US the CPA exam takes roughly a year to complete, with all the studying and taking all four parts of the exam, and is very difficult and a huge commitment of time and energy. You have to think long and hard about if you really want to work in accounting or law. You can later work in business without a CPA if you get your JD, but if you want to earn more money with only an accounting degree, a CPA is a must. There is also a requirement that you have one year work experience under a CPA before you can be certified, after passing the exam. I'm not sure what the requirements are like for you. Basically unless you are super serious, getting a CPA will only consume more time (not to mention $ for prep materials and the test itself). Really evaluate where you want to be in your career before going ahead with the accounting certification.

It's very difficult to balance both professions, but it can be done I'm sure.....there is also the issue of maintaining that certification....


Yeah, I figured as well. :S
Over here it's 24 months (minimum) of designated work experience before taking the exam. I just assumed that having that certification would give me more of a chance getting into BigLaw.

So, it's a no-go?

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summer4627
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Re: Getting a CPA certification before law?

Postby summer4627 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:12 pm

I would focus more on getting the highest LSAT score possible and applying to schools with good employment statistics. Unless you need the money, don't get the CPA just to be admitted. If you really want to practice as a CPA in the future go ahead and do it, but I don't think it will help you in getting a biglaw job, more than graduating well in your class from a good school.

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PowderedWater
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Re: Getting a CPA certification before law?

Postby PowderedWater » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:17 pm

Fair enough. Thanks for the advice!




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