Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

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LeahNic
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby LeahNic » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:12 pm

paul1454 wrote:
Lots of tax lawyers work for the big 4 auditing firms, and they have a lot more hands on work than those tax lawyers at firms. I've also been told that only the large firms have dedicated tax units, while midsize firms will only have a few dedicated tax people and small firms probably won't have any. Lastly, another thing to look into would be working for the government. The IRS employs a lot of tax lawyers, mainly to audit larger companies.

Note: I got this all from my school's information program on tax law. They had a few large firm tax lawyers there along with a guy from the IRS who enjoys pwnzing companies that don't pay their taxes.
paul1454 wrote:Tax law is not really a hot field of law. It is a slow grower, but a necessary part of many firm's practice areas. Only in a minority of cases will any client come to the firm simply for a tax related question (i.e. challenging the IRS, help on an audit, etc...). More often, tax really is just around to help on other projects, mainly M&A or other stuff funneled in from the corporate department. It is, however, a field that isn't going anywhere any time soon.


Lots of tax lawyers work for the big 4 auditing firms, and they have a lot more hands on work than those tax lawyers at firms. I've also been told that only the large firms have dedicated tax units, while midsize firms will only have a few dedicated tax people and small firms probably won't have any. Lastly, another thing to look into would be working for the government. The IRS employs a lot of tax lawyers, mainly to audit larger companies.

Note: I got this all from my school's information program on tax law. They had a few large firm tax lawyers there along with a guy from the IRS who enjoys pwnzing companies that don't pay their taxes.]


That is very true that many attorneys work in the Big 4 accounting firms. Note that working in the tax department of these firms (I'm talking regular federal. M&A, International and SALT aren't quite so bad) of those firms typically doing very mind-numbing compliance work (I know, I used to work in one). As an attorney working in a Big 4 accounting firm, you are very limited in what you can do. In fact, you are not allowed to even "practice law," although some of the tax planning you may do (if you are able to get any sophisticated work as a young attorney) may fall on the border of legal work. Another thing to consider is that Big 4 accounting firms will not take into acount your additional education in terms of pay. A JD with an LLM in tax will be paid only marginally more (usually about 5%) and someone straight out of undergrad with their accounting degree. All in all, attorneys working at Big 4 firms are generally unhappier than their accountant counterparts, mainly because they feel like they have wasted their JD degree. I think the only time Big 4 would be worthwhile for an attorney is if (1) they REALLY want to do tax; and (2) they don't have the qualifications to get into a large law firm with a tax department, but of course, that is just my opinion and others may not find that the case. If you would like some really good information on careers in tax, check outhttp://www.taxtalent.com

I just wanted to clear that up in case anyone reading this thread was considering tax. I know this isn't solely about tax law.


This is true. Avoid Big 4.

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ihatestudying
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby ihatestudying » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:01 pm

Nothing is recession proof, you are paid a price based on your value.


I'd imagine certain areas of law, like M&A, would see slower growth these days, though.

Darth Topher
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby Darth Topher » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:04 pm

What's "M & A?"

7thstep
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby 7thstep » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:06 pm

Darth Topher wrote:What's "M & A?"

Merger and Acquisition

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bocifious
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby bocifious » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:12 pm

Paul:

I did not know that. What is the general salary level? I had a rep at my school from Ernst & Young tell me that they paid "market" (they are also listed on NALP as paying "market" which is 160k in NY/LA/DC etc.). Also, I only mentioned the big 4 idea because i had talked to a few alumni who went to work for them right out of school and then lateraled into a big firm's tax department. They made it seem like a good idea for someone who couldn't get into a large firm right out of school but wanted to practice tax, because a lot of smaller firms don't have dedicated tax practices. What is your take on this?

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orangeswarm
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby orangeswarm » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:24 pm

In terms of transferring, Biglaw does not generally value Big4 experience. Typically, the experience between the two are completely different. In Biglaw, you will be working on research and planning and in Big 4 you spend you time almost completely in compliance (filling in forms basically). As a result, Biglaw does not really want "accountants," which is what they consider attorneys who work in Big4.

In terms of salary, the Big 4 are all over the board, but NONE of them will pay what Biglaw pays. The most you could land at a Big 4 might be as high as 90-110K if you get in a specialty group in NYC. More often, the pay is about 50-60K (in a smaller market). Even at 100K, the pay would still be dwarfed by the bonuses biglaw pays. Furthermore, if you can land a specialty group in NYC, you probaby have what it takes to get into biglaw anyway (or at least a boutique tax firm).

One plus, however, is that Big4 experience transfers very well to inhouse positions. If you go to a Big4 get your CPA. A JD/CPA is in a really great position for inhouse. That, in my experience, has been the path that most attorneys at the big4 choose to take.

Check out that site I mentioned in my earlier post, you will really get some amazing information there. It is run by one of the premier tax recruiters in the nation and its members consist primarily of JDs (biglaw and big4) who practice in tax.

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bocifious
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby bocifious » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:30 pm

Thanks for the info. I have bookmarked that site and plan on checking it out. I actually don't have an undergrad background in business/finance/accounting (philosophy!! woo!!) but I am very interested in tax law and had just heard about working for the big 4. I didn't know much about them other than what I had heard, and that they have big shiny offices in the areas where I want to end up working. I will look into this more. I should have the grades to get biglaw somewhere, so I am not too worried about it. I was also thinking about working for the government though. I heard that the IRS jobs aren't too bad. Basically the alumni who came to school from the IRS said the lawyers there pretty much just help do the audits of companies. Are you familiar with government tax work at all? I am looking into it because we all know government hours are super reasonable and the pay isn't too bad (plus you can see the actual pay scales and figure out what you will be making down the line).

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orangeswarm
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby orangeswarm » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:31 pm

Just in case my last post seemed to indicate Big 4 is not a good idea, I will say that isn't always the case. Big 4 is a good idea if: (1) you know you want to work in tax; and (2) you can't get into a biglaw firm that has a good tax department (or a tax boutique). If you want tax and you are choosing between big4 and a small firm that occassionally gets some business startup tax questions or something of that nature, you'd be crazy not to go Big4. Plus, if you end up not minding the compliance, partners in Big4 make pretty close to those at law firms (although making partner in Big4 is much harder than biglaw- I've heard it taking over 13 years for some).

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orangeswarm
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby orangeswarm » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:32 pm

bocifious wrote:Thanks for the info. I have bookmarked that site and plan on checking it out. I actually don't have an undergrad background in business/finance/accounting (philosophy!! woo!!) but I am very interested in tax law and had just heard about working for the big 4. I didn't know much about them other than what I had heard, and that they have big shiny offices in the areas where I want to end up working. I will look into this more. I should have the grades to get biglaw somewhere, so I am not too worried about it. I was also thinking about working for the government though. I heard that the IRS jobs aren't too bad. Basically the alumni who came to school from the IRS said the lawyers there pretty much just help do the audits of companies. Are you familiar with government tax work at all? I am looking into it because we all know government hours are super reasonable and the pay isn't too bad (plus you can see the actual pay scales and figure out what you will be making down the line).


Yea, government isn't too bad. If you can land a job in the OCC, you will have it made. In that tax world, the OCC is prime time.

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bocifious
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby bocifious » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:40 pm

OCC meaning Office of the Comptroller of the Currency?

Edit: should have just googled it. That is what comes up.

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orangeswarm
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby orangeswarm » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:48 pm

Haha, sorry. Office of Chief Counsel - US Tax Court.

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bocifious
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby bocifious » Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:47 pm

ok cool, that was actually was I was looking at (and where that alumni I was talking to works at).

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aleph209
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby aleph209 » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:33 pm

all the good government tax fun happens at ways and means, senate finance, or jct.

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Grad_Student
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby Grad_Student » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:46 am

Call me crazy but Water Law

Darth Topher
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby Darth Topher » Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:16 am

BUMP

wustl3l
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby wustl3l » Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:40 am

Obviously this is totally going to change by the time 0Ls go into practice but for my class the hot fields are (primarily due to the economy): patent, bankruptcy, and litigation.

http://www.abovethelaw.com/2008/03/feat ... t_wo_1.php

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kkhtlk
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby kkhtlk » Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:55 am

i wouldnt be surprised if IP became oversaturated soon.
and im interested in the rationale behind naming water law.

wustl3l
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby wustl3l » Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:02 am

Soft IP is not hot but patent is. While the competition has heated up for patent folk, there is still a lot of demand relative to the other fields.

hbb
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby hbb » Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:18 am

im interested in the rationale behind naming water law.


one example

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kkhtlk
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby kkhtlk » Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:31 am

hbb wrote:
im interested in the rationale behind naming water law.


one example


gracias. i know UF has some professors who specialize in water law but im not sure what other schools might be good for a water law education.

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RATRATRAT
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby RATRATRAT » Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:36 am

:shock:
Last edited by RATRATRAT on Mon May 26, 2008 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FunEfellow
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby FunEfellow » Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:43 am

Environmental. At a ASW recently I went to a panel on environmental law. There seems to be general consensus that in the next 2-3 years, the government will enact some sort of carbon cap and trade system (all three candidates now support something like that). If this is the case, you can imagine a huge amount of work for lawyers navigating this HUGE new regulation. Tons of corporations will be effected.

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LSAT_Cat
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby LSAT_Cat » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:06 pm

Immigration law.

What I am wondering about though - and perhaps I should create a new thread for this - is how many lawyers will be retiring within the next ten years or so. I know that the legal field is heavily saturated right now, but I am curious to know how many baby boomer lawyers there are out there. It would be cool if a large number of lawyers retire, making the field a little less competitive. Does anybody have any information about this?

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simplekin
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby simplekin » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:57 pm

RATRATRAT wrote:
bocifious wrote:Space law 8)

What's funny is this is actually what my dad does . . . :shock:


This is going to explode if a new space race takes place. Boeing Areospace recently donated $500,000 to McGill's Space Law school, and I'm pretty sure they snatch up students right after they grad from the program.

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raskolnikov
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Re: Hottest fields of law right now, and in the future...

Postby raskolnikov » Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:37 pm

Gay divorce seems promising




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