CPA need some advise for chose law school Forum

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kenovic

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CPA need some advise for chose law school

Post by kenovic » Sun Jul 10, 2022 5:11 am

Hi everyone, I'm from LA, I'm holding an active CPA license working at KPMG tax group. To the point, I need a JD degree to boost my future tax law career. I have bachelor degrees in economics and accounting and master in international business. But my GPA is only around 2.8, not really kind of top student, also English is not my first language, so I lack confidence in writing, especially my grammar is horrible. It doesn't mean I can't achieve in academics, like most Asian students, I work very hard and very seriously when I'm studying. I just really lack confidence. I'm planning to do the part-time JD program, and my goal is very clear, tax attorney. I don't necessarily need to pass the bar, but of course, it will be very helpful if I passed. I'm planning to go to a T3 or even T4 law school part-time JD program, maybe receive some form of scholarship, not sure if the part-time JD program has scholarships at all. The point is to get an ABA-approved JD degree.
Hope someone can give me some opinions, is my plan seems like a good choice or maybe I should come up with some other idea.

johndooley

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Re: CPA need some advise for chose law school

Post by johndooley » Sun Jul 10, 2022 9:35 pm

Why not ask your current employer for a guaranteed raise for obtaining the degree!? I went to a non prestigious law school. Attorneys there don’t really get tax law positions. More criminal law and medmal. Going was the best decision I ever made.

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nealric

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Re: CPA need some advise for chose law school

Post by nealric » Wed Jul 13, 2022 12:59 pm

Speaking as a tax attorney, I'm not sure getting a low-tier law degree would be worth it for you, especially if you are already in the Big4. Since you are a CPA I assume at this point you are already a senior associate and could plausibly make Manager in the next 3-5 years if you haven't already. Or are you trying to switch from audit to tax?

The only real step-up from Big4 in the tax universe is going to be Biglaw, but you won't likely be getting biglaw from a lower-tier law school. Plenty of people make partner in the Big4 without a law degree. You are looking at 4+ years of intense work you could be otherwise using to focus on your current career development. Keep in mind that top tax LLM programs are filled with people who graduated from first tier law schools and whose GOAL is to get a Big4 gig paying no more than you are already making today as a CPA.

Moreover, going to law school isn't going to just magically fix your writing skills. For the most part, law school is going to assume native English proficiency and most writing instruction is going to be specific to legal writing (and focused on litigation at that). If you are concerned about your grammar, that's something you could work on by studying it specifically.

The only way I would consider getting a lower tier JD is if KPMG is specifically encouraging you to do so, and is willing to provide both financial support and logistical accommodations.

kenovic

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Re: CPA need some advise for chose law school

Post by kenovic » Tue Jul 19, 2022 3:49 am

nealric wrote:
Wed Jul 13, 2022 12:59 pm
Speaking as a tax attorney, I'm not sure getting a low-tier law degree would be worth it for you, especially if you are already in the Big4. Since you are a CPA I assume at this point you are already a senior associate and could plausibly make Manager in the next 3-5 years if you haven't already. Or are you trying to switch from audit to tax?

The only real step-up from Big4 in the tax universe is going to be Biglaw, but you won't likely be getting biglaw from a lower-tier law school. Plenty of people make partner in the Big4 without a law degree. You are looking at 4+ years of intense work you could be otherwise using to focus on your current career development. Keep in mind that top tax LLM programs are filled with people who graduated from first tier law schools and whose GOAL is to get a Big4 gig paying no more than you are already making today as a CPA.

Moreover, going to law school isn't going to just magically fix your writing skills. For the most part, law school is going to assume native English proficiency and most writing instruction is going to be specific to legal writing (and focused on litigation at that). If you are concerned about your grammar, that's something you could work on by studying it specifically.

The only way I would consider getting a lower tier JD is if KPMG is specifically encouraging you to do so, and is willing to provide both financial support and logistical accommodations.
Thank you very much for your valuable advice. Not only I hope I can pursue a higher career path within big firms, but also I think about starting my small firm in the future, which is another encouragement for me to go for the JD. However, I don't know what is like to start a firm or what kind of challenges I should prepare in mind. Does a lower rank JD can help me for my own firm in the future?

kenovic

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Re: CPA need some advise for chose law school

Post by kenovic » Tue Jul 19, 2022 3:52 am

johndooley wrote:
Sun Jul 10, 2022 9:35 pm
Why not ask your current employer for a guaranteed raise for obtaining the degree!? I went to a non prestigious law school. Attorneys there don’t really get tax law positions. More criminal law and medmal. Going was the best decision I ever made.
Thank you for your valuable advice. I should certainly ask my supervisor.

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nealric

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Re: CPA need some advise for chose law school

Post by nealric » Tue Jul 19, 2022 9:02 am

kenovic wrote:
Tue Jul 19, 2022 3:49 am
nealric wrote:
Wed Jul 13, 2022 12:59 pm
Speaking as a tax attorney, I'm not sure getting a low-tier law degree would be worth it for you, especially if you are already in the Big4. Since you are a CPA I assume at this point you are already a senior associate and could plausibly make Manager in the next 3-5 years if you haven't already. Or are you trying to switch from audit to tax?

The only real step-up from Big4 in the tax universe is going to be Biglaw, but you won't likely be getting biglaw from a lower-tier law school. Plenty of people make partner in the Big4 without a law degree. You are looking at 4+ years of intense work you could be otherwise using to focus on your current career development. Keep in mind that top tax LLM programs are filled with people who graduated from first tier law schools and whose GOAL is to get a Big4 gig paying no more than you are already making today as a CPA.

Moreover, going to law school isn't going to just magically fix your writing skills. For the most part, law school is going to assume native English proficiency and most writing instruction is going to be specific to legal writing (and focused on litigation at that). If you are concerned about your grammar, that's something you could work on by studying it specifically.

The only way I would consider getting a lower tier JD is if KPMG is specifically encouraging you to do so, and is willing to provide both financial support and logistical accommodations.
Thank you very much for your valuable advice. Not only I hope I can pursue a higher career path within big firms, but also I think about starting my small firm in the future, which is another encouragement for me to go for the JD. However, I don't know what is like to start a firm or what kind of challenges I should prepare in mind. Does a lower rank JD can help me for my own firm in the future?
You can hang a shingle doing tax with your CPA license too. The problem with solo tax is that most tax issues requiring the services of a tax attorney primarily relate to larger businesses. Most individuals just need returns filed, and the occasional audit support, both of which your solo CPA practice can handle. Unless you are already an established practitioner with lots of institutional history, a solo isn't going to be attracting larger institutional clients.

Most solo tax folks I've seen are primarily in trust and estate practices with some tax on the side. I suppose if T&E interests you, it's an option.

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Re: CPA need some advise for chose law school

Post by CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 25, 2022 4:24 pm

kenovic wrote:
Sun Jul 10, 2022 5:11 am
Hi everyone, I'm from LA, I'm holding an active CPA license working at KPMG tax group. To the point, I need a JD degree to boost my future tax law career. I have bachelor degrees in economics and accounting and master in international business. But my GPA is only around 2.8, not really kind of top student, also English is not my first language, so I lack confidence in writing, especially my grammar is horrible. It doesn't mean I can't achieve in academics, like most Asian students, I work very hard and very seriously when I'm studying. I just really lack confidence. I'm planning to do the part-time JD program, and my goal is very clear, tax attorney. I don't necessarily need to pass the bar, but of course, it will be very helpful if I passed. I'm planning to go to a T3 or even T4 law school part-time JD program, maybe receive some form of scholarship, not sure if the part-time JD program has scholarships at all. The point is to get an ABA-approved JD degree.
Hope someone can give me some opinions, is my plan seems like a good choice or maybe I should come up with some other idea.
Earning a law degree at a Tier 3 or at a Tier 4 law school on a part-time basis may or may not be the best use of your time, experience, and money to achieve your goal of becoming a tax attorney or to "boost [your] future tax law career", but this depends upon your goals which are currently too vague. Specifically, what do you want to do that requires a law degree that cannot be done as a licensed CPA ?

I do know of several students from the Houston, Texas area who attended a local Houston law school on a part-time basis followed by a year earning a Georgetown LLM tax degree who were then hired into a Big Four Washington National Tax Office. After several years at the Big Four WNTO, some moved into positions with major law firms which specifically state that Big Four accounting work experience is an acceptable background for that particular law firm.

While interviewing for the Big Four Washington DC National Tax Office, each applicant's law school & tax llm law school transcripts were heavily scrutinized by the Big Four WNTO. To the best of my knowledge, every successful candidate earned the top grade in multiple tax courses during law school and/or during their respective tax llm program year.

Combining a CPA license with a law degree can be tricky in light of several state bar rules common to all state bars which I have examined.

Questions:

How long have you been employed at KPMG and in accounting & what is your rank/title (associate, senior associate, or manager) ?

Are you in audit and desiring to move into M&A or into International Tax or into another specialty area ?

Have you considered earning a Masters Degree in Taxation based on your accounting degree ? If so, most are one year programs which can get you into a specialty area of major accounting firms.

Southern California has a couple of well respected tax llm programs (Loyola & the University of San Diego), but USD's tax llm program claims strength in getting graduates placed as clerks for Tax Court--a position for which you may be an unlikely candidate based on your less than stellar English language skills.

Several law school tax llm programs offer both a tax llm law degree for those holding a law degree and a masters in taxation degree for accountants. Those pursuing either degree take classes together. The University of Denver School of Law and Villanova University's law school are two examples of law schools which offer both degrees.

Do you want to remain as an employee of a major accounting firm ? If so, then you should investigate universities which offer a masters in accounting degree from their respective business schools. Typically, these are one year programs which offer an opportunity to study a specialized area of tax law.

KPMG sponsors masters degree programs in accountancy or in taxation at at least 9 US universities. To the best of my recollection, these one year masters degree programs are offered at Ohio State University, Baylor University, the University of Mississippi, USC , Virginia Tech, Villanova, Arizona State University, Missouri, and the University of Georgia. Both tax and data analytics/data analysis concentrations are offered. Other university masters in accountancy programs offer several other specializations.

In which languages do you have native fluency, fluency, or proficiency ?

CanadianWolf

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Re: CPA need some advise for chose law school

Post by CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 25, 2022 5:06 pm

If you have native fluency in Chinese Mandarin dialect (or in another Asian language), I speculate that you may be able to do well as either a CPA or as an attorney with specialized skills and experience. West Coast locations--such as Los Angeles or Seattle--should offer interesting opportunities.

FWIW: In the not too distant past, I have read of opportunities for professional license holders (CPA, JD) with fluency in various languages including Portuguese, Asian languages, and German.

Many accounting and many law firms seek qualified individuals with foreign language fluency. Sometimes, however, these positions are in discovery and, typically, not permanent or lucrative positions.

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