Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

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Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 3:00 pm

Hi All:

I realize there is a lot of previous discussion pertaining to big 4 salaries, specifically going in with an LLM in tax. But, I really have only seen information relating to NYC market. I will be heading to big 4 for an internship next summer, but the hourly rate is (hopefully) not reflective of a salaried position. Could anyone shed some light on salary expectations for a US city between one and two million in population with an LLM in tax?

Trying to not be too specific, as I'm sure many will understand why.

Thanks

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 3:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi All:

I realize there is a lot of previous discussion pertaining to big 4 salaries, specifically going in with an LLM in tax. But, I really have only seen information relating to NYC market. I will be heading to big 4 for an internship next summer, but the hourly rate is (hopefully) not reflective of a salaried position. Could anyone shed some light on salary expectations for a US city between one and two million in population with an LLM in tax?

Trying to not be too specific, as I'm sure many will understand why.

Thanks
This will depend heavily on the city and service line. I know that you do not want to divulge the city. However, you should state the city's cost of living level. The high cost of living cities - New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. - pay the best. Other large markets - Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, and Boston - will be significantly lower. It is not a factor of the population size of the city as much as it is about its cost of living.

I worked in Big 4 in one of the secondary markets listed, and I was paid significantly less than my colleagues in New York. I think it was about twenty to thirty thousand dollars less. It will also depend on your service line. I believe M&A and Washington National Tax pay the best, then International Tax, and then SALT pays the least. I believe this is consistent across the Big 4.

I would also note that your hourly rate is likely reflective of what a first-year would earn in your office and service line. That's how it worked at my Big 4.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hi All:

I realize there is a lot of previous discussion pertaining to big 4 salaries, specifically going in with an LLM in tax. But, I really have only seen information relating to NYC market. I will be heading to big 4 for an internship next summer, but the hourly rate is (hopefully) not reflective of a salaried position. Could anyone shed some light on salary expectations for a US city between one and two million in population with an LLM in tax?

Trying to not be too specific, as I'm sure many will understand why.

Thanks
This will depend heavily on the city and service line. I know that you do not want to divulge the city. However, you should state the city's cost of living level. The high cost of living cities - New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. - pay the best. Other large markets - Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, and Boston - will be significantly lower. It is not a factor of the population size of the city as much as it is about its cost of living.

I worked in Big 4 in one of the secondary markets listed, and I was paid significantly less than my colleagues in New York. I think it was about twenty to thirty thousand dollars less. It will also depend on your service line. I believe M&A and Washington National Tax pay the best, then International Tax, and then SALT pays the least. I believe this is consistent across the Big 4.

I would also note that your hourly rate is likely reflective of what a first-year would earn in your office and service line. That's how it worked at my Big 4.
In my city, you won't find an apartment for less than 1500.

Another piece of information: an alumni at this firm informed me that JD's w/ a tax llm come in as a consultant II, or whatever the equivalent of the next level up from the entry-level grade.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 4:18 pm

As the previous poster indicated, it will depend on your service line and city. However, most LLM Tax students at a Big4 start with a base comp between $90k - $120k and a bonus between $5k and $15k. Myself and my classmates fell within this range.

There have been previous discussions on big4 salaries on tls and on reddit (r/lawschool).

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 4:34 pm

PwC pays the least outside of NY for M&A/Int’l.

A few years back, NY was $120k, Houston was $87.5k, Boston was $90k, SF was $90k.

EY is the same across the board, I believe. That was like $120k for all offices.

KPMG was $120 NY, $110 Dallas, $110 Atlanta, $90 Boston.

Deloitte was $91 in San Francisco.

One of the posters above is wrong because it isn’t solely based on COL (see SF and Boston).

These are numbers my classmates confirmed when they started working at their respective firms. They may be off by a little, but it paints a general picture.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 6:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:PwC pays the least outside of NY for M&A/Int’l.

A few years back, NY was $120k, Houston was $87.5k, Boston was $90k, SF was $90k.

EY is the same across the board, I believe. That was like $120k for all offices.

KPMG was $120 NY, $110 Dallas, $110 Atlanta, $90 Boston.

Deloitte was $91 in San Francisco.

One of the posters above is wrong because it isn’t solely based on COL (see SF and Boston).

These are numbers my classmates confirmed when they started working at their respective firms. They may be off by a little, but it paints a general picture.
Above poster isn't wrong. COL is definitely a huge factor (or maybe even sole factor).

PwC doesn't pay the least (or at least not anymore).

For incoming fall 2020 (JD/LLM) =
- PwC NY $125k base, $15k bonus, and $5k bar passage
- PwC DC $110k base, $15k bonus
- KPMG NY $125k, $10k bonus

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 7:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:PwC pays the least outside of NY for M&A/Int’l.

A few years back, NY was $120k, Houston was $87.5k, Boston was $90k, SF was $90k.

EY is the same across the board, I believe. That was like $120k for all offices.

KPMG was $120 NY, $110 Dallas, $110 Atlanta, $90 Boston.

Deloitte was $91 in San Francisco.

One of the posters above is wrong because it isn’t solely based on COL (see SF and Boston).

These are numbers my classmates confirmed when they started working at their respective firms. They may be off by a little, but it paints a general picture.
Above poster isn't wrong. COL is definitely a huge factor (or maybe even sole factor).

PwC doesn't pay the least (or at least not anymore).

For incoming fall 2020 (JD/LLM) =
- PwC NY $125k base, $15k bonus, and $5k bar passage
- PwC DC $110k base, $15k bonus
- KPMG NY $125k, $10k bonus
Quoted OP. Big4 SF/Boston gets paid less than Atlanta/Houston at some of these firms. COL is not the “sole” factor for salary. NY/SF/Boston/DC are like the four highest COL areas in the country.

I know my friend made $90k at Deloitte in SF. My friend in Deloitte NY was getting $120k. For KPMG, my friends in Houston/Atlanta were getting $110k and my friends in Boston were getting $90-95k.

Also, your numbers don’t prove that PwC pays the least OUTSIDE of NY, as I said in my OP.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sun May 03, 2020 7:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:PwC pays the least outside of NY for M&A/Int’l.

A few years back, NY was $120k, Houston was $87.5k, Boston was $90k, SF was $90k.

EY is the same across the board, I believe. That was like $120k for all offices.

KPMG was $120 NY, $110 Dallas, $110 Atlanta, $90 Boston.

Deloitte was $91 in San Francisco.

One of the posters above is wrong because it isn’t solely based on COL (see SF and Boston).

These are numbers my classmates confirmed when they started working at their respective firms. They may be off by a little, but it paints a general picture.
Above poster isn't wrong. COL is definitely a huge factor (or maybe even sole factor).

PwC doesn't pay the least (or at least not anymore).

For incoming fall 2020 (JD/LLM) =
- PwC NY $125k base, $15k bonus, and $5k bar passage
- PwC DC $110k base, $15k bonus
- KPMG NY $125k, $10k bonus
Quoted OP. Big4 SF/Boston gets paid less than Atlanta/Houston at some of these firms. COL is not the “sole” factor for salary. NY/SF/Boston/DC are like the four highest COL areas in the country.

I know my friend made $90k at Deloitte in SF. My friend in Deloitte NY was getting $120k. For KPMG, my friends in Houston/Atlanta were getting $110k and my friends in Boston were getting $90-95k.

Also, your numbers don’t prove that PwC pays the least OUTSIDE of NY, as I said in my OP.
SF/LA a few years back was even lower for one of the big4 firms in one of the specialty groups (not M&A). Think between 75-85k for JDs, tack on additional $5k if you had an LLM.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Sun May 03, 2020 10:16 pm

I know that San Francisco salaries for Tax LLMs have been increased within the last year, at least at Deloitte. They were losing a lot of talent over pay.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 04, 2020 10:04 am

This should be in this thread: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3&t=305187

I have a JD-only friend who is a senior associate at a Big4 in Charlottle, NC. She does not work in M&A, ITS, or SALT. As a JD-only senior associate, she currently makes $77,000. Based on her current salary, she believes, but does not know for sure, a first year LLM associate would be earning $70,000.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by hangtime813 » Mon May 04, 2020 10:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:This should be in this thread: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3&t=305187

I have a JD-only friend who is a senior associate at a Big4 in Charlottle, NC. She does not work in M&A, ITS, or SALT. As a JD-only senior associate, she currently makes $77,000. Based on her current salary, she believes, but does not know for sure, a first year LLM associate would be earning $70,000.
One of my buddies (JD friend as well) is probably making close to that in a major market but is h1b.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 04, 2020 3:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi All:

I realize there is a lot of previous discussion pertaining to big 4 salaries, specifically going in with an LLM in tax. But, I really have only seen information relating to NYC market. I will be heading to big 4 for an internship next summer, but the hourly rate is (hopefully) not reflective of a salaried position. Could anyone shed some light on salary expectations for a US city between one and two million in population with an LLM in tax?

Trying to not be too specific, as I'm sure many will understand why.

Thanks
T3 Tax LLM program alum here. Think NYU/NU/UF/GT. As mentioned before, the compensation widely varies based on service line (M&A, SALT, INTL), location, and Regional office/National office. My friends from JD who went to big 4 straight in a secondary market had a base salary of 70k+5k bonus, my LLM classmates who went to the same Big4 in other secondary markets made 115k base+10 signing in the same service line. For Big 4, my LLM peers had base salaries ranging from 70k to greater than 150k, excluding signing and bar passage bonuses.

If you are a JD who wants Big4, I highly recommend an LLM but ONLY IF you attend one of the top programs. IF YOU PURSUE A TAX LLM, PREPARE TO WORK REALLY HARD THOUGH because attending a top LLM program, by itself, does not guarantee the best tax position. It is a lot of work and the classes are different from JD classes (more problems solving using the code, regulations, revenue rulings etc and less case law interpretation). Personally, I advise not to be too focused on the salary because you'll get there if you love tax and you're good at it. The better paid Big4 positions are more GPA sensitive, but where you went to JD, JD GPA, JD summer work experience, and accounting college degree/CPA license will factor in as well. However, if you want BigLaw, I'd advise NYU or GT. Best of Luck!

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 04, 2020 8:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hi All:

I realize there is a lot of previous discussion pertaining to big 4 salaries, specifically going in with an LLM in tax. But, I really have only seen information relating to NYC market. I will be heading to big 4 for an internship next summer, but the hourly rate is (hopefully) not reflective of a salaried position. Could anyone shed some light on salary expectations for a US city between one and two million in population with an LLM in tax?

Trying to not be too specific, as I'm sure many will understand why.

Thanks
T3 Tax LLM program alum here. Think NYU/NU/UF/GT. As mentioned before, the compensation widely varies based on service line (M&A, SALT, INTL), location, and Regional office/National office. My friends from JD who went to big 4 straight in a secondary market had a base salary of 70k+5k bonus, my LLM classmates who went to the same Big4 in other secondary markets made 115k base+10 signing in the same service line. For Big 4, my LLM peers had base salaries ranging from 70k to greater than 150k, excluding signing and bar passage bonuses.

If you are a JD who wants Big4, I highly recommend an LLM but ONLY IF you attend one of the top programs. IF YOU PURSUE A TAX LLM, PREPARE TO WORK REALLY HARD THOUGH because attending a top LLM program, by itself, does not guarantee the best tax position. It is a lot of work and the classes are different from JD classes (more problems solving using the code, regulations, revenue rulings etc and less case law interpretation). Personally, I advise not to be too focused on the salary because you'll get there if you love tax and you're good at it. The better paid Big4 positions are more GPA sensitive, but where you went to JD, JD GPA, JD summer work experience, and accounting college degree/CPA license will factor in as well. However, if you want BigLaw, I'd advise NYU or GT. Best of Luck!
Echoing the last part. Your JD and JD GPA weigh heavily. my NYU/GT gpa was abysmal, but I got offers at Big4 M&A in NY because I went to one of the “better” law schools and had a solid gpa there.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by ninthcircuitattorney » Tue May 05, 2020 6:31 pm

Please explain, why would someone who is smart enough to get into NYU's LL.M. do the program for such low pay? (Not trolling, it's a serious question)

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 05, 2020 6:36 pm

Not everyone who attends NYU Tax LLM comes from T1 JD with good JD grades that will get them into Biglaw. Unless they do very well in the program, it is likely that they will not get biglaw jobs. Also, there are some people who value work-life balance over money. Not to mention, there are those people who think that Big4 is a better place to practice tax (some may agree some may not).

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 05, 2020 11:45 pm

ninthcircuitattorney wrote:Please explain, why would someone who is smart enough to get into NYU's LL.M. do the program for such low pay? (Not trolling, it's a serious question)
There are limited number of BigLaw positions (General Tax/Exec Comp) that recruit from the top LL.M. programs. Further, a segment of those tax positions are taken up by JD summer associates and laterals from Big4. Generally, if you are not BigLaw material before the Tax LL.M. (JD grades, JD school rank, Law Review/Moot Court, work/summer work experiences, interview skills), a NYU/GT Tax LL.M. by itself will not make you one right away. There are exceptions of course, particularly if you do very well in the program, have connections, or interview well. However, the Tax LLMs who will most likely to end up in BigLaw had the credentials prior to the program and had bad luck during JD OCI, or had a BigLaw offer before and came to the program to be better at tax.

Also, more than 50 percent of the Tax LL.M.s at the top 3 programs work at Big4 post graduation. I dont know what you consider "low pay," considering the average salary of a law graduate in the U.S. is in the 60ks and the median for the programs are well above average. Also, most Tax LL.M.s really like tax law and the degree allows them to pursue tax jobs.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 5:16 am

Can confirm as a graduating 3L I will be making 120k in NYC ITS, no LLM.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 10:29 am

ninthcircuitattorney wrote:Please explain, why would someone who is smart enough to get into NYU's LL.M. do the program for such low pay? (Not trolling, it's a serious question)
Objectively speaking, the pay isn't that low. In major markets and national tax offices, the Big4 routinely pays between $135,000 and $150,000 (consisting of base salary plus LLM bonus, if applicable, but not including year end bonus).

That figure does not qualify as "such low pay." If you compare it to BigLaw, it might seem low, but that's a bad argument because using the same logic, $190,000 in biglaw is also low compared to what someone who has spent 4 years (time spent at JD and LLM) working their way up in finance. After 4 years in finance (for example, GS IBD or PE) you're probably making $190,000 or more without wasting 4 years getting a JD/LLM and without spending over $200,000. Additionally, there is way more salary compression in BigLaw than in Finance.

The Big4 offers a lot of benefits that are hard to find elsewhere, especially in Biglaw. The Big4 in NYC has the equivalent of a billable hours requirement of approximately 1,800 hours. However, 1,800 hours includes (I believe) time spent for educational purposes and time spent for recruiting efforts. Comparing the general billable requirement as stated above, one must wonder what type of law firms would have similar hour requirements to the Big4. I suspect all those law firms are mid-law--at best--and probably pay less than the Big4 (at least in major markets). However, I don't know of any mid-law in the NYC/Philly metro areas that have a billable requirement under 1800-1900 not including education and recruiting. Additionally most of those firms pay the same as, or less than, the Big4. Because the billable hour requirement is so much more lenient, generally people at the Big4 have more time for a life outside of work than people at Biglaw.

Somewhat related to the above, are the clients and the sophistication of the work are major benefits. A Big4 associate predominately works with Fortune 100 businesses. Big4 associates see the most sophisticated deals in the world because their clients are the best in the world. As a summer associate, I worked on global deals involving the best of the best including Blackstone, DuPont, and RBC. I got to work on a merger with the investment bankers from GS and the M&A team at Kirkland thus seeing the back and forth edits and comments in order to effectuate the deal. This would never be available to me at the majority of BigLaw firms (especially those below the v50). I am certain that unless I was at STB, I'd never see a Blackstone real estate PE deal and I certainly wouldn't see the so-called why and wherefore of the deal as a junior associate. For this reason, I'd much rather be a tax associate at a Big4 in NYC than be a tax associate at, for example, Greenberg Traurig or Reed Smith NYC. Although it's true that I'd make substantially more money at GT/RS, the clients that I served wouldn't be at the level of the Big4's clients. The gravity of clients at the Big4 also allows for great exit opportunities that are arguably better than those of BigLaw tax associates. I've seen plenty of Big4 tax associates go to clients as VP of Tax, Tax Director, etc. but I've also seen Big4 associates go in-house in front office roles (for example, Big4 real estate --> Blackstone real estate finance). Additionally, I personally know a Big4 associate (no LLM) who spent 3-5 years at Big4 NYC as a tax associate, then went in-house at a BB bank, and is now the CFO of a major NYC Hedge Fund. I'm not sure if front-office investment roles would be as readily available to a BigLaw lawyer simply because that lawyer hasn't had as much experience with quantitative analysis as the Big4 associate has.

There are more benefits of the Big4 that I don't have time to get into now (such as world class training, technical expertise, advancement, etc.) but suffice it to say, the Big4 offers many benefits that I, at least, believe outweigh the lower compensation as compared to biglaw.
Anonymous User wrote:Can confirm as a graduating 3L I will be making 120k in NYC ITS, no LLM.
WOW. I have an LLM and I'm coming in at $125,000 plus $10,000 LLM bonus for ITS. My co-worker is a CCN 3L coming in to my group at $100,000 with no LLM. $120,000 for ITS as an incoming first year JD associate is a home run. Would you be willing to disclose which Big4?

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 4:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ninthcircuitattorney wrote:Please explain, why would someone who is smart enough to get into NYU's LL.M. do the program for such low pay? (Not trolling, it's a serious question)
Objectively speaking, the pay isn't that low. In major markets and national tax offices, the Big4 routinely pays between $135,000 and $150,000 (consisting of base salary plus LLM bonus, if applicable, but not including year end bonus).

That figure does not qualify as "such low pay." If you compare it to BigLaw, it might seem low, but that's a bad argument because using the same logic, $190,000 in biglaw is also low compared to what someone who has spent 4 years (time spent at JD and LLM) working their way up in finance. After 4 years in finance (for example, GS IBD or PE) you're probably making $190,000 or more without wasting 4 years getting a JD/LLM and without spending over $200,000. Additionally, there is way more salary compression in BigLaw than in Finance.

The Big4 offers a lot of benefits that are hard to find elsewhere, especially in Biglaw. The Big4 in NYC has the equivalent of a billable hours requirement of approximately 1,800 hours. However, 1,800 hours includes (I believe) time spent for educational purposes and time spent for recruiting efforts. Comparing the general billable requirement as stated above, one must wonder what type of law firms would have similar hour requirements to the Big4. I suspect all those law firms are mid-law--at best--and probably pay less than the Big4 (at least in major markets). However, I don't know of any mid-law in the NYC/Philly metro areas that have a billable requirement under 1800-1900 not including education and recruiting. Additionally most of those firms pay the same as, or less than, the Big4. Because the billable hour requirement is so much more lenient, generally people at the Big4 have more time for a life outside of work than people at Biglaw.

Somewhat related to the above, are the clients and the sophistication of the work are major benefits. A Big4 associate predominately works with Fortune 100 businesses. Big4 associates see the most sophisticated deals in the world because their clients are the best in the world. As a summer associate, I worked on global deals involving the best of the best including Blackstone, DuPont, and RBC. I got to work on a merger with the investment bankers from GS and the M&A team at Kirkland thus seeing the back and forth edits and comments in order to effectuate the deal. This would never be available to me at the majority of BigLaw firms (especially those below the v50). I am certain that unless I was at STB, I'd never see a Blackstone real estate PE deal and I certainly wouldn't see the so-called why and wherefore of the deal as a junior associate. For this reason, I'd much rather be a tax associate at a Big4 in NYC than be a tax associate at, for example, Greenberg Traurig or Reed Smith NYC. Although it's true that I'd make substantially more money at GT/RS, the clients that I served wouldn't be at the level of the Big4's clients. The gravity of clients at the Big4 also allows for great exit opportunities that are arguably better than those of BigLaw tax associates. I've seen plenty of Big4 tax associates go to clients as VP of Tax, Tax Director, etc. but I've also seen Big4 associates go in-house in front office roles (for example, Big4 real estate --> Blackstone real estate finance). Additionally, I personally know a Big4 associate (no LLM) who spent 3-5 years at Big4 NYC as a tax associate, then went in-house at a BB bank, and is now the CFO of a major NYC Hedge Fund. I'm not sure if front-office investment roles would be as readily available to a BigLaw lawyer simply because that lawyer hasn't had as much experience with quantitative analysis as the Big4 associate has.

There are more benefits of the Big4 that I don't have time to get into now (such as world class training, technical expertise, advancement, etc.) but suffice it to say, the Big4 offers many benefits that I, at least, believe outweigh the lower compensation as compared to biglaw.
Anonymous User wrote:Can confirm as a graduating 3L I will be making 120k in NYC ITS, no LLM.
WOW. I have an LLM and I'm coming in at $125,000 plus $10,000 LLM bonus for ITS. My co-worker is a CCN 3L coming in to my group at $100,000 with no LLM. $120,000 for ITS as an incoming first year JD associate is a home run. Would you be willing to disclose which Big4?
Thank you anon. I could not have said it better myself. I have encountered multiple misconceptions about Big4 work/exit opportunities/compensation in both my JD/LLM program and I'll be quoting your post next time I come across such uninformed statements. I would also like to add that quite a few V20 BigLaw Tax Heads and partners spent a huge segment of their career in Big4 (National/ITS/M&A) and like you mentioned, there are a limited number of V100s with strong transactional tax groups.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 5:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ninthcircuitattorney wrote:Please explain, why would someone who is smart enough to get into NYU's LL.M. do the program for such low pay? (Not trolling, it's a serious question)
Objectively speaking, the pay isn't that low. In major markets and national tax offices, the Big4 routinely pays between $135,000 and $150,000 (consisting of base salary plus LLM bonus, if applicable, but not including year end bonus).

That figure does not qualify as "such low pay." If you compare it to BigLaw, it might seem low, but that's a bad argument because using the same logic, $190,000 in biglaw is also low compared to what someone who has spent 4 years (time spent at JD and LLM) working their way up in finance. After 4 years in finance (for example, GS IBD or PE) you're probably making $190,000 or more without wasting 4 years getting a JD/LLM and without spending over $200,000. Additionally, there is way more salary compression in BigLaw than in Finance.

The Big4 offers a lot of benefits that are hard to find elsewhere, especially in Biglaw. The Big4 in NYC has the equivalent of a billable hours requirement of approximately 1,800 hours. However, 1,800 hours includes (I believe) time spent for educational purposes and time spent for recruiting efforts. Comparing the general billable requirement as stated above, one must wonder what type of law firms would have similar hour requirements to the Big4. I suspect all those law firms are mid-law--at best--and probably pay less than the Big4 (at least in major markets). However, I don't know of any mid-law in the NYC/Philly metro areas that have a billable requirement under 1800-1900 not including education and recruiting. Additionally most of those firms pay the same as, or less than, the Big4. Because the billable hour requirement is so much more lenient, generally people at the Big4 have more time for a life outside of work than people at Biglaw.

Somewhat related to the above, are the clients and the sophistication of the work are major benefits. A Big4 associate predominately works with Fortune 100 businesses. Big4 associates see the most sophisticated deals in the world because their clients are the best in the world. As a summer associate, I worked on global deals involving the best of the best including Blackstone, DuPont, and RBC. I got to work on a merger with the investment bankers from GS and the M&A team at Kirkland thus seeing the back and forth edits and comments in order to effectuate the deal. This would never be available to me at the majority of BigLaw firms (especially those below the v50). I am certain that unless I was at STB, I'd never see a Blackstone real estate PE deal and I certainly wouldn't see the so-called why and wherefore of the deal as a junior associate. For this reason, I'd much rather be a tax associate at a Big4 in NYC than be a tax associate at, for example, Greenberg Traurig or Reed Smith NYC. Although it's true that I'd make substantially more money at GT/RS, the clients that I served wouldn't be at the level of the Big4's clients. The gravity of clients at the Big4 also allows for great exit opportunities that are arguably better than those of BigLaw tax associates. I've seen plenty of Big4 tax associates go to clients as VP of Tax, Tax Director, etc. but I've also seen Big4 associates go in-house in front office roles (for example, Big4 real estate --> Blackstone real estate finance). Additionally, I personally know a Big4 associate (no LLM) who spent 3-5 years at Big4 NYC as a tax associate, then went in-house at a BB bank, and is now the CFO of a major NYC Hedge Fund. I'm not sure if front-office investment roles would be as readily available to a BigLaw lawyer simply because that lawyer hasn't had as much experience with quantitative analysis as the Big4 associate has.

There are more benefits of the Big4 that I don't have time to get into now (such as world class training, technical expertise, advancement, etc.) but suffice it to say, the Big4 offers many benefits that I, at least, believe outweigh the lower compensation as compared to biglaw.
Anonymous User wrote:Can confirm as a graduating 3L I will be making 120k in NYC ITS, no LLM.
WOW. I have an LLM and I'm coming in at $125,000 plus $10,000 LLM bonus for ITS. My co-worker is a CCN 3L coming in to my group at $100,000 with no LLM. $120,000 for ITS as an incoming first year JD associate is a home run. Would you be willing to disclose which Big4?
I agree with everything said except for the 1,800 hours encompassing educational hours and business development. At my Big 4, the 1,800 hour target was for chargeable/client service hours. Your hour target is reduced as you are promoted, especially to the manager level. But, then, as you are promoted you face more business development pressure and receive revenue goals.

I agree with Big 4 having a better work-life balance in comparison to big law. But, I don't know any top performer that had amazing hours. The hours are just good in comparison to big law. They are not good hours. But, I agree with everything else that you said.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by QContinuum » Wed May 06, 2020 5:20 pm

Not asking for myself (not a tax attorney, not looking to join the Big4) but would be interested in hearing more about how the Big4's 1800 billable expectation relates to workflow. Is it a pretty constant 9-6/9-7 workflow? The suckiest thing about BigLaw isn't necessarily the raw number of billables, but the need to be available to work indefinitely, on short notice, almost 24/7.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 5:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ninthcircuitattorney wrote:Please explain, why would someone who is smart enough to get into NYU's LL.M. do the program for such low pay? (Not trolling, it's a serious question)
Objectively speaking, the pay isn't that low. In major markets and national tax offices, the Big4 routinely pays between $135,000 and $150,000 (consisting of base salary plus LLM bonus, if applicable, but not including year end bonus).

That figure does not qualify as "such low pay." If you compare it to BigLaw, it might seem low, but that's a bad argument because using the same logic, $190,000 in biglaw is also low compared to what someone who has spent 4 years (time spent at JD and LLM) working their way up in finance. After 4 years in finance (for example, GS IBD or PE) you're probably making $190,000 or more without wasting 4 years getting a JD/LLM and without spending over $200,000. Additionally, there is way more salary compression in BigLaw than in Finance.

The Big4 offers a lot of benefits that are hard to find elsewhere, especially in Biglaw. The Big4 in NYC has the equivalent of a billable hours requirement of approximately 1,800 hours. However, 1,800 hours includes (I believe) time spent for educational purposes and time spent for recruiting efforts. Comparing the general billable requirement as stated above, one must wonder what type of law firms would have similar hour requirements to the Big4. I suspect all those law firms are mid-law--at best--and probably pay less than the Big4 (at least in major markets). However, I don't know of any mid-law in the NYC/Philly metro areas that have a billable requirement under 1800-1900 not including education and recruiting. Additionally most of those firms pay the same as, or less than, the Big4. Because the billable hour requirement is so much more lenient, generally people at the Big4 have more time for a life outside of work than people at Biglaw.

Somewhat related to the above, are the clients and the sophistication of the work are major benefits. A Big4 associate predominately works with Fortune 100 businesses. Big4 associates see the most sophisticated deals in the world because their clients are the best in the world. As a summer associate, I worked on global deals involving the best of the best including Blackstone, DuPont, and RBC. I got to work on a merger with the investment bankers from GS and the M&A team at Kirkland thus seeing the back and forth edits and comments in order to effectuate the deal. This would never be available to me at the majority of BigLaw firms (especially those below the v50). I am certain that unless I was at STB, I'd never see a Blackstone real estate PE deal and I certainly wouldn't see the so-called why and wherefore of the deal as a junior associate. For this reason, I'd much rather be a tax associate at a Big4 in NYC than be a tax associate at, for example, Greenberg Traurig or Reed Smith NYC. Although it's true that I'd make substantially more money at GT/RS, the clients that I served wouldn't be at the level of the Big4's clients. The gravity of clients at the Big4 also allows for great exit opportunities that are arguably better than those of BigLaw tax associates. I've seen plenty of Big4 tax associates go to clients as VP of Tax, Tax Director, etc. but I've also seen Big4 associates go in-house in front office roles (for example, Big4 real estate --> Blackstone real estate finance). Additionally, I personally know a Big4 associate (no LLM) who spent 3-5 years at Big4 NYC as a tax associate, then went in-house at a BB bank, and is now the CFO of a major NYC Hedge Fund. I'm not sure if front-office investment roles would be as readily available to a BigLaw lawyer simply because that lawyer hasn't had as much experience with quantitative analysis as the Big4 associate has.

There are more benefits of the Big4 that I don't have time to get into now (such as world class training, technical expertise, advancement, etc.) but suffice it to say, the Big4 offers many benefits that I, at least, believe outweigh the lower compensation as compared to biglaw.
Anonymous User wrote:Can confirm as a graduating 3L I will be making 120k in NYC ITS, no LLM.
WOW. I have an LLM and I'm coming in at $125,000 plus $10,000 LLM bonus for ITS. My co-worker is a CCN 3L coming in to my group at $100,000 with no LLM. $120,000 for ITS as an incoming first year JD associate is a home run. Would you be willing to disclose which Big4?
I agree with everything said except for the 1,800 hours encompassing educational hours and business development. At my Big 4, the 1,800 hour target was for chargeable/client service hours. Your hour target is reduced as you are promoted, especially to the manager level. But, then, as you are promoted you face more business development pressure and receive revenue goals.

I agree with Big 4 having a better work-life balance in comparison to big law. But, I don't know any top performer that had amazing hours. The hours are just good in comparison to big law. They are not good hours. But, I agree with everything else that you said.
You could very well be right that the 1,800 hours are not inclusive of education and recruiting. It's unclear to me exactly how the education and recruiting factor into chargeable/utilization requirements. However, I think--but dont know for sure--that at my Big4 they are included in total utilization.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 6:01 pm

They must’ve raised the hours expectations since I worked at PwC. When I was there, expected utilization was 82.5%, which is like 1650 hours. I got a 2 without hitting that.

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:They must’ve raised the hours expectations since I worked at PwC. When I was there, expected utilization was 82.5%, which is like 1650 hours. I got a 2 without hitting that.
What does the bolded mean?

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Re: Big 4 Salary Expectations w/ JD and LLM in Taxation

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 8:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:They must’ve raised the hours expectations since I worked at PwC. When I was there, expected utilization was 82.5%, which is like 1650 hours. I got a 2 without hitting that.
What does the bolded mean?
Quoted OP. PwC rates associates based on performance. 1 is the best and 4 is the worst. I think there’s a 5, but that usually means you’re going to get fired. Bonus and raises are based on these numbers.

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