Exit ops for a Tax lawyer? Forum

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Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:05 pm

What are typical paths for a biglaw tax lawyer wanting to leave biglaw? Can they go in-house to PE funds? Banks?

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nealric

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Re: Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by nealric » Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:38 pm

I moved in-house in the oil and gas industry. Generally speaking, there are opportunities in-house at any company large enough to need full time tax counsel (a healthy portion of the F500 plus some larger private companies/funds). Besides that, there's also government jobs (both IRS/DOJ and state tax agencies) and tax boutiques.

Overall, exit ops aren't dramatically different from corporate, but your specific practice within Biglaw may dictate where your options are.

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Re: Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:56 pm

nealric wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:38 pm
I moved in-house in the oil and gas industry. Generally speaking, there are opportunities in-house at any company large enough to need full time tax counsel (a healthy portion of the F500 plus some larger private companies/funds). Besides that, there's also government jobs (both IRS/DOJ and state tax agencies) and tax boutiques.

Overall, exit ops aren't dramatically different from corporate, but your specific practice within Biglaw may dictate where your options are.
What are the typical comp packages for the above and what class year provides for the optimal exit?

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:56 pm
optimal exit
will depend on your goals (e.g. whether and how much loan burden you need to pay down before fleeing biglaw)

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nealric

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Re: Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by nealric » Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:56 pm
nealric wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:38 pm
I moved in-house in the oil and gas industry. Generally speaking, there are opportunities in-house at any company large enough to need full time tax counsel (a healthy portion of the F500 plus some larger private companies/funds). Besides that, there's also government jobs (both IRS/DOJ and state tax agencies) and tax boutiques.

Overall, exit ops aren't dramatically different from corporate, but your specific practice within Biglaw may dictate where your options are.
What are the typical comp packages for the above and what class year provides for the optimal exit?
In-house is heavily dependent on the industry, location, and company profile. Base is typically a smaller fraction of all-in comp than in biglaw. You start bringing in 401k matches, equity comp, and pensions which are not common in Biglaw. That said, I'd expect somewhere between $200-400k all-in for the typical mid/senior associate moving in-house.

Fed government will likely be between GS12-14 role unless you are politically connected and get an appointed SES job. You can look up salary tables online. State will vary by state-to-state.

The name-brand boutiques (i.e. Ivins/Caplin) have similar comp to biglaw (slightly below usually).

I don't know if there is an "optimal" year, but the window for in-house mostly opens up after ~3 years of biglaw, and most people who make it to year 8/9 wait to at least find out about partnership. Exits for a counsel passed over for partnership are probably not dramatically different from a 6-7th year associate. But client contacts could help with your search and will accumulate as you get more senior. Partner exits are relatively rare because there are few tax counsel roles that pay enough to be worthwhile for a partner. There are a limited number of "GC Tax" or "Head of Planning" type roles that would make sense for a partner, but only the very largest companies support roles like that.

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Re: Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:36 am

nealric wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:38 pm
I moved in-house in the oil and gas industry. Generally speaking, there are opportunities in-house at any company large enough to need full time tax counsel (a healthy portion of the F500 plus some larger private companies/funds). Besides that, there's also government jobs (both IRS/DOJ and state tax agencies) and tax boutiques.

Overall, exit ops aren't dramatically different from corporate, but your specific practice within Biglaw may dictate where your options are.
This is coming from someone still in law school, but has a tax gig lined up. When moving in-house to a F500 company, do they still look at your grades? How does school prestige play into it? Firm rank?

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nealric

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Re: Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by nealric » Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:36 am
nealric wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:38 pm
I moved in-house in the oil and gas industry. Generally speaking, there are opportunities in-house at any company large enough to need full time tax counsel (a healthy portion of the F500 plus some larger private companies/funds). Besides that, there's also government jobs (both IRS/DOJ and state tax agencies) and tax boutiques.

Overall, exit ops aren't dramatically different from corporate, but your specific practice within Biglaw may dictate where your options are.
This is coming from someone still in law school, but has a tax gig lined up. When moving in-house to a F500 company, do they still look at your grades? How does school prestige play into it? Firm rank?
It's totally up to the proclivities of the hiring manager. However, when my company has hired, our primary focus is on finding someone who has the requisite experience and expertise more than anything. A 4.0 and a job at a v5 isn't meaningful if all you did was 3 years of diligence. That said, someone who got mediocre grades and went to a mediocre firm may be less likely to get good experience.

As a general rule, grades fade in importance the farther out you are from graduation. Doubtful they would even come up at all for someone 10+ years out. Most folks drop GPAs from their resumes before they hit that point (though they'd keep honors designations).

Anonymous User
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Re: Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:07 pm

nealric wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:59 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:36 am
nealric wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:38 pm
I moved in-house in the oil and gas industry. Generally speaking, there are opportunities in-house at any company large enough to need full time tax counsel (a healthy portion of the F500 plus some larger private companies/funds). Besides that, there's also government jobs (both IRS/DOJ and state tax agencies) and tax boutiques.

Overall, exit ops aren't dramatically different from corporate, but your specific practice within Biglaw may dictate where your options are.
This is coming from someone still in law school, but has a tax gig lined up. When moving in-house to a F500 company, do they still look at your grades? How does school prestige play into it? Firm rank?
It's totally up to the proclivities of the hiring manager. However, when my company has hired our primary focus is on finding someone who has the requisite experience and expertise more than anything. A 4.0 and a job at a v5 isn't meaningful if all you did was 3 years of diligence. That said, someone who got mediocre grades and went to a mediocre firm may be less likely to get good experience.

As a general rule, grades fade in importance the farther out you are from graduation. Doubtful they would even come up at all for someone 10+ years out. Most folks drop GPAs from their resumes before they hit that point (though they'd keep honors designations).
What would you qualify as a mediocre firm? I have pretty shit grades from a T14 and am bound for a V50 firm. I'm not planning on leaving, but I want to know if I am doomed if I need to pivot out of Big Law.

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nealric

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Re: Exit ops for a Tax lawyer?

Post by nealric » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:07 pm
nealric wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:59 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:36 am
nealric wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:38 pm
I moved in-house in the oil and gas industry. Generally speaking, there are opportunities in-house at any company large enough to need full time tax counsel (a healthy portion of the F500 plus some larger private companies/funds). Besides that, there's also government jobs (both IRS/DOJ and state tax agencies) and tax boutiques.

Overall, exit ops aren't dramatically different from corporate, but your specific practice within Biglaw may dictate where your options are.
This is coming from someone still in law school, but has a tax gig lined up. When moving in-house to a F500 company, do they still look at your grades? How does school prestige play into it? Firm rank?
It's totally up to the proclivities of the hiring manager. However, when my company has hired our primary focus is on finding someone who has the requisite experience and expertise more than anything. A 4.0 and a job at a v5 isn't meaningful if all you did was 3 years of diligence. That said, someone who got mediocre grades and went to a mediocre firm may be less likely to get good experience.

As a general rule, grades fade in importance the farther out you are from graduation. Doubtful they would even come up at all for someone 10+ years out. Most folks drop GPAs from their resumes before they hit that point (though they'd keep honors designations).
What would you qualify as a mediocre firm? I have pretty shit grades from a T14 and am bound for a V50 firm. I'm not planning on leaving, but I want to know if I am doomed if I need to pivot out of Big Law.
Nah. I was at a v100.

You'd need to get out of the vault range to get into "mediocre." Basically, you should be working on the type of deals/controversies that the company does (or at least similar scope). If you've mostly worked on small business and individual issues, that could be an issue. But if you are working on large corporate deals and given a substantive role, you should get the requisite experience.

Law firms hire you based on aptitude (or the perception thereof). They know a 1st year can't do the job right out of the gate but have the structure to train you. Corporations typically aren't set up to train people who don't already know how to do the job. They need to be able to just give you a matter and trust you can handle it effectively. In order to be an attractive in-house candidate, you should be able to demonstrate you can handle matters independently. As a law firm associate, you generally have someone looking over your shoulder. Anything significant typically gets reviewed by a partner before it goes out. In-house, there may be nobody qualified to supervise you in terms of subject matter expertise. So, if you can't spot relevant issues, they will just fall through the cracks (and potentially come back to bite the company).

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