Tax LLM?

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sigil

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Tax LLM?

Postby sigil » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:20 pm

Working at a firm this summer (un-related to Tax), but currently considering a Tax LLM. I've taken multiple Tax courses in which I have done fairly well, and I'm very interested in the subject. Assuming that the non-Tax firm gig goes well, leading to employment post-law school, would the Tax LLM still be worth it?

Debating the Tax LLM mainly due to interest, and because I've heard that it's an implied requirement for those looking to practice Tax Law in general/in the accounting firms at some point in the future.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

mad

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Re: Tax LLM?

Postby mad » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:15 pm

A couple questions:

1) When are you going to get the LLM? During your third year (if your law school lets you)? Full time after you get your J.D. so you put off your employment for a year? Or part-time while you work?

2) Are you planning on practicing tax law post law-school, or is it just to have it in the back pocket in case you switch to tax law or work at an accounting firm?

The answers to the above questions would tailor the advice you get. Without knowing more specifics, I'll give my opinion on an LLM in tax. LLMs in tax can be expensive and there are generally three reasons people get an LLM in tax: 1) they didn't find the kind employment they wanted after a J.D. and believe an LLM in tax will burnish their credentials; 2) they want to switch into tax law (which is sometimes related to the first reason); and 3) their firm/city encourages them to get an LLM.

For the first reason, getting an LLM in tax can be a smart choice, depending on your current working situation and if you get it from a top tier program. It will still be risky and not a guarantee of legal employment.

For the second reason, an LLM from a top tier program probably isn't as necessary if your credentials are solid (like T-14 let's say, did corporate work for 2 years at a good firm) because the LLM then is more of a signal of interest in tax, and less about "prestige." This is also risky.

For the third reason, some cities care about tax llms, others do not. For example, big law in New York generally encourages tax associates to get LLMs part time at NYU. Chicago big law does not. For firms outside of big law, I have heard that they care more about a tax LLM. I am unsure why but I can guess (they have smaller tax departments, provide less training, expect more out of you early on / big law firms are kinda pretentious and believe the training you get there is better an an LLM).

Generally then, New York firms place a higher premium on LLMs then Chicago. New York firms would then usually PAY for your tax llm. You should find out how the firms in your area approach LLMs. It can be as easy as going to a few firm websites and looking at the tax lawyers' credentials.

Accounting firms care about a tax llm, but if you do tax work at a good firm then that matters a whole lot more and your lack of a llm is unlikley to hurt you. If you get a tax llm but don't practice tax work, then maybe they'll hire you but probably treat you as a first year.

Those are the only reasons I can think of to get an LLM in tax. I have rarely heard of someone getting an LLM in tax who doesn't practice in tax law. LLMs are expensive and many tax lawyers do not even have them.

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sigil

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Re: Tax LLM?

Postby sigil » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:48 pm

mad wrote:A couple questions:

1) When are you going to get the LLM? During your third year (if your law school lets you)? Full time after you get your J.D. so you put off your employment for a year? Or part-time while you work?

2) Are you planning on practicing tax law post law-school, or is it just to have it in the back pocket in case you switch to tax law or work at an accounting firm?

The answers to the above questions would tailor the advice you get. Without knowing more specifics, I'll give my opinion on an LLM in tax. LLMs in tax can be expensive and there are generally three reasons people get an LLM in tax: 1) they didn't find the kind employment they wanted after a J.D. and believe an LLM in tax will burnish their credentials; 2) they want to switch into tax law (which is sometimes related to the first reason); and 3) their firm/city encourages them to get an LLM.

For the first reason, getting an LLM in tax can be a smart choice, depending on your current working situation and if you get it from a top tier program. It will still be risky and not a guarantee of legal employment.

For the second reason, an LLM from a top tier program probably isn't as necessary if your credentials are solid (like T-14 let's say, did corporate work for 2 years at a good firm) because the LLM then is more of a signal of interest in tax, and less about "prestige." This is also risky.

For the third reason, some cities care about tax llms, others do not. For example, big law in New York generally encourages tax associates to get LLMs part time at NYU. Chicago big law does not. For firms outside of big law, I have heard that they care more about a tax LLM. I am unsure why but I can guess (they have smaller tax departments, provide less training, expect more out of you early on / big law firms are kinda pretentious and believe the training you get there is better an an LLM).

Generally then, New York firms place a higher premium on LLMs then Chicago. New York firms would then usually PAY for your tax llm. You should find out how the firms in your area approach LLMs. It can be as easy as going to a few firm websites and looking at the tax lawyers' credentials.

Accounting firms care about a tax llm, but if you do tax work at a good firm then that matters a whole lot more and your lack of a llm is unlikley to hurt you. If you get a tax llm but don't practice tax work, then maybe they'll hire you but probably treat you as a first year.

Those are the only reasons I can think of to get an LLM in tax. I have rarely heard of someone getting an LLM in tax who doesn't practice in tax law. LLMs are expensive and many tax lawyers do not even have them.


Thank you for the advice! I'll send you a PM with more details.



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