We strongly recommend that you write the LSAT by November 2020. The Admissions Committee will hold for the January scores. However, the results of the February LSAT will not be available until late March. Your application remains incomplete, and we will not evaluate it, until all documents, including the LSAT results, are received. Writing the LSAT in February may therefore prejudice your chance of admission.
The LSAT is required. LSAT scores from June 2016 to February 2021 are acceptable. However, we strongly recommend that you write the LSAT by November 2020.
Even if a school will look at February scores, there will be fewer spots available by the time those scores are released in March.
I am a CPA with 5 yrs of work experience (tax, audit, and now industry), and have just recently decided to apply for law school (took my first ever LSAT diagnostic in September, wrote in November). Given my LSAT score and GPA, I am likely to get in to at least some of the schools I have applied to, but I am still torn over whether or not I will go if I do get accepted.
One thing you are not considering is the opportunity cost. If you work for the next 3 years, obtain your designation, and then decide to go to law school, the 3 years' salary you will be giving up to return to school will be significantly higher than what you are making right now as a staff accountant at a firm. This makes the cost/benefit decision a lot trickier, and is something my CPA brain has been struggling with for the past 2.5 months.
Had I known when I graduated university that I wanted to study law, I don't know whether or not I would have continued with the CPA program. It is not an easy three years to get through. The CFE requires months of intense study, and the grueling overtime hours you will work at a firm are no walk in the park. Do you want to go through this just to turn around and do it all again at law school, and later at a law firm? Although this experience is likely to give you a leg up when applying to law firms (especially if you choose to go into tax or corporate law), I am not convinced it is worth it.
I will say, if you think there is a chance you will choose to stick with accounting and not pursue law, you should work the three years and see if you like it. But if you are certain that you would like to pursue law, I don't think the degree combination is lucrative enough to be worth sticking out the CPA program. You can still excel in tax or corporate law without a CPA.
I hope this helps, although I think I am just as confused as you are. Good luck!