Jump to content
618194

Have an accounting degree, want to pursue law, but can't bring myself to give up the CPA

Recommended Posts

3 minutes ago, setto said:

Yes. Nursing, engineering, finance (if you land an analyst position), etc. are lucrative when you compare them to the average undergrad salary. 

Ehhh. At the risk of derailing this thread, most people I know that have gone into those fields, while the initial pay was good, capped out pretty early and had to jump into semi related fields and/or get additional formal training. Nurses go back for nurse practitioner, engineers either get master's degrees or MBAs, finance is becoming the realm of mathematics. Also with the exception of nursing, the new grad job market is getting increasingly competitive to the point that even engineering doesn't guarantee a job out if undergrad.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, 618194 said:

see here is the crux of the issue, you and others are saying its an advantageous combo, still others are saying it's irrelevant. no one seems to have a straight answerūüėÖ

so why do you think it is a "good combination"

You want to know why having knowledge of corporate finance, corporate tax, and corporate accounting practices are helpful for a corporate lawyer?

Let's just say the CPA¬†knowledge is relevant to your practice...¬†ūüôĄ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a CPA and now in law school. I had always intended on going to law school...figured I should do the CPA since I had the opportunity.  Problem was that life changed and going to do another 3 year degree after 7 years already in school just wasn't feasible at the time.  Bemoaned my choice for many years and now here I am.  The opportunity cost is huge when you start earning a decent salary and then contemplate giving that up for 3 years and start at the bottom of the ladder again.  Do I think CPA would give you a benefit with a law degree?  Sure, business law firms would certainly see it as an asset, particularly if you're with a bigger accounting firm but that's about it.  If I had my time back, I would have skipped the CPA and gone directly to law school.  At the time, CPA just seemed like a good fall back, good job security, etc. Depends what your priorities/interests are.  Each of us has our story. Good luck with yours.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, 618194 said:

I hate this idea that we need to know what we want to be so early, I just started my CPA career, and am unfamiliar with law school--I can't be clear about want I want to be w/o experience--as is the case with most people. I am just looking for perspective.

look at these guys in the states, they are claiming the opposite of you:https://www.attorney-cpa.com/articles/cpas-consider-law-degree/

are they right? are you? I don't know, hence why I posted here. I am not seeking to "stack degrees", even if CPA was irrelevant, it would be a great way to mature and raise the $$ to attend law school. That being said, it intuitively makes sense that there is a market for both credentials (transfer pricing, estate planning, corporate tax come to mind, as I have said ad nauseum)--but there are relatively few occurrences of this in the Canadian market.

It's never as easy as "step 1, step 2.." that's for any job, you have to adapt to the market---I'm just trying to figure out if that market exists. Why do people get JD/MBAs? or dual JDs--you could make the same claim about these programs, but they are well established.

I understand that in both professions you learn by doing( again like any other job ever), but you cant enter either w/o their respective academic components, so that's all I am concerned about for now.

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!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, careerswitcher said:

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!

great perspective. But yes I am very aware of the opportunity cost-- thats my whole hang up.

Why are you deciding to switch? what kind of salary are you giving up?

you can DM me if that is more comfortable.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/24/2020 at 4:03 PM, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Frankly for many students they are. But you aren't even comparing apples to apples:

A JD/MBA is one extra year of school, I believe. Even if the JD/MBA 90% of the time makes as much as a JD throughout their career, the exploration of all that MBA stuff might be worth the added time and cost to them. The JD/MBA students also get to explore both things concurrently, sort of, which can help for people who very much might like either direction. 

Adding a JD to your CV would be three extra years of school and getting licensed is more time on top of that. If you don't end up leveraging it it's a "total waste" of a very different magnitude. 

I was referencing the combination of business knowledge with a law school, not the the time and cost. From that perspective, an MBA and CPA are very much "apples to apples"-in the job market they are often fungible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, 618194 said:

Why are you deciding to switch? 
 

 

I never loved accounting but stuck it out anyways, mostly because I am good at it. I had written off law long ago (high school), despite the fact that it interested me, because I bought into the media narrative of what an attorney is and I did not think I could fit that mold. I have finally circled back after a lot of self-reflection. If I don't go to law school in Sept 2021, I think the opportunity cost will be too high for me to rationalize, as I expect a promotion in about a year. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, careerswitcher said:

I never loved accounting but stuck it out anyways, mostly because I am good at it. I had written off law long ago (high school), despite the fact that it interested me, because I bought into the media narrative of what an attorney is and I did not think I could fit that mold. I have finally circled back after a lot of self-reflection. If I don't go to law school in Sept 2021, I think the opportunity cost will be too high for me to rationalize, as I expect a promotion in about a year. 

so its more of an emotional decision than a rational one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, 618194 said:

so its more of an emotional decision than a rational one.

No, you are definitely wrong there. As I have said, I have been weighing the costs/benefits now for months. But yes, I am considering "career fulfillment" as a factor in my rationale. If you consider that irrational you have a lot to learn. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, careerswitcher said:

No, you are definitely wrong there. As I have said, I have been weighing the costs/benefits now for months. But yes, I am considering "career fulfillment" as a factor in my rationale. If you consider that irrational you have a lot to learn. 

I guess I do. Keep in mind I'm just starting my career. 

 

I guess my wording could have been better, I'm using voice to text on my phone. I meant rational in the relevant decision-making (economic) sense, career fulfillment is varied across different people so I can't really comment on that.

 

Still it's quite sobering for me to see someone who's gone through the entire CPA process, and be so dissatisfied with it that they're even considering another 3 years of school and dropping 100k just the switch careers. 

 

 

Edited by 618194

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also alot of people on this thread seem to be missing my second request. Its been pretty established that the benefit of the CPA/JD combo is "up in the air" as to whether its is worth pursuing from an employment perspective.

But it also gives me the chance to generate cashflow to pay for the degree w/o debt. Essentially I am swapping financial debt for opportunity cost. I'd like commentary on that as well, regardless if CPA matters or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, 618194 said:

Also alot of people on this thread seem to be missing my second request. Its been pretty established that the benefit of the CPA/JD combo is "up in the air" as to whether its is worth pursuing from an employment perspective.

But it also gives me the chance to generate cashflow to pay for the degree w/o debt. Essentially I am swapping financial debt for opportunity cost. I'd like commentary on that as well, regardless if CPA matters or not.

I mean... You're the accountant - crunch the numbers. 

From a non-accounting perspective, you should consider whether you are debt-adverse and how old you want to be in law school. Though I should mention that nobody actually cares how old you are in law school or when applying to firms. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, setto said:

I mean... You're the accountant - crunch the numbers. 

From a non-accounting perspective, you should consider whether you are debt-adverse and how old you want to be in law school. Though I should mention that nobody actually cares how old you are in law school or when applying to firms. 

Its pretty clear both myself and @careerswitcher have crunched the numbers. The question is whether the LS costs and debt are "good debt"--does your marketability increase enough to justify the cost. I personally have not spent that kind of money on any one thing.
 

I'm looking for people to share their experience w/ debt. would they have waited before LS? is debt a trivial concern once you start earning? do they wish they "tried out" other careers before going ( I know I already received answers from both perspectives on this already--and each person thought they should have waited/not waited insteadūüėÖ)

I realize I will probably get mixed answers, but its good to learn from others experience

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Recent Posts

    • Did anything else change status wise¬†
    • Did anything else change status wise?¬†
    • UPDATE: Checked today and the "Preliminary Statement of Marks" is now marked as "received"!
    • It's pretty difficult for anyone to speculate on Access applications just due to the nature of Access applications. Your stats could either be "meh" or "incredible" depending on the basis of your Access application - and you really shouldn't disclose those reasons on an internet forum. When it comes to ECs, as mentioned elsewhere in this forum, what is considered quite impressive by most standards often turns out to be fairly average when compared to the accomplishments of the average law student. Having been published twice is awesome, but might not necessarily stand out when tossed in a pile with a bunch of other awesome achievements from hundreds of other applicants. It would probably depend on the prominence of the journals you were published in/whether they were peer reviewed/etc. Again, I don't mean to say this to discourage you but just to provide some realism: these experiences are great but extremely typical of a law school applicant.¬† Ultimately this means that you don't need to worry about your ECs being a detriment to your application - your ECs meet expectations for law students. But yeah, nobody can give any meaningful insight into your GPA/LSAT due to being in the Access category.
    • What was the experience like this year? From what I've read, I know classes were all online, at least in the fall,¬†but did everything move online (i.e. SLA, clinics, moots, etc.)?

×
×
  • Create New...