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Messages - mnickel

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Pursuing an LLM / Re: Tax LLM
« on: March 31, 2007, 06:53:56 AM »
If you are a 3L, by now you've probably decided if you're going for an LL.M. next year or not - but regardless here is the advice I have to give for anyone who checks this thread out in the future.

1) It helps to have a job in the city where you want to get your LL.M.
I work in a corporate tax group in the DC office of a large business services firm, and every  attorney, save one, has an LL.M. from Georgetown.  Generally, grades are only really important if you are looking to get into a program in a city where you don't have any connections or a job - so if you're looking to go to NYU, the easiest way is to have a job waiting for you at NYU.  Georgetown's tax LL.M. along with NYU and Florida are considered the best programs in the country, but I know plenty of people who have LL.M.s from these school who don't have amazing grades - why? - b/c they convinced the school that they would be committed to succeeding b/c they wanted and b/c they had a firm they wanted to continue to impress.  That's how I got in to Georgetown sitting around the 50% mark in my class.

2) Get your job to pay for at least part of the program.
Actually, there are pluses and minuses to this.  The plus: It's free or lower cost.  If your firm is going to pay, you can probably pay for it with only Stafford loans and almost that's like free money.  The minus: You lose part of your available employee business tax deduction.  You can deduct the ENTIRE cost of an LL.M., b/c it is an enhancement to your career as an attorney, not a threshold requirement to a new career like a J.D. (Check out IRS publication 970 for more info --  I am having my firm pay for 1/2 - that way I get about $10,000 in deductions and support the tuition with only Federal fixed-rate loans - it's a win-win.

3) Get it right after law school.
Otherwise you will never have the patience or discipline to go back.  It's just 24 units - crank it out before you have kids.

4) Go to school part-time, go to work full-time.
Every attorney I work with says that the LL.M. is the easiest school you will ever go to.  It's impact is supposed to be like that of an extra project at work.  Get the money from your job and go to school two/three nights a week or on Saturdays - sure it will take you two years, but just think, you'll really want those tax deductions in your second year.

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