Is it improbable to get a job as a tax lawyer if your UG degree is not business? or will I be okay as long as I take numerous tax classes in LS. I know that a technical degree is a must for patent/IP lawyers but was just wondering if this is the case for tax as well.
Thanks in advance
For whatever it's worth, I have an undergrad in acc't, a MS in accounting (tax option), and a CPA. I'm heading to law school this fall after practicing in the tax arena for about 8 years.
I'm gonna have to agree with those folks who suggest that having undergrad exposure in accounting would be very helpful. That's not to say that you couldn't achieve some core competence in tax just be taking a few law school courses, but I suppose it'd depend on how technical the law school courses are.
If they're all very, very intro courses, no problem. If they're at all "graduate level" courses... well, I just think you'll struggle. Also, keep in mind people like me will be taking those courses too, and I'd have to believe we'll skew the curve in a negative way against those who simply have never been exposed to this stuff before.
Also, keep in mind that the tax practices at most respectable law firms are among the most selective of all legal practices. And for good reason. Tax can be a very, very technical area. And if you're unfamiliar w/ acc't in general, and tax in particular, well, once again, you're gonna be at a disadvantage when stacking up against schmucks like myself. I mean, I already have a solid lead for a 1L job next summer b/c I can actually possess far more tax knowledge than any 'straight into law school' 1L, 2L, & probably the majority of most 3L's. Even if you take out my work experience, I'd already taken over 60 hours of undegrad acc't & tax courses, to say nothing of the finance & business courses I tool. They're all pieces of a puzzle that you're never quite able to finish but still help you get a feel for the big picture, if ya know what I mean.
Also, trust me, reading the 'freakin' Wall Street Journal daily - which I do - is NOT a substitute for the fundamental course work you pick up in undergrad acc't & finance court. That's not to say you won't learn valuable knowledge from the WSJ, but it's only common sense to reason that it's easier to build on something once the foundation is laid as opposed to trying to figure out everything all at once. Frankly, it'd be like me picking up a chemical engineering mag and thinking I'll become proficient in that field by reading a few back issues. Ain't gonna happen.
All that being said, I work with folks who, unfortunately, just aren't cut out for tax yet somehow manage to hang around the tax field for years. Believe me, you CAN do it. I would audit a few UG acc't & tax courses, b/c if nothing else it'll show that you're serious about working in this field.