Law School Discussion

Law School Part time vs. Accounting


Law School Part time vs. Accounting
« on: June 04, 2004, 05:58:04 PM »
I was admitted to the University of Toledo's part time law program, but I have a problem.  I am interested in law but I am concerned about getting a good job in law that will allow me to work 40 hours a week (possibly more but not 60!).  A masters in accounting is appealing because I know I can get a job working 40 hours a week and the job market is great.  Any suggestions?  I guess what I am concerned about is the lifestyle of a recent law graduate.  I have heard horror stories of 7 day work weeks and a tough job market.  Thanks for any information or opinions offered!

Re: Law School Part time vs. Accounting
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2004, 06:51:24 PM »
Ohio - maybe what u should also be worrying about is the lifestyle of a recent accounting graduate.  what type of accounting do u plan on practicing after you have your masters?  are you thinking of going into big-4? 

i'm a cpa and recently removed from the big-4 lifestyle, and i can assure you that if you are looking to start in accounting, the start of such an accounting career is NOT 40-hour weeks.  if you are even considering big-4, just know that big-4 is comparable in every way to big law, sans the salary.  that means that number of hours worked, with busy season year-round these days b/c everyone is being worked to the bone.  and a 60-hour chargeable work week is really an 80-hour working week, with budgets being so tight.  that means weekends,some overnights, and travel.  it's not an easy lifestyle for the first few years.  granted, u would make more with an accounting mba than an accounting bs, but it's still not 6 figures.  i could go on and on, but it's difficult to give more info without knowing what you are considering with the accounting mba. 

and if you are not considering getting a cpa, u prob should.  a cpa, or some other certification (ie cfa, cfp) will be chosen over an accounting mba any day of the week.

i will be going to ls b/c i've been thinking about it for several years.  trust me - it's not for the money or the hours worked.  i've got it made right now in both those areas (after i put in my required slave labor at big-4), but it's not what i should be doing.  i'll keep accounting on the side, as i'm sure it may be useful beyond law school. plus - i love the numbers.

wb if u need more info.


Re: Law School Part time vs. Accounting
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2004, 07:08:49 PM »
Thanks for the post.  I'm not really sure what I would like to do in accounting, but it is a booming field here in Ohio so it is appealing to me.  I have an MIS degree now and I have not had much luck finding work with my degree.  I recieved a full scholarship to another law school last semester and I attended for a couple of months but I had to withdraw for family reasons.  Now I am headed back to law school without the scholarship and I am concerned about the costs compared to the potential for gainful employment for a JD.

I enjoy numbers so I think accounting would be a good fit for me.  I would get a cpa for sure if I do go the MSA route.  At this point(I'm 27 and getting married soon) I just want to get a good paying job that doesn't require me to devote 95% of my waking time to.  I have a couple friends who are accountants and they all enjoy their jobs.  Only one of them works for one of the big 4, and he does put in more hours than the others. 

Another factor that is making me consider accounting over law is I would graduate with an accounting degree in 2 years or less compared to 4 years of law school.  It's a tough choice! 

Re: Law School Part time vs. Accounting
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2004, 05:30:13 AM »
I hear you. . . I knew I wanted my CPA in high school!!!  And I found out by accident that I loved the law.  I actually found out as a result of taking the cpa, as one of the sections was lpr (law section).  Though the cpa has just changed this year, lpr was one of the sections when I took it.  Your decision is a very personal one and I might not be the one to say which one to choose over the other, as I will have all 3!  I was a public accounting major and mis minor in college - I did IT audit at big-4.  I will say that having the combination of these two alone is very lucrative.  Everyone these days (and I would venture to say, going forward as well) wants someone with cpa/mis, especially with all the sarbanes stuff going on.  Also, u should look up your state's requirements to obtain the cpa license.  Most of the states require the Accounting MBA (not NY till 2009), which u will have.  But there is also the experience component that is required.  In NY (and I think most other states), if you have your accounting mba, you need one year of public accounting experience in external audit.  That might mean a big-4 type job for at least that time. Hopefully i'll have the jd in a few years.  I feel fortunate in that I don't have to make such a choice.  But giving up a cushy job to go to ls is a difficult decision that I had to make.

The accounting degree (with cpa - of course) is very versatile.  u can do almost anything u can imagine or would like to do in the accounting/financial world - and that is a lot.  But i would like to say that no matter where u start, the beginning of any career, including accounting, is not easy.  u still need to build up good experience and make good contacts.  Unfortunately, the kinds of jobs that usually give you that are pretty demanding.  But once u have that under your belt, u can choose to do almost anything, including choosing jobs that have better hours/pay over others.

Good luck with your difficult decision.