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Author Topic: CPA after Law School  (Read 1933 times)

mac86

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CPA after Law School
« on: February 04, 2009, 10:38:51 PM »
I would like to go for my CPA after I graduate law school. I do not have any accounting or business background. What do you suggest is the most efficient route I can take to become eligble to take the test ( i.e. should I get a master's in accounting, do only the prereq's?). What's the fastest way?

I am currently a 1L and will be working part-time at a firm in the summer, which gives me some room to take summer accounting/business classes at a nearby college.

Thank you!

upgrade

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Re: CPA after Law School
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 10:46:08 PM »
Why?

mac86

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Re: CPA after Law School
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 11:01:46 PM »
Better job opportunties.

Eugene Young

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Re: CPA after Law School
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 11:23:09 PM »
Better job opportunties.

You think so? Anywho, a master's in accountancy won't give you enough hours to sit for the cpa exam. i think you said you didn't major in acctg in undergrad, so you'd have to get an mba with a concentration in acctg in order to be able to sit for the exam. personally, i would rather be mauled by 3 starving pit bulls than take an accouting class, but to each their own. not sure how many more opportunities would open from having the cpa to be honest. i guess if you want to do tax law, but as a lawyer you would be doing more tax planning. you wouldn't need a cpa to do that, and i doubt if it would get you that much more money to warrant the investment. but again, to each their own.

lyre

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Re: CPA after Law School
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2009, 11:56:26 AM »
You'll need to go to the CPA website for your state (just Google like "Florida CPA certification") and find out what their specific requirements are, because it varies from state to state.  There are not only certain accounting classes you have to have, but also other classes like certain hours of communication, English, etc.

tag

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Re: CPA after Law School
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2009, 03:46:31 PM »
Some of the advice on here is crap, so don't listen to it. 

My wife only got a Master's in accounting and she is eligible to sit for the CPA; in fact, she is preparing for it right now.  There's also a strong demand for attorneys who have accounting backgrounds.  She works for one of the Big Four accounting firms, and she has often told me that the attorneys there don't advance as quickly because they don't understand rudimentary accounting issues.  At the same time, attorneys have many skills that the average accountant doesn't have, so if you combine the two, I think you'll definitely have the potential to be in high demand; and after working a few years, you'll have a lot of opportunities for advancement.


upgrade

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Re: CPA after Law School
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2009, 07:10:27 PM »
From my limited research, in general (states vary), you need 150 hours total college credit and ~30 hours in accounting, business law, or related courses.  I'm sure the OP knows this already and most of the coursework will likely come from his law school curriculum.

Are you hoping that you will take the CPA exam and then go straight into legal practice or are you going to work as an accountant for a few years first?  You probably want to get the advice of someone who practices in the fields that pique your interest. 

I was considering taking the CPA exam the summer before starting law school for similar reasons as the OP.  When I talked with successful attorneys who were accountants prior to attending law school is the value of having CPA or CMA after your name is the experience gained as an accountant, not that you have the ability to cram for the test.  They advised against taking the CPA exam just for the sake of having the title. 

M_Cool

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Re: CPA after Law School
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2009, 09:14:50 PM »
It seems like most people who have CPA / JD combo got their CPA first and worked for a few years.. Accountants make very little in their entry years and so they don't give up too much in $$ by going to law school. 

Eugene Young

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Re: CPA after Law School
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2009, 09:44:15 PM »
Some of the advice on here is crap, so don't listen to it. 

My wife only got a Master's in accounting and she is eligible to sit for the CPA; in fact, she is preparing for it right now.  There's also a strong demand for attorneys who have accounting backgrounds.  She works for one of the Big Four accounting firms, and she has often told me that the attorneys there don't advance as quickly because they don't understand rudimentary accounting issues.  At the same time, attorneys have many skills that the average accountant doesn't have, so if you combine the two, I think you'll definitely have the potential to be in high demand; and after working a few years, you'll have a lot of opportunities for advancement.


[/quote
i'm not talking out my ass, i'm a cpa (well, i was - i let my license lapse) and i worked at big 4 firm for over 4 years. in most states, a master's in accountancy is needed to sit for the exam because most undergrad programs are only for 120-130 hours. the requirement in most places now is 150 hours, so to be able to sit for the exam you have to take a year of courses in accounting, a master's in accountancy. it's not an mba; nearly all of the classes are accounting classes. also, in most states, to actually get the cpa license, you have to spend 2 years in public accounting, or 5 years working under a cpa. so op could take the req. courses, take and pass the exam, but still not be considered a licensed cpa. i went to law school to get off that train, so i'm a bit biased when i hear people wanting to be a cpa. i don't encourage anyone to study accounting personally. but the jd/cpa skill set isn't really the same imo. it's more letters after your name, like i said it would be good for tax law or estate planning. but like someone said, i wouldn't get the jd first and then get the cpa because the cpa would be more time intensive if you didn't already have the acctg requirements. YMMV.