Law Students > Pursuing an LLM

LLM in tax without a JD

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I will graduate with a Master's in accounting by the end of the year. Also, I will have passed the four CPA exams by then.

I recently made the decision that I want to go to school for tax law but another three years of school seems daunting. I am aware of Villanova's LLM program for those who are certified CPAs (even though they do not have a JD). Are there any other schools I am not aware of that will accept students into their LLM program who are not foreign or a JD graduate?

160+ LSAT score (trying to get in the 170s)
4.0 MA GPA thus far; terrible undergrad GPA

Maintain FL 350:
I didn't know that it was possible to get an LL.M without a J.D., that's interesting.

Here's my question: what's the utility of the degree, and is it worth what you'll pay in tuition? An LL.M without a J.D. will probably not allow you to take the bar and practice law, so what's the advantage? If the reason is simply to gain knowledge of tax law, you might as well get an LL.M from a cheap online source rather than pay tens of thousands of dollars to Villanova. I don't think the LL.M will permit you to give legal advice, so I wonder about it's cost/benefit.

Are you sure it's not an M.A. in Law, or something like that?

I don't think you need an LLM.  I think a JD would help you more with your career.  I know a couple CPA's who got JDs and now do a combination of estate planning and tax.  Both of them had opportunities to do LLM's but their prospective employers recommended against it.

If you have a passion or a desire to practice tax law, bankruptcy, family law, or criminal law, you can do so as long as you OK in school.  (By contrast, it takes a ton of talent, skill, and luck to be an entertainment lawyer or a BigLaw M&A guy).

I don't usually tell anyone to give law school a second look (Statistically it's not a great decision for a large minority of students). In your case, I think you should really think about doing a J.D. if you can get into a school in the area you want to work.  Tax and Estate law are more predictable, your clients are likely to pay, and most of your clients will be happy.   If you stay on the transactional side, you'll have less emergencies than most other practice areas.  However, if you work on estate litigation (will/trust contests and probate) you'll get emails from the occasional pissed of client at night or on the weekend.

Beware of law school, unless you are a science rock star and want to do IP, or unless you are a Tax rock star and want to do Tax/Estate.

My four cents.

A JD or a foreign equivalament like a LLB is usually the preliminary requirement for a LLM.  In any event, the LLM by itself does not qualify one to practice law.

A CPA-Lawyer is not necessarily going to earn more than a non CPA Lawyer. I would make a decision based solely on enhanced earnings (if any) over a CPA and the loss of time, earnings, and costs involved in getting the JD.  Finally, given the IRS crackdown on tax planners, I am not sure the old dodge of hiring a CPA-Lawyer to do tax planning and thus get attorney client privilege will be viable any longer?

There are online masters degree in taxlaw that might help if you just want the education.


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