CPA in a law firm

This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Mike030882 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #2282235

    Stibbs
    Participant

    Hello,

    I work in the billing department of a midsize (100 or so attorneys) law firm in Los Angeles. I'm studying for the CPA exam. Many of the lawyers work with financial law, estate planning, international investing, etc. Basically there's a lot of overlap between accounting and law there and several of the attorneys are also CPA's. I was wondering, if I were to pass the CPA exam, do you think its reasonable that I might be able to transfer from the billing department into some sort of position within the actual legal working field? If you do, any suggestions on how to go about doing so? The only one I can think of is befriending some of the attorney CPA's so they can see and know that I have some intelligence.

    Thank you

    #2282511
    Recked
    Recked
    Participant

    The potential is there, but the lack of a law degree will ultimately hold you back from climbing the ranks in a law firm.
    Non-attorneys cannot make partner in a law firm, similar to non-CPAs cannot have equity in CPA firms (depending on state).
    I see no reason not to try for it. Befriending one of the CPAs seems the most logical move.

    Memento Mori - Kingston NY CPA & EA (SUNY Albany 2002)

    FAR-93 11/9/17 (10wks, 250 hrs, Roger 1800+ MCQs, Gleim TB 600+MCQs, SIMs)
    AUD-88 12/7/17 (3 wks, 85 hrs, Roger 1000 MCQs no SIMs hail mary)
    REG-96 1/18/18 (6 wks, 110 hrs, 1400 MCQs, no SIMs)
    BEC-91 2/16/18 (4wks, 90 hrs, 1240 MCQs)

    #2283771

    Skynet
    Participant

    Have you consider becoming a tax attorney?

    This way you get to practice law but you'll be dealing mostly with the tax code.

    I believe that you will also have to go to law school and also pass the BAR exam too.

    I'm not sure if you may want to go that route since it will be a lot more schooling and more tests.

    AUD - 90
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    FAR - 84
    REG - 87
    World Domination Plan

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    #2285793

    Stibbs
    Participant

    Its crossed my mind. But its honestly to much extra work. One day I might live in another country amd I was just thinking with all the international work done here it might facilitate that.

    #2313000

    Adam
    Participant

    lol good luck..attorneys are mostly arrogant A holes..they dont view you on your level..even though most arent as bright as they think they are..the only way you will work in the legal side is if you are an attorney yourself.

    I worked for a real estate/ tax attorney

    #2323146

    Son
    Participant

    No, there is literally zero chance you will be allowed to do legal work for several reasons.

    First, it's against ethics rules for someone who isn't licensed to practice law. You may be able to do some prep work (think paralegal work or CPA work) but it will be compensated accordingly.

    Second, you don't have the necessary skills and expertise. I don't think you appreciate how different the real world law issues are from the superficial summaries included in REG or BEC.

    You may be able to secure a position that is not directly related to law practice if the firm is looking to hire a CPA, e.g., for their tax law team, but those are rare and you're likely better of with a Big4 in this case.

    #2323329

    Stibbs
    Participant

    Thanks Son, honestly I'd rather be on the back end, like on their tax law team or doing prep work, than being directly practicing law. Any ideas for how to go down that course? Also, any idea of the compensation I could reasonably expect? Attorneys there average 200k/year and most staff (secretaries, etc) seem to be about 75k a year. Lastly, any idea what kind of hours one could expect in the back end? Thanks to all of you who've responded. I really appreciate it.

    #2324223

    Jimmy Dugan
    Participant

    Do you already having anyone in the office doing this? If so, then you might ask for some insight from those people. If not, they probably don't have any need for that role.

    AUD - 95
    BEC - 87
    FAR - 84
    REG - 90
    You're killing me Smalls

     

    #2324250

    Mike030882
    Participant

    I would assume that a CPA would be valuable in any cases that need forensic accountants.

    Also, there is some overlap between law and Accounting. A lot. However, if not an in-house forensics expert, you will most likely be billed as a paralegal.

    In most law firms, you are treated as second class citizens if you don't have ESQ to the right of your name. As a former paralegal (who did most of their work), I know. It's because you can't sign off on anything even though they rely heavily on you.

    AUD - 90
    BEC - 79
    FAR - 77
    REG - 77
    They don't trust JUST ANYBODY to count beans
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