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Working as an accounting firm attorney has both pros and cons, just like any other attorney. Some of the pros include having interaction with people in the accounting firm and having corporate benefits that other types of attorneys don't get. One of the cons is trying to learn how to figure out how to process the accounting work, since it is different than regular legal work.
Attorneys working in an accounting firm enjoy various benefits that private practice attorneys don't have. That being said, there are some downsides to becoming an accounting firm attorney. While they often are able to help companies with legal financial dealings and receive corporate benefits, they also are often faced with high stress during certain times of the yearend have to deal with numbers, which is hard for some people. All in all, you should definitely consider becoming an accounting firm attorney if it looks like the right fit for you.
Why did you decide to work in an accounting firm?
In my second year of law school (2008), I applied to several firms, including a tax position at Deloitte. Throughout the preparation and actual interview, I noticed that Deloitte actually had many attorneys working for them, and the work included using your legal background. I worked as a summer intern, and then accepted a full time position following graduation.
What is the best part of working in an accounting firm?
I enjoy working at an accounting firm because I am able to utilize my legal background, and also have direct interaction with all personnel including partners, and department heads. The guidance provided by senior members of the firm has been very valuable.
What is the worst part of working in an accounting firm?
Working in an accounting firm can be stressful during the busy times. The worst part is likely trying to process accounting concepts. Since I was not an accounting major in college, I was trying to learn basic concepts while doing my actual work for the first few years.
What advice would you give to others looking to work in an accounting firm?
If you are in law school and you don't have an accounting degree, make sure you take several tax classes. Check your status for sitting for the CPA exam, and try to take it during the summer or first few months of each semester. Basically, show an interest other than just applying for the job. I have heard several times that people want to see that the applicant is actually interested in the type of work.
What is a typical day like for you as an attorney in an accounting firm?
In my new position, I currently work in several different areas. A large portion of my work is compliance related, and I do returns for most domestic entities, including C corps, S corps, partnerships, estates, gifts, and individuals.
What was your title/is your title in your [current] position in an accounting firm?
I am currently a Senior in the Tax department.
How does your experience compare with your peers who chose other sorts of jobs?
I think working in an accounting firm is a great place for an attorney. Job security is always important. Also, by gaining valuable experience in accounting/tax, an attorney is well positioned for their career, which can include accounting firms, law firms, or industry.