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I have 12 years of state and local tax experience. I am currently a Tax Manager at a large company. I have managed the second largest tax audit defense group in the country. My current [law school] GPA is 3.4, with no curve. Do you think I can obtain employment with a midsized or large firm?
– Quit Playin’ Games With My Audit
Dear Quit Playin’ Games With My Audit,
Generally speaking, law firms wet the bed when a new associate rolls up to the firm and announces that he or she wants to do tax. Nobody wants to do tax, ever, and if you apply to firms with a cover letter stating that you want to do tax AND have legitimate tax experience (not just taking Tax in law school), the lights will dim, the disco ball will drop, Dream Weaver will start playing, and interviews will be yours for the picking….
Why? Because nobody wants to do boring, complicated tax work for partners in bow ties. In fact, when I ranked “employee benefits” as my third preferred practice area (mainly because I knew what “employees” and “benefits” were and I didn’t want to work in a practice area whose name I would have had to Google, like “derivatives” or “capital markets”), HR at my old firm rejoiced because, unbeknownst to me at the time, employee benefits is Tax Lite. That’s why the phrase “I don’t do tax work” is often used as slang for “I don’t do anal sex“: when it comes to these two activities, some people draw a hard line — and you can capitalize on your willingness to cross it.
True, law firms are still (mystifyingly!) grade snobs, and a 3.4 GPA from some hideous law school night program is no oil painting, but beggars can’t be choosers, and an associate who’s willing to do tax work is a rare find. You should also do The Secret.
This is normally the point where Elie jumps in to offer his take on the question presented. But since Elie is out of the office today, I must conjure up the Ghost of Elie:
Once again, we’re all missing the entire point here. For the love sweet tapdancing Jesus, why would you spend a red cent going to a night program (a night program?!?!!! asdrs*&%&*@&*) at a law school, unless it was to get your JD in order to turn right around and sue the living daylights out of the law school that just charged you 15% of a million dollars for a law degree that is worth about as much as a tissue Nicolas Cage once used.
Also not computing: why, for the love of God would you would you *leave* a job where you have 12 years of sophisticated, baller experience at a place where you manage teams of underlings and make important business decisions in order to start over at some
Triangle Shirtwaist factorya law firm where your JD from the Katherine Gibbs School of Typing and B- in Remedies will dog you? Where you’ll be somebody’s bitch for the next seven years? Where all of your vast past experience will go straight to the junkyard because law firms mind-bogglingly value pedigree over practicality?
Yeah, maybe you’ll get a job at a firm, but be careful what you ask for.
– Man Who Asked For and Received 3 Years of Due Diligence
Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org.