{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Let’s settle this debate: who is the better professional? A CPA or a JD/LLM?", "post_id": "601782ae16042a00203937c1", "reply_count": 82, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "599555b669a73a0010aab3ac", "bowl_name": "Tax Bowl", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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Let’s settle this debate: who is the better professional? A CPA or a JD/LLM?

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It’s about work ethic, not credentials, and being open to learning from others. I’m a JD/LLM because I didn’t find I liked tax until law school (arts background). I learned excel from the MAC grad that I started with, and I helped him with writing. As for staff, if they have an ego about their credential, it’s a no-go for me because then they won’t learn. It’s about working with others to become and create the best professionals.

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Also, I just want to point out that the question in the opening post of "who is the better professional" is VERY different to the question of "which is the more prestigious profession". I don't think it's particularly controversial to say that most people will find law to be a more prestigious profession than accounting.

Furthermore, these questions have different answers depending on context. "Who is the better professional" depends on the type of work, the work product, etc.

It seems like the original poster is conflating these in some comments.

I think that lawyers typically have higher prestige because law itself is seen as higher prestige. But in a big 4 accounting firm where you can't practice law, then the context is very different. I get that there's a lot of stuff that's not "the practice of law" that still benefits a lot from a legal mind and legal education, so I definitely say I greatly appreciate JD/LLMs, but if you're at an accounting firm, then there is a bit of a different context...as I think other people have talked about. Ok, you joined big 4 accounting because you didn't want to live the big law life (understandable. Admirable. I know people who work big law and I also wouldn't do it)...but you can't then ride on the coattails of big law prestige, y'know?

That's why I asked in a previous comment: what's worse...a JD creating an excel workbook or an accountant writing a legal memo? Because we have both in accounting, yet the excel spreadsheets are probably more plentiful and fundamental to most teams' work in accounting

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Great points EY2. You really helped clarify this post. I think you’re right, at a big 4 accounting firm I would say that CPA’s JD/LLM’s are essentially the same. The legal profession however as you mentioned does have the aurora of prestige that resonates more with the outside public. Whether you prefer a CPA or a JD/LLM for a particular project depends on the project really. I don’t think one is clearly above the other in all circumstances.

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Which is worse: a legal memo written by a CPA or an excel workbook created by a JD/LLM?

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We’re all in public accounting, so not worth comparing one loser vs. another 😭

What is the point of this?

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The phrase “do excel” might have been what gave them pause on your skills.

Pee pee poo poo

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In an accounting firm? Makes no difference. You’ll learn more tax law on the job than you will in any law school or LLM program.

likesmartfunny

What specialty does your tax group cover?

Nothing to debate about. I’ve seen some of the lowest performers be with JD/LLM and super high performers with just a bachelor’s who couldn’t even pass their CPA.

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KPMG 2. What is your tax group? I am in subchapter K tax specialty.

I hate working with mgrs that clearly have egos. Usually those are JDs.... but okay... you’re a lawyer who works in an accounting firm like get over yourself

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Agreed lol

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I worked in big law before big 4. I thought attorneys went into accounting when they couldn't hack it in litigation. Not sure if I would call that prestigious.

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KPMG3. I’ve worked on a couple projects with attorneys who were in big law. I agree with your sentiments 100%. It’s a totally different culture of ruthlessness. No wonder lawyers get bad raps in society.

JD here. Agreed it doesn’t matter. Incoming skill sets I think are different, and perhaps each one thinks a bit differently brining different types of intelligence, but one isn’t necessarily superior to the other.

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Some of the worst people I work with have a JD.

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And some of the worst I work with have both

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What if you’re all three of those?

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TA1 I agree with you. I guess the consensus is amongst the general public is that Doctors are the most arrogant professionals. After my experience in big 4, I beg to differ. Lol I know lots of big 4 professionals CPA’s JD/LLM that dwarf some doctor salaries.

Obviously a Sales tax CMI.

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Lol

Lawyers are generally viewed more prestigious than accountants

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There. You got the validation you’re looking for JD/LLM OP. Congrats!

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I’ll never forget that one tax training I went to where a JD was at my table. I started counting the number of times she inserted “well I’m a JD not a cpa so...” before every single response she gave. It was in the dozens. Keep in mind we’re all in the same class for the entire week so there was no need to repeat it after the first time.

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D3. Lol it’s ok. No judgment here. I get told all the time “you’re too nice to be a lawyer.” So I know what you mean. Lol

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In my experience over the years, would say lawyers, including tax lawyers in big 4, are viewed as much more prestigious than accountants/CPAs. Particularly true if they have an LLM in addition to JD. This is likely due to the fact that they have attained a higher level of education (doctorate degree), whereas accountantants can sit for the CPA after completing just a 4-year bachelor degree.

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Beyond Brutal. One year I did 24 all nighters. Had about 3,000 in billable hours (no exaggeration) the average attorney bills about 2,600hours in big law. Once I saw the billable hours requirement in big 4 I almost cried tears of joy. Big law gets paid more but you sure do work for it.

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Big Law is more prestigious (as is IB), but there are far, far fewer positions. Less positions than there are lawyers. Relative to what society needs, there are far too many lawyers. When I looked at law school a decade ago, the market was Big Law or you were making less than or equal to a Big 4 associate (with far higher school costs). The 08 crisis killed the middle market. Back then, the general rule was T14 or you went to a super regional just outside the T14 if you want a solid chance at Big Law (e.g. UT for Texas or UCLA for California). Point is, Big Law is more prestigious, but only a fraction of all lawyers get those positions. So the odds are stacked against you. Relative to that, accounting is a cheaper education and more of a sure thing.

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I think IB>Big Law in prestige. Back when I looked at law school, I think the pay was roughly the same (180k) out of school, but the IB names are more recognizable than a Latham Watkins or Kirkland to the general public.

Neither? Your comparing apples to oranges

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How so?

EA plz. Thnx

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😂 glad I’m not the only one, no need for a masters degree or a cpa and can still make principal (partner equivalent)

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JD/LLM....

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When I was at PwC the f word crept into my everyday vocabulary. It was EVERYWHERE!

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