What are the major differences between being a tax associate at a firm vs big four? Currently a state tax court clerk deciding what to apply to for next year.

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The work at a big 4 will vary significantly depending on what group and office you go to. I’m a JD in SALT at a big 4 and will use as an example. Some offices are strictly compliance and do returns and lawyers will be forced to do it too. Other bigger offices will have a variety of work, ranging from controversy, consulting (think memos on apportionment, nexus studies, sales tax taxability, etc.), and M&A. Outside of the very biggest offices, they probably won’t have every type of service (they might have controversy but not consulting). I do M&A, which has a team that functions across offices at my firm, but it can be relatively hard to get into if your boss wants you for compliance (I’m lucky I’ve never come close to touching compliance but that’s not always typical). So you’ll have to go somewhere that is looking specifically for an attorney and has the type of work you want to do. Many big 4s will want this because it’s in demand but make sure you ask questions about the work they envision.

Law firms will vary too, but having a friend in SALT at a biglaw firm, the work is more litigation based controversy work generally and/or reviewing contracts for tax implications for her. She ends up doing a lot of property tax controversies (not a fan).

Pay will be different too depending on what size law firm you’re talking about. I can answer any specific questions on big 4 if you have them.

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Have worked in Big4 SALT M&A and agree completely with SA's comments. City/region will make a big difference. What city or region are you considering?

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