Discussion:'Reading the Law'

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TheTinCook (talk|edits) said:

10 April 2009
Anyone here ever take this path to the Bar? I'm thinking of persuing that method rather then going through law school. It'd be cheaper for sure, and from what I've gathered from the lawyers I've talked to, that a JD doesn't do much to prepare you for practice. 4 years versus 3, though...

I guess the tough part would be finding the mentor for the 4 years of office study.

Ddaallas (talk|edits) said:

10 April 2009
I sincerely hope this is just a little California humor. I will come back to this post and compose an appropriate reply when I have more time (unless CrowJD or another lawyer beats me to it).

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

10 April 2009
"Reading the Law" Wow, blast from the past. We don't have that currently in my state. I guess it's been years since we had it.

I actually read one time that Woodrow Wilson obtained his law degree in GA, and in those times, this was the method for doing it.

With your tax experience, I think that would help you obtain such a position (as Dickens would call it, a clerk or "clark")

I will warn you, however, that the last profession on earth that I would enter now is law. The vast number of lawyers are not paid by huge corporate clients. Even the corporate clients are cracking the whip on effciency...this has been going on for a while.

When I started, it was very common to have middle class clients come in with bread and butter work that would provide a cash flow for the bigger cases to come along. Now, they use DIY books, and put off the legal expense till years in the future when things go wrong. Or, they do nothing even when things go wrong...they just let a mess exist.

We have too many law schools, spewing out too many graduates. It's a mess. However, if you have a very specific plan/goal in mind, it might be worth it.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

10 April 2009
Ha... beat you to it Dallas... but I'd love to hear your take on it as well. Tin's state (CA?) must have this?

TheTinCook (talk|edits) said:

10 April 2009
Yup, in CA. One of seven states that have it. I'm surprised they have it still, but hell, if it's good enough for Abe Lincoln, it's good enough for me.

Off the top of my head, you have to take the first year law student's exam aka "baby bar" (I think that may be a CA oddity), 4 years of supervision, and then take the Bar. I think I might be able to know enough to take the baby bar by the October sitting.

DIY is the trend with taxes too. Remedial tax work seemed to have better prospects then the retail tax biz.

I started thinking about it because a non attorney tax professional has some disadvantages. eg no power beyond the SNOD. Besides, attorney/accountant is a pretty sexy combo. Only plan to focus on tax, maybe some 'business associations' type of work or contract. Only academic interest in the rest, beyond what's needed to inform any tax work.

Your warning about the legal profession reminds me of my dads old neighbor. He was an real estate attorney in Utah where lawyers have a monopolistic mandate on conveyences. Packed his family up and moved out here to CA where there is no such thing. Couldn't get enough work and had to move back.

Not sure what to make of the career prospects. I've just thought of it as the natural progression from being an EA. Never thought of myself at some mega firm before, as I've always fancied myself as a lone wolf, but that's a fatal conceit. I'm already starting to feel the constraints of my limited experience and client pool (in terms of professional growth). May not be a practical one either, as it seems that accounting and law firms continue to agglutinate and the inevitable increase in regulation will require specialization and effort that can be managed only at bigger firms.

I'd like to hear your thoughts too, Dallas.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

10 April 2009
why don't you just pass the Tax Court exam for non-attorneys?

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

10 April 2009
Age plays a part in it, but you have that same issue in the tax profession as a small operator. It's not easy for a sole practitioner/small firm to get health insurance at any price if you develop a medical condition later on in life. In fact, unless something is done about it, I would have a hard time recommending to anyone with a bad "genetic" deck of cards to go into business for themselves.

In fact "government work" is looking pretty good, especially teaching because I could drum up some kind of legal work in the summer to supplement income. With my luck though, the year I decided to teach, they'd get rid of the summers off. How can you be a kid without your summers off? lol.

On a positive note, many lawyers who work outside Atlanta in my state, in the mid-sized towns, are doing pretty well. There's less competition, and, at least at this time, the small town folks don't seem to be quite so internet/DIY savy.

TheTinCook (talk|edits) said:

10 April 2009
"why don't you just pass the Tax Court exam for non-attorneys?"

Wasn't able to do it last year, gonna give a shot in 2010. Just wasn't experienced enough to do the tax portion with only a printed IRC, a pencil, and my naked brains.

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