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What career options exist for someone who is an attorney-CPA?

The only career option that I can think of is tax law.

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Carol’s Answer

The attorney-CPA combination is not uncommon and gives you the flexibility to work as an attorney in private practice, in the business sector, or with state or local government.

If you are interested in private practice as an attorney, having a CPA provides you with a knowledge base that will help you with any type of corporate law, including mergers & acquisitions, tax, real estate, general corporate, SEC filings, trusts & estates, and others. Someone who has practiced as an attorney and has a CPA could also work as in-house counsel for both private and publicly-held companies. In addition, many CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) have both a JD and a CPA.

If you are interested in tax law, consider obtaining an LLM in tax as an option.
Either way, being a JD-CPA increases your options and marketability.
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! I'll definitely be looking into an LLM. Genevieve
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Kshitij’s Answer

I am a CPA and currently a 2L in law school. I echo the other answers, very few CPA/JDs in the legal field and I think it definitely is a pro for those looking into anything business and law-oriented like corporate law firm work. I have been asked a lot if I want to be a tax lawyer (absolutely not). I have stayed open-minded as I have continued to discover and learn about new areas of law that I find very interesting.

I would say, if you want to be an actual lawyer, practicing some sort of law, then the investment in law school is worth it. If you want to do the work that is done at Big4 type firms or IB, I would be skeptical of the point of law school - this is my personal opinion. MBA is also something to look into if you are focused on being more business oriented. However, if you want to practice actual law and go into something like Securities Law, M&A, and Antitrust (among many others), I think the CPA will be a great tool to leverage, both academically and in the job search.

I also have felt that completing CPA has given me a leg up in terms of being able to keep up with the law school workload and understanding how to be a professional in law school. Having taken the break and come back into education, I feel like a better student than if I went to law school directly from undergrad. Being a CPA and a future JD, I will be leaning more into my JD degree and I would totally be okay with not using my CPA, as long as I get to practice law and litigate - this has allowed me to explore the legal field more and try more things outside of business. If you are dead set on using both CPA and JD on a daily basis, then Tax, Corporate Law, Securities, M&A, Antitrust - and more - are great options but keep in mind, three years in law school is a very long time with a deep financial, professional, and personal commitment.

P.S. I don't hate my CPA degree, I just want to be a lawyer.

Kshitij recommends the following next steps:

Continue research and exploring!
Thank you comment icon That was really helpful, thank you!! Genevieve
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Kalyanasundaram’s Answer

Based on your specialization, the CPA can be either an added advantage or could be leveraged along with being an attorney. There are plenty of avenues within Finance function or legal function where the combination of CPA and law could significantly enhance your value to the organization. Please also look into emerging areas such as ESG Regulations. SEC very recently published proposal around disclosure requirements for larger corporates. A person with strong law background would be able to unravel all the intricacies of this requirement and the finance background could help in driving the implementation. If you also have interest in environmental, social issues the job would be a perfect answer to pursue a personal passion.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Law and accounting can be a very interesting and fulfilling combination with many different options including working for a large company in their finance area, working for an investment firm (think SEC regulations). Much depends on the type of law (contract law, tax specialist, investment/security regulations, etc).

Most lawyers aren’t CPA’s, and most CPA’s don’t have law degrees. The dual combination could be quite a niche.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
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