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Big 4 to Law
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Posted - 06 July 2016 16:04
Hi all,

Thought that I'd get some more realistic answers here than pestering grad recruitment people. I work at the Big 4, in Audit (Banks specifically). And as many others look to do, I'm considering my options for when my three year TC at my firm finishes.

Could anyone enlighten me on how law firms would look upon my B4 experience? Has anyone done the transition (or knows if anyone who has?). I'm torn between thinking that firms will love the commercial experience/ACA qualification, but obviously there are a lot of negative connotations associated with auditors.

Any advice on what kind of firms I could target? Is MC/SC possible? Ive got a mid 2:1 from a decent Russel Group, but I guess that work experience becomes more important. FWIW I've partially completed the CFA as well.

Additionally, I'll be 25 when I finish my B4 contract - could this be a (negative) factor?

Apologies for the rambling message - happy to hear any thoughts on whether the transition is possible/realistic etc.

Posted - 08 July 2016 12:00
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Your age won't be a negative factor.

Your lack of commitment to a career will be. You were with an accounting firm then qualified; and then left to go into law to qualify...

Why would a law firm want to invest in you?

Also, Audit =/= commercial experience
Posted - 18 July 2016 14:36
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As long as you can clearly and persuasively set out in your applications & interviews why law is a better fit for you than audit, I would not worry too much about Ash89's commitment point. More money is, obviously, not a good reason.

It is pretty common for people to spend a few years in a career and then decide it is not right for them - most sizeable trainee intakes include a few people who are beginning their second careers.

Having a Big 4 brand name on your CV should only help, but your likelihood of getting a TC at a SC/MC firm will depend on luck, how well you interview and, to a lesser extent, how 'good' the Russell Group uni is you got the 2.1 from. MC/SC (and top-tier US) should all be possible, though.
Posted - 22 July 2016 22:57
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I am in a slightly different position to the original poster, I work in tax in a big 4 firm, specialising in employee incentives. About a year after completing the CTA qualification (which is harder than both the LPC and the ACA) things are getting a bit stale. I have a mid 2.1 russell group law degree albeit with pretty limited legal work experience. Would it be harder to justify on a training contract application why law is a better fit as employee incentives are pretty common practices in law firms?
I dont think any questions regarding my motivation for changing career would that difficult to deal with as the pay differential from post qualified to trainee would be pretty significant.
Lears Fool
Posted - 27 September 2017 16:40
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Some firms will be positive about it, many will be a bit "meh", very few will look at it negatively. I'd expect you to be able to differentiate yourself on paper, and as a result get through the door on the interview process.

Which leaves you with a couple of things to think about.

1. As someone said above, why the career change - you need to make sure you have a good answer for this. Make it a positive, but be honest about it.

2. Getting through the door on paper is one thing, but being in the big4 environment should give you an edge when it comes to the interview process. If you are properly taking advantage of the big4 experience, then you are being hothoused in the commercial aspects of professional services, and sales, and selling yourself, not just the technical side of counting pencils. Use that. Bring the commercial and professional polish to the interview.
Legal Alien
Posted - 27 October 2017 17:18
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To my mind the OP would be an eejit from a financial perspective to go into law after training in banking and finance audit - plenty of people make the move to corporate finance / front office banking after that and the salaries are very comparable with what lawyers make. Going into law sets you 4yrs back.