This fall, Brooklyn Law School’s Tax Law Association hosted a panel with attorneys from the “Big Four” accounting firms: Ernst & Young, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), Deloitte, and KPMG. The panel included alumni Phil Cleary ’08, a manager at KPMG, Mike Khorsandi ’06, a senior associate at PwC, Lynn Varisano, a senior manager of the Financial Services Industry at Deloitte, and Howard Gold, a partner at Ernst & Young. The panel and networking reception that followed were well-attended and presented an opportunity for students to learn from and connect with successful professionals in the field.
Jason Feingertz ’13, president of the Tax Law Association, organized the event. Feingertz, who will begin working for Deloitte after graduation, said it was “important for law students to hear about organizations that are hiring during an economic downturn and inspiring to meet people who actually enjoy what they do for a living.”
“Many of the best tax lawyers in the country now work for the big accounting firms,” said Professor Bradley Borden, a tax law expert, who encouraged Feingertz to organize the event. “The accounting firms have very sophisticated tax practices that range from compliance, to tax planning, to litigation, to government practices that are focused on influencing legislation and regulation. BLS is well represented in accounting firms. It’s wonderful that BLS has relationships with these firms, and, if we want to be a significant part of the tax law community, it’s important that we continue to nurture those relationships. This event and others like it will help BLS accomplish that goal.”
Each of the panelists said that they never envisioned working at a Big Four accounting firm, but that their law degrees played an important role in their successful careers. Both Cleary and Khorsandi noted that the skills and knowledge students gain at Brooklyn Law School make them well-prepared to successfully manage client requests for business reorganizations or mergers and acquisitions.
The speakers also dispelled some common myths of working in tax and accounting, explaining that law students do not need an LL.M. in tax or a CPA accounting background to thrive in the industry, or to be hired by one of these firms. Instead, they stressed that the key ingredient to success was being able to think on the fly and being aware of ways to improve one’s own performance.
“This event was incredibly helpful,” said Jeff Ling ’14, an attendee. “It not only educated students about opportunities beyond the traditional law firm model, but also encouraged us to apply for internships at accounting firms like the Big Four.”
By Teisha Ruggiero ’14
View photos of the event.