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Corporate Lawyer vs. Chartered Accountant

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  • Apr 8th, 2009 2:40 pm
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Newbie
Sep 6, 2006
17 posts

Corporate Lawyer vs. Chartered Accountant

Who would you say has more job opportunities in the business field, corporate lawyers or chartered accountants? CA's not only work in accounting positions, but many other fields in a business (managerial, director etc.); however, it seems a corporate lawyer only has the option of working in the legal department of a company. As well, not every company has a legal department, whereas every company has a finance/accounting department. I'm interested in knowing what options are available for corporate lawyer who decide not to work with law firms? Is it only Government, in-house at some places?
9 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 10, 2008
1399 posts
124 upvotes
Vancouver
I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure it's far easier to find a job as a CA than it is as a Corporate Lawyer.

Lawyers get paid more though if you're one of those lucky people who finish at the top 1% of their class.

Also, you get to work and make money while doing your CA... have to forego 3 years of income and get into debt to become a lawyer.

Again I'm no expert but that's what I think.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Apr 16, 2006
5598 posts
171 upvotes
veDette wrote:
Mar 9th, 2009 5:54 pm
Who would you say has more job opportunities in the business field, corporate lawyers or chartered accountants? CA's not only work in accounting positions, but many other fields in a business (managerial, director etc.); however, it seems a corporate lawyer only has the option of working in the legal department of a company. As well, not every company has a legal department, whereas every company has a finance/accounting department. I'm interested in knowing what options are available for corporate lawyer who decide not to work with law firms? Is it only Government, in-house at some places?
Lawyers can hold many positions - not just legal. Saying that corporate lawyers would only be able to work in the legal department of an organization is actually rather narrow-minded (not you, your statement). It is true that a lawyer's talent and training would be put to better use in a legal/litigation department, but that doesn't mean that they can't take on other tasks or work in other challenging positions. Many lawyers (or "legally trained professionals") head up top positions within organizations - both profit and non-profit.

Classic case in point - Ted Rogers went to Osgoode Hall Law School (York). What did he end up doing? Starting up (well, sort of) a small business and he grew it to the largest competitor for television/wireless/internet services in Canada.

Although I hated the guy, he did a fantastic job at making Rogers the company that it is today. Ted Rogers isn't exactly the "exception to the rule" either (like Bill Gates is when people say they don't need university to be successful/rich since Bill Gates was a drop out).

Many legally trained professionals also became politicians. Although this has much more to do with law than business, it still isn't "pure law" in the sense that you would be focusing on with a corporate lawyer in a legal department. Also, running a country is somewhat similar to running a business (at least, theoretically). You need to balance your books and ensure that funds are spent responsibility - you are accountable to your "employer" (ie, citizens of Canada) for the use of these funds - just like you would be in an organization with your department budget. If I am not mistaken, every Prime Minister of Canada since Confederation (1867) with the exception of 3 (Harper's one of them) had attended law school and practiced law for a period of time before pursuing other career paths.

As for the statement of "every company has a finance/accounting department", this much is true, but you've gotta keep in mind that lots of people can work within these positions - many of them have a BA in Commerce/Finance, some of them are CGAs/CMA's/CAs. I'm just saying that if a CGA or CMA can do the job, there would be no reason why the organization would spend the extra cash to hire a CA instead.

Frankly, between the two professions, you really can't go wrong. Both will have great job security since their services will always be needed...but unlike in accounting, with law, all heavy duty projects of a legal nature will require the services of a lawyer...whereas not all heave duty accounting projects may require the services of a CA.

Anyway, that's just my take on it. If you find yourself more drawn towards accounting/finance, go the CA route...if you find yourself more drawn towards legal matters and the law, take the corporate lawyer route.
Newbie
Jan 31, 2009
15 posts
GTA - Vaughan
Why not pursue both?

Joe Jackson, CA, JD.

Sounds pretty promising to me...
Deal Expert
May 17, 2008
15134 posts
152 upvotes
Nokia_Baller wrote:
Mar 10th, 2009 3:20 pm
Why not pursue both?

Joe Jackson, CA, JD.

Sounds pretty promising to me...
It would sound less duchy than JD, MBA.
Newbie
Feb 1, 2009
56 posts
toronto
If you are ballsy enough to be a lawyer, then become a lawyer!
Good speaking and writing skills seem to be necessary to be a lawyer.

The JD / MBA Program is a four-year combined degree offered by the Faculty of Law and the Rotman School of Management. At the completion of the four-year integrated program, the successful student is awarded both the Juris Doctor and the Master of Business Administration degrees, which, if taken separately, would require five years of study.

http://www.jdmba.ca/index.html
Jr. Member
Aug 21, 2005
160 posts
1 upvote
Nokia_Baller wrote:
Mar 10th, 2009 3:20 pm
Why not pursue both?

Joe Jackson, CA, JD.

Sounds pretty promising to me...
This is a damn long road.

CA = 2.5 years, including:
-articling
-UFE
-writing the LSAT during this time

JD/LLB = 4 years, including:
-3 years law school
-1 year articling
-bar exam

If you graduated at 22ish, you'd be 29 (minimum) before you have both.
Sr. Member
Apr 27, 2008
721 posts
18 upvotes
noktrnl wrote:
Mar 10th, 2009 10:07 pm
This is a damn long road.

CA = 2.5 years, including:
-articling
-UFE
-writing the LSAT during this time
The 30-month prescribed work experience is no more. It has been increased to 3 years. And realistically you would get your CA after 36 months at the earliest if you work for Big 4, because you need to exclude vacations, study leaves, and firm training days. 4 years is not unheard of since some people have trouble getting enough chargeable hours in specific areas, like tax.

It's a damn long road alright.
Newbie
Apr 6, 2009
3 posts
Toronto
Octavius wrote:
Mar 9th, 2009 7:54 pm
Lawyers can hold many positions - not just legal. Saying that corporate lawyers would only be able to work in the legal department of an organization is actually rather narrow-minded (not you, your statement). It is true that a lawyer's talent and training would be put to better use in a legal/litigation department, but that doesn't mean that they can't take on other tasks or work in other challenging positions. Many lawyers (or "legally trained professionals") head up top positions within organizations - both profit and non-profit.

Classic case in point - Ted Rogers went to Osgoode Hall Law School (York). What did he end up doing? Starting up (well, sort of) a small business and he grew it to the largest competitor for television/wireless/internet services in Canada.

Ummm you forgot to say that Ted Rogers also got a Bachelors of commerce from U of T, which I would say... has more to do with his success in building Rogers Inc.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 29, 2008
2590 posts
166 upvotes
if you're interested in practicing law, get a law degree. if you're interested in corporate employment in general, get a b.comm and have at it. why would you get a law degree if you wanted to work in operations, marketing, finance etc.?
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