Students who plan to attend law school should investigate how to combine a degree in accounting with a law degree. Many people develop an interest in law early in their academic career and want to find the right undergraduate degree that will increase their chances of being selected into the law school of their choosing. According to the American Bar Association, law schools do not require a certain type of undergraduate degree to gain entrance into their programs. However, the course work should be challenging, and students must demonstrate academic excellence in their chosen undergraduate major.
Benefits of an Undergraduate Degree in Accounting to Prepare for Law School
The most common type of accounting undergraduate is the Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. This degree option encourages the development of quantitatively based, problem solving skills which are very similar to the abilities needed to conduct the logic exercises practiced by law school students during their case study assignments. Additionally, nearly all degrees in accounting include coursework on business law and federal taxation that exposes students to the same regulatory constraints that govern corporations and public organizations as those studied in law school programs. As corporate regulations are updated to deter fraudulent activities within private and public organizations, the need for business professionals with investigative accounting skills grows. The forensic accounting coursework that is available even at the undergraduate level presents a good introduction to the legal aspects of accounting and its role in the criminal justice system.
J.D. and Master of Accounting Double Major
It is no coincidence that many lawyers also hold the professional Certified Public Accounting designation. Accounting is considered the language of business, and attorneys practicing corporate law must demonstrate excellence in this area. Also, many accounting firms employ CPA’s as well as tax attorneys to handle high-profile corporate clients. To make themselves more competitive, some business professionals hold both the Juris Doctor and the CPA credential. A direct path to this professional goal is the Master of Accountancy and J.D. double degree program offered by many schools. This extremely challenging program paves the way for aspiring attorneys to take the CPA and bar examination in the early stages of their careers.
Related Resource: Accounting Degree Scholarships
Another somewhat overlooked benefit of combining a law degree with an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting is the opportunity for valuable internships. Because the accounting vocation is so closely tied to the legal profession, many accounting internships are conducted at law offices. The CPA requirements call for supervised work experience so it is commonly expected that accounting students will have an internship to gain this experience. This type of internship is particularly valuable to accountants double majoring in law because it also serves as an important networking opportunity when the internship takes place at a reputable law firm.
Business professionals who love a challenge and know how to position themselves to be competitive in their chosen area of study often consider double majoring in two of the most sought after disciplines in the market place. Opting to combine a degree in accounting with a law degree is arguably the most efficient way to earn the professional credentials for accounting and law.