What’s On the Menu

Alissa Valdes on her decision to pursue a dual JD/LLM in Taxation.

Alissa Valdes (JD/LLM'18)When I applied to BU Law, I was mesmerized by all the study abroad options the school offered to willing and able JD students. Even more enticing than the idea of living somewhere new for one or two semesters was the fact that I could earn a second degree at the same time. I set my sights on a semester in Spain where I could take classes towards a Masters degree in International Business.

Fast forward to 2L fall semester, and I realized that I was actually going to follow through with my goal of getting a Masters degree while in law school… just a completely different degree than I thought. After falling in love with my Federal Income Tax course (as well as Professor Feld, who is the absolute best at making tax interesting), I came to terms with the fact that I not only hugely enjoyed the area of tax law, but I was pretty good at it too. Thus, I began my academic career in the Graduate Tax Program and have never been more grateful for the program.

The Graduate Tax Program at BU Law school is truly one of a kind. Generally, the program requires students to pass 24 credit hours of their large offering of tax courses. Students can be residential, meaning they are able to attend courses in person on BU’s campus, or online, with all live-courses video-taped and available on BU’s website. However, current JD students interested in their LLM in Taxation have the ability to do a dual-degree program. With this option, students can take both LLM and JD courses simultaneously, with both courses counting towards each degree. This is the program I’m currently a part of and, having been accepted to the dual-degree program in the spring of my 2L year, will still be able to graduate on time (May 2018)–but with two degrees instead of just one! Even better? I will be earning two degrees FOR THE PRICE of one degree!!! That’s right, no extra cost to be in the dual-degree program. I could hardly believe it myself when they told me either.

I know what you may be thinking: “I’m a 1L and I have NO idea what I want to be doing as a career!” or “I’m a 2L but I don’t know if I like tax that much to get a whole degree in it.” If you’re a 1L, it’s completely fine to have completely zero idea what you want to do with your legal career. I came in thinking I was going to be an international corporate lawyer just because I wanted to travel around the world—literally nothing at all to do with anything legal. But, I always think it’s a great idea to know what your law school has to offer if you don’t already, so go out and ask around what older classmates are doing with their time at BU law. If you’re a 2L, I would say branch out and take classes that you don’t think you’d be good at or don’t think you’d have an interest in. I only took Federal Income Tax because my friend said it was a recommended class and he promised it wouldn’t be that hard. (*PSA: it’s a difficult class so he’s lucky I ended up loving it).

Whatever you end up doing, you shouldn’t graduate from BU without at least knowing and trying some of the great academic things they have to offer!

Reported by Alissa Valdes (JD/LLM’18), originally posted to the BU Law Student Blog

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