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Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning

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Pearface
Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 17
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Tue Jun 17, 2008 01:23 PM
I am attending the July 11 and 12 session. Congrats as well. When are you attending Legal?
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legaleagle
Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 12
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Wed Jun 18, 2008 02:52 AM
July 25th and 26th. I am waiting for the hard copy materials that Ms. Nelson said were on the way.

Have a safe trip to you guys and congrats again.

[Edited by legaleagle on 18 Jun 2008]

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Pearface
Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 17
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:30 PM
Legal,

Most of the stuff she sent is is available on the school's website, like schedule for orientation, maps, etc.

Good luck.
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legaleagle
Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 12
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Wed Jun 18, 2008 03:17 PM
Legal,

Most of the stuff she sent is is available on the school's website, like schedule for orientation, maps, etc.

Good luck.


Thanks. I'm headed over to the site right now.
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ypm_79
Joined: 17 Sep 2008
Posts: 2
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:04 PM
Hi guys, I am considering the U of A Tax LLM-distance..can you tell me how is the program? Is it worth it?

Thanks
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legaleagle
Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 12
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Sun Sep 21, 2008 02:15 AM
Even though there are two classes per semester, we only take one class at a time. Next Monday is our first final. Then, we'll all have some definitive opinions.

The live webcast, live class participation, and depth of information is just as intensive as a traditional course. The reading is generous, so prepare to juggle it with work, family, social life, and etc. In other words, its not a cake walk simply because its a distance learning program.

Is it worth it? Not really sure at this point in time. Stay tuned.
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adw2552
Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 1
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Tue Dec 02, 2008 05:15 PM
This is a great thread; thanks for all the info. I've been reading a lot about Alabama and NYU and their online programs, and am curious to know what you think now having spent almost a full semester in Alabama's program. I'd love to do NYU but considering the expense and competitiveness, something like Alabama's program may be more up my alley.
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ypm_79
Joined: 17 Sep 2008
Posts: 2
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Sat Jan 31, 2009 04:08 AM
Can anyone update? I would like to know your experiences, I am interested in requesting admission.
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dominastl
Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 5
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Thu Mar 05, 2009 06:35 PM
I've just applied for this program. My fingers are crossed! :-)
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tntjd
Joined: 10 Jun 2009
Posts: 2
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Thu Jun 11, 2009 08:08 PM
Hello all! I enjoyed reading the comments so much that I decided to post my own! I too applied and was accepted to the program. I am looking forward to attending one of the orientation sessions in July. I am waiting for my "package" to arrive so I can go ahead with making the arrangements.

I looked at NYU as well, but frankly you get a better bang for your buck at UA...albeit not as prestigeous, perhaps. Regardless, I am a big believer in the idea that you get back what you put in. Both programs make similar information available; how hard you work to gain the available knowledge is the key! Having an LL.M. is good, having the knowledge of tax law is even better! Kudos to UA for being on the cutting edge of merging education and technology!

There is no way I could have attended a conventional LL.M. program based on my current position and location. This represents a great opportunity for people who are in that situation and yet want to pursue a reputable program. I give a great deal of deference to the fact that UA is a good nationally recognized school.

Someone posted a comment about taking two classes a term, but one at a time. How does that work, if you don't mind my asking? Does anyone have any recomendations on available treatises, etc. that might make for good reading before classes start in the Fall?

Congrats to all of you who decided to attend. I look forward to meeting some of you at the orientation! Have a great summer!
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legaleagle
Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 12
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:29 PM
Even though there are two classes per semester, we only take one class at a time. Next Monday is our first final. Then, we'll all have some definitive opinions.

The live webcast, live class participation, and depth of information is just as intensive as a traditional course. The reading is generous, so prepare to juggle it with work, family, social life, and etc. In other words, its not a cake walk simply because its a distance learning program.

Is it worth it? Not really sure at this point in time. Stay tuned.


UPDATE:

I completed 6 courses (4 lectures + 2 papers). I am no longer in the program because I was afraid that it would not help with my job prospects. I only have a few years of practice under my belt. Then I moved, and took a break to stay home with my kids. Now, that I am far away from my home law school, getting this LLM, which is also far from my current location, would not have increased my job search marketability.

Instead, I transferred to a local Master of Taxation program, which gives me access to on-campus recruiters, to both law and accounting firms. And makes me eligible for my CPA, as well.

Had I received an acceptance from NYU's Online LLM, I'd be singing another tune, because that name alone opens doors nationally. Whereas, UA's LLM (name alone, not content) still has a little ways to go. Those of you who have many years of practice will most certainly fare better in their job search, because you're bringing experience as well as this advanced education into the mix.

That is the only reason I left the UA Taxation LLM program. It is is a very intense and thorough program. It will prepare you for a tax practice. And you are not getting short-changed because of its online structure. The professors answer questions via email, live online during class, and the students interact with each other through online study groups, and through chats during and after class. Some students who live close by, get together in person for study groups as well.

While the Professor is lecturing live, there is also visual presentations with slides, given simultaneously, to keep you following along. You gotta keep up with the reading, because you meet twice a week, for 2 hours each class. And the professors use up the entire 2 hours to squeeze in all the tax info as possible. They usually go over the assigned problems, and work out mixing Doctrine with application to get to the correct answer. Be forewarned, some professors are known to go round and round, and leave you wondering what the answers are, which is so irritating and confusing.

Sometimes class goes over time, if there are a lot of student questions. Some professors dont mind, and others will only allow questions at the end of class or at the end of certain sections, to make sure you're getting all of the info without running outta time.

Some teachers use the Socratic Method by assigning problems ahead of time, so there is forced participation. Which in my opinion, keeps it less monotone and more interesting, as opposed to listening to the same voice, for 2 hours straight.

The only critique I have is that there are often a lot of technical issues, with losing audio signals or visuals, or both. But if you plan ahead of time with your internet provider, to make sure everything's in working order, you should be okay. And for every class, there is a staff UA techie guy hanging in the background who will help you out.

If you miss a class, there are archived audio lectures, and visuals of the slides, the following day. But try not to miss too much, 'cause listening to 2 hours of class, and then preparing for the next with reading assignments can get tough. Besides, there is a policy that students are only allowed 3 absences.

Also with tax, a lot of the reading involves tax examples and problems, so get used to working out the examples ahead of time, so you know where you need help and have questions.

It is just like law school, in the sense that you do a lot of reading ahead of time and on your own. Even though the professors know their stuff, you spend most of your time in the program diving into the code and example workbooks, learning a lot - if not the bulk of it - on your own.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

[Edited by legaleagle on 11 Jun 2009]

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ClayPigeon
Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 2
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:57 PM
The ABA is mute on LLM programs. As long as the LLM program does not interfere with the ABA accredited law school, the ABA has no opinion on the program itself. On the contrary, if the LLM brings down the law school, the ABA may pull accreditation if the law school either fails to bring up standards or do away with the program itself.

In connection with tax, the IRS looks at the top rated brands such as Georgetown, NYU, University of Florida, the University of Miami, etc. Without these top brands, whether you go to Alabama, Cooley, University of CA, be prepared to jump in the trenches and sock it out for the remaining scraps. Thus, if you want to throw good money after bad in tax programs, consider carefully where you want to attend. The LLM program is nothing but a cash cow for a law school and, in this case, it seems Alabama is riding on the coat tails of its law school which is ranked pretty high, but hopefully not its football team with its problems.

I know nothing about internet programs, however, what differnce if you go to Alabama or Phoenix? Given that the IRS care less except for top brands, the funny thing law school academia too, as well as large national firms, dollar for dollar it seems clear what the choice is. You wantto work in Alabama, maybe the Alabama degree brings you good tidings, but outside of Alabama, what do you have? It seems like my cousin Vinny all over again... what's grits?
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ClayPigeon
Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 2
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Mon Jul 06, 2009 05:54 PM
My morning interview with a NY national firm does not look good. Although I graduated in the top10% of my law school class from a mid western local (not a Tier 1) law school, the partner suggested that an LLM in Tax from one of the brand schools would have been better than the one I received from a national university but not in the same caliber as Georgetown, NYU, University of Florida and University of Miami. My closest friend who received her LLM in Tax from the NYU, and who arranged my interview for me this morning, requested that I go with her, but I wanted to stay closer to home. The price one pays. Looks like Toto and I are going back to Kansas.
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tntjd
Joined: 10 Jun 2009
Posts: 2
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:18 PM
What law school did you attend for your LLM?
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bamaLLM
Joined: 21 Jul 2009
Posts: 2
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Wed Jul 22, 2009 08:39 PM
I am a current student in the Alabama LLM program. A couple of things I wish I had known a year ago.

1. We started with about 150 students. Going into comprehensive exams we have just over 1/2 that number still in the program. People are out for various reasons - grades, money, changed their minds, whatever.
2. You must maintain a B average (3.0). A B- is not a B. If you fall below a B average, you have a limited amount of time to bring your grade up or face being booted or subject to an appeal in front of the review committee. I encourage you to review the student handbook in this regard. I haven't faced this situation, but a lot of very good classmates have, and some opted to leave the program rather than pay tuition again and risk being booted.
3. There is a high level of tax knowledge assumed from the very beginning. As someone who has practiced for many years, I feel that a lot of the instruction is geared towards those just coming out of law school. I also don't think the classes are taught in the correct order. For example, we had corporate law before we covered the basics of basis in capital transactions.
4. If you are married and have a family and significant work responsibilities, be prepared for the overwhelming amount of reading and class preparation. I cannot emphasize this point enough. At orientation last year, the program seemed very manageable. In hindsight, I will say that I have managed, but not easily. The program is advertised as being geared for the "working professional." I'm not sure I agree with that characterization given the reading assignments.
5. I did not enroll in LLM school to become a "tax lawyer." I did it to enhance my current practice. I could not have obtained an LLM elsewhere given my family and work commitments.
6. I will be pleased to obtain my LLM from Alabama in the long run, but have honestly struggled with whether to stay in the program. Once you reach a certain point though, it is hard to leave.
7. I agree that in the Southeast, this program will have more panache. Elsewhere, I doubt it. I do like that this program requires classroom attendance and that you are essentially in school nearly the same as if you were on campus. The technology needs work, I agree, but this is not one of those "go at your own pace" distance learning programs. There are standards in place and what I consider pretty stringent requirements to be met. The drop in class size supports this view, I believe.

Bottom line - this is a good program for what I am looking to achieve. If you want to work for the IRS or some large firm, or in house somewhere, this LLM degree might not fit the bill. If you enroll, be mindful of the reading and assignments and know that it will be a lot harder than you expect. I hope this overview provides some useful information. Good luck.
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Panache
Joined: 12 Aug 2009
Posts: 1
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Thu Aug 13, 2009 04:56 PM
Panache??!! Only the top programs like NYU, University of Florida, Georgetown, and the 2 or 3 others make the cut when interviewing with the IRS or those partners who have an LLM in Tax from those institututions. Hey bamaLLM, ask your professors who received their LLM in Tax from NYU, Georgetown, University of Florida, and I am sure many of them are adjunct, whether they or their firm would interview any of the students in your program. I wonder.

LLM Tax programs for the remainder of the law schools probably bring in as much cash as the US government printing more money. Take a look at this ABA article:

Careers
Law Grad with LLM Lands Just One Job Interview from 300 Resumés

Posted Dec 3, 2008, 10:29 am CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

The job market for law graduates was relatively strong for 10 years—so strong, in fact, that last year, 92 percent of legal grads found jobs in their field, the strongest showing in two decades.

This year, though, things are different, CNNMoney.com reports. For the first time in recent history, the job market is contracting. That’s bad news for the more than 150,000 students in law school.

Andrew Magdy is an example. He has a law degree from Michigan State and an LLM in taxation from Washington University—and $150,000 in student loans, the CNN story says. The first payment is due this month.

Magdy told the publication he sent out about 300 resumes, but landed just one job interview. "Every day I send out resumés, both electronically and through the mail, and every day I receive responses that the law firms are not currently hiring," he said.

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bamaLLM
Joined: 21 Jul 2009
Posts: 2
Alabama Tax LLM--distance learning
Fri Aug 14, 2009 02:32 PM
As I thought I made clear in my entry, I did not enroll in Alabama's LLM program with the intention of working at a top firm or for the IRS. I am a solo practitioner at a point in my career during which I want to improve my estate planning and corporate law skills by furthering my tax studies. The prestigious programs at NYU, Miami, Georgetown, or UF would not have suited my schedule or family. I am puzzled that my original entry seemed to set you off for some reason. I was simply trying to offer an honest assessment of the program in response to previous posts.
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