Should I go to law school?

Okay, here is my current law school situation. I was hoping you guys could have some input into my decision.

This last year I have been pursuing an interest in medicine but finally decided that while being a doctor is cool, all of the insurance crap isn't so cool. I have went back to looking at law schools and applied to only a few schools very late in their deadlines (basically the last day). Unfortunately, I didn't get in to any schools except for Georgetown, waitlisted and Columbia, and still haven't heard from Harvard.

I was considering taking another year off from school and reapplying in hopes that I can get into one of the law schools I am much more interested in (Columbia and Stanford). I have very high core scores (3.8 gpa and 99 percentile LSAT) as well as some nice resume items (LSAT instructor, wrote honor's thesis, etc.) Do you guys think I should or should I just go to Georgetown? 120,000 dollars worth of debt is a lot for me to commit to.

Thanks,

Z

I came out of law school in '98 with $68,000 in student loans. I've paid $700/month for the past 5 years and still owe $33,000.

$120k is a lot of dough. If I were you, I'd take a year off, establish residency, and apply to UVA or UNC-Chapel Hill. You'll be afforded the same professional opportunities coming out of one of those schools as you would G'town, and only rack up about $60k in loans.

Good luck with your decision.

I was actually thinking about that Naving, getting a joint MD/JD degree. But the truth is, what the fuck would I do with it? I would much rather get a JD and a masters in public health (the area I am most interested in) or a MD and the masters. Anyways, you guys think I should take the next year off?

Adam

If you take the year off, you really should plan to do something
with that year to optimise your selection chances into either med
or law school. don't waste it working at macdonalds.

GO TO MED SCHOOL!!!!

actually, I agree with Joeslick. There are a hell of a lot more jobs out there for doctors, compared with a hell of a lot less for lawyers.

If I was in your place, I'd choose med school (I'm already studying law right now).

Yes, but being a doctor isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

I think the kicker that made me not want to go to med school was this article I read online about how all these children of doctor's basically hated their parent because they were never home. That's not something I would ever want to have. While I know law also demands long hours, being a lawyer also seems to have stricter hours and has the potential to have good hours, depending on the job.

Why do you guys say med school?

"Why do you guys say med school?"

I just mentioned above - there are far more medical jobs than there are legal jobs (there are far more law graduates / lawyers out there than med grads / doctors).

What you said about "stricter" hours .. that's not entirely true for lawyers. I suppose it comes down what area of law you want to work in, and whether you work in a major law firm or a small one, or whether you choose to open your own practice where you are in full control of how many hours you want to work. We're not talking shift work here. Lawyers notoriously complain of long hours. I know some lawyers here who start their day in the office at 8am and don't finish until 9pm, particularly when they have a big case coming up, or during crucial periods when their Number 1 client is in the middle of contract negotiations for a lucrative deal.

The same can be said of the medical field (and any other job, really). That article you read could've been about lawyer parents, business professionals, or parents who have night shifts whom their kids never get to see, what about those parents who work 2 jobs to pay the bills.

In the medical field for example, I have known anaesthesists who have it easy in terms of hours. For example they are usually present during the initial stages of a major operation early in the day, then when the operation is under way and the patient stabilises, they take the rest of the day off at the golf course (with their pagers of course, in case of an emergency), they may come back at certain times of the operation for further anaesthesia but they really don't have to be present for the entire op.

On the other hand, if you are an ER doctor, well, the hours can be very long, during which you are on call for emergencies, you catch sleep whenever you can if possible. And yet when it comes down to it, it is shift work, once your shift is over, it's over. No homework to bring home, just a big paycheck to do whatever you want with.

I am speaking as someone who works closely with doctors (I work in the medical research field), I'm a part time law student. I couldn't be stuffed spending another three years living in poverty as a PhD student. A PhD is the only way I can get those big jobs in the research field. So I opted for law instead because it's relatively easier to fit into my schedule. If I could I would've gone for medicine but that means another 4 years as a fulltime student (I have a homeloan to pay off). I'm thinking that medicine would be worth it though.

gakami,

Do the doctor's you work with enjoy their work?

I know doctors who love, I mean absolutely love their work. I also know
doctors who don't seem to give a rats ass either way, it's just a job for
them. The other type of doctor I know are the ones who are just
focused on the job at hand, it's like they have blinkers on and their
world is what they are doing or have to do.

I must say I have never met a doctor (yet) who openly expresses a
dislike for what they do but that may probably be due to the
professional work conditions (can you imagine lying on a hospital bed
and overhearing your doctor saying he just wants out??). I'm sure there
are some out there, but that's the same for any job. You know what
though, I hear about a lot more lawyers who complain about their long
hours..

I have a lot of exposure to med students too (I am based in the faculty
of medicine at a major university here), and that's where you're able to
see future doctors being themselves. I can already point out to you
which ones will survive in their profession, which ones will be good
compassionate caring doctors, which ones will be the insensitive
holier-than-thou assholes. I would say most of the ones who end up
quitting the profession are the ones who go into medicine under
pressure from parents & peer pressure, grand delusions of superiority,
the ones who have never really thought about any other option in life.

I'm rambling .. to answer your question, yes the doctors I work with
seem to enjoy their work in the sense that I've never heard them
complain about it.

My family are all doctors and lawyers. I would say being a doctor is better. My uncle is a radiologist and he works only 3 weeks per month and makes a little more than all of my lawyer aunt/uncles.

Doctors make more money (higher average, lower gap between top and bottom guys) and are better respected than lawyers. No one tells doctor jokes. Lawyers often face a trade-off between meaningful, low-paid work and dull, well-paid work; doctors get paid well to save lives. Doctors hate dealing with insurance companies and paying high malpractice insurance premiums, but lawyers have to do marketing (in addition to normal billable work) and deal with assholes all day (people who are not assholes are much less likely to need a lawyer); I'm not sure who has to deal with more petty bs.

As far as the insurance stuff goes, you'll probably be working for an HMO. You'll make less money than old-school doctors in private practice, but work fewer hours and have someone else take care of all the business management stuff. HMO policies will constrain your ability to practice medicine somewhat, but the glory days of fee-for-service medicine are never going to come back. The government doesn't have the money (SS crisis) to pay for it, and neither does big business (international competition). So, put the complaints from old school docs in context; it's different now. Ultimately, I expect the U.S. to end up with a single-payer system. When that happens, you'll work even fewer hours, get paid less and have much less high-tech stuff, but more people will get basic health care. Doctors will have a similar quality of life to public college professors.