Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

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thomaspickles
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Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby thomaspickles » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:02 am

LSAT: 155
Undergrad GPA: 3.05
Undergrad Degree: Computer Engineering

I am currently working as an Computer Engineer in the greater Columbus, OH area. I've had 2.5 full years of experience, and I decided to get either an MBA, Master of Engineering Management, or JD.

I finally decided upon the JD, as in my field there is a continued emphasis on energy reliability and continued government control/regulation expansion. I also felt that the field would set me apart from everyone with their MBA's.

I didn't study for the LSAT aside from taking a few sections of a practice test. I didn't want to NEED to study for this, as I'm taking it part-time, and I figured if I did poorly that would be a good sign to not continue.

My only choice in the area for a part-time program is CAPITAL UNIVERSITY. I've been now reading some really bad things about these "Tier 3, Tier 4" schools that are making me reconsider my option. Capital shows up as "NOT RANKED" in USN&WR Rankings, however their part-time program ranks as #54. I do know that Capital University's graduates are at least taken somewhat seriously in the local area, as there are many other Capital Law graduates in the Columbus attorney's offices and public court systems - but staying in this area of course isn't a certainty.

I would be 90% reimbursed for tuition by my employer, so cost isn't a huge concern.

I want to know, in this forums opinion, if attending a weaker law school can help further my career - or if a MBA would be a better course of action as a padding to my current career. I thought that a law degree could help distance myself from everyone who seems to have an MBA, but now I'm reconsidering. Thanks for any help, opinions, or suggestions - but please keep in mind that law is not and will not be the main focus of my career.

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Icculus
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby Icculus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:16 am

Why do you want a law degree? How exactly would it set you apart in your field? It seems to me an MBA would offer more options for advancement or a Masters of Engineering Management may help move you forward as well. The question is really which degree will further your career most? It doesn't seem like you want to be a lawyer so I would think the JD is not really what you should go for. Though it is nice you have an employer picking up 90% of the tab.

thomaspickles
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby thomaspickles » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:23 am

Yeah, I guess I'm just not sure. I've been advised from someone high up the ladder in my field at another local company that law would be the way to go - but then I guess that's only one opinion.

Capital also offers a JD/MBA program that's 5.5 years long - so that would be nice, but wow, that's a long-term commitment.

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haus
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby haus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:40 am

Thomaspickles,

As you likely already know, the path that you are considering would be very non-traditional, especially by the standards of TLS.

Being able to pursue further education while keeping the cost under control is a nice first step. Even if you are not facing a large pile of debt you should consider that going to school part-time for four years on top of what is likely a rather demanding full-time job is non-trivial.

Although I think that earning a JD on top of a Computer Engineering degree and REAL experience opens up some interesting doors, but it is quite likely not going to be the doors that most JD are looking to go through.

For what it is worth I am rather biased. I am have just wrapped up a Masters in IT, and I am sitting on 15 years of IT experience, most of this in the DC area. I have spent a lot of time dealing with regulation/policy/contractual issues that are the source of more problems for the organization I support then the technical issues. I believe one of the common causes for these problems is a significant shortage of technical knowledge among those who draft and/or approve this mountain of paperwork. Having a JD, in my opinion, would be more valuable than a MBA, when it comes to these matters. Although time will tell.

Short answer, I think you have an interesting possibility ahead of you, but it will not be easy and it will not be a slam dunk win.

Good luck with whatever path you should happen to chose.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:37 am

Not worth it bro. You've got a good career and I don't see how a JD (or an MBA for that matter) will help you in any tangible way. You're going to spend a lot of time and money getting something that will almost certainly be totally worthless.

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BearState
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby BearState » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:43 am

I don't know how a JD would help in your current field, but with a JD from Capital you will probably not get work as a lawyer.

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Teflon_Jeff
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby Teflon_Jeff » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:31 am

OP: I would take a realistic look at what profit you'll make, long-term, in income by acquiring a JD. Then balance that against the cost, both monetary and time-wise.

Also, are you planning to pass the bar and be a Lawyer, or just the engineer who knows a bunch of legal stuff? Does one make more Moolah than the other?

Personally, were I to embark on your path, I'd want some at least minimal guarantees of better income. I'd probably see if there are better programs as well, but that depends on the necessity of preftige.

RodneyBoonfield
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby RodneyBoonfield » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:45 pm

Teflon_Jeff wrote:OP: I would take a realistic look at what profit you'll make, long-term, in income by acquiring a JD. Then balance that against the cost, both monetary and time-wise.

RodneyBoonfield
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby RodneyBoonfield » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:47 pm

thomaspickles wrote:Yeah, I guess I'm just not sure. I've been advised from someone high up the ladder in my field at another local company that law would be the way to go - but then I guess that's only one opinion.


I would really research this before taking the plunge. The 90% reimbursement is pretty awesome though.

humbugger
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby humbugger » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:44 pm

OP, read up on patent law. It's a very time intensive career, but worth considering. You have a perfect undergrad degree for the field, as EE/CS people are in highest demand.

Still, I would be hesitant to go this route unless you can line up a patent law job before you start law school (which is possible), because law tends to be very sensitive to prestige, which your (prospective) school hasn't got...

6lehderjets
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby 6lehderjets » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:00 pm

90% law school tuition reimbursement?!

Who do you work for?

siscokyd
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby siscokyd » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:16 pm

In the Columbus area, its got to be either Nationwide ins. or JpMorgan/Chase bank

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haus
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby haus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:19 pm

6lehderjets wrote:90% law school tuition reimbursement?!

Who do you work for?

Quite a few major corporations will pick up the lion's share of school cost for a graduate degree. When I worked for General Dynamics they picked up 100% of my tuition and books for my Masters degree. Raytheon had a similar program when I had worked for them.

6lehderjets
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby 6lehderjets » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:59 pm

But 90% can't be the norm. Most employers will provide an annual tuition reimbursement of X amount of dollars. Usually in the range of a few thousand dollars.

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haus
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby haus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:57 pm

6lehderjets wrote:But 90% can't be the norm. Most employers will provide an annual tuition reimbursement of X amount of dollars. Usually in the range of a few thousand dollars.

It depends, different companies (and sometimes different divisions within companies) have differing policies. I had a co-worker who had the company pick-up the full tuition (but not travel expenses or fees) for an Executive MBA at Wharton. I had GD pick up the full tuition, fees, and books (I paid my own travel cost) for my Masters.

I have heard that GD has since implemented a cost cap per degree ($60k, I think), but this can be bent with executive approval.

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BearState
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby BearState » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:50 am

Is an EMBA from Wharton as highly regarded as a normal MBA from Wharton? Or is it less about prestige and more about actual skills?

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haus
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Re: Should I go to Law School Part-Time (Capital), or forget it?

Postby haus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:05 am

BearState wrote:Is an EMBA from Wharton as highly regarded as a normal MBA from Wharton? Or is it less about prestige and more about actual skills?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I can tell you that the organization I was with at the time was rather taken with him/it. Not that long after completing his degree he received a considerable promotion, and about a year or two later took a very nice senior executive position with another firm.




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