Health Law of MPH/JD programs?

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Health Law of MPH/JD programs?

Postby HeMustBeMagic » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:26 pm

So I'm looking for some, as mentioned health law, or mph/jd programs. I'd ideally like to go into something that involves international health and law...

...anyone have any ideas?

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Re: Health Law of MPH/JD programs?

Postby ben4847 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:31 pm

I think health law is about the regulatory regime. Such as, what special regulations you need to satisfy when investors (like Bain capital) buy and sell health care facilities.

I don't know what an MPH is, but I suspect it is policy oriented.

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Re: Health Law of MPH/JD programs?

Postby spleenworship » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:38 pm

A large number of schools offer joint MPH/JDs. Unless you are really sure you want to spend the rest of your career doing health policy though (and mostly if not entirely in this country), it isn't worth it.

I seriously considered epidemiology and ended up deciding against it to go to law school. I honestly believe that a JD/MPH probably has less job opportunities than a regular JD... though the ones they have are probably pretty neat if you like policy (turns out I don't, thank you law school for teaching me that!)

Dual degrees are almost always a waste of time. How about you become a lawyer and then get a masters degree related to whatever job you are lucky enough to get with your JD? Or, alternatively, get an MPH and then see if a JD would help you out.

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Re: Health Law of MPH/JD programs?

Postby handsonthewheel » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:20 pm

If you're looking to do work that is not strictly legal, then it's possibly a decent idea. However, if you don't want to do a strictly legal job, and if you can avoid getting the JD and still have some opportunities, that is pretty preferable. Having a JD is not flexible, it gives you the opportunity to take the bar to be a lawyer. You may develop critical thinking skills and you may get "smarter," but you can easily do the same for much less money.

If you want to do health care policy, MPH or other degree is the starting point (although the masters degrees in that, and related, fields don't result in much opportunity generation. Or not as much as they should considering the investment.

If you want to do legal work, go to law school and don't get the masters. Take classes in the area of interest, figure out what jobs are even out there (saying "international health and law" is absurdly broad and makes it seem like you really don't have a solid idea, just some interests, which is fine - but definitely not a reason to go to law school).

I looked into this a while ago and talked to JD/MPH's doing policy work, although not at the international level (which, again, what does this really mean?), and they didn't really recommend the MPH. You learn what you need to in some classes, but mostly in on the job training.

I think the first step is to figure out exactly what "international health and law" means, because that phrase is amorphous to the point of being useless.

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Re: Health Law of MPH/JD programs?

Postby fluffybunny » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:37 am

I am a JD/MPH student. I graduate in May and I’m going into straight law practice (that is, clerkship followed by mid-law).

Having the joint degree undoubtedly helped me to get experience in health care regulatory law. I’ve been the beneficiary of a couple of concrete advantages:

1. Even though most of the MPH is either math (which I like, but isn’t really relevant to a regulatory practice) or imprecise policy (like “the kids are sooooo fat and that’s bad” and “food deserts make me cry”), but employers don’t seem to know that. Instead, they seem to take the MPH as a sign that you are interested in health care issues. From what I’ve observed the JD/MPH student edges out the regular law student who says he likes health care in hiring/practice group decisions. From my own experience, being a joint degree student got me in-house at a major hospital for a summer (they don’t even interview non-joint students), which in turn got me into a good firm with a strong health care practice the next summer. Which brings me to my next point:

2. You get an extra summer! You’re basically a 2L for two years (at least in my program, I know some others actually shove the whole thing into 3 years) which means you get to bite at the OCI 2L apple twice. This is such an enormous perk that I actually think it’s not crazy to add a joint degree in your second year following an OCI strike-out just to get the second chance.

3. At least at my school, the funding for non-law programs is way better. It’s not terribly difficult to get an RA or TA position that pays tuition and pays you. The law school positions just pay an hourly wage (I’m sure this varies school by school). For me, getting both actually ended up being cheaper than just doing a JD (not counting opportunity cost).

4. It’s hard to know at the beginning of law school whether you’ll be interested in the practice of law or policy work. A joint degree isn’t a bad way to hedge. Even if, like me, you find that law practice is much more appealing, I think that having an MPH will provide me with different exit options than my peers at the firm.

5. MPH degrees are strangely sexy right now (strangely because they’re kind of dumb—see below). Partners seems to think that they’ll be a good way to connect with health care clients. Couldn’t tell you if that’s true at this point.


1. Public health is kind of dumb. If you’re in law school, public health school will bore you. The quantitative stuff is challenging, but not terribly relevant and the policy stuff is mind-numbing. Whoever said something about hearts-and-rainbows crap nicely summed it up. A good portion of public health people just want the world to be a tobacco-free place with affordable easy access to safe recreational activities and local organic food and not an obese child in sight.

2. An extra year of your life. As my mother is fond of reminding me, this brings me another year closer to high-risk pregnancy. Plus all your law peers graduate before you so the “4L” year is painful.

tl;dr—JD/MPH good for career options, but MPH is dumb and joint degree takes a long time.

edited for typo.

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Re: Health Law of MPH/JD programs?

Postby typ3 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:31 pm

Typically these sorts of health law jobs consist of doing regulatory compliance for hospitals / hmo's / insurance companies.

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