JD vs. MPA

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Which should I choose for a career in legislative advocacy?

Washington University School of Law (or another non T14 regional law school)
10
16%
Princeton University - Wilson School of Public Affairs (or another T5 Public Affairs Program)
51
84%
 
Total votes: 61

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evilgenius
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JD vs. MPA

Postby evilgenius » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:40 pm

I'm hoping to work in the gov't or non-profit sectors as a policy analyst, advocate, or lobbyist. I believe that a law degree will provide me with both the knowledge and skills to pursue one of these options and the option to switch careers in the future (if this plan doesn't work out as expected). But I'm debating whether or not a law degree is necessary. At this point I've been accepted to several top 10 public policy programs as well as a few T1 law schools (though no T14's).

I was wondering if anyone else is going through this or can offer me any feedback on which is a better option. I've posted a poll above with the highest ranked law school and public policy program by which I've been admitted (I'm definitely considering other programs) to help guide the discussion.

Flanker1067
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby Flanker1067 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:44 pm

I honestly have no idea, and don't know much about schools like princeton's "wilson" school. I do think however, that the princeton option is probably cheaper, and law school may make you incur so much debt that you don't have the option to pursue what you want. Just my thoughts, the high debt of law school makes it risky.

cr073137
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby cr073137 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:48 pm

My recommendation is to do a joint degree. Many schools will allow you to contruct your own joint degree with another school, especially if it is the Wilson school. I'm actually thinking of doing this myself, but I'm def going to law school, and during my L1, ill make the decision of what school to go to.

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kittenmittons
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby kittenmittons » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:49 pm

MPA is just another worthless degree for lib arts kids with no marketable skills. It's probably the only thing worse than a JD

09042014
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby 09042014 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:52 pm

kittenmittons wrote:MPA is just another worthless degree for lib arts kids with no marketable skills. It's probably the only thing worse than a JD


Does it cost as much as a JD?

SweeneyTodd
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby SweeneyTodd » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:53 pm

I can tell you after working in local government for 3 years, getting into policy is really about who you know (and alot of that comes from where you went to school or where you were able to intern). It definitely helps to go to the BEST school. My vote is for Princeton if you're gonna get the master's.

A law degree will help you, but I don't really think it gives you a boost over the MPA/MPP (considering your career goals) should you attend Princeton. But, you could always do the dual degree thing. That being said, it really is important to use your time in school to network like hell. Seriously, like as much time as you spend studying you should be networking as well. If you can't get into a T14 for law, just make sure the law school you do attend has a great alumni network. Furthermore, make sure the law school you choose to attend has alumni working in the field for which you would like to lobby or deal with policy. Make sure that school has GOOD internships or clinics with organizations or government agencies you are intersted in.
Last edited by SweeneyTodd on Mon May 24, 2010 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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evilgenius
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby evilgenius » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:54 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
kittenmittons wrote:MPA is just another worthless degree for lib arts kids with no marketable skills. It's probably the only thing worse than a JD


Does it cost as much as a JD?


It's a little cheaper but not much - at most $10K less.

cavebat2000
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby cavebat2000 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:55 pm

Are you people kidding? I just recently decided to go to law school because my MPA is next to worthless. JD has real career options. Def go JD and don't waste your time and money.

*edit*

Also, ranking MPA programs is like ranking middle schools. Its completely useless and does NOT correspond to career prospects like the law school ranking system does. DO NOT equate them. This coming from a student in the the BEST MPA PROGRAM IN DC. You're gonna have to trust me.
Last edited by cavebat2000 on Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kittenmittons
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby kittenmittons » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:56 pm

MPA jobs are more lulzy than international human rights law.

09042014
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby 09042014 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:57 pm

evilgenius wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
kittenmittons wrote:MPA is just another worthless degree for lib arts kids with no marketable skills. It's probably the only thing worse than a JD


Does it cost as much as a JD?


It's a little cheaper but not much - at most $10K less.


Are MPA students bigger or smaller dbags than JD students?

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kittenmittons
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby kittenmittons » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:58 pm

cavebat2000 wrote:Are you people kidding? I just recently decided to go to law school because my MPA is next to worthless. JD has real career options. Def go JD and don't waste your time and money.

*edit*

Also, ranking MPA programs is like ranking middle schools. Its completely useless and does NOT correspond to career prospects like the law school ranking system does. DO NOT equate them. This coming from a student in the the BEST MPA PROGRAM IN DC. You're gonna have to trust me.

I don't know you, but I like you

09042014
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby 09042014 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:58 pm

kittenmittons wrote:MPA jobs are more lulzy than international human rights law.


KM, will I be able to do international environmental public policy if I get a JD/MPA/MSEnviroSci ???

SweeneyTodd
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby SweeneyTodd » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:59 pm

cavebat2000 wrote:Are you people kidding? I just recently decided to go to law school because my MPA is next to worthless. JD has real career options. Def go JD and don't waste your time and money.


.
Last edited by SweeneyTodd on Mon May 24, 2010 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kittenmittons
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby kittenmittons » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:59 pm

SweeneyTodd wrote:
cavebat2000 wrote:Are you people kidding? I just recently decided to go to law school because my MPA is next to worthless. JD has real career options. Def go JD and don't waste your time and money.

I decided upon law school because I should have done it in the first place and never entered the MPA program. I would agree, my degree is worthless BUT I still think it doesn't matter what degree you have when you want to become a lobbyist or deal with policy.
...it matters what school you attended and who you know. Yet, a JD definitely carries more prestige.

To be fair, it's not hard to carry more than 0.

cr073137
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby cr073137 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:00 pm

cavebat2000 wrote:Are you people kidding? I just recently decided to go to law school because my MPA is next to worthless. JD has real career options. Def go JD and don't waste your time and money.

*edit*

Also, ranking MPA programs is like ranking middle schools. Its completely useless and does NOT correspond to career prospects like the law school ranking system does. DO NOT equate them. This coming from a student in the the BEST MPA PROGRAM IN DC. You're gonna have to trust me.


The thing about an MPA is that unlike a JD, the degree itself wont take you places. But many government jobs have a Masters req. and like the previous poster said, networking is key. So if you go to Princeton, you network a lot, you can def land a good government job. And perhaps ranking dont matter as much as in law school (i dont think ppl are as anal whether you went to a top 10 or a top 20), but the name of the school matters and opens many doors.

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kittenmittons
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby kittenmittons » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:01 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
kittenmittons wrote:MPA jobs are more lulzy than international human rights law.

KM, will I be able to do international environmental public policy if I get a JD/MPA/MSEnviroSci ???

Yeah bro. There are a lot of jobs in that sector now with cap&pwn coming up. Just go to a solid T2 like Georgetown, be on a secondary journal, and get median. You will be fine.

Flanker1067
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby Flanker1067 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:04 pm

Per usual, Desert Fox has the best post ITT.

Credit to KM too, for taking this thread where it needed to go.

detljgh
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby detljgh » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:11 pm

Dude, don't listen to any of the people on here they don't know what they're talking about. The Woodrow Wilson school, if you somehow managed to get in with numbers that couldn't do you better than Washington University (I'm skeptical), is hands down the best program in the country and will get you WHATEVER job you want in government, consulting, or foreign service when you are done. They accepted something like 8% of applicants this year, and even that is deceiving because the high application fee and grueling application means only the most competitive students even bother applying. Oh yeah, and I have to assume you haven't received your aid package yet because they fully fund all their students and usually even offer a stipend. So go to Princeton and if you want to go to law school after, that is one of those mythical softs that will actually be your ticket to a top law school afterwards.

I would trade all of my T-10 acceptances with $$ for your Woodrow Wilson admit. I was rejected last week...

cavebat2000
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby cavebat2000 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:11 pm

A Masters of Public Administration is supposed to be the public sector equivalent of the MBA, only it has no where close to the prestige. When you graduate you supposedly qualified to manage a government/non-profit program or office.

A JD qualifies you to practice law, not to manage government programs, though JD's very often find themselves managing stuff in government, but that is probably more of a function of the incredible number of lawyers that make up the various agencies of the federal government

The point is that the two degrees are not even close to the same. They serve different purposes, are miles away in prestige, job opportunities, and pay. The education itself is vastly different, with law school being a serious challenge and the MPA being a challenge to an orangutang, though that is probably insulting to our hairy friends.

If you really can't decide, go to a law school with a joint JD/MPA program.

09042014
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby 09042014 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:13 pm

detljgh wrote:Dude, don't listen to any of the people on here they don't know what they're talking about. The Woodrow Wilson school, if you somehow managed to get in with numbers that couldn't do you better than Washington University (I'm skeptical), is hands down the best program in the country and will get you WHATEVER job you want in government, consulting, or foreign service when you are done. They accepted something like 8% of applicants this year, and even that is deceiving because the high application fee and grueling application means only the most competitive students even bother applying. Oh yeah, and I have to assume you haven't received your aid package yet because they fully fund all their students and usually even offer a stipend. So go to Princeton and if you want to go to law school after, that is one of those mythical softs that will actually be your ticket to a top law school afterwards.

I would trade all of my T-10 acceptances with $$ for your Woodrow Wilson admit. I was rejected last week...


If it is funded (I'm shocked that it is), then do that over law school.

cavebat2000
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby cavebat2000 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:13 pm

detljgh wrote:Dude, don't listen to any of the people on here they don't know what they're talking about. The Woodrow Wilson school, if you somehow managed to get in with numbers that couldn't do you better than Washington University (I'm skeptical), is hands down the best program in the country and will get you WHATEVER job you want in government, consulting, or foreign service when you are done. They accepted something like 8% of applicants this year, and even that is deceiving because the high application fee and grueling application means only the most competitive students even bother applying. Oh yeah, and I have to assume you haven't received your aid package yet because they fully fund all their students and usually even offer a stipend. So go to Princeton and if you want to go to law school after, that is one of those mythical softs that will actually be your ticket to a top law school afterwards.

I would trade all of my T-10 acceptances with $$ for your Woodrow Wilson admit. I was rejected last week...


ROFL. Go right ahead. Going to an MPA program over a t-10 law school is probably the worst decision you will ever make in your life.

*edit* unless you don't want to practice law. In that case, why does this thread even exist?

detljgh
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby detljgh » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:17 pm

cavebat2000 wrote:
detljgh wrote:Dude, don't listen to any of the people on here they don't know what they're talking about. The Woodrow Wilson school, if you somehow managed to get in with numbers that couldn't do you better than Washington University (I'm skeptical), is hands down the best program in the country and will get you WHATEVER job you want in government, consulting, or foreign service when you are done. They accepted something like 8% of applicants this year, and even that is deceiving because the high application fee and grueling application means only the most competitive students even bother applying. Oh yeah, and I have to assume you haven't received your aid package yet because they fully fund all their students and usually even offer a stipend. So go to Princeton and if you want to go to law school after, that is one of those mythical softs that will actually be your ticket to a top law school afterwards.

I would trade all of my T-10 acceptances with $$ for your Woodrow Wilson admit. I was rejected last week...


ROFL. Go right ahead. Going to an MPA program over a t-10 law school is probably the worst decision you will ever make in your life.

*edit* unless you don't want to practice law. In that case, why does this thread even exist?
Last edited by detljgh on Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kittenmittons
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby kittenmittons » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:18 pm

Honestly the fact that you've been accepted to Princeton MPA and nothing better than WUSTL JD should tell you all you need to know about the quality of MPA.

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evilgenius
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby evilgenius » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:20 pm

Omg...talk about mixed responses! I didn't get financial aid info from Princeton yet, so I didnt realize that it was fully funded.

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rolark
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Re: JD vs. MPA

Postby rolark » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:20 pm

cavebat2000 wrote:A Masters of Public Administration is supposed to be the public sector equivalent of the MBA, only it has no where close to the prestige. When you graduate you supposedly qualified to manage a government/non-profit program or office.

A JD qualifies you to practice law, not to manage government programs, though JD's very often find themselves managing stuff in government, but that is probably more of a function of the incredible number of lawyers that make up the various agencies of the federal government

The point is that the two degrees are not even close to the same. They serve different purposes, are miles away in prestige, job opportunities, and pay. The education itself is vastly different, with law school being a serious challenge and the MPA being a challenge to an orangutang, though that is probably insulting to our hairy friends.

If you really can't decide, go to a law school with a joint JD/MPA program.

Just a quick note. Princeton's WWS uses "MPA" to refer to what most other schools refer to as "MPP." Regardless, the first degree is more policy oriented and the second degree is more management oriented. For the second degree (MPP for Princeton, MPA for almost everywhere else) you usually need much more experience because the management part is what it's about.




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