Law or medicine?

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confusedball
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Law or medicine?

Postby confusedball » Mon May 24, 2010 1:14 pm

With jobs in short supply, law or medicine are often the two safe haven paths that people pursue in order to someday earn an upper-middle class living. But going into law hoping for a biglaw position feels increasingly like a gamble today. Similarly, health care reform remains an uncertainty for medicine. With all things considered, how does the balance tilt between the two?

If length of training, salary and hours were the same, would you be a biglaw associate or work as a physician or surgeon?

Don't know which way to go, I've done paralegal work as well as shadowed doctors. Both have pros and cons, but it's difficult to extrapolate that into what it's actually like in biglaw or in the OR and having to deal with the insurance paperwork.
Last edited by confusedball on Mon May 24, 2010 1:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Teoeo
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby Teoeo » Mon May 24, 2010 1:15 pm

Do what you enjoy.

xyzzzzzzzz
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby xyzzzzzzzz » Mon May 24, 2010 1:16 pm

.
Last edited by xyzzzzzzzz on Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stintez
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby stintez » Mon May 24, 2010 1:18 pm

EASY EASY answer go into medicine if you want to be guaranteed a job and guaranteed to make no less than six figures. 8)

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PurplePirate
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby PurplePirate » Mon May 24, 2010 1:19 pm

I worked an internship at the Public Defender's office this last semester. I met a good number of local lawyers, yet not one said, "Good for you," when I told them my plans of Law school. EVERY single one of them told me to go into the medical field. Do what makes you happy.

tesoro
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby tesoro » Mon May 24, 2010 1:30 pm

Going into law is a gamble. Going into medicine is not.

Doctors do not make less than 6 figures unless they choose to for personal reasons. Lawyers, on the other hand, require a great deal of luck inaddition to hard work and perserverance to clear 6 figures.

So, money/job-security-wise, it's a no brainer.

If you're asking which one is more interesting... then, well, it depends. Your reference to dealing with administrative work, though, is basically moot because it occurs in just about any job of any field.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon May 24, 2010 1:49 pm

It's more difficult to become a doctor, but once you're there job security is pretty good. Med school admissions is far more complicated than law school admissions and I feel like for me getting into a top law school is way easier than getting into even a mediocre med school.

Both professions require long hours, a lot of work, and a fair amount of personal sacrifice. From what I've seen of those I know in medical and law school, med school and residency is way worse than law school and biglaw(in quality of life and money). However, the med school path is less of a gamble.

I would do what I felt I was better at--and that's being a lawyer. I was premed once and didn't do so well in organic chemistry(though this might've been because I was young with insufficient study skills). Have you done the premed requirements?

confusedball
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby confusedball » Mon May 24, 2010 1:49 pm

Wow thanks for the quick replies. I'm surprised by how much medicine is winning here on a law school board.

Just to add some more personal info, I have good grades and took all my premed science requirements to keep my options open and did well in them. I like science and the rest of my family are all science geeks (professors and lab researchers). Partly because of that though, I've always felt there was more glamor and mystique in the corporate world and want to step out and explore this other world where "important" people wear suits to work and do deals involving billions of dollars. I know it's a little silly, but I have very little to go by here. Paralegal at a small firm is not quite the same as biglaw.

How glamorous is biglaw in reality?

andreea7
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby andreea7 » Mon May 24, 2010 1:51 pm

And this is why we end up with bad doctors or bad lawyers -- because they choose profession according to $$$ predictions. Whatever you choose, you will excel only if you are truly passionate about it. Otherwise, you will probably be mediocre at best.

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Borhas
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby Borhas » Mon May 24, 2010 1:52 pm

if you want glamor go to hollywood

confusedball
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby confusedball » Mon May 24, 2010 1:58 pm

andreea7 wrote:And this is why we end up with bad doctors or bad lawyers -- because they choose profession according to $$$ predictions. Whatever you choose, you will excel only if you are truly passionate about it. Otherwise, you will probably be mediocre at best.

I was a passionate piano player all through grade school, until college when I realized there are many other things I'm also passionate about and that I would never be good enough to make a living off the piano. I still enjoy the piano and spend a lot of time on it, but passion evolves.

It's not so simple, this passion, especially when you can't exactly walk in the shoes of what you aspire to be until you're actually in it.
Last edited by confusedball on Mon May 24, 2010 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jks289
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby jks289 » Mon May 24, 2010 1:58 pm

I just don't see how it comes down to a med school versus law school choice. Do you want to be a doctor? Then go to medical school. If you want to be a lawyer? Law school. If you honestly cannot decide between drastically different professions, then don't go to either until you figure out what you actually want to do in life. If you are making a life-altering decision based solely on money, take a few years to grow up.

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oberlin08
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby oberlin08 » Mon May 24, 2010 2:07 pm

Medical School - 4 years of taking out loans

Residency - 3-7 years of making next to nothing, working 60-100 hrs/week depending on the type of medicine

Continual Bar-like exams throughout the whole thing.

But when you're finally done after 7-11 years, even as a MD in a field that doesn't pay much (think Psychiatry of at-risk patients), you're probably still pulling in around 100k.


EDIT: Only go to Medical School if you really want to be a doctor, I might actually say the same about law school too. Like someone above said, do what you WANT to do, not what has the greatest possible job security. If you're happy, then you'll excel, and likely have a job regardless of the profession. Just my opinion though...

tesoro
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby tesoro » Mon May 24, 2010 2:10 pm

oberlin08 wrote:Medical School - 4 years of taking out loans

Residency - 3-7 years of making next to nothing, working 60-100 hrs/week depending on the type of medicine

Continual Bar-like exams throughout the whole thing.

But when you're finally done after 7-11 years, even as a MD in a field that doesn't pay much (think Psychiatry of at-risk patients), you're probably still pulling in around 100k.


Residency works you pretty hard, but you make a cool 55k at a decent program, and can moonlight as much as you feel like/can stand and bank a whole lot more than that.

Yeah, it's not much. But you're guaranteed a residency program that pays 45-60k after going to medical school, and a nice 100k+ job when you finish. The exams are not bar-like and are not difficult, at least according to the doctors in my family. You could take out 3 years of loans at law school and end up making next to nothing for the rest of your life.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon May 24, 2010 2:10 pm

There are also a lot of jobs out there besides lawyer and doctor that plenty of people are happy doing.

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James Bond
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby James Bond » Mon May 24, 2010 2:12 pm

PurplePirate wrote:I worked an internship at the Public Defender's office this last semester. I met a good number of local lawyers, yet not one said, "Good for you," when I told them my plans of Law school. EVERY single one of them told me to go into the medical field. Do what makes you happy.


No wonder. They're PUBLIC DEFENDERS. Who wouldn't hate that job?

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oberlin08
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby oberlin08 » Mon May 24, 2010 2:14 pm

tesoro wrote:
oberlin08 wrote:Medical School - 4 years of taking out loans

Residency - 3-7 years of making next to nothing, working 60-100 hrs/week depending on the type of medicine

Continual Bar-like exams throughout the whole thing.

But when you're finally done after 7-11 years, even as a MD in a field that doesn't pay much (think Psychiatry of at-risk patients), you're probably still pulling in around 100k.


Residency works you pretty hard, but you make a cool 55k at a decent program, and can moonlight as much as you feel like/can stand and bank a whole lot more than that.

Yeah, it's not much. But you're guaranteed a residency program that pays 45-60k after going to medical school, and a nice 100k+ job when you finish. The exams are not bar-like and are not difficult, at least according to the doctors in my family. You could take out 3 years of loans at law school and end up making next to nothing for the rest of your life.


true story about the taking out loans for law school and making nothing, and yea 55k for residency sounds about right, however i meant to stress more that residency just sucks depending on what the field is. Both of my parents are surgeons and they both made around that, but were working long long hours, sometimes 24 hr shifts, i.e. its not necessarily worht the 55k or so unless you really want to be a doctor.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon May 24, 2010 2:16 pm

If you have the aptitude & interest required for becoming a physician, then consider medicine over law. I know many unhappy lawyers, I do not know of any doctors who are dissatisfied with their career choice.

tesoro
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby tesoro » Mon May 24, 2010 2:19 pm

oberlin08 wrote:
tesoro wrote:
oberlin08 wrote:Medical School - 4 years of taking out loans

Residency - 3-7 years of making next to nothing, working 60-100 hrs/week depending on the type of medicine

Continual Bar-like exams throughout the whole thing.

But when you're finally done after 7-11 years, even as a MD in a field that doesn't pay much (think Psychiatry of at-risk patients), you're probably still pulling in around 100k.


Residency works you pretty hard, but you make a cool 55k at a decent program, and can moonlight as much as you feel like/can stand and bank a whole lot more than that.

Yeah, it's not much. But you're guaranteed a residency program that pays 45-60k after going to medical school, and a nice 100k+ job when you finish. The exams are not bar-like and are not difficult, at least according to the doctors in my family. You could take out 3 years of loans at law school and end up making next to nothing for the rest of your life.


true story about the taking out loans for law school and making nothing, and yea 55k for residency sounds about right, however i meant to stress more that residency just sucks depending on what the field is. Both of my parents are surgeons and they both made around that, but were working long long hours, sometimes 24 hr shifts, i.e. its not necessarily worht the 55k or so unless you really want to be a doctor.


No offense - your perception is skewed. Surgery is medicine's biglaw. Members of my family took less intensive residencies, such as internal medicine. This was by choice, not necessity (i.e., graduated with awards from a top 5 med school). Residency still sucks and typically will involve 50+ hours of work per week on top of having to suffer being the lowest on the totem pole, but it certainly does not need to be as miserable as you depict it. I believe that pediatrics involves a nice 40-hour work week.

confusedball
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby confusedball » Mon May 24, 2010 2:19 pm

Say I'm in the top 20% at a T14 or TT school and land myself a biglaw job. How hard is it to keep that job? I've heard attrition rates as high as 50% by third year? Is it true? Are these lateral moves or lay-offs? I'd imagine with the glut we have now, it would be even harder to find a non-biglaw position after a stint at biglaw since those other spots (like government work) are just as coveted now.

Eh

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James Bond
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby James Bond » Mon May 24, 2010 2:21 pm

confusedball wrote:Say I'm in the top 20% at a T14 or TT school and land myself a biglaw job. How hard is it to keep that job? I've heard attrition rates as high as 50% by third year? Is it true? Are these lateral moves or lay-offs? I'd imagine with the glut we have now, it would be even harder to find a non-biglaw position after a stint at biglaw since those other spots (like for the government) are just as coveted now.


It's more "people hate their 80-100 hour work weeks so they burn out and quit" and go to either mid-law, private practice, or in-house counsel

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TUP
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby TUP » Mon May 24, 2010 2:21 pm

Check out the forum at studentdoctor.net. It's surprising how negative many residents and doctors are, even compared to the negativity exhibited by attorneys here.

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oberlin08
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby oberlin08 » Mon May 24, 2010 2:22 pm

I still think OP should just do what you want to do. May not be either if you really allow yourself to think about it.

tesoro
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby tesoro » Mon May 24, 2010 2:23 pm

confusedball wrote:Say I'm in the top 20% at a T14 or TT school and land myself a biglaw job. How hard is it to keep that job? I've heard attrition rates as high as 50% by third year? Is it true? Are these lateral moves or lay-offs? I'd imagine with the glut we have now, it would be even harder to find a non-biglaw position after a stint at biglaw since those other spots (like government work) are just as coveted now.

Eh


I agree with the above posters re: the above. The thing most of us are stressing, though, is if you go into the medical profession you don't have to play these games. You don't need to analyze the percentages, worry about securing top top grades at top top school, or worry about attrition from a BigLaw job. If you pass your classes at med school, you will have a job. Always.

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TUP
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Re: Law or medicine?

Postby TUP » Mon May 24, 2010 2:37 pm

tesoro wrote:
confusedball wrote:Say I'm in the top 20% at a T14 or TT school and land myself a biglaw job. How hard is it to keep that job? I've heard attrition rates as high as 50% by third year? Is it true? Are these lateral moves or lay-offs? I'd imagine with the glut we have now, it would be even harder to find a non-biglaw position after a stint at biglaw since those other spots (like government work) are just as coveted now.

Eh


I agree with the above posters re: the above. The thing most of us are stressing, though, is if you go into the medical profession you don't have to play these games. You don't need to analyze the percentages, worry about securing top top grades at top top school, or worry about attrition from a BigLaw job. If you pass your classes at med school, you will have a job. Always.


Med students still agonize over grades and reviews on their rotations. Everyone wants to be a sub-specialist and few want to wind up as a PCP. Ambitious, competitive people are rarely satisfied.




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