redbullvodka wrote:Just want to put something out there that I feel like this thread/these boards in general seem to take for granted:
While it's more likely to land a stable career financially in medicine than law, there are a lot of caveats to keep in mind.
1. I would argue against anybody that a medical residency is infinitely harder work than being a biglaw associate. Residency is a consistent 80 hour/week grind, for something much more aligned with "shitlaw" pay (40-50K). We often joke that biglaw associates have to live at the office to get that requisite 2000+ billable hours total; medical residents actually can and will sleep at the hospital in between shifts, and don't have the "option" of shooting for lower hours.
2. The debt load is massive; most doctors don't even come close to the amount of income to touch their loans until post-residency, and that might even be longer if they do a fellowship. Law grads complain about servicing loans at shitlaw pay; doctors do this without a choice.
3. The majority of physicians will earn 6 figures; a minority will eclipse 200K, so don't try and create a grass-is-greener situation. Neither profession is a path to riches automatically, and even less so in this day and age.
1. The difference between medicine and biglaw is that post-residency, you're almost guaranteed a salary that is in the 6 figures, which is enough to pay back your debt. Yes, residency is equivalent to shitlaw in pay but unlike shitlaw, residency isn't some career pit that more or less dooms you to financial hardship should you choose to remain in the field. Residency actually trains you to do a job, and do it well.
2. The debt load is huge, but once again unlike in law, where 70% of today's grads will NEVER make the salary necessary to pay back their 100k loans, it's extremely rare for doctors to suffer similar issues. No, they won't pay their loans back for 15 years or so, but they have a much better likelyhood of being able to do so. Fellowships aside, most physicians WILL be able to pay back the debt and lead decent upper-middle class lives. Few lawyers graduating these days can say the same.
3. Not true. 60% of physicians are specialists, while 40% are in primary care (paediatrics, general practice, internal medicine) and of those in primary care, the median salary is about 190k, whereas for specialists its over 300k. As a physician, there's a fairly good chance that you'll make more than 200k
Biglaw will get you more money earlier, but in terms of lifetime earnings the doctor probably wins long-term. Not to mention he has greater job security since, with biglaw, you either make partner or get the pink slip.