Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

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andreasmommy
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Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby andreasmommy » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:50 am

I have been talking to a lot of people who want to pursue law school, but not to become a lawyer. A lot mention working in government, running for office, ect.

I was wondering how many applicants here are pursuing law school for government employment?

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Nova
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Nova » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:10 am

Going to law school with out the intention of practicing law is a really bad idea and a huge waste of time for almost everyone. Im interested to see what posters bring up as exceptions to the rule.

If you want to work for the gov (not practicing law), there are much better paths to go down, such as getting an MPA.

andreasmommy
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby andreasmommy » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:01 am

Personally, I am pursuing law school to work in law, but I am just curious how many other applicants are interested in another avenue besides law.

powder
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby powder » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:07 am

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Last edited by powder on Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby birdlaw117 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:20 am

powder wrote:Frankly, if someone doesn't want to practice law, they probably shouldn't be in law school. It's a gigantic sunk cost in terms of time and money. I can't think of any exceptions.

I don't think this means what you think it means.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Blessedassurance » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:32 am

powder wrote: And I've read about quite a few people who got JDs and then went on to do things completely unrelated to law. Some law grads went into finance with ridiculous results (David Rubenstein--Chicago, Charlie Munger--Harvard, Mitt Romney--Harvard)


Lloyd Blankfein also went to HLS. He did practice Law initially though, as did Munger. Romney was a JD/MBA so I guess it was kind of expected.

Shitboomers are a bad example though, there are "recent" graduates that get a Law degree and go on to do something else. It's probably not a good idea to go in with that plan though, especially outside like HYS.

powder
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby powder » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:38 am

birdlaw117 wrote:
powder wrote:Frankly, if someone doesn't want to practice law, they probably shouldn't be in law school. It's a gigantic sunk cost in terms of time and money. I can't think of any exceptions.

I don't think this means what you think it means.


:oops: Yep. I was thinking it'd be a waste of time and money and allowed 'sunk cost' to slip out of the barn while I was thinking of an exception.

shock259
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby shock259 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:10 pm

The thing about people with JDs in most non-law fields is that their JDs do not in any way contribute to their success in that field. It's like getting a degree in astrophysics and then deciding to become a 1st grade teacher. If you want to be a 1st grade teacher, just go do what you need to do to become a 1st grade teacher. Don't spend 3 years and $200k doing something that won't give you any discernible advantage.

grimfan
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby grimfan » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:33 am

You'll have to put in some years working as a lawyer before you can start dreaming of alternative careers. A law school graduate has no real marketable skills outside of law.

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dpk711
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby dpk711 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:04 am

grimfan wrote:You'll have to put in some years working as a lawyer before you can start dreaming of alternative careers. A law school graduate has no real marketable skills outside of law.

I doubt that law school graduates even have practical skills related to law.

Applying_Late
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Applying_Late » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:05 am

shock259 wrote:The thing about people with JDs in most non-law fields is that their JDs do not in any way contribute to their success in that field. It's like getting a degree in astrophysics and then deciding to become a 1st grade teacher. If you want to be a 1st grade teacher, just go do what you need to do to become a 1st grade teacher. Don't spend 3 years and $200k doing something that won't give you any discernible advantage.


What about people who go in-house and then become VPs or upper management at those corporations? This is not so uncommon, and I think in a lot of cases is more risk averse than pursuing a shit MBA and trying to hit an upper management position from there. I could easily see the banking industry loving to promote someone from in-house (or taking someone who has a financial background and a law degree) so that they can cover their tracks a bit more or at least know how creative they can be in pushing the boundaries of the law. I don't know much about capitol hill, but I've heard that law has become sort of a prereq if you want to accomplish anything there. I could see the value of having a law degree in pursuing politics. An MPP/MPA (even from harvard or princeton) is quite useless unless you have some good contacts beforehand, have made prior connections, or have worked in the field.

Renzo
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Renzo » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:01 am

Applying_Late wrote:What about people who go in-house and then become VPs or upper management at those corporations? This is not so uncommon, and I think in a lot of cases is more risk averse than pursuing a shit MBA and trying to hit an upper management position from there. I could easily see the banking industry loving to promote someone from in-house (or taking someone who has a financial background and a law degree) so that they can cover their tracks a bit more or at least know how creative they can be in pushing the boundaries of the law. I don't know much about capitol hill, but I've heard that law has become sort of a prereq if you want to accomplish anything there. I could see the value of having a law degree in pursuing politics. An MPP/MPA (even from harvard or princeton) is quite useless unless you have some good contacts beforehand, have made prior connections, or have worked in the field.


It is far, far more risky to go to law school to try and make it into the executive suite than to go to B-school to do so. Bankers neither like nor respect lawyers; they tolerate them when necessary. And while law is a common background among politicians, most of them were practicing lawyers who got elected (Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry ...). Any asshole can be a Senator, and having a JD neither makes you more effective or more electable. There are lots of jobs of lawyers on the Hill, but those are not non-law jobs.

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ben4847
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby ben4847 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:07 am

John Grisham went to law school; Scott Turow went to law school.

My neighbor's cousin went to law school and now works in a small office doing bookkeeping work.

washburn
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby washburn » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:14 am

I strongly disagree with renzo's comment that "bankers" don't like "lawyers," as if there is some deep chasm of distrust between two segments of the white collar population.

If you are a horrible lawyer/person, then I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will not like you. And those people will not be limited to bankers. On the other hand, if you are a good lawyer and you have all of the characteristics of a good executive, you will have no problem making the transition. Your law degree will not hold you back in any way.

There are just too many examples of successful executives and general business-folk with law degrees to draw any extreme conclusions about the limitations of a legal education.

I would agree with grimfan that it's probably important (except in scenarios where you have a lot of experience prior to obtaining a law degree) to build a really strong reputation as a lawyer before you start fantasizing about other careers.

Renzo
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Renzo » Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:06 pm

washburn wrote:I strongly disagree with renzo's comment that "bankers" don't like "lawyers," as if there is some deep chasm of distrust between two segments of the white collar population.

If you are a horrible lawyer/person, then I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will not like you. And those people will not be limited to bankers. On the other hand, if you are a good lawyer and you have all of the characteristics of a good executive, you will have no problem making the transition. Your law degree will not hold you back in any way.

There are just too many examples of successful executives and general business-folk with law degrees to draw any extreme conclusions about the limitations of a legal education.

I would agree with grimfan that it's probably important (except in scenarios where you have a lot of experience prior to obtaining a law degree) to build a really strong reputation as a lawyer before you start fantasizing about other careers.


I don't mean that bankers leave the bar if a lawyer shows up, or that they don't play tennis together. What I mean is that that bankers aren't impressed by lawyers, and don't have any particular professional esteem for them. You're right that a law degree won't hold you back in finance, but neither will it impress anyone.

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SoupIsGoodFood
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby SoupIsGoodFood » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:18 pm

Spend $150K+ to get a $50k a year gov job you don't need a law degree for?

DON'T DO IT!

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dowu
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby dowu » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:20 pm

SoupIsGoodFood wrote:Spend $150K+ to get a $50k a year gov job you don't need a law degree for?

DON'T DO IT!

Joeshan520
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Joeshan520 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Renzo wrote:
washburn wrote:I strongly disagree with renzo's comment that "bankers" don't like "lawyers," as if there is some deep chasm of distrust between two segments of the white collar population.

If you are a horrible lawyer/person, then I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will not like you. And those people will not be limited to bankers. On the other hand, if you are a good lawyer and you have all of the characteristics of a good executive, you will have no problem making the transition. Your law degree will not hold you back in any way.

There are just too many examples of successful executives and general business-folk with law degrees to draw any extreme conclusions about the limitations of a legal education.

I would agree with grimfan that it's probably important (except in scenarios where you have a lot of experience prior to obtaining a law degree) to build a really strong reputation as a lawyer before you start fantasizing about other careers.


I don't mean that bankers leave the bar if a lawyer shows up, or that they don't play tennis together. What I mean is that that bankers aren't impressed by lawyers, and don't have any particular professional esteem for them. You're right that a law degree won't hold you back in finance, but neither will it impress anyone.


Totally disagree with this. I know a number of individuals that transition into prominent banking positions from big law especially in the tax and bankruptcy departments. A fundamental understanding (expertise) regarding the tax code is seen as a tremendous asset to shield banks from a number of corporate tax liabilities.

jarofsoup
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby jarofsoup » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:35 pm

I can see the appeal of a J.D./MBA if you are doing private equity or the business side of M and A. But it is only a theoretical appeal.

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JD Janitor
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby JD Janitor » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:05 am

Renzo wrote:
washburn wrote:I strongly disagree with renzo's comment that "bankers" don't like "lawyers," as if there is some deep chasm of distrust between two segments of the white collar population.

If you are a horrible lawyer/person, then I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will not like you. And those people will not be limited to bankers. On the other hand, if you are a good lawyer and you have all of the characteristics of a good executive, you will have no problem making the transition. Your law degree will not hold you back in any way.

There are just too many examples of successful executives and general business-folk with law degrees to draw any extreme conclusions about the limitations of a legal education.

I would agree with grimfan that it's probably important (except in scenarios where you have a lot of experience prior to obtaining a law degree) to build a really strong reputation as a lawyer before you start fantasizing about other careers.


I don't mean that bankers leave the bar if a lawyer shows up, or that they don't play tennis together. What I mean is that that bankers aren't impressed by lawyers, and don't have any particular professional esteem for them. You're right that a law degree won't hold you back in finance, but neither will it impress anyone.


I know from personal experience that this is incorrect. My father just received a very large promiotion within the investments division of a major bank. One of the reasons stated for his succes by those promoting him was his experience with law. They like the fact that he understands the law and can spot legal issues regarding investment and management decisions.

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Colonel Angus
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Colonel Angus » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:37 am

I hear theres alot of law grads waiting tables. Maybe this was their plan the whole time.

Renzo
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Renzo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:45 am

JD Janitor wrote:
Renzo wrote:
washburn wrote:I strongly disagree with renzo's comment that "bankers" don't like "lawyers," as if there is some deep chasm of distrust between two segments of the white collar population.

If you are a horrible lawyer/person, then I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will not like you. And those people will not be limited to bankers. On the other hand, if you are a good lawyer and you have all of the characteristics of a good executive, you will have no problem making the transition. Your law degree will not hold you back in any way.

There are just too many examples of successful executives and general business-folk with law degrees to draw any extreme conclusions about the limitations of a legal education.

I would agree with grimfan that it's probably important (except in scenarios where you have a lot of experience prior to obtaining a law degree) to build a really strong reputation as a lawyer before you start fantasizing about other careers.


I don't mean that bankers leave the bar if a lawyer shows up, or that they don't play tennis together. What I mean is that that bankers aren't impressed by lawyers, and don't have any particular professional esteem for them. You're right that a law degree won't hold you back in finance, but neither will it impress anyone.


I know from personal experience that this is incorrect. My father just received a very large promiotion within the investments division of a major bank. One of the reasons stated for his succes by those promoting him was his experience with law. They like the fact that he understands the law and can spot legal issues regarding investment and management decisions.


Yeah, and I know a male stripper who is an actual fireman. Ask your father how many of his co-workers are lawyers, and how many lawyers the bank employs, and how often those other lawyers are being allowed to promote/lateral outside of the legal department.

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fatduck
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby fatduck » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:46 am

JD Janitor wrote:
Renzo wrote:
washburn wrote:I strongly disagree with renzo's comment that "bankers" don't like "lawyers," as if there is some deep chasm of distrust between two segments of the white collar population.

If you are a horrible lawyer/person, then I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will not like you. And those people will not be limited to bankers. On the other hand, if you are a good lawyer and you have all of the characteristics of a good executive, you will have no problem making the transition. Your law degree will not hold you back in any way.

There are just too many examples of successful executives and general business-folk with law degrees to draw any extreme conclusions about the limitations of a legal education.

I would agree with grimfan that it's probably important (except in scenarios where you have a lot of experience prior to obtaining a law degree) to build a really strong reputation as a lawyer before you start fantasizing about other careers.


I don't mean that bankers leave the bar if a lawyer shows up, or that they don't play tennis together. What I mean is that that bankers aren't impressed by lawyers, and don't have any particular professional esteem for them. You're right that a law degree won't hold you back in finance, but neither will it impress anyone.


I know from personal experience that this is incorrect. My father just received a very large promiotion within the investments division of a major bank. One of the reasons stated for his succes by those promoting him was his experience with law. They like the fact that he understands the law and can spot legal issues regarding investment and management decisions.

did your father work as a compliance attorney for 20 years before moving to the bank? or did he just get a J.D. and go into banking? these are very different things.

jarofsoup
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby jarofsoup » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:50 am

fatduck wrote:
JD Janitor wrote:
Renzo wrote:
washburn wrote:I strongly disagree with renzo's comment that "bankers" don't like "lawyers," as if there is some deep chasm of distrust between two segments of the white collar population.

If you are a horrible lawyer/person, then I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will not like you. And those people will not be limited to bankers. On the other hand, if you are a good lawyer and you have all of the characteristics of a good executive, you will have no problem making the transition. Your law degree will not hold you back in any way.

There are just too many examples of successful executives and general business-folk with law degrees to draw any extreme conclusions about the limitations of a legal education.

I would agree with grimfan that it's probably important (except in scenarios where you have a lot of experience prior to obtaining a law degree) to build a really strong reputation as a lawyer before you start fantasizing about other careers.



Getting a JD was a lot more prestigious 20 or so years ago...
I don't mean that bankers leave the bar if a lawyer shows up, or that they don't play tennis together. What I mean is that that bankers aren't impressed by lawyers, and don't have any particular professional esteem for them. You're right that a law degree won't hold you back in finance, but neither will it impress anyone.


I know from personal experience that this is incorrect. My father just received a very large promiotion within the investments division of a major bank. One of the reasons stated for his succes by those promoting him was his experience with law. They like the fact that he understands the law and can spot legal issues regarding investment and management decisions.

did your father work as a compliance attorney for 20 years before moving to the bank? or did he just get a J.D. and go into banking? these are very different things.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:13 am

SoupIsGoodFood wrote:Spend $150K+ to get a $50k 70-140k a year gov job you don't need a law degree for?

DON'T DO IT! Eh.

Fixed.

Also, getting a JD and not practicing law is done all the time in DC. A lot of policy positions require a JD or a PhD, so it's an in to those jobs without getting the PhD.




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