Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

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

Postby lifestooquick » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:47 am

Doorkeeper wrote:
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.

+1

I am one of these people. Many policy jobs are JD preferred or even required. Also, a JD goes a long way in DC even if you're not "practicing law." An example: I asked a top DC lobbyist I met with about this - he said his JD staff are taken more seriously than his staff with MPP/MPAs.

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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 11:38 am

Renzo wrote:[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.


I am not going to dignify this with a response.

fatduck wrote: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.


He worked in family law for 9 years then moved to the investments side of banking. I have worked in banking for approx 3 years prior to my current job. My point is that neither I nor my father have seen any disadvantages from having a JD in the banking world. I have seen it not matter in some scenarios but typically it is a positive.

For those of you who are saying a JD hurts banking prospects, what evidence is this based on?

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

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:24 pm

JD Janitor wrote:
Renzo wrote:[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.


I am not going to dignify this with a response.

fatduck wrote: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.


He worked in family law for 9 years then moved to the investments side of banking. I have worked in banking for approx 3 years prior to my current job. My point is that neither I nor my father have seen any disadvantages from having a JD in the banking world. I have seen it not matter in some scenarios but typically it is a positive.

For those of you who are saying a JD hurts banking prospects, what evidence is this based on?


No one has said that it hurts your prospects, only that it doesn't help. And since it doesn't help, it hurts you by wasting your time and money pursuing an unhelpful degree.

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

Postby PolySuyGuy » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:10 pm

Image

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

Postby haus » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:57 pm

Renzo wrote:No one has said that it hurts your prospects, only that it doesn't help. And since it doesn't help, it hurts you by wasting your time and money pursuing an unhelpful degree.

In Federal Government positions having a JD can be quite helpful if you want to be taken seriously when policy is being decided. Thus, it can be helpful when competing for senior positions, as everything interacts with law at a high enough level within the government.

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

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:36 pm

haus wrote:
Renzo wrote:No one has said that it hurts your prospects, only that it doesn't help. And since it doesn't help, it hurts you by wasting your time and money pursuing an unhelpful degree.

In Federal Government positions having a JD can be quite helpful if you want to be taken seriously when policy is being decided. Thus, it can be helpful when competing for senior positions, as everything interacts with law at a high enough level within the government.


OP: "Is a Broadway show a good place to see animals?"

Me: "You really shouldn't buy tickets to the theater if what you want is to look at animals. You should just go to the zoo, if that's what you want to do."

You all: "But I saw a play that had a live monkey in it once!"

Me: "That's fine, but how many plays have monkeys in them?"

You all: "Bullshit! What about 'Cats'? What about 'Lion King'? What about 'Warhorse'?"

Me: "Ugh. Fuck it. I hear Spider-Man is good. Have a good time."

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

Postby haus » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:47 pm

Renzo wrote:Me: "Ugh. Fuck it. I hear Spider-Man is good. Have a good time."

I can recommend some nice theater arts grad programs, so that you can put your extensive knowledge to work.

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

Postby fatduck » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:30 am

haus wrote:
Renzo wrote:No one has said that it hurts your prospects, only that it doesn't help. And since it doesn't help, it hurts you by wasting your time and money pursuing an unhelpful degree.

In Federal Government positions having a JD can be quite helpful if you want to be taken seriously when policy is being decided. Thus, it can be helpful when competing for senior positions, as everything interacts with law at a high enough level within the government.

i was going to sarcastically reply "hey, a JD may seem useless early in your career, but it will give you a big leg up when running for President of the United States!"

then i realized: no, it won't, being a fucking career lawyer will.

if you want to be taken seriously when policy is being decided, spend your $200k on bribes, not a JD.


also, "everything interacts with law at a high enough level within the government"???

do you think statutes and regulations are written in some ancient, indecipherable text, the secrets of which are only unlocked after three years of law school?

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

Postby lifestooquick » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:49 am

Those crapping on this - please raise your hand if you've spent a significant length of time working in DC/government.

I'm in DC this summer and I've been asking this of almost everyone I get a chance to - EVERYONE I have talked to that has actually had/has a career in DC agrees that a JD matters in this city. Period. And I've talked to lobbyists, policy people, government relations people, people working on the Hill, etc.

Government agency legislative affairs offices are staffed by JDs, Hill offices are staffed by JDs, the lobbyists that are actually taken seriously? they have JDs.

As for wanting a JD to run for office - I say good for you! We need more lawyers in the process. Lawyers understand how the law will be construed/applied by judges and can then give better insight on how best to address the policy issue. (and yes, I'm aware that Congresspeople don't actually write the legislation themselves...surprise, they hire lawyers for that. Look another non-lawyer job that you can get with a JD.)

EDIT: Just FYI, my answers are DC-specific because that is where I am this summer and have been able to ask around about this exact question. I do know that similar opportunities are available in state-level governments as well.

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

Postby haus » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:52 am

Doorkeeper wrote: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.

I work for a government agency (IT/InfoSec) and much of the policy (or interpretation of said policy) that drives our work is determined not by experts in IT or security, but by people with MPP/MPA or JD, who often have limited experience in the areas their decisions are impacting.

Hence I am looking at a JD as a possible means to elbow my way into a seat at the table. I already have over a dozen years in my field. I hold a Master's degree in IT.

Is this a path that anyone thinking of law school would follow, obviously not, as yoh need the background in a given field and have established contacts in the areas you want to work. But for those in such a position it is a possibility.

The salaries at my agency (as well as most other federal agencies) are publically disclosed, so I have a really good idea of the potential money I could earn if I succeed (ballpark, I have been over 100k for several years now and recently got a nice bump for completing my Masters), the jobs that I hope to get are currently paid 40k+ more than I am currently making.

This means that while there is a finicial upside it is not an enough extra money that I can throw caution to the wind. The DC area has many part-time evening programs, that seem suited for someone in my position. While I would love to go to GULC, it would likely be the toughest to get into, and from what I have read they are not that generous to their PT students.

Currently I am thinking of George Mason as first choice. The price, while high, is one of the more affordable options (for those of us living in Virginia), and it is easily accessible from my office, which will be handy if I plan on juggling work and school (on top of family) for four years.

Fark-o-vision
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Fark-o-vision » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:11 pm

I think people are confusing "don't get a JD if you don't want to be a lawyer because it usually doesn't work out" with "getting a JD and not practicing law is a auto-fail."

People on here tend to have a dark view of attorneys. In entertainment there are a lot of positions that like lawyers. Several family members of mine have found good work consulting with their JD's (they're basically serving as contracted in house attorneys for places that don't have enough work to hire a lawyer full time. They review contracts, business plans, mergers, etc. as needed).

I think the better thing to say is that its hard enough to repay 180K in loans with big law. If you absolutely want to cut that option out, you better have a plan. Like, free/cheap school, or an in somewhere, or at least a very clearly laid out path which you can, in large part at least, control.

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

Postby briviere » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:22 pm

I worked in DC for a few years. Let me add this caveat for all of the optimists ITT.

A JD can be a valuable asset in the DC bubble of:

A: it is from the t6 for preftige/cv padding.
B: you want to work in journalism.
C: you've already practiced for some amount of time.
D: some combo of A and C.

Some of you are wasting time and money on a JD when an MPP would better serve your needs, but I suppose time will tell.

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

Postby haus » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:29 pm

fatduck wrote:do you think statutes and regulations are written in some ancient, indecipherable text, the secrets of which are only unlocked after three years of law school?

No, I am quite capable of reading them now, but from many years of experience I know that the people who get to decide who gets a seat at the table when these items are drafted want to see a JD as an entry ticket.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Pursuing a law degree, but not to practice law?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:34 pm

I'd say 1/3 of my school is in this boat, mostly the rich kids.




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