J.D. or Free Master's

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

M.A. in Spanish or J.D.

Poll ended at Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:41 pm

M.A. in Spanish
10
48%
J.D.
11
52%
 
Total votes: 21

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MarineLaw
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J.D. or Free Master's

Postby MarineLaw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:41 pm

Free Spanish M.A. or law degree?
Last edited by MarineLaw on Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dingbat
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:42 pm

Do both?

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kingsfield69
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby kingsfield69 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:53 pm

dingbat wrote:Do both?


What s/he said. I'm sure you could work with both the graduate school and the law school to combine a degree...or at the very least, perhaps concentrate in Int'l/Comparative Law with credit for some Spanish language courses. Firms are employing increasing numbers of lawyers in Europe, and you could unlock your post-USMC dream job if you do this right.

BTW: I'm a retiring AF officer heading to law school. Wish you all the best.

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MarineLaw
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby MarineLaw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:57 pm

I don't think I'll have enough time.
Last edited by MarineLaw on Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Swimp
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby Swimp » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:40 pm

As far as I know, the market for Humanities PhDs is just as bad if not worse than the legal market. Getting a MA in Spanish seems a little crazy to me when the alternative is a law degree. If you went the Spanish route, would the ultimate goal be to teach Spanish at a university?

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CO2016YEAH
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby CO2016YEAH » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:04 pm

MarineLaw wrote:Hello!

I'm a Marine officer and will be working as an adjunct professor at Marquette for the next three years while I'm making my normal Captain's pay.

While I am working at Marquette, I get full tuition remission in any graduate or professional program. I'm trying to decide whether I should pursue a J.D. or M.A. in Spanish (with future aspirations of pursuing a Ph.D in Spanish Linguistics). So, I essentially can get an M.A. in Spanish or J.D. for free (G.I. bill will cover whatever is left of the law degree at the end of my three years of part time classes). I'm looking to get out of the Marine Corps after my stint at Marquette.

I really enjoyed studying Spanish as an undergrad. I like learning, development, and teaching, and did quite well in my B.A. Is the market for humanities PhDs, and particularly Spanish professors specializing in linguistics as bad as the legal market?

Law fascinates me because 1. I love language, and law is just a whole big ole bunch of words and logic, and 2. I enjoy analytical problem-solving (something I'm not sure foreign language study really capitalizes on). In addition, while I was running around chasing bad guys in Afghanistan, I didn't really have a chance to maintain my Spanish speaking skills at their former level. I'm married now as well, so my ability to up and go down to Argentina for 6 months to re-engage isn't really an option. My Spanish skills are still good ('general professional competence' in listening and reading according to my DoD language test), my speaking has certainly suffered.

From a strictly monetary point of view, going to Marquette law for free would definitely be "worth more" on the market than getting an M.A. in Spanish for free, although my PhD would be somewhere not at Marquette which would require some funding and probably full G.I. bill utilization.

I've been admitted to Marquette law already.

Anyway, would love to hear some "what I would dos" or "your a dumbass if you don't ______". I'm not below being berated if it brings enhanced insight.

Thanks!


I love "what I would do's." I apologize in advance if I come across as crass. I'm in a grumpy mood today.

I am going to law school because I want to be a lawyer (in fact, that's also the primary reason I got an undergrad degree), so I would definitely go for the JD. Pursing the MA or PhD in Spanish (in the absence of a JD) would be worse than useless to me in my pursuit of a career as an attorney, as I'm not getting any younger and any time spent not getting a JD is simply a delay.

It has been said that if you are not 100% sure that you want to be a lawyer (or have some plan of what you want to do with the degree) then it's best to not go to law school. Many people that get JD's do not practice law by choice after graduation or quickly leave the profession after a short time due to low levels of personal satisfaction with the job. Alternatively, an MA or PhD in Spanish is likely to open few doors for you aside from being a Spanish professor, or some field where superior Spanish fluency is useful/necessary.

As far as the job market, I think the demand for well trained, ambitious, and dedicated attorneys is still sufficient for those of us who are set on working in the profession to find work and be happy (if even not wealthy). I think the demand for linguistic PhD's may be more limited (in that you'll likely be a professor), but that those that are dedicated to what they do and persevere at being outstanding in their field will have work and job satisfaction (if even not wealth).

The question is not whether you are an idiot for doing one over the other. Your risks of financial outlay are virtually nil; as you said, the real cost here is time and opportunity. The better question is what do you want to do with your life? What do you want to be? What do you want your interaction with others to look like? Think about what you will be occupying your mind with in both professions on a daily basis and whether you will be happy in that frame of mind?

I once had a manager (district) at a large corporation talk to me about his experience is sales and how he simply used the position as a stepping stone. The story was that while he understood the sales process and personal dynamics associated with the job and was able to "sell", a sales career is suited to an individual that requires that type of interaction and interpersonal dynamic to make them feel complete (whatever that dynamic is I'm not quite sure, but if I had to describe it I would say constant contact with people, persuasion, elements of control and ego satisfaction, problem solving, etc). The point is, while you may be successful in either position and will likely be able to make a viable career in either field you need to ask yourself what it is you want to do and, while it may sound corny, who it is you are as a person and a personality.

To me, looking at you in your shoes, both options are equally appealing; but for me, the scale weighs 100% to one side.

Good luck.

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CO2016YEAH
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby CO2016YEAH » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:04 pm

By the way, I notice your poll is heavily leaning toward the JD. Bear in mind that if you were on "Top Spanish/MA/PhD Schools.com" you would likely have a different result. :lol:

Regards.

CanadianWolf
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:14 pm

Do you want to teach high school Spanish or practice law ?

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IAFG
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby IAFG » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:24 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Do you want to teach high school Spanish or practice law ?

Not that all Marquette grads get to practice law, especially those who won't be done in 3 years, but yeah, essentially this.

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MarineLaw
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby MarineLaw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:28 pm

CO2016YEAH wrote:
MarineLaw wrote:


The question is not whether you are an idiot for doing one over the other. Your risks of financial outlay are virtually nil; as you said, the real cost here is time and opportunity. The better question is what do you want to do with your life? What do you want to be? What do you want your interaction with others to look like? Think about what you will be occupying your mind with in both professions on a daily basis and whether you will be happy in that frame of mind?

I once had a manager (district) at a large corporation talk to me about his experience is sales and how he simply used the position as a stepping stone. The story was that while he understood the sales process and personal dynamics associated with the job and was able to "sell", a sales career is suited to an individual that requires that type of interaction and interpersonal dynamic to make them feel complete (whatever that dynamic is I'm not quite sure, but if I had to describe it I would say constant contact with people, persuasion, elements of control and ego satisfaction, problem solving, etc). The point is, while you may be successful in either position and will likely be able to make a viable career in either field you need to ask yourself what it is you want to do and, while it may sound corny, who it is you are as a person and a personality.

To me, looking at you in your shoes, both options are equally appealing; but for me, the scale weighs 100% to one side.

Good luck.


I feel like this is fantastic advice. What do people think a lawyer's interaction and interpersonal dynamics can be constituted as (see the 'salesman' reference above)

CanadianWolf
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:35 pm

Varies widely depending upon type of practice & size of firm. A better approach might be for you to share your vision. How do you envision the practice of law ?

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CO2016YEAH
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby CO2016YEAH » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:20 pm

MarineLaw wrote:
CO2016YEAH wrote:
MarineLaw wrote:
I once had a manager (district) at a large corporation talk to me about his experience is sales and how he simply used the position as a stepping stone. The story was that while he understood the sales process and personal dynamics associated with the job and was able to "sell", a sales career is suited to an individual that requires that type of interaction and interpersonal dynamic to make them feel complete (whatever that dynamic is I'm not quite sure, but if I had to describe it I would say constant contact with people, persuasion, elements of control and ego satisfaction, problem solving, etc). The point is, while you may be successful in either position and will likely be able to make a viable career in either field you need to ask yourself what it is you want to do and, while it may sound corny, who it is you are as a person and a personality.

Good luck.


I feel like this is fantastic advice. What do people think a lawyer's interaction and interpersonal dynamics can be constituted as (see the 'salesman' reference above)


Here's what attracts me to studying/practicing law: I am a tenacious individual and a thinker. I enjoy looking at a situation and thinking about different angles and implications. For me, details are important in understanding something, as I see that misunderstanding or simply not knowing details of a situation, ideology, or circumstance can drastically change the meaning of a situation (I know this is abstract). I enjoy thinking about the way some things impact other things, and how the absence or presence of additional factors affect an outcome. I find that the law is kind of like a puzzle, or a tangled mess, and that it is fun to sort through it. I enjoy a debate based on logic and reason and am frustrated by ad hominem attacks, common lapses in reason, and slippery-slope arguments. Like the "salesman," I am also ego-driven and enjoy successful persuasion, both in writing and in conversation. I'm both fascinated and troubled by the impact the law has on the lives of people (in all aspects of personal and professional life), and I see the law as something that is invariably important for me to understand and master. I believe the personal traits and interests I've listed make the study/practice of law and myself a mutual fit. While I think I would be suited to contract law, tax law, any other form of business law, I also see myself as a natural advocate. I see on a daily basis that people get walked on because they don't understand what they can and can't do and what rights they are and aren't afforded. I also think that it is sometimes beneficial in knowing how to do the walking. It's a cheesy cliche, but I do believe that it is important to "understand the rules so you know how to break them" and I also want to be the one making (or remaking) the rules. To be sure, I've never been particularly fond of authority, and the older I get and the more I learn about the law the more I see authority figures (or those in some high position) exploit people simply because people don't know better. My desire to be a lawyer is partly based on my wanting to be smart, partly my wanting to be smarter than other people, and partly my wanting to help people that can't help themselves. This is abstract, and there is a good chance that I will wind up doing something (or many things) in my career that hardly meet this ideal embodiment of what being a lawyer will look like, but you get the idea.

This may be naive. But I think I'm on the right track.

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iMisto
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby iMisto » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:22 pm

Thread title leads one to believe the MA is free, but the JD is not. This might also be affecting your poll results (especially if they're not reading through).

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MarineLaw
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby MarineLaw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:23 pm

Hmm, to make this a little more personal,

Let's see, what I think sounds fascinating about being an attorney and what I anticipate they are good at is the research, writing, persuasion, and analytical problem solving. What does NOT sound interesting to me and what I DO see attorneys as having to do is heated trial work, diagnostic problem solving, meeting chaotic timelines, and pushing through endless discovery. That being said, I have worked for four years in a job I have not enjoyed, and fully understand that NO job is ever perfect, and I'm more than willing to make sacrifices as long as they are subordinate in proportion to the things I DO enjoy and/or get satisfaction out of. I hate data crunching, maintenance management, and leadership predicated on extroversion and chest-beating (that's military officership in a nutshell for anyone interested).

The can of worms on this is probably pretty deep as I think there are all sorts of flavors and types of attorneys; the immigration lawyer is mightily different from the corporate litigator.

Sort of a tangential response!
Last edited by MarineLaw on Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MarineLaw
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby MarineLaw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:27 pm

iMisto wrote:Thread title leads one to believe the MA is free, but the JD is not. This might also be affecting your poll results (especially if they're not reading through).


Counterbalancing the JD favoritism I anticipated to be inherent to a website titled http://www.top-law-schools.com.

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jkpolk
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby jkpolk » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:50 pm

cop dat masters. I'm not sure you are into law enough to justify the expenditure of time and effort. Your resume sounds solid without either degree. Maybe think about PhD in something not necessarily spanish? If the J.D. were prestigious maybe the calculus would be different.

CanadianWolf
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:55 pm

From your prior posts, it appears that you've only taken the LSAT once (158). Consider getting the MA in Spanish or engaging in serious preparation for a retake of the LSAT. Marquette's law placement is not impressive outside of Wisconsin.

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MarineLaw
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby MarineLaw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:12 pm

Not sure if this makes a difference:

If I get the M.A. in Spanish (or International Affairs), I will be designated a Latin America Foreign Area Officer (MOS: 8241)--Long story on the list of qualifications it took to take this, PM me if you want more info.

What this means is that half of my career will be spent in a strategic, political-military context as a FAO, half in my current combat arms field (a job I strongly dislike).

With law, I could also apply transition as a JAG. So, my concern for the status of the school is fairly low because if, at the time, I find that the job market would not support another Marquette law grad, I can just apply for a lat transfer as a JAG and still be a lawyer, just in the Marine Corps. Maybe that changes the perspective, maybe not...I don't think I've demonstrated a lack of interest in law, I'm just trying to do my due diligence and make sure law is the right fit, because my current career is most certainly not.

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DougieFresh
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby DougieFresh » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:13 pm

edit: just checked your last post. disregard the following:

From your posts in this thread I have a much easier time seeing you as a lawyer than as a Spanish teacher. I will give you my two cents as a future 1L and a current "foreign language teacher".

Dealing with undergrads, high school kids, or anyone, who is required to take a foreign language is not fun, no matter how exciting it is to speak a foreign language. Teaching a foreign language is repetitive, and it can be like pulling teeth. After a certain point, its not about problem solving, its about showing up and being energetic teaching the same lesson plan and using the same activities you already used.

Another factor - even where I am originially from (one of the top two Dakotas in the country) the Modern Language Dept. was increasingly moving towards native spanish speaking PhDs on the language staff and not the folks in your situation who picked up Spanish second. I dont have the numbers, just anecdotal evidence, to suggest that being a second language Spanish speaking PhD might not open too many doors for you (or anyone).

Ultimately, its free, so do what you love and things fall into place. Hard work, persistence, and dedication pay off.

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MarineLaw
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby MarineLaw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:17 pm

DougieFresh wrote:edit: just checked your last post. disregard the following:

From your posts in this thread I have a much easier time seeing you as a lawyer than as a Spanish teacher. I will give you my two cents as a future 1L and a current "foreign language teacher".

Dealing with undergrads, high school kids, or anyone, who is required to take a foreign language is not fun, no matter how exciting it is to speak a foreign language. Teaching a foreign language is repetitive, and it can be like pulling teeth. After a certain point, its not about problem solving, its about showing up and being energetic teaching the same lesson plan and using the same activities you already used.

Another factor - even where I am originially from (one of the top two Dakotas in the country) the Modern Language Dept. was increasingly moving towards native spanish speaking PhDs on the language staff and not the folks in your situation who picked up Spanish second. I dont have the numbers, just anecdotal evidence, to suggest that being a second language Spanish speaking PhD might not open too many doors for you (or anyone).

Ultimately, its free, so do what you love and things fall into place. Hard work, persistence, and dedication pay off.


I think that's sound insight. Why would the post change wanting to contribute that?

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby fruitoftheloom » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:43 pm

As someone who has a BA in Spanish and thought about pursuing a Masters - an MA in Spanish is worthless UNLESS you want to teach high school Spanish or Community College Spanish. If you obtain a PhD in Spanish, you can then teach at a University, but it is VERY competitive (probably more competitive than law degrees), and it's all about what you publish.

Life of a Spanish prof: teaching students, writing, publishing (MAJOR - you cannot advance if you do not constantly publish), dealing with department politics, trying to find a tenure position.

Life of a law grad: if you graduate from Marquette, you will probably need to find a job with the government (HIGHLY competitive, I'm hoping you military experience may give you a leg up), or find a job in a small / mid sized firm doing plaintiff work or defense work. The good news about that is that trials are fairly rare. Most cases settle. It's mostly grunt work finding papers, making arguments to opposing counsel, attending mediation, and attending nonsense hearings (ie, motion for continuance, motion for summary judgement, etc). You also have a large number of depositions.

Here's what I think: if you can't decide, reach out to a couple of your old Spanish professors and ask them about the job prospects for a PhD in Spanish / what they think of you doing that job. Reach out to a couple of attorneys who do the kind of work you do and ask if you can shadow them or buy them coffee. They're much more likely to give you an idea of what you would like than a bunch of strangers on the internet.

Good luck with your decision!

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cinephile
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby cinephile » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:09 pm

It's not a question of JD or Masters in Spanish. It's a question of JD or MA from Marquette. The likelihood of getting a decent legal job out of Marquette is poor. If the degree is free and you want it just to have it, go for it. But if you're trying to become a lawyer, then this isn't the best bet.

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Br3v
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby Br3v » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:11 pm

iMisto wrote:Thread title leads one to believe the MA is free, but the JD is not. This might also be affecting your poll results (especially if they're not reading through).


Yeah my understanding is the JD is free too right? (Skimmed OP hours ago)

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MarineLaw
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Re: J.D. or Free Master's

Postby MarineLaw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:01 pm

Yep, the J.D. is free, the Master's is free.

Yes, I understand Marquette isn't an academic powerhouse. But, neither was my undergrad (Texas A&M), nor did I major in something with promise of high earnings (Spanish), and yet here I am as a 27 year old, debt free, with military managerial experience and the possibility of earning a J.D. for free. So no, Marquette is no Harvard, but I consider myself extremely lucky. I think I'd rather be a Marquette law grad with no debt than an Ivy League grad mired in undergrad and law school debt. I don't know, I just feel like my options will be much broader when I don't have to worry about those golden handcuffs. Of course, I don't really have any other option so frankly it doesn't matter so much what my opinion or personal feelings might be.

I love the legal term 'grunt work'. Last year there was a time in Afghanistan when I swore to myself I would go to law school. I was writing a 10 page operations order underneath a camouflage tarp with a red lens flashlight at 0200 in the morning in 80 lbs of body armor in 100+ degrees. I hardly think finding papers and attending hearings in a nice civilized place like Milwaukee could be that bad??




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