PHD vs JD?

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leila_g83
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PHD vs JD?

Postby leila_g83 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 11:06 am

I have a B.S in Insurance Management from a foreign university , after that , due to my interest in Law, I got my Masters in International Public Law from the same school with a high GPA.
Now that I am moving to the states, I have two options:
- Study for LSAT, get into a good JD law program and become a lawyer
- Go for a PHD, in a related subject like International Relations,.... and go from there
I am 31 years old and I don't know if I am too old for law school, given that the median average of applicants in good schools are around 25.
Any advice would be perfect. :)

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JohannDeMann
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Dec 31, 2014 11:51 am

law sucks. do anything else.

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rondemarino
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby rondemarino » Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:02 pm

"International Public Law" WTH?

Presumably you've been in a workforce for at least a few years. What do you want to do with any further degrees that you accumulate?

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RZ5646
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby RZ5646 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:32 pm

Becoming a tenured professor is like 100 times harder than becoming a big law lawyer, so just forget about that.

What else can you do with a non-STEM PhD? Some kind of business consulting?

What are your career goals? What do you want to do?

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crazycanuck
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby crazycanuck » Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:43 pm

RZ5646 wrote:Becoming a tenured professor is like 100 times harder than becoming a big law lawyer, so just forget about that.

What else can you do with a non-STEM PhD? Some kind of business consulting?


Practically nothing. Consulting prefers MBA.

Do not under any circumstance get a PHD. You will be completely unemployable by anyone.

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Rigo
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby Rigo » Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:57 pm

Some recent opinions on the phd route:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=241082#p8253260

Not saying you should go to law school, but 31 is not too old if that's what you choose to do.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:59 pm

You're not too old for law school
there is a thread on here "Old School" with many people who are graduating law school at age 30-35
many of these people have gotten big law
as stated above, getting a tenured academic job is much harder than getting big law
I would personally advise getting a JD over getting a PhD, with a major caveat that you should not get a JD unless it is T6 or it is basically free (make sure the investment of $ and time is worth the likely payout)

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mpc347
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby mpc347 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:15 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
RZ5646 wrote:Becoming a tenured professor is like 100 times harder than becoming a big law lawyer, so just forget about that.

What else can you do with a non-STEM PhD? Some kind of business consulting?


Practically nothing. Consulting prefers MBA.

Do not under any circumstance get a PHD. You will be completely unemployable by anyone.


Disagree with this . There are circumstances under which getting a PhD can be justified (e.g., field, certain feeder schools, independently wealthy, etc.). Entry level tenure track jobs exist and they have to go to somebody. If you're doing a PhD its just about maximizing your chance of getting one.

OP the question is whether you're going to get into a top IR PhD (HYS, Columbia, Michigan, Princeton) program with a BS in Insurance Management from a foreign university. Is English your first language and do you have a strong writing sample in English available? If not, then maybe just focus on acing the LSAT.
Last edited by mpc347 on Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:20 pm

mpc347 wrote:Disagree with this . There are circumstances under which getting a PhD can be justified (e.g., field, certain feeder schools, independently wealthy, etc.).

"Feeder" schools? Feeding what to where?

(As for independently wealthy - well, yeah, if you're independently wealthy none of any of the advice here matters.)

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peger
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby peger » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:22 pm

I'd go for the JD. A PhD carried a lot of the negatives of a JD without a slew of positives.

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mpc347
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby mpc347 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:22 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
mpc347 wrote:Disagree with this . There are circumstances under which getting a PhD can be justified (e.g., field, certain feeder schools, independently wealthy, etc.).

"Feeder" schools? Feeding what to where?

(As for independently wealthy - well, yeah, if you're independently wealthy none of any of the advice here matters.)


Well, just like there are law schools that "feed" into big law (T6 maybe T13) or "feed" into academia (Yale, then Harvard, STanford, Chi) every discipline has a small number of schools that are the elite and have high placement rates for that discipline.

collegebum1989
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby collegebum1989 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:28 pm

Depends on your preference for lifestyle/education. Went to graduate school before starting law school (only masters) but major difference between the two is that the former focuses on research within a specific sub-discipline, and the latter is a standardized cirriculum throughout all schools (1L) and primarily classroom instruction with some clinic opportunities. However, in graduate school, you'll do way more original thinking than you will in law school.

Aside from preferences, the choice also relates to professional outcomes afterwards. Since PhD research is very specific, your employability is usually related to who your advisor was (his contacts within indiustry), whether your research coincides strongly with company/organization, or the prestige of your graduate school alma mater. Since all of these factors are highly dependent on your individual skill set and school, it's nearly impossible predict what your job outcomes will be at the beginning of starting a PhD (unless you attend a prestigious institution).

Law school, however, has more predictable outcomes. Based on the school you attend, and your grades, you can predict your outcomes within certain geographies although this is also sort of uncertain, but much more certain than a PhD.

Do what you enjoy more, but consider everything mentioned within this thread to make a more informed choice. Good luck.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:35 pm

mpc347 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
mpc347 wrote:Disagree with this . There are circumstances under which getting a PhD can be justified (e.g., field, certain feeder schools, independently wealthy, etc.).

"Feeder" schools? Feeding what to where?

(As for independently wealthy - well, yeah, if you're independently wealthy none of any of the advice here matters.)


Well, just like there are law schools that "feed" into big law (T6 maybe T13) or "feed" into academia (Yale, then Harvard, STanford, Chi) every discipline has a small number of schools that are the elite and have high placement rates for that discipline.

Not really, no. Your chances are better from some schools but it's really not a "feeder" system, in part because unlike law, you have no idea who/where will be hiring in your field when you finish (if you finish). I don't think even the most elite grad programs have placement rates that qualify as "feeding" anywhere, again because ultimate placement rates don't consider how many people start a grad program and never finish.

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mpc347
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby mpc347 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:54 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
mpc347 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
mpc347 wrote:Disagree with this . There are circumstances under which getting a PhD can be justified (e.g., field, certain feeder schools, independently wealthy, etc.).

"Feeder" schools? Feeding what to where?

(As for independently wealthy - well, yeah, if you're independently wealthy none of any of the advice here matters.)


Well, just like there are law schools that "feed" into big law (T6 maybe T13) or "feed" into academia (Yale, then Harvard, STanford, Chi) every discipline has a small number of schools that are the elite and have high placement rates for that discipline.

Not really, no. Your chances are better from some schools but it's really not a "feeder" system, in part because unlike law, you have no idea who/where will be hiring in your field when you finish (if you finish). I don't think even the most elite grad programs have placement rates that qualify as "feeding" anywhere, again because ultimate placement rates don't consider how many people start a grad program and never finish.


But placement rates shouldn't consider how many people "start a grad program and never finish." PhD program attrition is not the same as placement on the job market.

OP never specified that she wanted to end up in a particular place or at a particular school or anything of that nature. If you want to be prof and you aren't picky about where you end up before actually hitting the market in a given year, then going to an elite program in your field is not an absolutely terrible idea and you stand a decent chance of getting a job. Hence my disagreement with "under no circumstances."

Edit: You're right that I misused the term "feeder" though.

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twenty
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby twenty » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:00 pm

Career paths for JDs versus PhDs are hugely different. It's like asking, "should I try and become a police officer, or an accountant?" But unlike that analogy, you have to commit yourself to one for the foreseeable future - with a PhD in "International Relations" you're going to be spending a better part of the next decade in school. With a JD, you're looking at three years of school and then working yourself out of whatever debt you accumulated while you were in school just to "break zero." This isn't to dissuade you from one or the other, but it's a bit more imperative that you know what you're doing beyond just a PhD vs. JD question. Like, do you actually want to be an attorney/professor, or do you want to be in school for another X years? The latter isn't necessarily the wrong answer, but it's worth knowing this before you set yourself on a track.

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fats provolone
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby fats provolone » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:00 pm

if you see "don't get a phd" and think "a-ha! but what if you're independently wealthy?!" then you should probably get a phd

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twenty
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby twenty » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:05 pm

fats provolone wrote:if you see "don't get a phd" and think "a-ha! but what if you're independently wealthy?!" then you should probably get a phd kill yourself


come on duck, you're dropping the ball.

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fats provolone
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby fats provolone » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:06 pm

twenty wrote:
fats provolone wrote:if you see "don't get a phd" and think "a-ha! but what if you're independently wealthy?!" then you should probably get a phd kill yourself

come on duck, you're dropping the ball.

you should get a phd in subtlety

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rondemarino
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby rondemarino » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:17 pm

I love how OP is receiving all sorts advice without being able to articulate something as basic as what he/she wants to do.

leila_g83
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby leila_g83 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:27 pm

rondemarino wrote:"International Public Law" WTH?

Presumably you've been in a workforce for at least a few years. What do you want to do with any further degrees that you accumulate?


International Law was the only option I had for a masters that was law related. and I know for sure that if I want to be successful in the employment market, a foreign master degree wont get me anywhere, and I have to finish my education in a good school with a good degree in the states.

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Hand
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby Hand » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:31 pm

rondemarino wrote:I love how OP is receiving all sorts advice without being able to articulate something as basic as what he/she wants to do.


Well, OP notes that "any advice would be perfect", so everybody giving advice ITT is achieving perfection.

But yeah, OP, what do you want to do with your life? If you want to be a lawyer, get a JD. If you don't want to be a lawyer, don't get a JD. Age shouldn't be a deterrent.

You should only get a PhD if you (i-a) you think being an academic while make you incredibly more happy than doing anything else would, or (i-b) you will get a PhD in a subject that will render you employable outside of academia - and IR ain't that, i fear; and (ii) you will get into a tippity-top program in your field.

leila_g83
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby leila_g83 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:41 pm

wow thanks for all the advice.
I always wanted to be a lawyer, and if I study law it will only and only for practicing law. But I was thinking that maybe I am too old for starting law school, passing bar exam,....
but after reading all your advice I will go for a JD in a good school.
Staying in the academics world forever is not for me. I am not just the type. But from where i come from its a ritual, B.S,Masters and then PHD. Thats why I was considering a PHD.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:08 pm

mpc347 wrote:But placement rates shouldn't consider how many people "start a grad program and never finish." PhD program attrition is not the same as placement on the job market.

OP never specified that she wanted to end up in a particular place or at a particular school or anything of that nature. If you want to be prof and you aren't picky about where you end up before actually hitting the market in a given year, then going to an elite program in your field is not an absolutely terrible idea and you stand a decent chance of getting a job. Hence my disagreement with "under no circumstances."

Edit: You're right that I misused the term "feeder" though.

Attrition isn't the same as placement rates, but programs' placements rates are often misleading given that attrition rates easily run 50% in most programs, and "attrition" often = "I couldn't get a job and didn't see a point in finishing." In any case, no, even going to an elite program you don't stand a "decent" chance of getting a tenure-track job, unless you're defining "decent" very differently than people here define "decent" when talking about law jobs.

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banjo
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby banjo » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:54 pm

As things stand, I can only identify a few circumstances under which one might reasonably consider going to graduate school in the humanities:

-You are independently wealthy, and you have no need to earn a living for yourself or provide for anyone else.
-You come from that small class of well-connected people in academe who will be able to find a place for you somewhere.
-You can rely on a partner to provide all of the income and benefits needed by your household.
-You are earning a credential for a position that you already hold — such as a high-school teacher — and your employer is paying for it.

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go

By the time you finish—if you even do—your academic self will be the culmination of your entire self, and thus you will believe, incomprehensibly, that not having a tenure-track job makes you worthless. You will believe this so strongly that when you do not land a job, it will destroy you, and nobody outside of academia will understand why. (Bright side: You will no longer have any friends outside academia.)

Slate: Thesis Hatement

You don’t have to be sympathetic about the life choices of a relative who’s a struggling early career academic—chances are she regrets them enough already for the both of you. But if you’re trying to help—or at any rate not actively trying to wound—when it comes to academics looking for jobs, it’s best to limit the conversation to a nice, light topic. I suggest religion. Or abortion. Or the inevitability of climate change. Anything but the job your relative very possibly will never get.

Slate: Why Your Cousin With a PhD is a Basket Case

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crazycanuck
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Re: PHD vs JD?

Postby crazycanuck » Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:27 pm

banjo wrote:
As things stand, I can only identify a few circumstances under which one might reasonably consider going to graduate school in the humanities:

-You are independently wealthy, and you have no need to earn a living for yourself or provide for anyone else.
-You come from that small class of well-connected people in academe who will be able to find a place for you somewhere.
-You can rely on a partner to provide all of the income and benefits needed by your household.
-You are earning a credential for a position that you already hold — such as a high-school teacher — and your employer is paying for it.

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go

By the time you finish—if you even do—your academic self will be the culmination of your entire self, and thus you will believe, incomprehensibly, that not having a tenure-track job makes you worthless. You will believe this so strongly that when you do not land a job, it will destroy you, and nobody outside of academia will understand why. (Bright side: You will no longer have any friends outside academia.)

Slate: Thesis Hatement

You don’t have to be sympathetic about the life choices of a relative who’s a struggling early career academic—chances are she regrets them enough already for the both of you. But if you’re trying to help—or at any rate not actively trying to wound—when it comes to academics looking for jobs, it’s best to limit the conversation to a nice, light topic. I suggest religion. Or abortion. Or the inevitability of climate change. Anything but the job your relative very possibly will never get.

Slate: Why Your Cousin With a PhD is a Basket Case


There were good articles, this quote from the first article is really quite telling.

Unfortunately, during the three years that I searched for positions outside of academe, I found that humanities Ph.D.'s, without relevant experience or technical skills, generally compete at a moderate disadvantage against undergraduates, and at a serious disadvantage against people with professional degrees. If you take that path, you will be starting at the bottom in your 30s, a decade behind your age cohort, with no savings (and probably a lot of debt).


If you don't get academia (and you probably won't), you're fucked.




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