for those deciding between law school and med school......

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suboxoneman
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for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby suboxoneman » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:14 pm

first time poster here, but have browsed boards for a bit.

My background is I'm a fairly early career general internist/hospitalist in a medium size city in the southeast. Not a small town, but not Atlanta either. I also do addictions work(hence the username), but make most of my money as a hospitalist. I've been out of residency 4 years. My wife is an in house lawyer now(Id rather not say where) who graduated from Duke Law and spent three and a half years in biglaw before transitioning in house. I'm just one guy, but I feel like I may be able to help at least one poster out by clearing up some misconceptions.

For starters, I realize the number of people seriously debating between law school and medical school is very very small. That said, hopefully as someone who has experience in medicine(and knows tons of people in the community in various specialties) and at least a superficial knowledge of law/biglaw/t14 stuff/whatever, I can help at least one poster out.

What I think students should first realize is that these forums grossly mischaracterize the market, employment prospects, general work conditions, etc of most physicians. Now to be fair it's not their fault, since a lot of the mainstream media does as well(which is where we get a lot of our assumptions from). Here are the biggest misrepresentations I see thrown about:

1) residents are poor and work insane hours. Maybe at a few programs in some specialties, but this is not the standard. It's been several years since I've been out of my internal medicine residency(which is 3 years), but I engaged in moonlighting activities a good bit as a second year and even more as a third year resident. Yes, my base salary as a resident those three years was about 50k(a little higher today), but by November of my second year I was making an extra 4k a month(minimum) moonlighting in various hospitals. My pgy2 year my combined salary was about 100k, but my pgy3 year I made 85k moonlighting for a total salary of over 130k. In internal medicine and other primary care fields this is not unusual at all. I know residents who made over 175k total their last year. Emergency medicine is another short residency where pgy3s moonlight a bunch. Same for psychiatry. Also, the average hours worked(you can look it up on Freida) for most residents who aren't neurosurgery residents or surgery interns is reasonable....think around 45-55, sometimes more or less depending on the program. It's not bad at all, and furthermore you can select what you want. If you know you want a laid back residency, well pick one!

2) You guys are looking at the wrong salary indicators. Surveys put out that you can easily google are not the best indicators. What you want is mgma. That's what all the hospitals and hospital systems use to determine salaries. Also, you drastically(at least from what Ive seen here) underestimate what inpatient primary care docs like me make. I work 7 on/7 off. I get to work about 730(but have to have my beeper on at 7am) and leave around 445(but have to keep my beeper on until 7pm)...that's the nature of a 7/7 hospital gig. My base salary is 265k. This is more than it says in the surveys, but that's because the surveys include a whole bunch of stuff that isn't particularly relevant to the real world. It's kinda like law in that way- you know, how average salary surveys at one law school may report grads make 90k at graduation, even though we know nobody makes 90k(bimodal distribution of course). The truth is I have no idea where these surveys are getting their numbers that show hospitalists(ie inpatient internists such as myself) make 210k on average.....but for someone who wants to be a community hospitalist in most areas it doesn't reflect reality. This is low.

But the main point(because that salary averages undershoot by a good bit in primary care) is that this is only one possible income stream. Keep in mind that's a 7on/7off Im working. I am still in my 30s....what am I going to do the other 7 days? Do I work nonstop? No, of course not. But just piddling around a little bit during those other 7 days(or alternatively picking up two 12 hr shifts that week) is going to pay another 3k or so those 'off weeks'.(the going rate for locum hospitalist work is 125-150 per hour). Now I choose to do suboxone clinic because it's what I enjoy, and I make another 85k or so throughout the year just piddling. So really, my salary as a community internist is over 350k per year. With a fairly light schedule and bunches of time off. In a not so bad community, and obviously internal medicine is a not very competitive residency(although I went to a good state med school, many of my colleagues went to carrib schools).

I'm just trying to point out that the primary care doctor busting his/her hump and slaving away for 160k is not reality. Are there people in internal medicine making 160k? Sure, but that's the occasional academic gig with a very light clinical load...that's not a common job. Just doing general community non-academic work is going to put you at least at 235k, likely more. Heck even the VA(veterans affairs) is paying 225k now for hospitalists, and that's a laid back job you barely have to be alive for.

So I make 350k in primary care, but if I had more business sense(or was willing to work more hours or had more drive), I could make a lot more.

Now my wife on the other end? She makes pretty good...around 115k now. But there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between 350k and 115k. Sure, she made more than this when she was an associate for a few years out of law school, but my lowest salary post-residency was always at least 90k more than her highest salary before she left her firm(even with bonuses). But the important point to note is that she is a SUCCESS STORY(isn't she?). She

1)went to the right law school(or at least one of them)
2) she did well there and got the 'right' kind of firm job
3) she stuck it out in biglaw for long enough to lateral to a 'good' early career in house job

Comparing her career path to mine, it is clear there were 10x the potential pitfalls and stumbling blocks in hers. I didn't really excel at anything(relative to others) once I get in med school, whereas she excelled every step of the way.

3 for 3, and you know what? She still works harder than I do in a job she considers less satisfying(and is less secure) for about 1/3 of the pay.

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RZ5646
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby RZ5646 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:24 pm

tl;dr doctor humblebrag, ignores the important point that law and medicine are completely different and that choosing one over the other because of the money involved is unfathomably stupid

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banjo
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby banjo » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:37 pm

suboxoneman wrote:first time poster here, but have browsed boards for a bit.

My background is I'm a fairly early career general internist/hospitalist in a medium size city in the southeast. Not a small town, but not Atlanta either. I also do addictions work(hence the username), but make most of my money as a hospitalist. I've been out of residency 4 years. My wife is an in house lawyer now(Id rather not say where) who graduated from Duke Law and spent three and a half years in biglaw before transitioning in house. I'm just one guy, but I feel like I may be able to help at least one poster out by clearing up some misconceptions.

For starters, I realize the number of people seriously debating between law school and medical school is very very small. That said, hopefully as someone who has experience in medicine(and knows tons of people in the community in various specialties) and at least a superficial knowledge of law/biglaw/t14 stuff/whatever, I can help at least one poster out.

What I think students should first realize is that these forums grossly mischaracterize the market, employment prospects, general work conditions, etc of most physicians. Now to be fair it's not their fault, since a lot of the mainstream media does as well(which is where we get a lot of our assumptions from). Here are the biggest misrepresentations I see thrown about:

1) residents are poor and work insane hours. Maybe at a few programs in some specialties, but this is not the standard. It's been several years since I've been out of my internal medicine residency(which is 3 years), but I engaged in moonlighting activities a good bit as a second year and even more as a third year resident. Yes, my base salary as a resident those three years was about 50k(a little higher today), but by November of my second year I was making an extra 4k a month(minimum) moonlighting in various hospitals. My pgy2 year my combined salary was about 100k, but my pgy3 year I made 85k moonlighting for a total salary of over 130k. In internal medicine and other primary care fields this is not unusual at all. I know residents who made over 175k total their last year. Emergency medicine is another short residency where pgy3s moonlight a bunch. Same for psychiatry. Also, the average hours worked(you can look it up on Freida) for most residents who aren't neurosurgery residents or surgery interns is reasonable....think around 45-55, sometimes more or less depending on the program. It's not bad at all, and furthermore you can select what you want. If you know you want a laid back residency, well pick one!

2) You guys are looking at the wrong salary indicators. Surveys put out that you can easily google are not the best indicators. What you want is mgma. That's what all the hospitals and hospital systems use to determine salaries. Also, you drastically(at least from what Ive seen here) underestimate what inpatient primary care docs like me make. I work 7 on/7 off. I get to work about 730(but have to have my beeper on at 7am) and leave around 445(but have to keep my beeper on until 7pm)...that's the nature of a 7/7 hospital gig. My base salary is 265k. This is more than it says in the surveys, but that's because the surveys include a whole bunch of stuff that isn't particularly relevant to the real world. It's kinda like law in that way- you know, how average salary surveys at one law school may report grads make 90k at graduation, even though we know nobody makes 90k(bimodal distribution of course). The truth is I have no idea where these surveys are getting their numbers that show hospitalists(ie inpatient internists such as myself) make 210k on average.....but for someone who wants to be a community hospitalist in most areas it doesn't reflect reality. This is low.

But the main point(because that salary averages undershoot by a good bit in primary care) is that this is only one possible income stream. Keep in mind that's a 7on/7off Im working. I am still in my 30s....what am I going to do the other 7 days? Do I work nonstop? No, of course not. But just piddling around a little bit during those other 7 days(or alternatively picking up two 12 hr shifts that week) is going to pay another 3k or so those 'off weeks'.(the going rate for locum hospitalist work is 125-150 per hour). Now I choose to do suboxone clinic because it's what I enjoy, and I make another 85k or so throughout the year just piddling. So really, my salary as a community internist is over 350k per year. With a fairly light schedule and bunches of time off. In a not so bad community, and obviously internal medicine is a not very competitive residency(although I went to a good state med school, many of my colleagues went to carrib schools).

I'm just trying to point out that the primary care doctor busting his/her hump and slaving away for 160k is not reality. Are there people in internal medicine making 160k? Sure, but that's the occasional academic gig with a very light clinical load...that's not a common job. Just doing general community non-academic work is going to put you at least at 235k, likely more. Heck even the VA(veterans affairs) is paying 225k now for hospitalists, and that's a laid back job you barely have to be alive for.

So I make 350k in primary care, but if I had more business sense(or was willing to work more hours or had more drive), I could make a lot more.

Now my wife on the other end? She makes pretty good...around 115k now. But there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between 350k and 115k. Sure, she made more than this when she was an associate for a few years out of law school, but my lowest salary post-residency was always at least 90k more than her highest salary before she left her firm(even with bonuses). But the important point to note is that she is a SUCCESS STORY(isn't she?). She

1)went to the right law school(or at least one of them)
2) she did well there and got the 'right' kind of firm job
3) she stuck it out in biglaw for long enough to lateral to a 'good' early career in house job

Comparing her career path to mine, it is clear there were 10x the potential pitfalls and stumbling blocks in hers. I didn't really excel at anything(relative to others) once I get in med school, whereas she excelled every step of the way.

3 for 3, and you know what? She still works harder than I do in a job she considers less satisfying(and is less secure) for about 1/3 of the pay.


Posters here agree that doctors have higher-paying, more secure, and often more satisfying jobs than lawyers. Maybe there was a post somewhere that suggested otherwise, but I don't think I've seen it...

nickhalden
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby nickhalden » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:49 pm

Doctor making $350,000 takes time to write a long, rambling post on a law school internet forum about how much money he makes.

Totes real guys.

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AOT
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby AOT » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:50 pm

I think this is a response to this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=244600&hilit=medical

One guy was arguing that doctors have it worse than lawyers (last couple of posts)
Last edited by AOT on Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Moneytrees
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby Moneytrees » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:51 pm

Egregious humble brag.

ilikebaseball
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby ilikebaseball » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:53 pm

Pretty sure everyone here will agree with you on pretty much everything. Med>Law. But thanks for taking the 20-30 minutes out of your life to come on here and write that instead of...ya know... being productive

suboxoneman
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby suboxoneman » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:58 pm

I made references that speak to my humility a number of times- how I'm in a noncompetitive specialty, how I didn't really excel relative to colleagues, how others I work with do make more money, etc....

as for the time commitment, I like to read/post to internet forums....guilty as charged. I'm also on my 7 days off(again I work 7 on/7 off) and have a good bit of time. Like I said, I'm not overworked or super busy and so I have time to waste, especially on my off week. And my wife is a lawyer and has mentioned this board in the post.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:04 pm

Those deciding between law school and med school should totally just do both. Leonardo DiCaprio did it in that one movie. It turned out to be a pretty sweet route to BigFed employment.

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starry eyed
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby starry eyed » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:14 pm

edit: read through and found answer
Last edited by starry eyed on Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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banjo
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby banjo » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:15 pm

alloverthat wrote:I think this is a response to this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=244600&hilit=medical

One guy was arguing that doctors have it worse than lawyers (last couple of posts)


Ahh okay. Well, thanks OP.

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starry eyed
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby starry eyed » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:17 pm

Seems like OP has been waiting on an opportunity for this rant.

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Hand
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby Hand » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:24 pm

doc, can you write me some prescriptions?

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bjsesq
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby bjsesq » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:25 pm

He's not wrong, dickheads.

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Hand
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby Hand » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:26 pm

bjsesq wrote:He's not wrong, dickheads.


while that might be true, it's not really on point, since the # of people here who are actually deciding between med school and law school is probably zero

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Dog
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby Dog » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:30 pm

Law and medicine are completely different careers. Are you going to post this on top-journalism-schools.com too?

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bjsesq
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby bjsesq » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:32 pm

Who the fuck is this guy providing information? Get em, everyone!

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Hand
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby Hand » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:36 pm

bjsesq wrote:Who the fuck is this guy providing information? Get em, everyone!


I don't need information, I need vicodin

mvp99
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby mvp99 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:39 pm

suboxoneman wrote:I made references that speak to my humility a number of times- how I'm in a noncompetitive specialty, how I didn't really excel relative to colleagues, how others I work with do make more money, etc....
Do you understand the definition of "humblebrag"?

some people out there, including some surgeons, would kill themselves if they earned only 350k a year.. its all relative bro..

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bjsesq
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby bjsesq » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:40 pm

hereisonehand wrote:
bjsesq wrote:Who the fuck is this guy providing information? Get em, everyone!


I don't need information, I need vicodin

Trash. Don't get clean, get oxy clean.

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starry eyed
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby starry eyed » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:13 pm

bjsesq wrote:
hereisonehand wrote:
bjsesq wrote:Who the fuck is this guy providing information? Get em, everyone!


I don't need information, I need vicodin

Trash. Don't get clean, get oxy clean.


Then take suboxone when you want to get your life back on track again.

suboxoneman
Posts: 22
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby suboxoneman » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:38 pm

It's true that there are very few people(although probably not zero since this is a very large forum) deciding between med and law school. But just in browsing here I see a lot of posts about what it is supposedly like to be in medicine(especially if you are not one of the people who 'get' to be a subspecialist, as if everyone wants to do that....many subspecialties aren't competitive anyways but that's a separate unrelated point), so I thought i'd jump in and provide real life expertise about the actual market.

But more importantly, you could say that very few people are deciding between law school and (insert any career). Individually most all other career don't represent a large number of alternatives, but taken as a whole they do. The point is that throughout TLS there seems to be a consistent message of "well this law thing seems to be problematic going forward with career prospects even if I am one of the relatively lucky ones, but (insert career here) is just as bad or worse". That's what I'm challenging, and I just used the market I am an expert in as an example.

I'm not an engineer so I won't comment specifically on their employment situations, but I have to also believe it's a lot rosier than those on TLS indicate. Same for tons of other fields people excel in.

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dabigchina
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby dabigchina » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:57 pm

"just get an MD, bro" is the new "just do MBB, bro"?

also, poastin in a troll thread.

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doctorofoz
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby doctorofoz » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:41 pm

.
Last edited by doctorofoz on Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: for those deciding between law school and med school......

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:49 pm

OP how do you feel on a daily basis doing procedures/tests/etc. for patients where the primary reason you are doing it is to bill the $ and you know there is a good chance the test/procedure will either show nothing, is unnecessary, or will harm the patient?

I know a lot of doctors and most of them cite this as something that makes them unhappy on a daily basis
combined with the fact that people are often telling them they are doing a good thing by helping people and they know that making $ is actually the focus of the profession
Last edited by Hutz_and_Goodman on Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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