get into law school after a math PhD

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pabloescalante
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Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 6:02 pm

get into law school after a math PhD

Postby pabloescalante » Tue May 12, 2015 6:55 pm

Hello everybody

I am about to finish a pure math PhD and was thinking in getting into a law school. This might sound you weird, but even though I love doing math, I hate teaching. I paid my math grad school through teaching and research assistantships. Besides that, if I embark in an industry or academic or academic career, I will not be able to go back to my country again. I come from a Latin American country which does not do mathematical research nor has an industry which requires advanced math. I will end as a school teacher or at best a university teacher teaching basic calculus in my home country which I do not want to. It is not that I do not like USA but I miss my country and I would like to live and work there. The weather is stable all year round (no change of seasons, a warm weather) and the fruits and vegetables are organic. I miss my country.

I have been searching and found out that mathematics is quite similar to law. You have to make arguments and prove things. That´s the common thing and in addition I have read books about Roman Law and some about Law Theory which I really loved. I has also been looking here in the US that a law school degree (JD which is a graduate degree) takes three years compared to my home country which takes five years ( Licenciado en Derecho = License in Law, an undergraduate degree). In addition, in my home country law degrees specialize in criminal law (that is law for criminal justice, lawyers that are prosecutors or defend murderers or thefts). I would like to embark a career in international and commercial law which is required in my country due to the presence of many foreign mining companies (my country exports many minerals like zinc and silver in great quantities besides that it is starting to mine lithium ). Those foreign mining companies have to bring lawyers from abroad to deal with their legal businesses, and I know they would love to have me because I would be a local there and would know the people, the system and many other things which foreign people do not know.

So I would like to know if I have a good chance to be accepted in an American Bar certified law school. I have a five-year undergraduate mathematics degree (Licenciado en Matemáticas) with a good GPA, equivalently to 3.6 in the US scale. And as I have said, I am about to finish my math PhD thesis (well, it is under review). I am also preparing to take the LSAT which as I have seen is about coaching like the GRE. Do I have a good chance? I do not pretend to get into a top law school, just one which is certified by the American Bar Association. That will immediately homologate my US law degree in my country and will grant me access to its local Bar association.

In addition, I would like to know how to pay for law school. My math grad school is paying for everything, tuition fees + living expenses + health insurance. But as I could see, law schools do not offer teaching assistantships or research assistantships. And as you might guess, I can not pay around 40 000 US dollars in tuition; besides that, I will not have money for my living expenses. So, is it possible to work while I attend law school? I have been offered some postdoctoral positions but I do not know if the money I will receive will be enough to pay law school tuition fees + living expenses.

Are there any law schools that offer scholarships to foreign students which are not permanent residents? I am neither a permanent resident. I am on a non immigrant F1 student visa status, so I do not qualify for lots of financial aid options. I can not ask for a loan.

By the way, for those who were thinking this, yes my country follows the civil law system, not the US common law. But I will be hired as an international and commercial lawyer. I will not go into trial of murders or things like that, and by the way, many of those foreign lawyers in my country have law degrees from countries which fallow the common law system (mainly the UK) and they were equally admitted in my country´s local Bar association.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: get into law school after a math PhD

Postby Capitol_Idea » Tue May 12, 2015 7:19 pm

I highly doubt the practice of law (or law school) is like doing math. Law school is less intellectually rigorous than a PhD program - you're not expected to contribute original research. Law school exams seem somewhat similar to comp exams in some PhD programs - but obviously it depends on the field and PhD program.

Plenty of law schools will accept you, and many might offer you scholarships, but what will drive this is your LSAT score. Study and take that first - if you do really well (170+) then you'll have all sorts of law schools beating down your door. Even a score in the 160's might net you a scholarship at a very low ranked school - which might serve your purposes if you're not looking for U.S. employment in a law firm.

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: get into law school after a math PhD

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 12, 2015 7:39 pm

Have you considered a career as an actuary ?

With a PhD in math, an LSAT score in the 160s should yield many full tuition scholarship offers to T-40 law schools. Earn a LSAT score in the high 160s or better & some of the T-14 law schools should offer you substantial scholarship money.

Additionally, fluency in Spanish and/or Portuguese should yield great job opportunities.

Consider applying to LSU & Tulane so that you can earn dual common law & civil law degrees. You should be able to get full tuition scholarships from both schools with a reasonable LSAT score. Tutor math &/or a language for additional money while in law school.

Are you willing to share the name of your country ?

Arad
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:17 pm

Re: get into law school after a math PhD

Postby Arad » Tue May 12, 2015 8:11 pm

No, no, no. Go be a quant.

Or go apply for I-banking positions in South Florida, I'm sure any bank would value your potential modeling skills and the fact that you're bilingual.

Seriously, go work in finance.

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starry eyed
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Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:26 am

Re: get into law school after a math PhD

Postby starry eyed » Tue May 12, 2015 8:17 pm

This. I don't typically believe in worrying about sunk costs (this case you're about to get the phd), but this is a rare exception.

Arad wrote:No, no, no. Go be a quant.

Or go apply for I-banking positions in South Florida, I'm sure any bank would value your potential modeling skills and the fact that you're bilingual.

Seriously, go work in finance.
Last edited by starry eyed on Tue May 12, 2015 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kartelite
Posts: 288
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:44 pm

Re: get into law school after a math PhD

Postby kartelite » Tue May 12, 2015 8:21 pm

You're not going to be able to do a postdoc position while going to law school. Also, I'm not sure law school is quite the intellectual environment you're anticipating. The studies of math and law (while operating on similar logical/axiomatic principles) are very different (I did undergrad/grad in math as well), and I'm not really sure you're aware of what you're getting into. Frankly, my advice would be to go work in industry, finance, as an actuary, whatever, for at least a year or two to get a bit of perspective before embarking on such a big commitment.

pabloescalante
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 6:02 pm

Re: get into law school after a math PhD

Postby pabloescalante » Tue May 12, 2015 9:30 pm

Thanks for your replies.

As some of you have suggested. Going into baking or actuary would not be an option for me. I did my math grad work in a very abstract field of math. I have seen things that have no connection with reality. Besides that I do not like statistics and quantitative math. On the other hand, working on an industry in USA is not an option. I want to go back to my country. I miss my parents and friends and also I want to marry someone there. I do not want to marry a foreign woman.

I also do not want to be a math teacher. I really hate it. Being a teaching assistant almost got on my nerves. From all possible things I could do in my country, law would be my best option. Being a lawyer for those foreign mining companies or agricultural companies that export fruits.

I will try to do my best on the lsat, even though I think it is useless as the GRE. The math graduate work I did has nothing to do with the GRE. I hope those lsat preparation lesson be useful for my law school studies.

Thanks for your replies




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