Joint Degree Transfer

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Choices

1. Retake LSAT despite 2 years of not studying and stay in grad school.
4
100%
2. Stay at top 20 and complete 1L (paying) and try to transfer.
0
No votes
3. Stay in program, likely fail to get an academic job.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 4

flinch8

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Joint Degree Transfer

Postby flinch8 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:36 pm

I just completed my first year of graduate school in a JD/PhD program at a top 20 school. I did not pass my prelim, and they have decided that I will not receive my funding back unless I do another year of graduate school next year. My ultimate goal is legal academia, which I know basically requires HY(50% of all law professors hired over the last 20 years came from these two schools), so I'm dubious about my current situation as it stands anyway. The PhD is pretty specialized, and I'm also starting to doubt my odds of getting an academic job outside of the legal academy too. I'm asking for advice on what I should do, and the way I see it I have 3 possible options:

1. I'm now eligible to retake the LSAT. I took 3 times before and wound up with 3.74/167. I was hitting 170's in practice pretty routinely at the time, but it has been almost two years now. Plus I would have to get a pretty strong LSAT (177+) to get HY with my gpa (which will not be affected by grad school grades). If I did this, I would likely stay in grad school to keep my funding and keep working as an RA with a professor while I prepare to retake (who would likely write me an awesome letter of rec for what it's worth).

2. Stay here at my top 20, do 1L and pay for it, and then try to transfer.

3. Stay in my program and pray that the ways of hiring in the legal academy change over the next decade.

Thanks in advance for any help!

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wiz

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Re: Joint Degree Transfer

Postby wiz » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:42 pm

You have way more control over your LSAT than you do over your 1L grades. Retake the LSAT. Don't bank on transferring.

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yellowyak46

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Re: Joint Degree Transfer

Postby yellowyak46 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:51 pm

I just completed my first year in grad school in a JD/PhD program as well. In my opinion, it matters what the PhD is in, what exactly you are researching, who your advisors are, the potential for you to still succeed in the PhD program, and many other factors. Plenty of people don't do well in their first year of grad school and then finish well, write a great dissertation, and get a great academic job. Of course, the opposite is also true. I'd encourage you to talk to your advisor(s) and be up front with them. There's so much going on, and plenty of time to recover from a less-than-ideal start. Plus, transferring in a JD/PhD program is nearly impossible, though it does of course depend on what the PhD is in, since different schools have different application processes for their respective PhD programs. Be frank and talk to your graduate advisors. The program is long, and lots can change.

Snuffles1

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Re: Joint Degree Transfer

Postby Snuffles1 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:27 am

Having both a JD and PhD from a T20 is going to make life hard for you regardless of what your PhD is on/in, and the JD much more so (although I think saying that only a HY JD will get you to your end goal overstates it a bit). This last year the hiring market contracted to the worst it's been since 2007, despite a slight upward trend the year before ... things are hard enough.

flinch8

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Re: Joint Degree Transfer

Postby flinch8 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:42 pm

Wiz, that is what I'm leaning towards now.

Thanks yellowyak46. I have talked to my advisors quite a bit, and I'm confident in my ability to do well going forward. That being say, this whole process has driven me to reflect on the whole thing, and my program isn't looking as great as it was when I started. My trying to leave has much more to do with negative factors that has arisen since I've been here rather than fear of not being able to do well going forward. Also sorry for not being clear, I wasn't implying that I wanted to transfer to another JD/PhD, but just try to go for a top law school and shoot for legal academia.

Snuffles, I am very aware of the state of legal academia right now, and was not trying to imply that HY was sufficient for getting a job. Rather, I see it closer to a necessary condition, along with publishing, VAP, clerkship etc. I completely agree that Top 20 will make it hard to get a job in either once I get out, which was less clear to me coming in and why I'm trying to look at other options.



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