Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

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VJR16

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Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby VJR16 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:05 pm

Hi all,

Interested in whether I should:

1) Apply and (if accepted) attend law school straight out of undergrad
2) Apply and (if accepted) defer law school for a 12 month MA
3) Do an MA and then apply for law school

I'm a science major, and I'd be looking into a climate change/ public policy masters, and eventually interested in public interest/ environmental law.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Itwasascam

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby Itwasascam » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:56 pm

You don’t need both degrees

Also depends on the school/debt

I’d do the MA and then work. Unless you’re going to HYS you’re probably not getting an “environmental law” job

nixy

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby nixy » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:12 pm

Itwasascam wrote:Unless you’re going to HYS you’re probably not getting an “environmental law” job

This isn't true actually (I didn't go to a T14 and I have a number of classmates doing environmental law, though it can depend a little where in the country you are).

But I would actually agree with do the MA and then go work in the field. If you find work that satisfies you without the JD, you've saved yourself three years and a lot of money, and if you find you still want the JD/want to do jobs where it would benefit you, you'll be in a much better position to get that environmental law job.

Wubbles

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby Wubbles » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:50 pm

Itwasascam wrote:You don’t need both degrees

Also depends on the school/debt

I’d do the MA and then work. Unless you’re going to HYS you’re probably not getting an “environmental law” job

Lots of firms have environmental practices, though probably representing the wrong side of suits for most environmentalists

nixy

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby nixy » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:08 pm

There are also a lot of government environmental/land use positions.

VJR16

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby VJR16 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:48 pm

Thanks everyone-! I'm actually more set on law than I am on environmental law specifically- I was more wondering if there is any use in having a masters in the subject that corresponds with the field of law you're interested in. I also have a background in biology, so I am interested in environmental law because it does play to previous strengths/ experience. I also have been looking at firms / legal aid positions where people in environmental law tend to have MAs in environmental science, so I thought I'd ask around.

If there isn't an advantage to it though, I may just go through law without the masters.

VJR16

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby VJR16 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:52 pm

Also re: debt; obviously an issue! However, if I decided to do an MA in the US, for instance, I could pick a Canadian Law school and the two together would still be cheaper than a US law degree at sticker, just more time.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby totesTheGoat » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:03 pm

VJR16 wrote:I was more wondering if there is any use in having a masters in the subject that corresponds with the field of law you're interested in.


The answer is a solid "depends." There are plenty of lawyers with an MA who are seen as top candidates because they have that extra experience. There are plenty of other lawyers who got nothing but student loans out of their MA. It's hard to tell which side you'll end up on beforehand. By and large, unless there is a direct and strong correlation between the subject matter of your master's and the law you will be practicing, you'll be wasting your time and money.

I will say that you're thinking in the right way. It's always good to get a bit of extra experience prior to starting law school. However, I think that getting a job and working a couple years in your field of interest will reap more reward than an MA, on average.

ClubberLang

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby ClubberLang » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:12 pm

VJR16 wrote:Thanks everyone-! I'm actually more set on law than I am on environmental law specifically- I was more wondering if there is any use in having a masters in the subject that corresponds with the field of law you're interested in. I also have a background in biology, so I am interested in environmental law because it does play to previous strengths/ experience. I also have been looking at firms / legal aid positions where people in environmental law tend to have MAs in environmental science, so I thought I'd ask around.

If there isn't an advantage to it though, I may just go through law without the masters.


Minimal to no use in the MA. If you want to help the environment there are better things to do than practice law. But, if you are set on law, there is no reason to delay and/or blow more money on school, particularly when your preferred field right now is low paying.

VJR16

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby VJR16 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:03 pm

This is all good advice- I realize that all of this is situational and something that helps one person won't necessarily help another.
Sounds like going straight into the JD is a better option; again I was just wondering if additional schooling in a specific law area would be beneficial.

nixy

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby nixy » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:48 pm

No. Additional work in a relevant area can help, or mayyyyyybe if it’s a very desirable professional/technical degree that has a strong pipeline into jobs on its own. But the JD isn’t a specialized degree and you don’t need more education in anything before doing it.

VJR16

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Re: Law School straight out of Undergrad vs. MA first?

Postby VJR16 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:22 pm

nixy wrote:No. Additional work in a relevant area can help, or mayyyyyybe if it’s a very desirable professional/technical degree that has a strong pipeline into jobs on its own. But the JD isn’t a specialized degree and you don’t need more education in anything before doing it.


Makes sense. Wasn't sure what the thinking was on that so thanks for helping out!



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