MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

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mamadoc

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MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby mamadoc » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:29 pm

I am currently at double board certified physician and mom of three small little girls. While my children are young I would still like to earn income but have some more flexibility with raising my children. My Schedule is physician is not flexible as I have to have 9-5 job because I am an anesthesiologist/pain management.
I have done some expert witness work and the income was good and allowed for a lot of flexibility for spending more time with my 6yo, 5 yo and two-year-old.
My specific question is there a law school that can be done at a more delayed schedule than the typical three years?

TransferAdvice18

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby TransferAdvice18 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:37 pm

Look at going to school part time. A lot of law schools have part time programs that take place in the evenings and are spread out over 4 years instead of the traditional 3. If you're in the NYC area, I know Seton Hall offers a weekend JD program that is completed entirely (or almost entirely, not sure) on weekends.

gregfootball2001

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby gregfootball2001 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:08 pm

mamadoc wrote:I am currently at double board certified physician and mom of three small little girls. While my children are young I would still like to earn income but have some more flexibility with raising my children. My Schedule is physician is not flexible as I have to have 9-5 job because I am an anesthesiologist/pain management.
I have done some expert witness work and the income was good and allowed for a lot of flexibility for spending more time with my 6yo, 5 yo and two-year-old.
My specific question is there a law school that can be done at a more delayed schedule than the typical three years?

Why do you have to go to law school to work as an expert witness? Frankly, the time you take away from your practice, especially publishing and speaking, would seem to make you a less attractive expert witness, not more attractive. When we've used experts, it's because they're extremely well credentialed in their field (and thus more likely to be trusted by a judge and jury). I don't see how a JD would help with that. Heck, I could see it being harmful, as opposing counsel could imply that you're not "up" on all the latest research because you took the time to go to law school.

nixy

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby nixy » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:30 pm

Yeah, I don’t think having a JD would help at all. Your value as an expert witness is your knowledge of a given subject area. Knowing the law isn’t going to help because you can’t act as a lawyer and a witness in the same case.

QContinuum

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby QContinuum » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:10 pm

nixy wrote:Yeah, I don’t think having a JD would help at all. Your value as an expert witness is your knowledge of a given subject area. Knowing the law isn’t going to help because you can’t act as a lawyer and a witness in the same case.


Seconding this. I'd go further and say that not only would being a lawyer not help, it'd actually hurt. Expert witnesses are hired to be witnesses, not advocates. Being a lawyer will likely decrease your credibility to judges and jurors, and will thus likely reduce your value (and potential earnings) as an expert witness.

OP, if you're looking to make some extra cash, I suggest doing so by taking on additional medical work. I had a friend who'd routinely sign up for holiday shifts at the local hospital - he'd make out like a bandit each time. I'm not suggesting you give up Christmas and Thanksgiving, but less sacrosanct holidays like Memorial or Labor Day could be real earning opportunities if you're willing to be flexible. You might also look into whether you could work part-time as an online doctor or at a walk-in clinic. Any of these options would actually increase your earnings, for far less time/effort. And they might even bolster your expert witness credentials! Working at a walk-in clinic could give you more credibility in primary & urgent care. Working as an online doctor could make you attractive in cases involving the intersection of medicine and the Internet.

mamadoc

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby mamadoc » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:19 am

Thank you for the feedback. I think I will pursue a masters in law (MLS)..and not the JD route. This information was actually very helpful and I appreciate everyone who took the time to send a reply. I opened up my own practice and at the very least MLS would help me with conflict resolution and also negotiating contracts with insurance companies and vendors. I can see were it would not be helpful from an attorneys standpoint as an expert witness and I sincerely do appreciate that feedback. I really had not looked at it that way.

mmac

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby mmac » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:32 pm

mamadoc wrote:Thank you for the feedback. I think I will pursue a masters in law (MLS)..and not the JD route. This information was actually very helpful and I appreciate everyone who took the time to send a reply. I opened up my own practice and at the very least MLS would help me with conflict resolution and also negotiating contracts with insurance companies and vendors. I can see were it would not be helpful from an attorneys standpoint as an expert witness and I sincerely do appreciate that feedback. I really had not looked at it that way.


The masters in law suffers from the same issues as the JD--takes time away from your specialty and doesn't help you as an expert. It probably similarly hurts you as an expert witness.

QContinuum

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby QContinuum » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:56 pm

mmac wrote:The masters in law suffers from the same issues as the JD--takes time away from your specialty and doesn't help you as an expert. It probably similarly hurts you as an expert witness.


Agreed. I really don't see any benefit for OP in getting an MLS - much less a benefit that would warrant the direct and opportunity costs associated with getting the degree.

OP, you mention wanting legal training to help you with conflict resolution and contract negotiation. There are mediation/negotiation classes you can take that will be much more helpful to you on that front. Law schools are notoriously not practice-oriented. All you'd get from a law school contracts course would be information on things like the finer points of consideration and unconscionability - it would absolutely not give you a leg up in negotiating with insurance companies.

Hutz_and_Goodman

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:48 pm

I think the most relevant issue with an expert witness is that they understand what the lawyers are trying to do. It might help to have a JD or it might not, I’m not sure.

QContinuum

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby QContinuum » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:10 am

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I think the most relevant issue with an expert witness is that they understand what the lawyers are trying to do. It might help to have a JD or it might not, I’m not sure.


There are three relevant issues with expert witnesses:
  • They need to have relevant degrees & work experience - OP obviously qualifies on this front;
  • They need to look presentable to a judge/jury - OP presumably qualifies, otherwise she wouldn't have been hired to be an expert witness; and
  • They need to be able to accurately describe technical concepts using plain English - OP presumably has this ability.

There is no need for expert witnesses to understand the law, or the lawyers' trial strategy. Expert witnesses are there to use their technical knowledge to explain concepts laypersons otherwise wouldn't be able to evaluate. They are not there to be part of either side's legal team. Any hint that an expert witness is pulling double duty as an advocate would fatally undermine that witness' credibility with the judge and jury.

beinghuman

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby beinghuman » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:33 am

I strongly second that. A MLS is expensive and unnecessary for what you would like to do. Taking classes or getting a certificate in mediation would be a much cheaper and useful use of your time because as the post rightly notes, law classes will not teach you anything practical.


QContinuum wrote:
mmac wrote:The masters in law suffers from the same issues as the JD--takes time away from your specialty and doesn't help you as an expert. It probably similarly hurts you as an expert witness.


Agreed. I really don't see any benefit for OP in getting an MLS - much less a benefit that would warrant the direct and opportunity costs associated with getting the degree.

OP, you mention wanting legal training to help you with conflict resolution and contract negotiation. There are mediation/negotiation classes you can take that will be much more helpful to you on that front. Law schools are notoriously not practice-oriented. All you'd get from a law school contracts course would be information on things like the finer points of consideration and unconscionability - it would absolutely not give you a leg up in negotiating with insurance companies.

kellyjohnson

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby kellyjohnson » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:23 am

QContinuum wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:There is no need for expert witnesses to understand the law, or the lawyers' trial strategy. Expert witnesses are there to use their technical knowledge to explain concepts laypersons otherwise wouldn't be able to evaluate. They are not there to be part of either side's legal team. Any hint that an expert witness is pulling double duty as an advocate would fatally undermine that witness' credibility with the judge and jury.


I have worked very closely with expert witnesses, and it is extremely important that they are tuned into the various legal strategies.

That doesn't require a law degree, and I do not think a law degree would in any way help an expert witness. But knowledge of the law to the extent that such knowledge is required to understand your side's strategy and not give any debilitating answers in a deposition is essential for a good expert witness. When we interview expert witnesses, we definitely look for someone who understands how the game is played and at least has some understanding of the basic rules of the game.

Npret

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Re: MD looking to add JD to increase earnings as expert witness

Postby Npret » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:28 pm

Why not spend the time you have to pursue a degree with your kids instead?

If you want more money, why not save what you would have spent on a degree?

Law is nothing like medicine. Getting additional degrees or training won’t make you more valuable and will waste your time.

If you don’t believe us, why not discuss it with the lawyers who have used you as an e pret witness?



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