Ph.D after law school?

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kgirl
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Ph.D after law school?

Postby kgirl » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:35 am

I am a 2L in law school. I am currently very unhappy with the job market given my skills and credentials. I am wondering what your take is on going to a Ph.D program after law school. I plan to do a Ph.D in a physical science to upgrade my skill so I can be more marketable in the future. I already have a master's degree in a hard core science but it has not improved my employment chances in any way, shape or form. I am in a school in the 40's in the DC area which is a very cut-throat market and I simply do not know if I can compete with all the Ph.Ds out there at this point.

Please advise. If anyone is feeling the way I do right now, let me hear some suggestions.

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of Benito Cereno
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Re: Ph.D after law school?

Postby of Benito Cereno » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:41 am

kgirl wrote:I am a 2L in law school. I am currently very unhappy with the job market given my skills and credentials. I am wondering what your take is on going to a Ph.D program after law school. I plan to do a Ph.D in a physical science to upgrade my skill so I can be more marketable in the future. I already have a master's degree in a hard core science but it has not improved my employment chances in any way, shape or form. I am in a school in the 40's in the DC area which is a very cut-throat market and I simply do not know if I can compete with all the Ph.Ds out there at this point.

Please advise. If anyone is feeling the way I do right now, let me hear some suggestions.

I know someone who graduated from a Top 10 law school who is now finishing a phd in the humanities at another very elite university. This person claims, though I don't really understand how it works, to be maintaing professional contacts in the legal world by working in a ny biglaw firm during the summers to keep his options open when he finishes his phd.

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even2flow
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Re: Ph.D after law school?

Postby even2flow » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:42 am

You're aware that a PhD in a hard science means at least another 4-7 years of school? Working 12-14 hrs/day 6 days/wk, and making probably 25 k/year.

This also means you'll be putting off practice of law for that much more time, and then want to get a job at a firm? Sorry, I don't think it's the best of ideas.

On the other hand, if you're deciding you want to go work in science, then by all means go for it, but I don't see if helping w/ your law a degree a ton.

I'm a 0L tho, so I could be way wrong.

Action Jackson
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Re: Ph.D after law school?

Postby Action Jackson » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:51 am

even2flow wrote:You're aware that a PhD in a hard science means at least another 4-7 years of school? Working 12-14 hrs/day 6 days/wk, and making probably 25 k/year.

This also means you'll be putting off practice of law for that much more time, and then want to get a job at a firm? Sorry, I don't think it's the best of ideas.

On the other hand, if you're deciding you want to go work in science, then by all means go for it, but I don't see if helping w/ your law a degree a ton.

I'm a 0L tho, so I could be way wrong.

+1, and not a 0L. This is the wrong order for law. OP actually CAN'T work summers while doing a PhD. My buddy is doing a PhD at the same University I'm at and he spends more time in the lab then I spend at the law school (and I'm there a lot).

I'm sorry, but you need to suck it up and go into the job market and work your ass off. Or drop out, do the PhD, and then go back. Which would be insane, but would work.

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even2flow
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Re: Ph.D after law school?

Postby even2flow » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:00 am

So, I gave it more thought, and I'm not sure if this will fly, so someone will have to back me up on this.

Finish out the JD, use that MS in sci to get into pharma (I'm taking hard science to mean bio/chem here), work the Sales/Business angle. Work your butt off, you'll be doing something that you don't need a JD for, but at least the JD may help you get a foot in the door.

Working the business side, you'll progress through the pharma ranks. The people who run the show are the business people in that industry, not the scientists. Your science background will make you valuable there, as you'll be one of the few people who can speak knowledgably to both parties (scientists and business folks).

Action Jackson
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Re: Ph.D after law school?

Postby Action Jackson » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:45 pm

even2flow wrote:So, I gave it more thought, and I'm not sure if this will fly, so someone will have to back me up on this.

Finish out the JD, use that MS in sci to get into pharma (I'm taking hard science to mean bio/chem here), work the Sales/Business angle. Work your butt off, you'll be doing something that you don't need a JD for, but at least the JD may help you get a foot in the door.

Working the business side, you'll progress through the pharma ranks. The people who run the show are the business people in that industry, not the scientists. Your science background will make you valuable there, as you'll be one of the few people who can speak knowledgably to both parties (scientists and business folks).

So you don't want to be a lawyer, but you're too far along to quit law school? Is that the problem?

Your plan isn't the best. First, you're going to have to apply for a business position without a business degree, and without recent work experience in the field. This is the same problem you run into getting a PhD after law school and then trying to go back to law firms. Why would a company pay money for someone who hasn't been working in the field for the last couple of years when they have plenty of people with MBAs who have been doing work with biotech/pharma companies the whole time? It's not impossible, but you're a very poor candidate for those jobs.

You're even worse because you don't actually have a business degree. Why hire a lawyer when you can get an MBA?

Finally, a lot of the higher ups in biotech/pharma actually are scientists. PhDs move up into the business side. That's what my friend is going to do down the road.

I get that you're desperately trying to mitigate here, but first things first you need to decide what it is you actually want to do with your life. If you want to run biotech/pharma companies then at the very least you should try and get an MBA. Your plan to get a PhD wasn't too bad, though. A PhD/MBA would be super.

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even2flow
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Re: Ph.D after law school?

Postby even2flow » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:35 pm

Action Jackson wrote:Finally, a lot of the higher ups in biotech/pharma actually are scientists. PhDs move up into the business side. That's what my friend is going to do down the road.

I was just trying to give OP something to think about.

PhDs, depending on the company will move up, but it can be harder to progress beyond a certain point. If you look at the SETs of a few major pharma companies, they're a mix, some having way less science people than others. (Fwiw, the CEO of Pfizer has his JD). At the end of the day, these are companies, not just research labs.

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Re: Ph.D after law school?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 27, 2010 11:53 pm

OP, have you taken the patent bar yet? That would be a nice feather in your cap. If not, take it, pass it, and then apply like mad to every firm you can find.

I would not recommend going for a PhD with the intent of improving patent law chances, assuming you could find a lab willing to take you in the first place. With funding incredibly tight, the "research or bust" professors will be hesitant to take you on. Even if they do, you're looking at years of awkward committee meetings with the prospect that one or more of your committee members will prolong your dissertation research out of spite.




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