Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

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Anonymous User
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Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:39 pm

Background: I am a joint degree student (second year of law school) at a T14 (the other degree is a professional degree, think MPP/MPH/MBA/etc., which is relevant to my desired practice areas). I'm in the top quarter of my class and on LR and, to the extent that anyone actually likes law school, like it quite a bit. I really liked my summer legal internship and am intent on practicing law even with the joint degree. I don't want to go into research or another type of career.

I participated in OCI and got an SA offer at a firm in a secondary market. I'm really happy with the firm I chose and would love a permanent offer there. I am much less happy with the other degree in my joint degree program. The subject matter is much less interesting than I thought it would be, seems increasingly irrelevant to my future legal career, and a couple pretty bad grades in some of the more math and statistics focused classes are starting to sink my GPA. I know I want to work at a law firm and practice law, and at this point I would be happy to drop out and just do the law degree.

My concern is that I'll have to explain to my firm at some point that I'm dropping out and they'll assume that either my grades were terrible and I couldn't hack it in the program, or that I just applied to give myself an edge in OCI and had no intention of following through with it (the first is kind of true, the second definitely isn't). The alternative is to stay in the program and hope my firm doesn't no-offer me when they see my new, bad grades from the other degree on my transcript. I've spoken to career services on both sides and nobody really seems to know what to tell me - the other degree office understandably doesn't know anything about legal recruiting, and the law school CSO doesn't have much information, even anecdotal, about how dual degree grades affect offers.

The good advice on here helped a lot (much more than anything my CSO did) during recruiting and applying to schools, so: what should I do, TLS?

Sorry this is so long.

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thesealocust
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Re: Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:06 pm

You were too vague to be confident, but I have a hard time believing the firm would care about you dropping the dual degree. I mean if you're going to a firm that specializes in PUBLIC HEALTH LAW~ and are getting an MPH, ok, maybe not so bueno. But really it's quite unlikely that credential mattered much to the firm.

Liam
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Re: Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby Liam » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:30 pm

There's no indication in the OP that the second degree helped in OCI at all, other than the statement that it is in a subject related to OP's desired practice area. If it wasn't an edge to begin with, it probably shouldn't matter. If it was an edge, it probably can't hurt to just reach out to the firm and explain that you don't feel you're getting good value out of the second degree, and are thinking of dropping it, but just want to see what the firm's perspective is.

Anonymous User
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Re: Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:58 pm

I'll just say from firsthand experience that if it really is MPH/health law, I'd really consider sticking out the degree. There are a lot of jobs on the government side of things (and health agency work tends to pay well relative to other agencies because of the types of people they have to hire) where a MPH will be a huge plus in hiring, maybe even a requirement. And working for a health agency is probably tied with in house as the most feasible exit option for a health lawyer.

guyplus
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Re: Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby guyplus » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:18 am

OP said that the math courses were a problem. It pretty much nails it to an MBA of the three.

Anonymous User
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Re: Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:53 am

I did a dual-degree program prior to starting law school, and the programs are generally challenging.

I also was a 1L SA and accepted a 2L SA. My advanced degrees influenced my law school focus and informed my practice area selection. Within the context of my focus, which is health law, many of the attorneys have MPA, MBA, MPH or MPPs.

If you are in a four year JD/some type of Master's program, how far into your other program are you? You should think about your long vs short term plan. Many of us will not stick around to become partners. Your MA may allow you to venture outside of formal legal position into a COO, VP, CEO, CLO, Director type of role (one that may occur outside of the GC/legal department)


Since we don't know who you are, it is easier to just tell us the other degree.

Anonymous User
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Re: Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'll just say from firsthand experience that if it really is MPH/health law, I'd really consider sticking out the degree. There are a lot of jobs on the government side of things (and health agency work tends to pay well relative to other agencies because of the types of people they have to hire) where a MPH will be a huge plus in hiring, maybe even a requirement. And working for a health agency is probably tied with in house as the most feasible exit option for a health lawyer.



I totally agree!

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worldtraveler
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Re: Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:23 am

If math is the problem, why not find a tutor or talk to the program about enrolling in an easier background course?

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TrampsLikeU$
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Re: Struggling with dual degree program - what to do?

Postby TrampsLikeU$ » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:14 pm

I dropped my dual degree in Economics halfway through 2L. Before I did, I called my 2L SA firm (where I'm now an associate) and asked the partner that hired me for advice. Essentially, I got him to okay my dropping the MA, which made me feel a lot more comfortable doing so. In retrospect, my firm definitely didn't care at all, and if I hadn't told them, they probably wouldn't have even noticed that I'd dropped the dual degree.

Like others have said, it might be different if it's directly relevant to your field such that the firm might have hired you because of your dual degree, but otherwise I wouldn't worry about it. Call someone at the firm and talk to them if it will make you feel better.




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