Is a JD worth it?

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unclear
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:27 pm

Is a JD worth it?

Postby unclear » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:35 pm

I’m currently on deferral from HYS, and my goal is academia.

However, my interests lie more with history than with law. The main reason I want a jd in addition to the phd is that it simply makes more academic positions available to me (my focus could be taught in either a law school or a history dept).

If I do my school's joint degree program, financially the jd would make sense. However, the history dept. that best matches my interests is at another HYS and the history dept at the jd university, though very strong, is a bad match. For this reason, I'm considering completing the jd at one school and the phd at another, though still at the same time. From what I understand, then I possibly would be on the hook financially for the jd.

Given my interests, is a jd worth it? Only if I do it through a joint degree program? Note that at this point I do not want to switch law schools. Essentially, I want to be able to have the best advisors for law and history but am hesitant about the possible financial consequences of pursuing a jd/phd outside of a joint degree program.

Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

Alan
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:51 pm

Re: Is a JD worth it?

Postby Alan » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:46 pm

I wouldn't go to law school if I didn't want to be an attorney. Thats just me though.

Seriously OP, what kind of debt are you looking at with a duel JD/PHD and what kind of debt will you be looking at with a JD and PHD from different schools?

Do you really think you can pull off getting your JD and PHD at the SAME TIME from DIFFERENT SCHOOLS? That sounds crazy to me.

unclear
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:27 pm

Re: Is a JD worth it?

Postby unclear » Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:09 pm

for the joint degree the costs would be very low. I'm not sure what the costs would be to pursue the degrees separately, but I imagine the jd would be between 2-2.5 years of tuition minus financial aid.

Getting the degrees from different schools would be crazy, no question. But I know of a couple of people who have done this successfully. I just am not sure if it's the right move for me given that I'm more interested in history than law.

I hate to abandon law school, though, in part because I have a legitimate interest and dedicated so much effort to admissions, etc. It's difficult for me to pass on the opportunity. However, I should say that I really hate the idea of practicing law. I have worked in both pi and corporate, and, for various reasons, I can't imagine making a career in either. This is a fairly recent realization.

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Kikero
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Re: Is a JD worth it?

Postby Kikero » Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:16 pm

Not something that I've ever looked into, but could you get one of the degrees, go teach, and then get the second degree from the institution which you are teaching at (and thereby getting financial benefits of being a faculty member taking classes)? If possible though, the downside would be that your second degree would likely come from a less prestigious institution.

Although to be honest, I'm with Alan, I'm not sure why you'd really want a JD if you don't want to practice law in any situation and your favored topic is history.

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Br3v
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Re: Is a JD worth it?

Postby Br3v » Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:22 pm

OP, the chances of you pulling this off are slim to none.

If you want both PhD and JD, and from different schools, then do one then the other.

fishdude
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Re: Is a JD worth it?

Postby fishdude » Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:30 pm

From a law student with a history PhD:

What you are proposing is certainly possible. But do your homework on the financial aid and loan forgiveness programs as you think about how to sequence this. For example, if you complete your JD at Harvard before completing your PhD, my understanding is that LIPP will kick in after three years, even if your loans are still in deferral due to being a full-time student in a PhD program. And since grad stipends in history aren't going to hit the income cap, you can finish the PhD with a chunk of your loans paid off while living the grad student life. Yale's loan forgiveness, while more generous in general, doesn't kick in during a subsequent PhD (or so I was told from a friend with a yale JD doing a subsequent PhD elsewhere). I have no idea about Stanford's loan program.
It is definitely doable to do a PhD and JD at separate schools. You might lose the option of applying course credits to both degrees (though you might not), but if you're in a PhD program course requirements are not going to be the deciding factor in how long you take, so it's really a non-issue.

Bottom line: think carefully about the sequencing of the degrees and ask the financial aid office of your school to run through the options with you.

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hung jury
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Re: Is a JD worth it?

Postby hung jury » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:27 pm

fishdude wrote:From a law student with a history PhD:

What you are proposing is certainly possible. But do your homework on the financial aid and loan forgiveness programs as you think about how to sequence this. For example, if you complete your JD at Harvard before completing your PhD, my understanding is that LIPP will kick in after three years, even if your loans are still in deferral due to being a full-time student in a PhD program. And since grad stipends in history aren't going to hit the income cap, you can finish the PhD with a chunk of your loans paid off while living the grad student life. Yale's loan forgiveness, while more generous in general, doesn't kick in during a subsequent PhD (or so I was told from a friend with a yale JD doing a subsequent PhD elsewhere). I have no idea about Stanford's loan program.
It is definitely doable to do a PhD and JD at separate schools. You might lose the option of applying course credits to both degrees (though you might not), but if you're in a PhD program course requirements are not going to be the deciding factor in how long you take, so it's really a non-issue.

Bottom line: think carefully about the sequencing of the degrees and ask the financial aid office of your school to run through the options with you.


Pretty sure Stanford won't cover academia -- either as a grad student or as a professor -- under LRAP. Stanford's strength is with joint degrees/reducing costs on the front end.

I'd be cautious about the debt if you'd hate practicing and are just embarking on the PhD/JD with the intention of teaching. PhDs have very high attrition rates and some things aren't always in a student's control. The law teaching market is a lot better than the history market but will it still be great in 7 years given the decline in student applications? If you'd hate practicing would you really want to teach in a law school?




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