Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

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FutureLitigator
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Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby FutureLitigator » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:17 am

Assuming one gets into Med School on top of Law School, and they want to practice Medical Malpractice, what are your thoughts on doing the JD/MD? Is one better off just taking a couple of med classes on the side? Or getting a JD first, working, then go back and get a MD (More lucrative route, although it would be more expensive at least one won't have to attend Med School and Law School at the same time!)

Kind Regards
Last edited by FutureLitigator on Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby BigZuck » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:56 am

I don't know anything at all about this topic but my gut tells me that the MD would be almost, if not 100%, useless for someone who wants to be a medical malpractice lawyer.

Walk me through your thinking here, in what ways would it help?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:32 am

Ha, that was exactly my reaction.

Keep in mind that your job as a lawyer would be to find medical experts who would testify about the standard of care in a given medical specialty. An MD might make that somewhat easier, but is by no means necessary. You, the lawyer, don't need the substantive medical knowledge, because that's not what you will be addressing.

hoppingabird
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby hoppingabird » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:53 am

That sounds like way too much school and exams for me to be interested, but before everyone shits on your question, you might want to take a look at this attorney's bio. Looks like he has done something similar to what you are looking for (except he is a D.O. not an M.D., but still close enough). I'm pretty sure a good doctor can make a lot more money than a lawyer, so if that interests you, maybe you should stick to medicine!

I would recommend reaching out to this lawyer and maybe asking him a few questions.

http://www.iowalawattorneys.com/iowalaw ... enDocument

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haus
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby haus » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:06 am

I was surprised by the number of medical doctors in my cohort. I do not know if any of them are motivated by medical malpractice law, maybe they just like having more things to hang on their walls.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:28 am

I would also keep in mind that the above lawyer also got his medical degree 23 years after his JD.

And I'll just emphasize again that I don't know anything particular about medical malpractice law, so take this all with a grain of salt. I have definitely seen lawyers go into that field as a second career after being in medicine (mostly nurses, though). But based on my (still limited) experience in practice, I think what would be helpful to a malpractice attorney is the experience practicing medicine, not the actual medical knowledge in a vacuum. Whether you're defending or suing, you're going to be dealing with different specialties - cardiology, obstetrics, neurology, surgery, etc. - and you won't be qualified in all of them. You're going to find an expert to talk about whether the doctor in question did/didn't meet the standard of care in that field. An MD probably helps, but I'm not sure it's worth the time/money it costs.

I say this partly because it feels like I run across 0Ls here who want to combine a JD with [fill in the blank] and seem to think that they'll substantively be using the [fill in the blank] part. You won't be because lawyers can't be witnesses and can't testify in their own cases. So, say you get an MD - it will not matter whether you, as a doctor, think that someone violated the standard of care; you can't get up on the stand and say that. It matters whether you can find an expert who will get on the stand and say whether the standard of care was violated. So in lit your specialized background isn't really pertinent in the way it might be in transactional. (Like, if you're directly negotiating oil/gas leases it's helpful to know how they work. If you're litigating an oil/gas contract dispute, it's kind of just like litigating any other contract dispute.)

In the grand scheme of things, more knowledge is always better than less knowledge, so I'm not saying an MD will hurt you at all - it's just a lot of time and money. If you can, find lawyers actually practicing in this field and talk to them. If they all say an MD is spectacular, then consider it.

(Random coda: I googled "medical malpractice defense attorneys New York" to try to find a reasonably sized firm that deals in this, and got http://www.arfd.com/medmal.aspx. Of their first 10 or so attorneys, including recent hires, there was just one former RN - no one else had any medical background. They may be a crap firm, I have no idea, but they do specialize in medical malpractice. I just picked defense because I figured doctors might be more likely to represent doctors than sue them. You could do some digging this way, too.)

FutureLitigator
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby FutureLitigator » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:48 pm

Yes, I understand that an MD will not help at all with a JD, they will never cross paths and vice versa. I mean obviously that wouldn't be the whole reason why one would go to Med School. I meant as in me really to be able to understand fully more cases and to be able to pick out the ones in detail that I will take, like patterns for example. I understand what you mean BigZuck but how can it be completely useless?

Thanks for putting that into perspective for me A. Nony Mouse, an MD would be alot of valuable time,&
I say this partly because it feels like I run across 0Ls here who want to combine a JD with [fill in the blank] and seem to think that they'll substantively be using the [fill in the blank] part
and yeah thats the truth but I wouldn't want to have time for anything else, I was just looking at it from a Solo practice perspective.
Last edited by FutureLitigator on Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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haus
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby haus » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:01 pm

If there is any benefit to be had from the mixture, I would imagine that much of it would come not from getting the MD, but from having significant time put in as a practicing doctor. But med school is a long tough road, so is residency, and that is just what one needs to actually start practicing. Seems like a whole heck of a lot of time effort to expend unless you are absolutely certain what the upside of your effort would be.

ND2018
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby ND2018 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:11 pm

record shattering lvls of debt.

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Clemenceau
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby Clemenceau » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:21 pm

Dear god this sounds terrible

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General_Tso
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby General_Tso » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:25 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Ha, that was exactly my reaction.

Keep in mind that your job as a lawyer would be to find medical experts who would testify about the standard of care in a given medical specialty. An MD might make that somewhat easier, but is by no means necessary. You, the lawyer, don't need the substantive medical knowledge, because that's not what you will be addressing.


It might be useful if op wants to be a med-mal expert. In my field we have some engineer-JD's who are expert witnesses.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:31 pm

Oh, yeah, that makes sense. To be honest in that case I'd probably skip the JD, though.

BigZuck
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby BigZuck » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:45 pm

FutureLitigator wrote:Yes, I understand that an MD will not help at all with a JD, they will never cross paths and vice versa. I mean obviously that wouldn't be the whole reason why one would go to Med School. I meant as in me really to be able to understand fully more cases and to be able to pick out the ones in detail that I will take, like patterns for example. I understand what you mean BigZuck but how can it be completely useless?

Thanks for putting that into perspective for me A. Nony Mouse, an MD would be alot of valuable time,&
I say this partly because it feels like I run across 0Ls here who want to combine a JD with [fill in the blank] and seem to think that they'll substantively be using the [fill in the blank] part
and yeah thats the truth but I wouldn't want to have time for anything else, I was just looking at it from a Solo practice perspective.

I'm still not understanding. You said maybe taking some medical classes would be helpful (instead of the full MD). How? How is knowing what a metatarsal is or knowing what a cold is vs a flu or whatever the hell they do in medical classes going to be helpful for being a lawyer? It doesn't seem like the vast majority of law school classes are helpful for being a lawyer, I just can't understand how a medical class would be.

I can maybe envision a world where being a practicing doctor could help you ever so slightly be a medical malpractice attorney. Not helpful enough to justify the time/debt but maybe. But just taking the classes to earn an MD? I can't see how that would be helpful at all.

Instead of turning it around on me again, how, specifically, do you envision those classes being helpful? I'm trying to understand here.

FutureLitigator
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby FutureLitigator » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:12 am

hoppingabird wrote:That sounds like way too much school and exams for me to be interested, but before everyone shits on your question, you might want to take a look at this attorney's bio. Looks like he has done something similar to what you are looking for (except he is a D.O. not an M.D., but still close enough). I'm pretty sure a good doctor can make a lot more money than a lawyer, so if that interests you, maybe you should stick to medicine!

I would recommend reaching out to this lawyer and maybe asking him a few questions.

http://www.iowalawattorneys.com/iowalaw ... enDocument


I will look into it, this is a doctor who's law offices even stretch into my city (not CA) & is even a top CA lawyer. http://www.fagellaw.com/
Although he got his MD first then decided to practice law & he still maintains his medical license. I am looking at it from a different perspective then his situation.

FutureLitigator
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby FutureLitigator » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:18 am

BigZuck wrote:Instead of turning it around on me again, how, specifically, do you envision those classes being helpful? I'm trying to understand here.

I was looking at it from a solo practice perspective and to establish a medical malpractice specialty practice. I know by no means will it help you to work Big Law or to run your own firm, so to bluntly answer your question, I was looking at the gain in prestige for a little solo practice, lol & like I said, knowing what cases I will take, I will need to understand which ones to pick (& win) because I will take them up on a contingency

Additionally, I keep hearing this talk about money, i'm not sure if Med is any different that B school but when one does a dual JD/MBA, they only pay first years tuition for both then the highest remaining balance. So, you are looking at getting an MD at 1/3 the price & not everyone will be able to get into say( i.e.Vanderbilt Law+Med-) and I understand the hard work behind it but I wouldn't care what my grades in med school are (only JD), as long as I maintain

I guess it sounds ridiculous, because the knowledge i'm looking for to help will only be earned as time progresses practicing Medicine/Surgery, not going to Med School

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Clearly
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby Clearly » Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:39 am

I don't think it will have any bearing on your ability to practice med mal, or really even to attract clients. I'm no med-mal expert, but its all based on standard of care. You don't need to prove the doctor messed up, you need to prove the doctor messed up worse than other doctors, or did something other doctors don't do, or failed to do something other doctors would have done. The standard of care is always changing, and is very specialty specific, and even regionally specific (although shifting towards a national standard). Without lots of practical field experience in the same specialty, around the same time, and possibly in the same region, you won't really have any more guidance in picking clients than an ordinary lawyer would.

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kings84_wr
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby kings84_wr » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:35 am

Unless you want to be a doctor, getting a JD/MD sounds like way too much work. While having specialized knowledge would certainly help for discovery/depositions, you really don't need a degree (and that's part of the reason you hire experts.) And as you get experience in the field, you will pick up on areas of medical expertise through repetition.

Also take into account that med-mal is one of the areas impacted most by tort reform. It would suck to spend the time to get that degree and end up working in a state with caps that make med-mal impossible to practice.

From a marketing standpoint, it could certainly help get potential clients if you have a medical degree. But internet advertising and reputation still matter significantly more then a degree. In the end the trial lawyers winning big verdicts are going to get the clients, not the guy who has a degree.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby TheSpanishMain » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:02 am

Getting an MD so you can better understand medical malpractice cases would be like swatting a fly with a bazooka

RaceJudicata
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:43 am

Spent some time working in a big medmal shop in a major city, as a law school intern, so take it fwiw.

Anecdotal, but firm had ZERO lawyers with medical degrees. What they did have is some (scummy) doctor friends who would tip their hat to potentially large cases. Other than that, you rely solely on doctor's expert testimony, not your own substantive medical knowledge.

It is also important to realize that 99% of medmal cases arent viable. Firms that are successful rely on the random death/paralyzation/pregnancy case that happen to call the office, or those that get referred by docs or other firms that can't handle the complexities (or costs) of a big case.

That is to say that networking and advertising are going to be much more important than a medical degree. This can be achieved via donations, networking events, conferences, etc., rather than getting a medical degree.

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Clemenceau
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby Clemenceau » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:44 am

FutureLitigator wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Instead of turning it around on me again, how, specifically, do you envision those classes being helpful? I'm trying to understand here.

I was looking at it from a solo practice perspective and to establish a medical malpractice specialty practice. I know by no means will it help you to work Big Law or to run your own firm, so to bluntly answer your question, I was looking at the gain in prestige for a little solo practice, lol & like I said, knowing what cases I will take, I will need to understand which ones to pick (& win) because I will take them up on a contingency

Additionally, I keep hearing this talk about money, i'm not sure if Med is any different that B school but when one does a dual JD/MBA, they only pay first years tuition for both then the highest remaining balance. So, you are looking at getting an MD at 1/3 the price


I just took a glance at UVAs jd/md tuition because it was the first thing that came up on google. You pay for 7 semesters of medschool and 5 semesters of law school. I checked a couple others and that seems to be roughly the standard. That would be nearly 350k in tuition alone + 6 years of living expenses.

FutureLitigator
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby FutureLitigator » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:25 am

Clearly wrote:I don't think it will have any bearing on your ability to practice med mal, or really even to attract clients. I'm no med-mal expert, but its all based on standard of care. You don't need to prove the doctor messed up, you need to prove the doctor messed up worse than other doctors, or did something other doctors don't do, or failed to do something other doctors would have done. The standard of care is always changing, and is very specialty specific, and even regionally specific (although shifting towards a national standard). Without lots of practical field experience in the same specialty, around the same time, and possibly in the same region, you won't really have any more guidance in picking clients than an ordinary lawyer would.


What I was referring to was that I would actually know which cases were Med Mal. You can't subpoena until you file a case, so how can I get expert opinion if I don't have the records for an expert to look at, or to get the expertise for cases I don't plan on filing? Yes, I can have an in-house MD or go to guy for all of this, but how can I rely on having experts look at 100s of cases I don't plan on taking, or to pick the right ones for me? I mean but Med School ain't gonna do that for me neither, lol. I guess it will have to come from repetition,

I am talking about a solo practice & I wouldn't necessarily want to spend my resources on experts for cases I won't take in the first place, unless I know there is something there where me paying for experts will pay off

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Clemenceau
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby Clemenceau » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:41 am

But why take on so much more debt(and waste so much time) if you want to open solo practice? I feel like debt minimization should be priority number 1 if you want to go solo. How will you pay back those loans? I don't see how any of this makes the slightest bit of sense.

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Clearly
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby Clearly » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:28 pm

FutureLitigator wrote:
Clearly wrote:I don't think it will have any bearing on your ability to practice med mal, or really even to attract clients. I'm no med-mal expert, but its all based on standard of care. You don't need to prove the doctor messed up, you need to prove the doctor messed up worse than other doctors, or did something other doctors don't do, or failed to do something other doctors would have done. The standard of care is always changing, and is very specialty specific, and even regionally specific (although shifting towards a national standard). Without lots of practical field experience in the same specialty, around the same time, and possibly in the same region, you won't really have any more guidance in picking clients than an ordinary lawyer would.


What I was referring to was that I would actually know which cases were Med Mal. You can't subpoena until you file a case, so how can I get expert opinion if I don't have the records for an expert to look at, or to get the expertise for cases I don't plan on filing? Yes, I can have an in-house MD or go to guy for all of this, but how can I rely on having experts look at 100s of cases I don't plan on taking, or to pick the right ones for me? I mean but Med School ain't gonna do that for me neither, lol. I guess it will have to come from repetition,

I am talking about a solo practice & I wouldn't necessarily want to spend my resources on experts for cases I won't take in the first place, unless I know there is something there where me paying for experts will pay off


I'm not sure you need to subpoena to get information. I'm not positive about this, but I suspect most of the medical records you would need to decide to pursue a case can just be requested by your client under HIPAA

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jchiles
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby jchiles » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:47 pm

Reading a practice guide or talking to some med mal plaintiff's attorneys would probably be a better way of learning how to pick and handle cases than years of med school and residency would be

BigZuck
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Re: Medical Malpractice (JD/MD)

Postby BigZuck » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:48 pm

Clemenceau wrote:But why take on so much more debt(and waste so much time) if you want to open solo practice? I feel like debt minimization should be priority number 1 if you want to go solo. How will you pay back those loans? I don't see how any of this makes the slightest bit of sense.

Not to mention what if you do all that and on day 1 of your solo practice you're all like, "Oh, crap, I don't like this and I don't want to do this for a living."




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