Law schools with dual/joint degrees

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PrezRand

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Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby PrezRand » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:01 pm

I am interested in doing a joint degree in law school. Specifically a JD/MPP or economics. My primary focus will be in economic policy or finance. I was wondering if there were any law schools that would allow you to design your own program. I am interested in financial economics. Are there any that would allow me to design a route similar to that or should I just stick to the general programs certain law schools offer?

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby tomwatts » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:08 pm

I did a JD/MPP at HLS/HKS. At basically every law school, 1L year is pretty set in stone — you may have an elective or two, but you're basically taking required courses most of the time. I think most MPP programs have a more-or-less fixed first year as well, meaning that the first two years of a four-year JD/MPP program will contain a lot of required courses. (Less so in an MPP program if you have a lot of background in their core subjects, because you may be able to place out of the requirements in some instances.)

After that, you have a lot of flexibility, but you still have to meet ABA requirements for numbers of law classes taken, so you're stuck taking most of your classes at the law school in the last two years.

I have to ask, though, why the JD? If you want to work in economic policy, the JD seems superfluous.

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PrezRand

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby PrezRand » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:26 pm

tomwatts wrote:I did a JD/MPP at HLS/HKS. At basically every law school, 1L year is pretty set in stone — you may have an elective or two, but you're basically taking required courses most of the time. I think most MPP programs have a more-or-less fixed first year as well, meaning that the first two years of a four-year JD/MPP program will contain a lot of required courses. (Less so in an MPP program if you have a lot of background in their core subjects, because you may be able to place out of the requirements in some instances.)

After that, you have a lot of flexibility, but you still have to meet ABA requirements for numbers of law classes taken, so you're stuck taking most of your classes at the law school in the last two years.

I have to ask, though, why the JD? If you want to work in economic policy, the JD seems superfluous.

There are many people in economic policy that have JDs instead of a PhD and have said that their JD helped them. A PhD or even a MA are not the only routes. I want to eventually get into economic policy.

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby tomwatts » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:45 pm

PrezRand wrote:There are many people in economic policy that have JDs instead of a PhD and have said that their JD helped them. A PhD or even a MA are not the only routes. I want to eventually get into economic policy.

I could see a JD making sense if you wanted to work in financial regulation (e.g., you're the one actually drafting the implementing regulations for Dodd-Frank). A JD would make less sense if you want to work on, say, monetary policy for the Fed. So, okay, fair enough, the JD may not be superfluous, depending on what you end up doing. (And, for anyone else reading this who doesn't know, the MPP add-on to the JD is useful — though by no means necessary — for working in a regulatory agency, because they employ a lot of subject-matter experts as policy people and a lot of lawyers, and speaking the language of both is helpful.)

I'm pretty sure that the kind of thing that you're interested in is pretty competitive, so my main recommendation is to go to a top school. A lot of the universities with top law schools also have public affairs schools, but it's worth checking the details to see how they differ: Yale doesn't have one, Stanford's is a "virtual" school, Columbia's may be a little more international-focused, and so on. As I said, you're going to encounter some sort of "core" at most or all of them, but you get plenty of electives in the last couple of years of the program to study whatever you want. You could potentially pursue concurrent degrees at different schools (e.g., YLS/HKS), but this generally limits your policy-related electives to a single semester, so that might not be a good thing in your case.

So yeah, this is a thing that can be done. Law school curricula are basically all the same, varying mainly with the size of the school (bigger schools have more diverse offerings); policy school curricula vary a bit more, but school websites are usually pretty clear, so do some Googling to find the details.

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PrezRand

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby PrezRand » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:02 pm

tomwatts wrote:
PrezRand wrote:There are many people in economic policy that have JDs instead of a PhD and have said that their JD helped them. A PhD or even a MA are not the only routes. I want to eventually get into economic policy.

I could see a JD making sense if you wanted to work in financial regulation (e.g., you're the one actually drafting the implementing regulations for Dodd-Frank). A JD would make less sense if you want to work on, say, monetary policy for the Fed. So, okay, fair enough, the JD may not be superfluous, depending on what you end up doing. (And, for anyone else reading this who doesn't know, the MPP add-on to the JD is useful — though by no means necessary — for working in a regulatory agency, because they employ a lot of subject-matter experts as policy people and a lot of lawyers, and speaking the language of both is helpful.)

I'm pretty sure that the kind of thing that you're interested in is pretty competitive, so my main recommendation is to go to a top school. A lot of the universities with top law schools also have public affairs schools, but it's worth checking the details to see how they differ: Yale doesn't have one, Stanford's is a "virtual" school, Columbia's may be a little more international-focused, and so on. As I said, you're going to encounter some sort of "core" at most or all of them, but you get plenty of electives in the last couple of years of the program to study whatever you want. You could potentially pursue concurrent degrees at different schools (e.g., YLS/HKS), but this generally limits your policy-related electives to a single semester, so that might not be a good thing in your case.

So yeah, this is a thing that can be done. Law school curricula are basically all the same, varying mainly with the size of the school (bigger schools have more diverse offerings); policy school curricula vary a bit more, but school websites are usually pretty clear, so do some Googling to find the details.

I'm interested in financial regulations as well. I have not done a lot of research on how far corporate law goes into the financial sector. This was one of the main reasons why I wanted to pursue a joint degree. Financial economics and monetary economics are pretty different, but yes, I agree it would make less sense to pursue a JD if I was interested in monetary policy. I considered that for a while and realized a PhD was not for me. Thanks for your help!


What did you mean by Stanford is a "virtual" school?

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby tomwatts » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:31 pm

PrezRand wrote:What did you mean by Stanford is a "virtual" school?

This was the term they used some years back when I was applying. As I understand their situation — and it may have changed in the past five or six years since I last checked — Stanford doesn't have a policy school as such. Stanford has a policy program leading to a policy degree, but it's just a program, not a full-fledged school. The instructors for the courses in the program are policy-related professors from other schools (so, for example, you might take a policy class with an econ professor who normally teaches econ but has a policy background). Contrast that with, say, HKS or GSPP, where the professors are actually employed by the policy school and teach primarily at the policy school.

I don't know whether there is any reason to care about this difference, but it is a difference. There are other differences like this one among policy schools, so it's worth doing a bit of research into the specifics of each school.

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby Famous » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:23 pm

tomwatts wrote:I have to ask, though, why the JD? If you want to work in economic policy, the JD seems superfluous.


Did you find, in your experience, that most JD joint-degrees were superfluous if the intention was never to practice? I ask because I am toying around with the idea of a JD/MBA and struggle to find a justification for it, particularly if I primarily envision myself working in business and not as a lawyer. While a proper knowledge of the law would certain help in regards to business, I feel as though, much like OP wanting to go into policy, most relevant legal considerations can be picked up through experience. Judging by your post history, I believe you're working as a lawyer, but I'm just curious about your thoughts and observations on fellow JDs that didn't go into law.

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby tomwatts » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:53 pm

Famous wrote:Did you find, in your experience, that most JD joint-degrees were superfluous if the intention was never to practice? I ask because I am toying around with the idea of a JD/MBA and struggle to find a justification for it, particularly if I primarily envision myself working in business and not as a lawyer. While a proper knowledge of the law would certain help in regards to business, I feel as though, much like OP wanting to go into policy, most relevant legal considerations can be picked up through experience. Judging by your post history, I believe you're working as a lawyer, but I'm just curious about your thoughts and observations on fellow JDs that didn't go into law.

I know only a handful of JDs who didn't go into law, none of whom were JD/MPPs (and only one of whom was a joint degree at all, a JD/MBA). Still, I'd say that a JD is probably overkill for any purpose other than working as a lawyer. It's an extraordinarily expensive degree, and it's rather long. You can glean useful things from it for lots of purposes — as I'm fond of pointing out, Christopher Keyser (writer of Party of Five and president of the Writers Guild of America, West) went to Harvard Law School and says that he learned things there that helped him as a screenwriter — but you can probably get those things more quickly and more cheaply in places that are not law school.

I have heard that a JD/MBA is most relevant to a person working directly at the intersection of business and law, such as a transactional lawyer in a big firm or a general counsel for a company. (It's not strictly necessary for either — a JD will do — but it can be helpful to understand the MBAs better than you would without going through an MBA program yourself.) If you're planning just to go into business, I can't think of any reason to add on the JD. There will be lawyers working for you who will tell you everything you need to know anyway.

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby bretby » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:40 pm

tomwatts wrote:
Famous wrote:Did you find, in your experience, that most JD joint-degrees were superfluous if the intention was never to practice? I ask because I am toying around with the idea of a JD/MBA and struggle to find a justification for it, particularly if I primarily envision myself working in business and not as a lawyer. While a proper knowledge of the law would certain help in regards to business, I feel as though, much like OP wanting to go into policy, most relevant legal considerations can be picked up through experience. Judging by your post history, I believe you're working as a lawyer, but I'm just curious about your thoughts and observations on fellow JDs that didn't go into law.

I know only a handful of JDs who didn't go into law, none of whom were JD/MPPs (and only one of whom was a joint degree at all, a JD/MBA). Still, I'd say that a JD is probably overkill for any purpose other than working as a lawyer. It's an extraordinarily expensive degree, and it's rather long. You can glean useful things from it for lots of purposes — as I'm fond of pointing out, Christopher Keyser (writer of Party of Five and president of the Writers Guild of America, West) went to Harvard Law School and says that he learned things there that helped him as a screenwriter — but you can probably get those things more quickly and more cheaply in places that are not law school.

I have heard that a JD/MBA is most relevant to a person working directly at the intersection of business and law, such as a transactional lawyer in a big firm or a general counsel for a company. (It's not strictly necessary for either — a JD will do — but it can be helpful to understand the MBAs better than you would without going through an MBA program yourself.) If you're planning just to go into business, I can't think of any reason to add on the JD. There will be lawyers working for you who will tell you everything you need to know anyway.


I've always thought of an MPP as a pretty pointless degree (though this is true for almost all masters programs, probably). Did having the MPP help you get where you wanted to be?

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby tomwatts » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:51 pm

bretby wrote:Did having the MPP help you get where you wanted to be?

Yes.

I'm tempted to leave it at that, but I won't. I'm only a year out, and I'm clerking this year and the next, so I can't say a lot about how it's affected my career trajectory so far, but the MPP provided a bunch of skills that I've already started using in internships. I'm certain that, as my career progresses, I'm going to use those skills more and more.

It's not for everyone, but it did end up being helpful for me.

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby bretby » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:44 am

tomwatts wrote:
bretby wrote:Did having the MPP help you get where you wanted to be?

Yes.

I'm tempted to leave it at that, but I won't. I'm only a year out, and I'm clerking this year and the next, so I can't say a lot about how it's affected my career trajectory so far, but the MPP provided a bunch of skills that I've already started using in internships. I'm certain that, as my career progresses, I'm going to use those skills more and more.

It's not for everyone, but it did end up being helpful for me.


I guess I can see how the quantitative classes would be helpful for someone with no econ or math background, but other than that HKS just seemed like an expensive 2 year networking opportunity, along the lines of HBS. Glad it helped you, though!

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Re: Law schools with dual/joint degrees

Postby poptart123 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:57 am

What is the consensus on JD/MPP or JD/MPA? Right now I'm focused on the JD, but would look to go from government prosecution work to maybe a policy advisory/bureaucratic/organization role down the road.

I already have a BPA and I do feel that it's taught me a lot about management/finances/more of the day-to-day operational side of government may require. Does anybody have any experience in this area that they can speak to?



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