J.D. vs MPP

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DreamyMatcha

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J.D. vs MPP

Postby DreamyMatcha » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:14 pm

Hi all,

I am an undergrad majoring in Sociology and Political Science and minoring in Chinese. I am debating whether to go for a Master in Public Policy or JD in law school. I read a lot on this topic and everyone seems to be saying different things.

Background Info: I am generally most interested in areas of immigration, women's rights, human trafficking, and LGBT rights. I was pretty set on going to law school for either immigration law or international law (prob immigration seeing how competitive and broad international law is). Then I learned about a MPP, and got an interest in possibly becoming a policy/program analyst. I would like to work in something I am interested in that pays around $60,000-$80,000 per year. It seems that immigration law and certain policy analyst jobs provide that sort of $, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Questions:
1. Many comments say that a J.D. will give you skills that an MPP wont, and vice versa. What are the specific skills one will gain by doing each degree that one couldn't obtain doing the other degree?

2. Which job do you believe has more influence on social issues? Which job has more opportunities? Which is more stable?

3. Are there certain personality traits or working styles that would be more suitable for one type of career than the other?

4. How do the hours, work/life balance, and pay of a policy/program analyst compare with lawyers (especially immigration lawyers)?

Any insights would truly help. Thank you so much!

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twenty

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Re: J.D. vs MPP

Postby twenty » Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:41 pm

Through no fault of your own, I think you need to do more research and/or soul searching to figure out what exactly you want to do. The JD is a very expensive professional degree that allows you to sit for the bar. The MPP is a less expensive professional degree that increases your marketability to government and nonprofit employers. If you don't want to practice law, 9 times out of 10, you have no business going to law school. There are still times when it's worth going to law school despite no interest in practicing law, but as a current undergrad with what sounds like no other real marketable experience, that's not going to be you most likely.

There's a lot of nuance that the JD vs. MPP question doesn't answer - but in a general sense, if you don't see yourself wanting to practice law, the MPP is probably going to end up being the better way to go. The JD is going to at best be overkill.

What are the specific skills one will gain by doing each degree that one couldn't obtain doing the other degree?


The JD will give you the ability to practice law, the MPP won't. The JD curriculum is harder and longer, and will probably be more expensive (although law schools tend to give pretty nice scholarships depending on your LSAT/GPA).

2. Which job do you believe has more influence on social issues? Which job has more opportunities? Which is more stable?


There's definitely no way to answer this question. Immigration law ranges from highly competitive academic fellowships to crappy rural law offices in Southern California that advertise on bus benches. The objective of immigration law is very polarized too - on behalf of a federal employer (DOJ), you're trying to get people out of the country, whereas on behalf of a private individual, you're most likely trying to get them in. Stability varies hugely. Being a solo practitioner is very unstable. Working for a state government is extremely stable.

tl;dr, narrow down what you want to do a little better and get back to us.



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