Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

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Bodhicaryavatara

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Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:46 pm

Recent law graduate here, contemplating next steps. How rigorous are MSW programs, for instance, compared to JD programs? Are you graded on a forced curve like in law school? Should I expect to spend significantly more time on classes compared to in a JD program? Is the stress level and workload much greater? I'm just concerned that I can't "hack it" or that I'm not fit for graduate-level studies since I was a middling law student.

So, for those of you with another advanced degree on top of your JD, how did the programs compare?

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby nixy » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:24 pm

I thought you had an Ivy League MA iined up? Is that what you mean by other graduate program?

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby QContinuum » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:38 pm

One, "other graduate and professional programs" is so broad that it's impossible to draw any meaningful comparisons. It encompasses everything from an MBA to an MD to a PhD in nuclear physics and everything in between.

Two, relative difficulty will depend highly on a particular JD's college major. Obviously, an English BA/JD who's decided to tackle med school will likely find it more challenging than a Chem BS/JD.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:09 am

QContinuum wrote:One, "other graduate and professional programs" is so broad that it's impossible to draw any meaningful comparisons. It encompasses everything from an MBA to an MD to a PhD in nuclear physics and everything in between.

Two, relative difficulty will depend highly on a particular JD's college major. Obviously, an English BA/JD who's decided to tackle med school will likely find it more challenging than a Chem BS/JD.


How about the example I gave-an MSW degree.

I was a Sociology and Anthropology major and Spanish minor in undergrad.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:13 am

nixy wrote:I thought you had an Ivy League MA iined up? Is that what you mean by other graduate program?


I paid the first deposit last spring but deferred my matriculation to fall 2019. 2nd deposit is due spring 2019, so I have time to consider other programs, such as an MSW.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby nixy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:20 am

Why on earth are you considering all these disparate kinds of programs? What are additional degrees going to get you at this point other than debt?

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:11 am

nixy wrote:Why on earth are you considering all these disparate kinds of programs? What are additional degrees going to get you at this point other than debt?


I think an MSW would be helpful for certain kinds of law (child welfare, disability law, etc.) Also, I want the Ivy credential for its network and pedigree.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby nixy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:18 am

Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
nixy wrote:Why on earth are you considering all these disparate kinds of programs? What are additional degrees going to get you at this point other than debt?


I think an MSW would be helpful for certain kinds of law (child welfare, disability law, etc.) Also, I want the Ivy credential for its network and pedigree.

At a certain point (which you are rapidly reaching) people are going to look at your list of degrees and wonder if you actually have any idea what you really want to do. An Ivy MA is not going to confer significant networking/credentialing benefits generally - it will help you go on to get a PhD in that field, but nothing much more (assuming it is an actual MA and not some kind of more specialized/professional degree).

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:28 am

nixy wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
nixy wrote:Why on earth are you considering all these disparate kinds of programs? What are additional degrees going to get you at this point other than debt?


I think an MSW would be helpful for certain kinds of law (child welfare, disability law, etc.) Also, I want the Ivy credential for its network and pedigree.

At a certain point (which you are rapidly reaching) people are going to look at your list of degrees and wonder if you actually have any idea what you really want to do. An Ivy MA is not going to confer significant networking/credentialing benefits generally - it will help you go on to get a PhD in that field, but nothing much more (assuming it is an actual MA and not some kind of more specialized/professional degree).


Yes, which is why I'm leaning towards the MSW.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:47 am

Have you looked at the average salaries of, and positions held by, social work grads? MSW programs are for folks who really want to be social workers. It's not some kind of networking nirvana for attorneys.

Pursue a MSW if you want to be a social worker. Otherwise, don't go. It won't help you get a legal job, and, especially since you'd be pursuing it post-law school, may even hurt (by causing people to think you don't actually want to be a lawyer).

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:25 pm

QContinuum wrote:Have you looked at the average salaries of, and positions held by, social work grads? MSW programs are for folks who really want to be social workers. It's not some kind of networking nirvana for attorneys.

Pursue a MSW if you want to be a social worker. Otherwise, don't go. It won't help you get a legal job, and, especially since you'd be pursuing it post-law school, may even hurt (by causing people to think you don't actually want to be a lawyer).


That doesn't answer my question in the OP-is an MSW more or less rigorous/academically demanding that a JD program?

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby nixy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:47 pm

To my knowledge, a MSW isn’t going to do the forced curve and is going to be much more clinically/practically focused than a JD. That may benefit some people but not others.

But really the questions about the point of getting a MSW are the important ones.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:23 pm

nixy wrote:To my knowledge, a MSW isn’t going to do the forced curve and is going to be much more clinically/practically focused than a JD. That may benefit some people but not others.

But really the questions about the point of getting a MSW are the important ones.


It could be a good credential to have if, say, you're interested in child welfare law.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:31 pm

Bodhicaryavatara wrote:It could be a good credential to have if, say, you're interested in child welfare law.


QContinuum wrote:Have you looked at the average salaries of, and positions held by, social work grads? MSW programs are for folks who really want to be social workers. It's not some kind of networking nirvana for attorneys.

Pursue a MSW if you want to be a social worker. Otherwise, don't go. It won't help you get a legal job, and, especially since you'd be pursuing it post-law school, may even hurt (by causing people to think you don't actually want to be a lawyer).

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby nixy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:37 pm

Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
nixy wrote:To my knowledge, a MSW isn’t going to do the forced curve and is going to be much more clinically/practically focused than a JD. That may benefit some people but not others.

But really the questions about the point of getting a MSW are the important ones.


It could be a good credential to have if, say, you're interested in child welfare law.

No, it’s a good credential if you want to work as a social worker. Otherwise a better credential is actually working in child welfare law.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:23 pm

nixy wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
nixy wrote:To my knowledge, a MSW isn’t going to do the forced curve and is going to be much more clinically/practically focused than a JD. That may benefit some people but not others.

But really the questions about the point of getting a MSW are the important ones.


It could be a good credential to have if, say, you're interested in child welfare law.

No, it’s a good credential if you want to work as a social worker. Otherwise a better credential is actually working in child welfare law.


Kind of hard to do when you're not even licensed.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:11 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:It could be a good credential to have if, say, you're interested in child welfare law.


QContinuum wrote:Have you looked at the average salaries of, and positions held by, social work grads? MSW programs are for folks who really want to be social workers. It's not some kind of networking nirvana for attorneys.

Pursue a MSW if you want to be a social worker. Otherwise, don't go. It won't help you get a legal job, and, especially since you'd be pursuing it post-law school, may even hurt (by causing people to think you don't actually want to be a lawyer).


I've made up my mind that I want to attend graduate school in fall 2019. This thread is about the comparative rigor of a JD versus other programs. You guys are derailing the thread.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:12 pm

Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
nixy wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
nixy wrote:To my knowledge, a MSW isn’t going to do the forced curve and is going to be much more clinically/practically focused than a JD. That may benefit some people but not others.

But really the questions about the point of getting a MSW are the important ones.


It could be a good credential to have if, say, you're interested in child welfare law.

No, it’s a good credential if you want to work as a social worker. Otherwise a better credential is actually working in child welfare law.


Kind of hard to do when you're not even licensed.


Yea, so you should focus on getting admitted to the bar. Getting a MSW won't move you closer to practicing law.

I understand you have your mind made up but we'd be remiss if we simply told you what you want to hear. We're doing this for your own good.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:01 pm

It will give me something valuable to do while awaiting bar results/character and fitness.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:11 pm

Bodhicaryavatara wrote:It will give me something valuable to do while awaiting bar results/character and fitness.


But as I and others have noted ITT, pursuing a MSW may actually be harmful to your future legal career. Plus, it'll cost you a significant amount of money, I assume. Why not try volunteering at a social services org instead, while you await licensure? That'll be helpful and won't cost you tuition.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:21 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:It will give me something valuable to do while awaiting bar results/character and fitness.


But as I and others have noted ITT, pursuing a MSW may actually be harmful to your future legal career. Plus, it'll cost you a significant amount of money, I assume. Why not try volunteering at a social services org instead, while you await licensure? That'll be helpful and won't cost you tuition.


I really can't pass up the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school; looks like the opportunity of a lifetime.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:29 pm

Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:It will give me something valuable to do while awaiting bar results/character and fitness.


But as I and others have noted ITT, pursuing a MSW may actually be harmful to your future legal career. Plus, it'll cost you a significant amount of money, I assume. Why not try volunteering at a social services org instead, while you await licensure? That'll be helpful and won't cost you tuition.


I really can't pass up the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school; looks like the opportunity of a lifetime.


An Ivy League MSW won't help you find a legal job any more than an Ivy League Master's in English will, unless you plan to imitate that lawyer in Florida who advertises his (non-legal) Harvard degree on billboards.

The only additional degree likely to help you in the legal arena is a Tax LLM from NYU, Georgetown, or UF. I wouldn't even recommend doing a non-Tax LLM at an Ivy, let alone a non-legal degree.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:42 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:It will give me something valuable to do while awaiting bar results/character and fitness.


But as I and others have noted ITT, pursuing a MSW may actually be harmful to your future legal career. Plus, it'll cost you a significant amount of money, I assume. Why not try volunteering at a social services org instead, while you await licensure? That'll be helpful and won't cost you tuition.


I really can't pass up the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school; looks like the opportunity of a lifetime.


An Ivy League MSW won't help you find a legal job any more than an Ivy League Master's in English will, unless you plan to imitate that lawyer in Florida who advertises his (non-legal) Harvard degree on billboards.

The only additional degree likely to help you in the legal arena is a Tax LLM from NYU, Georgetown, or UF. I wouldn't even recommend doing a non-Tax LLM at an Ivy, let alone a non-legal degree.


Again, you're derailing. I didn't ask IF I should do this degree or not. I asked about comparative rigor/difficulty.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby nixy » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:04 am

Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:It will give me something valuable to do while awaiting bar results/character and fitness.


But as I and others have noted ITT, pursuing a MSW may actually be harmful to your future legal career. Plus, it'll cost you a significant amount of money, I assume. Why not try volunteering at a social services org instead, while you await licensure? That'll be helpful and won't cost you tuition.


I really can't pass up the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school; looks like the opportunity of a lifetime.

This is actually not true; it’s just what elite schools want you to think. However, if it were true, why are you asking about MSW programs?

Anyway, as I noted, MSWs won’t grade you on a curve and are likely to be more practically focused.

Whether an MA program is more “rigorous” than a JD will depend entirely on the MA program and the profs and your personal strengths. Some people who thrive in one will struggle in the other. But generally if you’re accepted they expect you to be able to handle it (and there won’t be a curve. It will be more like undergrad classes in the sense of being graded on your whole performance, particularly papers. I’d be surprised if you had exams, actually).

I still don’t think adding more degrees is going to help you actually get a job as a lawyer, if that’s what you ultimately want to do.

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Re: Comparative level of difficulty of other graduate and professional programs versus the JD?

Postby Bodhicaryavatara » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:04 pm

nixy wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
Bodhicaryavatara wrote:It will give me something valuable to do while awaiting bar results/character and fitness.


But as I and others have noted ITT, pursuing a MSW may actually be harmful to your future legal career. Plus, it'll cost you a significant amount of money, I assume. Why not try volunteering at a social services org instead, while you await licensure? That'll be helpful and won't cost you tuition.


I really can't pass up the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school; looks like the opportunity of a lifetime.

This is actually not true; it’s just what elite schools want you to think. However, if it were true, why are you asking about MSW programs?

Anyway, as I noted, MSWs won’t grade you on a curve and are likely to be more practically focused.

Whether an MA program is more “rigorous” than a JD will depend entirely on the MA program and the profs and your personal strengths. Some people who thrive in one will struggle in the other. But generally if you’re accepted they expect you to be able to handle it (and there won’t be a curve. It will be more like undergrad classes in the sense of being graded on your whole performance, particularly papers. I’d be surprised if you had exams, actually).

I still don’t think adding more degrees is going to help you actually get a job as a lawyer, if that’s what you ultimately want to do.


Lots of attorneys are JD/MSWs. It's a fairly common combination.



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