Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

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viscacatalunya

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Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby viscacatalunya » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:00 pm

Hi friends - I was recently admitted to Yale's philosophy PhD program and am trying to figure out whether to apply to Yale Law for a joint degree (fully understand that Yale Law is the one of the highest ranked law schools in the country and absurdly difficult to get into - I have no expectations one way or the other). I'm interested in a career in theory/academia but also don't want to box myself into it in case things change - basically want to hedge my career optionality. But I'm not sure that doing the law degree will help with that. JD-PhD programs seem to get a lot of hate on the internet - could someone be so kind as to help me better understand the pros and cons of doing this program?

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Vursz

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby Vursz » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:21 pm

YLS grad here. I had a few friends who did joint programs, though to my knowledge most people came into the law school and then applied to the graduate school once there (I do know of at least one exception to that trend, though).

I have to think finances would factor into this- if you’re plunking down the cash for a law degree, a fully-funded PhD only carries with it opportunity cost. But I don’t know that I’d want to pick up a law degree for the heck of it (even from YLS) if I was looking at an extra $250k in debt. Maybe COAP mitigates that concern somewhat, though.

viscacatalunya

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby viscacatalunya » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:33 pm

Vursz wrote:I have to think finances would factor into this- if you’re plunking down the cash for a law degree, a fully-funded PhD only carries with it opportunity cost. But I don’t know that I’d want to pick up a law degree for the heck of it (even from YLS) if I was looking at an extra $250k in debt. Maybe COAP mitigates that concern somewhat, though.



Thank you! I have enough saved to pay for school upfront without needing to take on debt. Whether that's a worthwhile investment of cash is I guess another question but I think my main worry right now is employability - in the event that academia falls through, I'd like to still be relatively employable in corporate America. Assuming that the alternative is having only a philosophy PhD to fall back on, do you think the joint degree would help?

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby Npret » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:49 pm

viscacatalunya wrote:
Vursz wrote:I have to think finances would factor into this- if you’re plunking down the cash for a law degree, a fully-funded PhD only carries with it opportunity cost. But I don’t know that I’d want to pick up a law degree for the heck of it (even from YLS) if I was looking at an extra $250k in debt. Maybe COAP mitigates that concern somewhat, though.



Thank you! I have enough saved to pay for school upfront without needing to take on debt. Whether that's a worthwhile investment of cash is I guess another question but I think my main worry right now is employability - in the event that academia falls through, I'd like to still be relatively employable in corporate America. Assuming that the alternative is having only a philosophy PhD to fall back on, do you think the joint degree would help?

If you’re asking whether a Yale law degree will get you a job, the answer is “yes,of course.” Whether you should invest your time and money if you don’t want to pursue law as a career is a different question.

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby objctnyrhnr » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:58 pm

Anecdotally, I knew somebody a while ago with one of these and I want to say it was Yale. They ended up with a tenure track law prof job at a top school. Now, could they have gotten that without the philosophy degree? Yeah maybe. But I can’t help but think that a philosophy PhD, specifically, would make you even more attractive with this goal (again, assuming money/time is not an issue).

viscacatalunya

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby viscacatalunya » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:11 pm

Npret wrote:If you’re asking whether a Yale law degree will get you a job, the answer is “yes,of course.” Whether you should invest your time and money if you don’t want to pursue law as a career is a different question.


Hah thanks, realize that that kind of sounds like a stupid question - I understand a Yale law degree is awesome! I've just also read a lot of articles/op-eds about how JD-PhDs make you unemployable for everything except legal academia and wanted to know how true that was.

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby SamuelDanforth » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:57 pm

viscacatalunya wrote:
Hah thanks, realize that that kind of sounds like a stupid question - I understand a Yale law degree is awesome! I've just also read a lot of articles/op-eds about how JD-PhDs make you unemployable for everything except legal academia and wanted to know how true that was.


I don't think that's true at all. On the teaching front, a JD-PhD is the best path these days into a law faculty (all though no way an assured on), and there are JD-PhDs in Philosophy also teaching in Philosophy departments and Political Science Departments.

If your question was in regards to non-teaching employment, there are plenty of YLS students who are either JD-PhDs or have incomplete PhDs, and end up at law firms, government, or any other law job. You need to explain why you aren't a flight risk, but 10-20 students at YLS do it every year.

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby QContinuum » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:29 pm

viscacatalunya wrote:my main worry right now is employability - in the event that academia falls through, I'd like to still be relatively employable in corporate America

The best method for preserving/enhancing your employability in "corporate America" is business school, not law school. Law school - even Yale - will make you employable as a lawyer. It will not make you employable generally in "corporate America" (at least as that term is generally used). There are J.D.s who make the leap into business, but these are commonly J.D./MBAs or J.D.s who go straight into management consulting. In the former case the MBA alone is sufficient (adding the J.D. doesn't really "add value" in the business world), and in the latter case doing an MBA is better than doing a J.D., as not all management consulting firms even hire J.D.s; an MBA opens the door to other business positions besides consulting gigs; and an MBA only takes 2 years instead of 3 and thus costs less in both time and tuition dollars. The few non-MBA J.D.s in business careers who didn't start out in consulting are exceptions to the rule and typically practiced law for at least several years before making the transition.

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby Qtc » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:21 pm

If you want a career in legal academia then the Jd is required and the philosphy degree is marginally helpful if you have and from Yale. Degrees in social sciences are seen as more desirable. If you don’t want a career in legal academia, or in law practice s, a Yale Jd is a huge cost

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby Lurker19 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:31 pm

No idea how it works at Yale, but I have a friend at my T14 who was in a phd program for a couple of years here before starting law school and is attending for free since he's fully funded through his phd program. If you can get that worked out at Yale I think it's a no brainer to go for it.

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Re: Incoming PhD student at Yale - is a JD-PhD a bad idea?

Postby QContinuum » Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:54 pm

Lurker19 wrote:No idea how it works at Yale, but I have a friend at my T14 who was in a phd program for a couple of years here before starting law school and is attending for free since he's fully funded through his phd program. If you can get that worked out at Yale I think it's a no brainer to go for it.

That seems very unusual. There are a few special JD/PhD programs that fund the JD portion as well as the PhD portion, but most students doing a JD/PhD will pay for law school just like "regular" JD students, and have their PhD years funded just like "regular" PhD students. I understand this to be the case at YLS. JD/PhD students may be able to save a bit of money on law school by "double counting" some of their PhD coursework toward their JD (allowing them to, say, shave off one semester of law school classes), but that's about the most that can typically be expected.



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