Dual Degree?

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Dual Degree?

Postby max » Wed May 05, 2010 1:40 pm

I have been admitted to GULC for the fall and will probably be deferring for a year. I am thinking about applying to some masters programs to get a dual degree, and I am trying to decide whether or not it's worth it. I think I have a pretty good idea of the general pros and cons of the joint degree, but I want to to know whether it would be helpful to what I specifically would like to do.

I am interested in IP, freedom of speech, and technology law and policy. My dream job would be working for Google. A more likely job would be working for a non-profit such as the CDT (http://www.cdt.org/). These are legal jobs that require a great deal of understanding of policy and social context. For that reason I am considering a policy degree, either MPA from Princeton (which has a cool tech focus - http://wws.princeton.edu/grad/step/) or a less prestigious MPP from Georgetown.

I was an undergraduate econ major at a great undergrad school for econ and I have a pretty good understanding of a lot of the very basic econ that is covered in these programs. I can do stats, micro, macro, and metrics pretty competently, so a concern is redundancy for me. A much bigger concern is a waste of time, money and effort. Would one of these degrees help me in my career goals?

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Re: Dual Degree?

Postby yabbadabbado » Wed May 05, 2010 8:16 pm

If you want to practice law, as in work in a traditional legal setting as a lawyer, go to law school.

If you want to do policy work, get the MPA/MPP and forget law school. Re: redundancy, it's not uncommon for people in these top programs to have econ backgrounds. Some of the math oriented stuff will be a repeat, but most of the stuff will be new. One thing: if you want to work in policy I suggest you become proficient with SAS. Not all of these programs teach you how to use it either, which can make finding a job harder after you complete the program.

Doing both the JD and the MPA/MPP is probably a waste of time and $, unless someone else is paying the bill and you're doing it for your own personal enrichment.

Places like CDT and other orgs of their ilk do not hire very often, and when they do the competition for an open slot is stiff. If you actually look at the jobs section on their website, you see that they have ONE 2 year fellowship opening and they are taking deferred associates to work full-time for free. This is pretty typical for legal jobs at these sorts of organizations/think tanks/etc. Getting into a place like that might not be much more likely than landing a job at Google.

Finally, IP probably isn't in your future if you don't have a hard science background. Yes you theoretically can do some IP law without being patent bar eligible but employers mostly want patent bar eligible candidates. At my school (a t14), IP depts. of law firms and IP only firms have a separate interview schedule/process for OCI and you are not even allowed to bid for a screening interview unless you have the specific pre-law hard science background that particular employer is seeking.

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Re: Dual Degree?

Postby TTH » Wed May 05, 2010 10:41 pm

yabbadabbado wrote:If you want to practice law, as in work in a traditional legal setting as a lawyer, go to law school.

If you want to do policy work, get the MPA/MPP and forget law school.

This. Joint degrees are largely a waste. [strike]I'd only consider it if you could finish it in three years with no extra tuition.[/strike] I wouldn't consider it.

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