Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

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Regionality
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Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:06 am

I plead ignorant on the subject:

What are the advantages of adding a MA degree to a JD, in a subject such as International Studies, Political Science, or other social sciences?

I have a couple ideas as to why it may be a good idea:

1) Increased marketability for job search
2) Addition of 1 year before law school graduation (does this mean we can do two OCI's??)
3) An additional summer internship -> more work experience before looking for a law job
4) Can be used as a tool to wait out ITE a little longer

Bad idea reasons:

1) More cost
2) No increase in marketability
3) Other disadvantages to not graduating w/ class that I can't think of

I'm seriously thinking about it and I wonder what people have to say.

(FYI my JD will be coming from either Wisconsin, WUSTL, Illinois or W&M, so all schools have respectable grad programs)

09042014
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:09 am

It's probably not going to increase your job marketability.

About the economy being better, you can just wait another year for law school.

It will just cost a lot of money.

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Regionality
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:11 am

Desert Fox wrote:It's probably not going to increase your job marketability.

About the economy being better, you can just wait another year for law school.

It will just cost a lot of money.


Yea but I'm hoping economy will be better in 3 yrs...if halfway through law school it isn't improving i could add an MA w/o having to withdraw from classes (and I'd legitimately be interested in the masters, it's not exclusively a stalling measure)

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lennonist
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby lennonist » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:26 am

Before speaking to big law attorneys and current law students, I was contemplating on a 4-year JD/MA (IR) as well.

However, if you're planning to get into big law, MA will hurt you more than help you. Not only in terms of the OCI and you studying for the bar alone (when all your peer network has already started their careers), but also because it is a distraction to doing well in law school (alternating grad school semesters with law school semesters).

It's obviously up to you, but I decided I will get an MA after a couple of years of work as an attorney (gotta pay them law school loans) - but again, that's just because I don't want to pursue a typical law-related field (not sure what your aspirations are).

Good luck, and thanks for asking this overlooked question (most joint degree ppl go for an MBA - those materialistic bastards ;)

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Regionality
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:34 am

lennonist wrote:Before speaking to big law attorneys and current law students, I was contemplating on a 4-year JD/MA (IR) as well.

However, if you're planning to get into big law, MA will hurt you more than help you. Not only in terms of the OCI and you studying for the bar alone (when all your peer network has already started their careers), but also because it is a distraction to doing well in law school (alternating grad school semesters with law school semesters).

It's obviously up to you, but I decided I will get an MA after a couple of years of work as an attorney (gotta pay them law school loans) - but again, that's just because I don't want to pursue a typical law-related field (not sure what your aspirations are).

Good luck, and thanks for asking this overlooked question (most joint degree ppl go for an MBA - those materialistic bastards ;)


Thanks for asking relevent Q's, I wasn't even sure what factors might come into play. More info bout me:

1) Not really interested in BigLaw
2) Interested in international, environmental, or land-use/urban development/real-estate law (all of which have corresponding master's programs that I could be interested in)
3) I won't be graduating with more than 50k in debt (savings + parental help)
4) I love the idea of studying something other than law again

Questions:
Would I have to take the GRE?
Do schools charge more per year if adding a program, how does this usually work?
How do class rank calculations change?
How does this affect summer law jobs?
How does it affect OCI?

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billyez
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby billyez » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:43 am

Those questions depend by the school. I know that UVA has it where you don't have to take the GRE (they substitue the LSAT for it), but other schools might like you to do so.

Also, when I became interested in pursuing a MA I e-mailed the Professors at the school I'll be attending and asked them if I could receive the e-mail addresses of students currently enrolled in that specific MA and asked questions that mirror some of the ones you're wondering about. So, I'd advocate that you do the same - I got some pretty good informtion from the exchange with those students.

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Regionality
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:06 pm

billyez wrote:Those questions depend by the school. I know that UVA has it where you don't have to take the GRE (they substitue the LSAT for it), but other schools might like you to do so.

Also, when I became interested in pursuing a MA I e-mailed the Professors at the school I'll be attending and asked them if I could receive the e-mail addresses of students currently enrolled in that specific MA and asked questions that mirror some of the ones you're wondering about. So, I'd advocate that you do the same - I got some pretty good informtion from the exchange with those students.


Very good suggestion...I'll do that once I have a better sense of where I'm going to law school, in a month or so.

Anyone else have insight?

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Regionality
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:59 pm

bump

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lennonist
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby lennonist » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:55 am

Questions:
Would I have to take the GRE?
Do schools charge more per year if adding a program, how does this usually work?
How do class rank calculations change?
How does this affect summer law jobs?
How does it affect OCI?

Answers:

Yes, you have to take the GRE. They don't care about the LSAT. (GRE is a joke, don't worry)
You pay a separate set of fees to the grad school (top 5 IR schools charge 30k+), so yes, more debt.
Not sure about class rank, but it shouldn't affect it.
Depending on the program, of course, you may not be able to just spend one summer away from the grad school doing your associate internship. Worst case scenario - it'll limit your IR career opportunities.
As far as OCI goes, it's all about your location at the time of the OCI. If, say, you're at Fletcher in the fall of your 2L and all your law peers are doing OCI at G-town, you have to get back to D.C. to do so. If, you're getting both degrees from the same school, it's obviously much easier. Nevertheless, not being a law student (because you have to alternate semesters) during OCI may affect how your interviewer judges your commitment/ fit for his organization.

I guess the bottom line is to decide what's more important for you, to miss out on some grad school opportunities for a summer internship as a law student or to put more of an emphasis on your grad school curriculum and sacrifice some law opportunities. It's hard to be on top of both, from what I've heard.

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RVP11
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby RVP11 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:39 am

Regionality wrote:1) Not really interested in BigLaw
2) Interested in international, environmental, or land-use/urban development/real-estate law (all of which have corresponding master's programs that I could be interested in)


You do realize that BigLaw firms are doing a very high % of the kind of work you find interesting, right?

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billyez
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby billyez » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:16 am

Ah, but just because BigLaw focuses on his interests doesn't mean he's interested in BigLaw.

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thesealocust
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:50 am

edit: n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

motiontodismiss
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby motiontodismiss » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:45 pm

The only reason I see for doing it would be if you wanted to do tax law and you wanted to sit for the CPA with no undergrad accounting degree (MAcc is the easiest way to qualify)

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thesealocust
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:30 pm

edit: n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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YCrevolution
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby YCrevolution » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:44 pm

..

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Regionality
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:16 am

thesealocust wrote:
billyez wrote:Ah, but just because BigLaw focuses on his interests doesn't mean he's interested in BigLaw.


...and if I'm interested in corporate M&A but not in biglaw, I'm up shit creek :P

OP, an MA will be completely worthless for your legal pursuits and not increase your marketability. Because of how hiring works, it won't actually let you sit out any meaningful period of time. Masters degrees can be nice tacked on to undergrad degrees, or good sabbaticals for more or less personal development and fun, but none of the reasons on your 'pro' list approach accurate/compelling and everything in your 'con' list is spot on.


Could you elaborate more on this?

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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby aer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:48 am

lennonist wrote:Questions:
Would I have to take the GRE?
Do schools charge more per year if adding a program, how does this usually work?
How do class rank calculations change?
How does this affect summer law jobs?
How does it affect OCI?

Answers:

Yes, you have to take the GRE. They don't care about the LSAT. (GRE is a joke, don't worry)
You pay a separate set of fees to the grad school (top 5 IR schools charge 30k+), so yes, more debt.
Not sure about class rank, but it shouldn't affect it.
Depending on the program, of course, you may not be able to just spend one summer away from the grad school doing your associate internship. Worst case scenario - it'll limit your IR career opportunities.
As far as OCI goes, it's all about your location at the time of the OCI. If, say, you're at Fletcher in the fall of your 2L and all your law peers are doing OCI at G-town, you have to get back to D.C. to do so. If, you're getting both degrees from the same school, it's obviously much easier. Nevertheless, not being a law student (because you have to alternate semesters) during OCI may affect how your interviewer judges your commitment/ fit for his organization.

I guess the bottom line is to decide what's more important for you, to miss out on some grad school opportunities for a summer internship as a law student or to put more of an emphasis on your grad school curriculum and sacrifice some law opportunities. It's hard to be on top of both, from what I've heard.



The answers to most of your questions vary with different schools. I am doing a joint degree program at Duke. I did not take the GRE, the extra coursework to get the second degree is mainly covered by starting the summer before the rest of the class, tuition didn't change except for having to pay for the initial summer, my MA and JD GPA's are completely seperate and my 1L and 2L summers are still free for legal work. This could all be different at a different school though.

Getting an MA has the potential to impact your job search in both positive and negative ways. I'm getting mine in environmental science and policy. This is very good for applying for environmental law jobs, but would probably hurt me if I applied to non-environmental law jobs. It is basically a time consuming and expensive signal to future employers that you are really interested in one specific area of law.

motiontodismiss
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby motiontodismiss » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:21 am

thesealocust wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:The only reason I see for doing it would be if you wanted to do tax law and you wanted to sit for the CPA with no undergrad accounting degree (MAcc is the easiest way to qualify)


The fuck would a tax lawyer take the CPA exam for?


For fun? I'm personally planning on getting a real estate license while I'm in law school....use RE as a backup in case this whole tax lawyer thing doesn't work out :D

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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby A'nold » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:24 am

motiontodismiss wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:The only reason I see for doing it would be if you wanted to do tax law and you wanted to sit for the CPA with no undergrad accounting degree (MAcc is the easiest way to qualify)


The fuck would a tax lawyer take the CPA exam for?


For fun?


I mean, yeah, I could see how that could be fun, but wouldn't it be more fun to jump off a cliff onto mortal combat-like spikes and become impaled, slowly dying for hours as the spike moves through your body b/c of your body weight?

motiontodismiss
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby motiontodismiss » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:32 am

A'nold wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:The only reason I see for doing it would be if you wanted to do tax law and you wanted to sit for the CPA with no undergrad accounting degree (MAcc is the easiest way to qualify)


The fuck would a tax lawyer take the CPA exam for?


For fun?


I mean, yeah, I could see how that could be fun, but wouldn't it be more fun to jump off a cliff onto mortal combat-like spikes and become impaled, slowly dying for hours as the spike moves through your body b/c of your body weight?


Probably. I have a pretty bizarre sense of humor though. When I took FinAcc I dreamed about GAAP.

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Regionality
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:53 am

aer wrote:
lennonist wrote:Questions:
Would I have to take the GRE?
Do schools charge more per year if adding a program, how does this usually work?
How do class rank calculations change?
How does this affect summer law jobs?
How does it affect OCI?

Answers:

Yes, you have to take the GRE. They don't care about the LSAT. (GRE is a joke, don't worry)
You pay a separate set of fees to the grad school (top 5 IR schools charge 30k+), so yes, more debt.
Not sure about class rank, but it shouldn't affect it.
Depending on the program, of course, you may not be able to just spend one summer away from the grad school doing your associate internship. Worst case scenario - it'll limit your IR career opportunities.
As far as OCI goes, it's all about your location at the time of the OCI. If, say, you're at Fletcher in the fall of your 2L and all your law peers are doing OCI at G-town, you have to get back to D.C. to do so. If, you're getting both degrees from the same school, it's obviously much easier. Nevertheless, not being a law student (because you have to alternate semesters) during OCI may affect how your interviewer judges your commitment/ fit for his organization.

I guess the bottom line is to decide what's more important for you, to miss out on some grad school opportunities for a summer internship as a law student or to put more of an emphasis on your grad school curriculum and sacrifice some law opportunities. It's hard to be on top of both, from what I've heard.



The answers to most of your questions vary with different schools. I am doing a joint degree program at Duke. I did not take the GRE, the extra coursework to get the second degree is mainly covered by starting the summer before the rest of the class, tuition didn't change except for having to pay for the initial summer, my MA and JD GPA's are completely seperate and my 1L and 2L summers are still free for legal work. This could all be different at a different school though.

Getting an MA has the potential to impact your job search in both positive and negative ways. I'm getting mine in environmental science and policy. This is very good for applying for environmental law jobs, but would probably hurt me if I applied to non-environmental law jobs. It is basically a time consuming and expensive signal to future employers that you are really interested in one specific area of law.


Thanks for this info! Why do you think adding an MA in a field unrelated to a potential job would be detrimental? At the very worst, why wouldn't it just not matter at all?

A MA in Environmental Studies/Resource Management/Enviro Policy is definitely something I'm very interested in...Wisconsin has a dual degree JD/MA in just this and it looks pretty strong...I like the idea of adding substance in a specific field outside of the JD...it's only a year more, I love learning about this kind of stuff, and as you said, it's a very positive signal if I want to practice law in the field I get my MA in. It is a way to differentiate myself from fellow peers ranked w/in the same 5% as me, right?

Do you think that the MA has given you ACTUAL knowledge/perspectives that perhaps allowed you/will allow you to nail an interview for a job in your MA's field? Maybe?

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Angelica Pickles
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Angelica Pickles » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:55 am

Desert Fox wrote:It's probably not going to increase your job marketability.


I agree with this. If it did increase your marketability at all then it wouldn't be enough to offset the cost and time required to obtain your MA.

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Regionality
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:27 pm

Angelica Pickles wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:It's probably not going to increase your job marketability.


I agree with this. If it did increase your marketability at all then it wouldn't be enough to offset the cost and time required to obtain your MA.


Fair enough...I'm not considering this purely from a cost-benefit analysis though...I'm just curious if it gives me a leg-up (not from a purely economic investment perspective...just in general)

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chutzpah
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby chutzpah » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:22 pm

Are you absolutely sure that you want to practice law? While its true that a JD is useful, practical, and helpful in a variety of fields, you should be sure that its what you want to do before taking the plunge. If you think you'd like to do IR or environmental work, I'd encourage you to pursue that degree and then decide if you really need that JD to accomplish your professional goals. Law school is an enormous investment of time, money, and effort (or so I hear) and you should be certain its right for you.

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Regionality
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Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby Regionality » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:07 pm

chutzpah wrote:Are you absolutely sure that you want to practice law? While its true that a JD is useful, practical, and helpful in a variety of fields, you should be sure that its what you want to do before taking the plunge. If you think you'd like to do IR or environmental work, I'd encourage you to pursue that degree and then decide if you really need that JD to accomplish your professional goals. Law school is an enormous investment of time, money, and effort (or so I hear) and you should be certain its right for you.


Don't worry, I'm certain.




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