Law school to top grad school?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Law school to top grad school?

Postby aliarrow » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:38 pm

I'm just curious if anyone knows the likelihood of getting into a top grad program in Psych or Poli Sci (HYPS) after doing law for a while? I'd eventually like to go into Academia (not necessarily for law), but not really right now since I don't want to be stuck in the academic bubble for all my life and need some real-world/private sector experience. I know it would probably be a big plus to get on some form of a journal during law school so there would be the opportunity to publish a note, clerk after graduation if possible, and find a professor at the grad school of interest who does some form of research that intersects with law (shouldn't be hard to find in psych/poli sci).

I do have a 3.5 gpa (which is the bare minimum for most PhD programs, although I do have a 3.8 upperlevel/major gpa) and will be attending a T30 law school most likely (or Cornell if I get off the waitlist).

Is this at all feasible? Or would my UGPA completely shut me out of a top PhD program? Any former/present grad students out there who want to weigh in would be very much appreciated.


Also;
IBT"Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer".
I do want to be a lawyer, just not forever. I'm already a legal assistant, read getting to maybe, visited schools, etc, and I feel confident I would enjoy the work for at least 5-10+ years, there just isn't really any single career I could say I want to do from now until retirement.

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby aliarrow » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:26 pm

Another consideration I just realized is that one of the schools Im considering is BU, which has a clinic in which you draft African legislation. This seems like a great factor for consideration if I apply to Poli Sci PhD programs since I will have drafted actual legislation (and HYPS is an exageration, even something like NYU would be awesome). And if the academia thing pans out cost shouldnt be an enormous problem since I'll qualify for 10 year forgiveness. I'm starting to like this idea more and more..

User avatar
alexonfyre
Posts: 425
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:00 am

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby alexonfyre » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:42 pm

aliarrow wrote:Another consideration I just realized is that one of the schools Im considering is BU, which has a clinic in which you draft African legislation. This seems like a great factor for consideration if I apply to Poli Sci PhD programs since I will have drafted actual legislation (and HYPS is an exageration, even something like NYU would be awesome). And if the academia thing pans out cost shouldnt be an enormous problem since I'll qualify for 10 year forgiveness. I'm starting to like this idea more and more..


I think a successful legal career will be more beneficial to your ambitions than your law school career. You should really focus more on how you can bolster your career prospects in law and then work on grad school from there.

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby aliarrow » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:47 pm

alexonfyre wrote:
aliarrow wrote:Another consideration I just realized is that one of the schools Im considering is BU, which has a clinic in which you draft African legislation. This seems like a great factor for consideration if I apply to Poli Sci PhD programs since I will have drafted actual legislation (and HYPS is an exageration, even something like NYU would be awesome). And if the academia thing pans out cost shouldnt be an enormous problem since I'll qualify for 10 year forgiveness. I'm starting to like this idea more and more..


I think a successful legal career will be more beneficial to your ambitions than your law school career. You should really focus more on how you can bolster your career prospects in law and then work on grad school from there.


Agreed. I do think the law school stuff would be a big boost though since grad schools look for extensive research and writing experience above all. But I also see the value of launching a successful legal career so it does appear as me applying to grad school to further grow in my pursuits rather than me just running from a failed or disappointing career.

User avatar
alexonfyre
Posts: 425
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:00 am

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby alexonfyre » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:02 pm

aliarrow wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:
aliarrow wrote:Another consideration I just realized is that one of the schools Im considering is BU, which has a clinic in which you draft African legislation. This seems like a great factor for consideration if I apply to Poli Sci PhD programs since I will have drafted actual legislation (and HYPS is an exageration, even something like NYU would be awesome). And if the academia thing pans out cost shouldnt be an enormous problem since I'll qualify for 10 year forgiveness. I'm starting to like this idea more and more..


I think a successful legal career will be more beneficial to your ambitions than your law school career. You should really focus more on how you can bolster your career prospects in law and then work on grad school from there.


Agreed. I do think the law school stuff would be a big boost though since grad schools look for extensive research and writing experience above all. But I also see the value of launching a successful legal career so it does appear as me applying to grad school to further grow in my pursuits rather than me just running from a failed or disappointing career.


that would be an option if you go into T6, since you could go the academia route there, do a clerkship, etc. but even from Cornell academia isn't really realistic, so trying to build that type of resume may not have give you the type of resume clout you might expect. However, one thing I do know from PhD friends is that those AdComms are actually truly holistic, but they are very strict. If you have a passion for academia, and the subject you are applying for, it will come across. Just keep it in mind and make sure whatever you do is relevant to that future goal.
I know your cycle is over, but did you ever look at the WashU TLP? It seems like it would be a good alternative jump start to a career in Transatlantic legal scholarship.

Sean1269
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:45 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby Sean1269 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:04 pm

If you are serious about doing academic work in psychology, I would also focus some attention on statistics. I worked with several PhD psych students on a joint paper, they were all fantastic at statistics. Not intro level, but high level, upper-division and graduate level statistics.

The law degree is certainly a plus, and you will bring a useful and likely necessary skill to the world of psychology. However, remember that as psychology becomes more intertwined with statistics, biology, neuroscience, etc. it has also become much more mathematical. I would suggest taking some high level math classes before getting to law school, or at some point.

Poly sci, depends on the department, but some familiarity with game theory, combinatorial mathematics, and statistics is always helpful.

User avatar
kapachino
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby kapachino » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:08 pm

You don't need a Ph.D to get into academia if you already have a JD, and especially not if you plan to go into political science. I had three UG poli sci profs who were JDs (one was a Harvard grad) and they taught alongside Ph.Ds. I'd dare to say the JDs were more knowledgeable, and had better personalities.

User avatar
alexonfyre
Posts: 425
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:00 am

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby alexonfyre » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:20 pm

kapachino wrote:You don't need a Ph.D to get into academia if you already have a JD, and especially not if you plan to go into political science. I had three UG poli sci profs who were JDs (one was a Harvard grad) and they taught alongside Ph.Ds. I'd dare to say the JDs were more knowledgeable, and had better personalities.


This is true so long as you don't want to work at a research university.

As for math, you are going to need that, but you can take them while doing your PhD. I worked in a Psych lab at my UG for a semester and most of the guys in there had taken some advanced maths at the very beginning of their PhD, before they settled on a topic. However, if you are really behind in math then you should take some stats during your 2 or 3L just to give yourself a foundation. You will remember more of it than you think, especially if you keep up with reading journals and such.
Poli sci doesn't require a damn thing other than a really good resume and a really good reason to do it. I knew more math than most of the PoliSci grads at my school.

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby aliarrow » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:29 pm

alexonfyre wrote:
kapachino wrote:You don't need a Ph.D to get into academia if you already have a JD, and especially not if you plan to go into political science. I had three UG poli sci profs who were JDs (one was a Harvard grad) and they taught alongside Ph.Ds. I'd dare to say the JDs were more knowledgeable, and had better personalities.


This is true so long as you don't want to work at a research university.

As for math, you are going to need that, but you can take them while doing your PhD. I worked in a Psych lab at my UG for a semester and most of the guys in there had taken some advanced maths at the very beginning of their PhD, before they settled on a topic. However, if you are really behind in math then you should take some stats during your 2 or 3L just to give yourself a foundation. You will remember more of it than you think, especially if you keep up with reading journals and such.
Poli sci doesn't require a damn thing other than a really good resume and a really good reason to do it. I knew more math than most of the PoliSci grads at my school.


A research university really is my top priority, plus since I wont be at a T6 law school I feel going to a top grad school would give me an opportunity to build a prestigious CV required for academia. As for math, I think Im set for at least the basic requirements. I loved stats 1 & 2 and also took Calculus 1 & 2, plus psych research methods which included a good bit of stats. The rest I can probably just take during the initial phases of the grad program.
And yes, grad admissions are VERY holistic, there isnt much choice when entering classes consist of 5-30 students.
Last edited by aliarrow on Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
kapachino
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby kapachino » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:30 pm

alexonfyre wrote:
kapachino wrote:You don't need a Ph.D to get into academia if you already have a JD, and especially not if you plan to go into political science. I had three UG poli sci profs who were JDs (one was a Harvard grad) and they taught alongside Ph.Ds. I'd dare to say the JDs were more knowledgeable, and had better personalities.


This is true so long as you don't want to work at a research university.



My undergrad is a research university. I keep getting e-mails from the alumni association about the seven-figure grants they've been getting lately.

User avatar
alexonfyre
Posts: 425
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:00 am

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby alexonfyre » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:35 pm

kapachino wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:
kapachino wrote:You don't need a Ph.D to get into academia if you already have a JD, and especially not if you plan to go into political science. I had three UG poli sci profs who were JDs (one was a Harvard grad) and they taught alongside Ph.Ds. I'd dare to say the JDs were more knowledgeable, and had better personalities.


This is true so long as you don't want to work at a research university.



My undergrad is a research university. I keep getting e-mails from the alumni association about the seven-figure grants they've been getting lately.


At mine the only non-PhD's were adjunct. Same at our peer schools. I dunno which one you went to, but I would venture a guess that it is a mid-level research institution or a growing one, since seven-figure grants aren't much to squawk about.

User avatar
kapachino
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby kapachino » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:39 pm

alexonfyre wrote:
kapachino wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:
kapachino wrote:You don't need a Ph.D to get into academia if you already have a JD, and especially not if you plan to go into political science. I had three UG poli sci profs who were JDs (one was a Harvard grad) and they taught alongside Ph.Ds. I'd dare to say the JDs were more knowledgeable, and had better personalities.


This is true so long as you don't want to work at a research university.



My undergrad is a research university. I keep getting e-mails from the alumni association about the seven-figure grants they've been getting lately.


At mine the only non-PhD's were adjunct. Same at our peer schools. I dunno which one you went to, but I would venture a guess that it is a mid-level research institution or a growing one, since seven-figure grants aren't much to squawk about.


LOL at your need to feel superior. :roll: They update the alumni about everything. Not just the grants. Since you brought it up, do mid-level schools get 100 million dollar grants often?

User avatar
Teoeo
Posts: 801
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:21 am

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby Teoeo » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:59 pm

Why don't you just tell us where you went?

User avatar
alexonfyre
Posts: 425
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:00 am

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby alexonfyre » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:03 am

kapachino wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:
kapachino wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:This is true so long as you don't want to work at a research university.



My undergrad is a research university. I keep getting e-mails from the alumni association about the seven-figure grants they've been getting lately.


At mine the only non-PhD's were adjunct. Same at our peer schools. I dunno which one you went to, but I would venture a guess that it is a mid-level research institution or a growing one, since seven-figure grants aren't much to squawk about.


LOL at your need to feel superior. :roll: They update the alumni about everything. Not just the grants. Since you brought it up, do mid-level schools get 100 million dollar grants often?


Nope, but I figured if your school had 100 million dollar grants, you probably would have said that instead of small seven figure ones.
For the record, no school in the country has more than one $100 million+ research grant. I don't feel the need to be superior, but I have spent more than half a decade in and around research culture, and in order to secure a large $/faculty ratio you need PhDs and MDs. All (or nearly all) professors are researchers first and professors only by necessity. JDs are generally not researchers and the alumni mailers tend to be filled with new patents and breakthroughs and not grant amounts unless they are unusually high. Nearly every university does research, that doesn't make them research universities.

User avatar
kapachino
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby kapachino » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:21 am

alexonfyre wrote:
Nope, but I figured if your school had 100 million dollar grants, you probably would have said that instead of small seven figure ones.


Didn't bother to read the rest, but I didn't say it specifically because it wasn't particularly relevant. I don't need to brag about anything that I'm not benefiting from directly. The school gets hundreds of millions of dollars every year, but since this one came from one donor, they're making a big deal out of it. Some is for research, the rest is for scholarships. LOL at you still.

User avatar
alexonfyre
Posts: 425
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:00 am

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby alexonfyre » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:43 am

kapachino wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:
Nope, but I figured if your school had 100 million dollar grants, you probably would have said that instead of small seven figure ones.


Didn't bother to read the rest, but I didn't say it specifically because it wasn't particularly relevant. I don't need to brag about anything that I'm not benefiting from directly. The school gets hundreds of millions of dollars every year, but since this one came from one donor, they're making a big deal out of it. Some is for research, the rest is for scholarships. LOL at you still.


I'm not about to turn this thread into a pissing contest...
The point is, OP, if you just want to teach then you are fine with a JD, but if you want to be a researcher then you need a PhD.

Sean1269
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:45 pm

Re: Law school to top grad school?

Postby Sean1269 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:14 am

That's good you have a background in some math/stats, but IMHO, if you want to go to a top research university for Psych, you'll need more, I would suggest 1.5 yrs of Calc, or four quarters if you're on the quarter system, and some solid, classical/bayesian statistics. Always a good mix. The JD is neat and helpful for formulating what you want to research, convincing others your research is worthwhile, and writing the papers. However, the math and stats will help you get your foot in the door IMHO




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Christinabruin and 2 guests