PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it? Forum

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PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:14 pm

Currently working as a bond and fidelity claims adjuster for a mid-sized, national insurance company. The work is interesting and very contracts-based. The company is loyal to its employees in the form of 401k match, pension, and extremely cheap health insurance.

It sounds like my boss would like me to consider obtaining a JD part time through our local TTT so I can become a bond claims attorney. If anyone here works in a similar capacity, it would be great if you could talk a bit about advancement opportunities and pay scale. It is difficult to tell whether this would limit opportunities for advancement within the company/industry due to being so specialized or whether the claims experience and JD would make me more marketable as a whole.

I would be 30 or 31 by the time I hypothetically graduate with the PT JD, which would also be free through a combination of employer tuition reimbursement and other scholarships.

Anyone have any insights? Bad or good idea? Get a PT MBA instead?

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Re: PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:01 am

Bump.

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kellyfrost

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Re: PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it?

Post by kellyfrost » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:Currently working as a bond and fidelity claims adjuster for a mid-sized, national insurance company. The work is interesting and very contracts-based. The company is loyal to its employees in the form of 401k match, pension, and extremely cheap health insurance.

It sounds like my boss would like me to consider obtaining a JD part time through our local TTT so I can become a bond claims attorney. If anyone here works in a similar capacity, it would be great if you could talk a bit about advancement opportunities and pay scale. It is difficult to tell whether this would limit opportunities for advancement within the company/industry due to being so specialized or whether the claims experience and JD would make me more marketable as a whole.

I would be 30 or 31 by the time I hypothetically graduate with the PT JD, which would also be free through a combination of employer tuition reimbursement and other scholarships.

Anyone have any insights? Bad or good idea? Get a PT MBA instead?
I think this sounds like a pretty good deal - considering the tuition would be covered and you would be working and earning money to live on during that time. I think it all comes down to your interest in continuing working for this company in the capacity as a bond attorney. Honestly, I think it sounds like a pretty good opportunity for you.
I would also look at the bar exam results from students from the school you are looking at attending. Considering the legal market a lot of law students are facing, this looks like it could be a decent opportunity. You can do many different things with an MBA, so consider what you want to do long term and decided on the JD or MBA.
If you have an interest in being a lawyer in the bond business, this sounds like a solid start to a potentially very good career.
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:55 pm

kellyfrost wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Currently working as a bond and fidelity claims adjuster for a mid-sized, national insurance company. The work is interesting and very contracts-based. The company is loyal to its employees in the form of 401k match, pension, and extremely cheap health insurance.

It sounds like my boss would like me to consider obtaining a JD part time through our local TTT so I can become a bond claims attorney. If anyone here works in a similar capacity, it would be great if you could talk a bit about advancement opportunities and pay scale. It is difficult to tell whether this would limit opportunities for advancement within the company/industry due to being so specialized or whether the claims experience and JD would make me more marketable as a whole.

I would be 30 or 31 by the time I hypothetically graduate with the PT JD, which would also be free through a combination of employer tuition reimbursement and other scholarships.

Anyone have any insights? Bad or good idea? Get a PT MBA instead?
I think this sounds like a pretty good deal - considering the tuition would be covered and you would be working and earning money to live on during that time. I think it all comes down to your interest in continuing working for this company in the capacity as a bond attorney. Honestly, I think it sounds like a pretty good opportunity for you.
I would also look at the bar exam results from students from the school you are looking at attending. Considering the legal market a lot of law students are facing, this looks like it could be a decent opportunity. You can do many different things with an MBA, so consider what you want to do long term and decided on the JD or MBA.
If you have an interest in being a lawyer in the bond business, this sounds like a solid start to a potentially very good career.
OP here. Thank you for replying with your perspective!

You're correct that this all hinges on whether I feel that becoming a bond attorney is a compelling enough reason to attend. Being able to reach the conclusion that, "yes, I want to become a bond attorney," is probably the issue. I'm currently reaching out to other attorneys in the industry and at my company who might be able to provide some more detailed information, so that's good.

As for the school, bar passage rates for the last three years are in the 84-95% range based on the 509 report. It's a decent school that just happens to be set in a small metro area with very few big firm opportunities.

The other problem is that the salary information isn't readily available. The thought of spending almost 4 years to get the JD while working full time only to then make $75k at the age of 30+ isn't so enticing. Is that a short-sighted view? Once I have a better idea of the salary range, perhaps that will be easier to answer.

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Re: PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it?

Post by RCSOB657 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:06 pm

sounds like your boss wants you to do.......

Are you sure he will even remain your boss throughout the application process, schooling, and bar exam? Can you get a job offer or tuition assistance / whatever in writing?

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Re: PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it?

Post by kellyfrost » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:33 pm

RCSOB657 wrote:sounds like your boss wants you to do.......

Are you sure he will even remain your boss throughout the application process, schooling, and bar exam? Can you get a job offer or tuition assistance / whatever in writing?
Job offer, contingent upon graduating law school and passing the bar in 4+ years, probably can't get that in writing.

Tuition assistance is probably a program already existent within the company itself so I wouldn't worry about getting that in writing. If no tuition assistance program currently exists, then you might have need to worry.


Back to OP's question... if you are looking at the salary options and that is your main focus, then I don't think you have arrived at the conclusion of "i want to be a lawyer (or I want to be a bond lawyer)" yet or are evening leaning that way. Frame it this way, if tuition and time didn't matter (but be realistic) what would you want to see yourself doing in 5 years? 10 years? 20?
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:58 pm

RCSOB657 wrote:sounds like your boss wants you to do.......

Are you sure he will even remain your boss throughout the application process, schooling, and bar exam? Can you get a job offer or tuition assistance / whatever in writing?
This is a great question. My boss and I are in the process of researching the requirements of our company's tuition reimbursement program. While we don't know the specifics, one of our co-workers was using it to complete her undergraduate degree, so there is most likely a formalized process with HR.

As for my boss remaining in his current position, this will be a conversation for the two of us to have once the other facts are known. He just moved into his current position a few months ago after being our department's bond claims attorney for three years (our old manager retired). I can't imagine that he plans to change roles or companies any time soon, but a promotion contingent on completion of the degree is something I would definitely discuss with him prior to enrolling. We have not hired a new bond claims atty to fill his old role.

Good points.

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Re: PT JD to in-house claims attorney - worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:26 pm

kellyfrost wrote:
RCSOB657 wrote:sounds like your boss wants you to do.......

Are you sure he will even remain your boss throughout the application process, schooling, and bar exam? Can you get a job offer or tuition assistance / whatever in writing?
Job offer, contingent upon graduating law school and passing the bar in 4+ years, probably can't get that in writing.

Tuition assistance is probably a program already existent within the company itself so I wouldn't worry about getting that in writing. If no tuition assistance program currently exists, then you might have need to worry.


Back to OP's question... if you are looking at the salary options and that is your main focus, then I don't think you have arrived at the conclusion of "i want to be a lawyer (or I want to be a bond lawyer)" yet or are evening leaning that way. Frame it this way, if tuition and time didn't matter (but be realistic) what would you want to see yourself doing in 5 years? 10 years? 20?
OP again. Thank you very much for responding and apologies for the wall of text.

I was more or less thinking the same regarding the written offer.

In response to your question, however, I have been contemplating a JD since undergrad. I've been a lurker here since about 2012 and an active contributor to /r/lawschooladmissions and /r/lawschool on reddit for about the same length of time. So, to say that this is a recent or surprising development in my career focus would be slightly unfair.

The only reason I never bit the bullet and continued on with law school was because of the opportunity cost associated with my low undergrad GPA (~3.0), the amount of time out of the workforce (lost wages), and the uncertainty of employment depending on the school. With all of these points being more or less addressed by this new potential opportunity, I would be pretty excited to go.

I loved the legal classes I took in undergrad + paralegal cert program and did very well in them. I began working at my current company as a paralegal intern in the general counsel's office under the attorneys there and had a great time. If it was possible to go straight into the OGC from law school, I would have already enrolled. Unfortunately, that's not really the case most of the time and our OGC looks for attorneys with law firm experience.

Generally speaking, the only other career path I could reasonably see myself enjoying would be some type of management position in business. Not interested in non-profit or government work. Am I being a shithead for poo-pooing a possible 50%+ raise and promotion considering that the degree could be free with none of the opportunity cost I was originally so afraid of, not to mention future earning potential?

FWIW, this is also an area with a super low CoL. I really enjoy living here.

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