Law School Discussion

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Messages - escude

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Non-Traditional Students / Re: 34 yo doctor - thinking of law school
« on: January 17, 2010, 02:27:56 PM »
this is good discussion and i welcome it. Actually its great I am getting a lot of reality checks here to temper any illogical thoughts.

A few points:

1. opportunity cost - the post of losing $700K for me is a touch high for me although it could be mitigated by going night school and working days as an MD. I'm not a surgeon or OB/gyn so i have relatively controllable hours. (I'll ask a question about night school). But yes you bring it into light i'd have to be a 'whale' type lawyer to make up opportunity cost. Based on what I am reading in the economy and lawyers going through tough times that will be tough.

The law profession appears to be going through what medicine went through in the 80's; the 'golden era' of medicine where doctors could afford to join country clubs etc.

2. Uniformed services; good thought. not sure its right for me. Government service is something I can see myself doing age 58-65 or so when i try to wind down and have a nest egg such that I can do something different. Laid back is good, not sure if I am ready for this in my 30's though.

3. Type of school - this becomes huge. Med schools don't matter much for doctors; residencies do. For Law it looks like law school you go to makes a HUGE difference.

So for me to stay local, keep my house, etc. I could go to a solid Tier 2(?) school locally (U. Houston) with a good health law program, move a couple hours away to Austin (UT) if I could get in still not pay that much tuition, or totally uproot my entire life and try and get to a T14 that I could score. Wow that's a lot to think of.

Sounds like there are a lot of people even from Top schools having hard time getting work.

5. To the poster who suggested MBA and Private equity. I guess if money was the sole motivating factor in my life that may work but I think after this economy the odds of getting that type of jobs with that pay is very slim. Economic contraction is hitting everyone and something tells me there's a lot of banker types sitting around trying to get jobs as well.

This has all been great discussion. I think it ultimately boils down to how badly do I want to get in/out of a situation.

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Non-Traditional Students / Re: Should we really go into law?
« on: January 17, 2010, 12:45:18 AM »
Well I can answer part of this question since I'm a practicing physician already but am posting on here because I want to think about law!

I can tell you this about medicine: it is long, it is tough, and it is emotionally draining. Your mistakes are scrutinized more than those in most career lines. In medicine for example if I don't treat an infection early enough it can turn into sepsis and then the patient may need to go to the hospital/the ICU/maybe die. In business you make a mistake and someone loses a few million but you at least didn't harm anyone or have the emotions of a family in grief.

Medicine is good though because it can also be emotionally *rewarding*; when people realize you've helped them and give you thanks it is a wonderful feeling. But oftentimes its that one person/family who is ungrateful or toxic that ruins everything else in that day.

Medicine pays well; doctors rarely make less than 6 figures full time (100K for academia jobs - anything beyond 700-800K becomes very difficult or requires ultra hot specialist like heart surgeon). BUT their pay is capped for the most part since compensation is fixed by Medicare rates by which insurers go by. Things will get worse with government intervention no question. But doctors will still make great money.

Many doctors are unhappy and would not do it over again. But the US needs doctors badly and if this is what you want to do then do it. Lord knows we need more primary care doctors.

I'm considering career change not because of the above but more because I feel intellectually not challenged by medicine and wish to find something that may get my juices going.

PA's are pretty good jobs; they pay pretty well, take less schooling than full out docs. But they face some of the same problems docs do in terms of liability. Some argue that its a BETTER job than MD is. But you face a glass ceiling for sure.

My ultimate advice after years of mentoring fellows, residents, med students, and college students is this: find your interest, find your passion and go for it. Don't do a career because your buddies do it or because you think it pays well. If you have the passion money will come assuming you have reasonable work ethic and intelligence.

medicine and law are similar in some ways and yet very different. if you are deciding between those two it means that you need to probably explore a bit more what it is to be in one of those fields.

Good luck and hope that helps.

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Non-Traditional Students / 34 yo doctor - thinking of law school
« on: January 17, 2010, 12:26:27 AM »
Couldn't find a search function for this board and figured everyone is different so I thought I'd give a brief description of what I do, and why I am thinking of law school.

Basically, I'm 34 year old physician (5 years out in practice), married but no kids. I went to a top 20 undergrad GPA 3.5; went to mid tier US med school, did okay and finished my residency, and am board certified.

Anyways I think I'm a pretty good doctor, technically at least, and my patients like me. But I don't really feel the passion for my career. I don't find medicine particularly intellectually stimulating, nor do I enjoy the stresses of having your mistakes be scrutinized and mistakes potentially costing patients lives or bad outcomes. So, its a very stressful job, because of the human element.

I've started getting some exposure to the law because I do some work with Worker's comp (lots of legal implications) and also peer review work for the state medical board (lots of writing to come up with opinions that have strong legal implications).

I find the work challenging *and* intellectually stimulating. In fact I enjoy the aspects of how law and society impact health care, and actually law in general. I can see myself actually enjoying reading, gathering facts, coming up with an argument, etc.

problem is, I'm older and if I go to law school then I'm looking at 38-40 by the time I graduate. Plus to boot I'd either be ditching my day job to take on some loans (already have ~100K from med school), or going to night school which I could pay tuition with but would be tough. So time is definitely a concern.

Med school taught me how to digest large amounts of info; I know its different for law but the bigger problem for me is it gets harder and harder to crack open books every year after you left undergrad!

Then the problem is how employable is a 40 year old MD-JD who is used to 6 figure salary, and how realistic it would be to get to or above an average physician salary? Of course there is the argument that I'd be doing something potentially that I'd like more so... Salary is important in the sense of opportunity cost; if I spent time and money to take a huge risk or pay cut then that is a scary prospect.

Would I be looking at having to fight for a big firm job?

Oh btw I would not limit myself to healthcare law although that is a market I think I'd transition well to.

Anyways I'd welcome discussion on what people think; good idea? bad idea? tips or advice?
thanks for reading.

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