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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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