« on: October 25, 2006, 09:49:01 PM »
I'm a Duke 3L (and yes, I am hanging out on this board so maybe I'm not exactly overwhelmed with school work right now). I'm not a joint degree student, but of course, I know a pretty good number of people who are.
On the plus side: Those I know who started joint degrees have continued to pursue both degrees, so joint degrees are entirely doable and the joint degree students appear to be satisfied with their decision. Also, as I sit here thinking about it, they have had particularly good employment opportunities, but that may also be because they are some of the smartest students in the law school.
On the minus side: Pursuing a joint degree requires more time in law school--maybe just a semester, maybe more, depending on the degree. Therefore, it costs more and requires more endurance (it's hard to do 3 semesters in a row). Joint degree students have less flexibility to take all the law classes that interest them. Despite the law school's best efforts, there is still some administrative confusion because you are likely to be one of a very few students doing your particular joint degree. And on top of all that, the joint degree gives you little if any advantage when you apply for a job as an associate at a law firm. The plain-old JD students do just fine.
Bottom line: Don't take on a joint degree lightly. Do it because you really want a masters degree for your own personal edification, consciously sacrificing time and money to explore something that you personally care about. Or, do the joint degree because you have unusual career goals, and you have carefully thought out how your joint degree will contribute to achieving those goals.