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Author Topic: Law degree and business?  (Read 2896 times)

btideroll

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2005, 05:39:33 PM »
BTide - What school are you at? If you don't want to say the exact school, you could just give its tier. I'll be attending a fourth tier school (though it has a great reputation locally), and I'm considering the MBA/JD. My undergrad degree is in business. I just graduated this past spring so I have no WE, but I am interest in working in law, business, or the intersection of the two. Do you know how much the value of the MBA/JD depends on the tier of the school. I've heard that the value of the MBA is becoming "diluted" (there's  an article in this years USNWR on it too) and that it's somewhat pointless to get an MBA unless it's a high/very high ranking program (Harvard, Wharton, etc.). My primary question is: Does this apply when one is pursuing an MBA/JD as well, and if so, to what degree? In other words, how much does an MBA increase the marketability of a T1 law school grad vs. a T4 law school grad? (I realize the cons to pursuing an JD/MBA, and that some will argue that it won't increase your marketability at all.)

What you say about the diluted MBA is just about right--alone it may not push you nationally unless you go to a big name school and it is an increasingly weak degree. I look at is as a synergy effect. The MBA alone isn't as powerful as it is when combined with the JD, and the joint degree is greater than either of its parts alone. I've overheard a guy who I believe was a manager for either AmSouth or Trustmark (banks in the South) say "don't show me an MBA from [school I'm going to] unless it is from ____" and they cite some school they respect (usually one nationally known or known to at least be strong in a certain are of business). But in all honesty, that was just a random manager's attitude and I bet confronted with an MBA from ____ school and one from an average school, his tune might change after the interview--it might not. In fact, I bet he went to said school and the chances of a graduate from said school coming to work for him are small anyways. His attitude also beggs the question, "Shoud or would you want to work with such an employer/manager?". Sure some programs may not be all that great, but it is still a degree and down the road it will really come down to how you utilized your knowledge, and not your paper hanging on your office wall. I just really don't agree with the attitude that you shouldn't pursue law or business unless you go to school X or Y.

I think a JD/MBA has more weight than just a JD if you are even remotely thinking about business. It is up to you to make the most of what you have--there's a good chance nothing will be given to you. The "tier" of your program will have some weight (national placement) but your grades and aspirations should do the driving. I go to a 4th tier--this may "lock" me in to my region but that is fine because I want to stay in my region. I'm married, have a brand new house, etc... Albeit my state only has 2 law schools anyways (at T2 and a T4). It has numerous universities that offer MBA's though (If I had to guess, I'd say they are mediocre). I graduated in 2004 with a degree in Finance and wanted to further the business degree so I was wanting to get an MBA anyway. The past year I worked full time in a law firm, making all sorts of contacts, and taking MBA classes at night. The program was designed for working students, much like a lot of MBA programs out there. I applied to the law school for the joint program after already completing 15 hours (half) of the MBA degree. So now, I don't have 4 more years to go. In fact, I have 3 at the most (the law school years), but I plan on taking some summer classes so it may go by even faster.

I don't suggest subscribing to the elitist attitude that says only to go X or Y. I didn't at least. I didn't tailor my life, undergrad college choice, or major around getting into that "elite" law school. Do what you want to do. It isn't worth living a life of regrets and/or low-self esteem because you only went to T4 or T2 or whatever-you should be proud of what you are doing period. The benefits of going to the "named" schools extend as far as the networking capabilities and this can be beneficial in helping you land jobs nationally. This doesn't bar the vast majority of students who went to T2 and below from applying nationally, it just makes it more difficult due to distance, alumnus, etc...It will also be harder to move if the grades aren't there. To the extent employers focus on names alone is sickening.

All-in-all I'd just say be realistic and realize sometimes the grass isn't greener. Money can be made anywhere. Is it worth hodling out for that "big name school" and putting off your dream in the meantime? I personally have no aspirations of moving to New York, or anywhere else up North or West. I am content and want to stay in the South/SouthEast, so I am fine where I am. I may try to transfer to a school in my region that may offer a better program in the area of law I want, but the "rank" will not mean much, if anything in my decision (of course this will be hard to transfer to another JD/MBA program). Ultimately, Down the road the paper on the wall will mean nothing compared to the accomplishments made in business and in law. I guess all of this can be summed up by saying money isn't the main factor in all of my decisions and I know I will be making less than those from the "elite" schools. A lot of that is due to location and higher pay rates anyways. I am looking for meaning, purpose, and autonomy, a lot of which seem to be more prevelant outside of "Biglaw" and the bustling mayhem of the legal "hotspots".

G'luck

dft

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2005, 07:03:36 PM »
Albeit my state only has 2 law schools anyways (at T2 and a T4).

I'm going to school in Boston and there are SIX accredited law schools in the city alone!

dft

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2005, 07:06:47 PM »
And also, thanks for the advice. I'll have to start thinking about the JD/MBA more seriously.

james

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2005, 07:30:20 PM »
Many people start at a big firm then move in house with a client.  Some companies may want to hire newbie lawyers but most know that 5 or more years in with a law firm is perfect training plus good connections.  I'd do some research to see what if any difference an MBA makes on getting your foot in the door compared to firm experience.

Maybe I'm wrong but from what I have read there is no way your getting a job as in-house counsel out of law school. The exception being of course if you worked within the corporate field for a few+ years before pursuing your J.D. That is what people have told me and I read it on vault.com.

I agree with what was said about both degrees being somewhat diluted. Also, firms want people committed to the law. They spend time, energy, money, etc. training a young/new attorney. I think having the MBA can be an asset but can also bring your committment to the law into question. Just stuff I have read. Each firm/ situation will be different of course.

guppy

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2005, 09:30:56 PM »
I hear a lot of people saying that law firms are scared of having someone with an MBA around.  I was an IT contractor for a while, and the life of the contractor is basically anybody on any side can sever the ties if something better comes along.  I would think that if I was to service business clients, they would be much more comfortable talking with someone who didn't just understand the legalities of business.

Just like I hate voting for someone into a senate position who never made less than $2,000,000 a year.  If they've never truly had to worry about living on a budget, how can I expect them to run the country on a budget? 

I think that this posting has strengthened my position to get a joint degree.  If I don't like a law firm (or they don't like me) I want to have career options open.  If you want to be successful, choose your job, and don't let the MARKET choose it for you.

question is.....do you start on the MBA classes first, and then get into your law stuff?  It seems like the MBA stuff is more principals and theories, and less memorization.  plus, there's not a business equivalent to the Bar exam....

btideroll

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2005, 10:29:09 PM »
I hear a lot of people saying that law firms are scared of having someone with an MBA around.  I was an IT contractor for a while, and the life of the contractor is basically anybody on any side can sever the ties if something better comes along.  I would think that if I was to service business clients, they would be much more comfortable talking with someone who didn't just understand the legalities of business.

Just like I hate voting for someone into a senate position who never made less than $2,000,000 a year.  If they've never truly had to worry about living on a budget, how can I expect them to run the country on a budget? 

I think that this posting has strengthened my position to get a joint degree.  If I don't like a law firm (or they don't like me) I want to have career options open.  If you want to be successful, choose your job, and don't let the MARKET choose it for you.

question is.....do you start on the MBA classes first, and then get into your law stuff?  It seems like the MBA stuff is more principals and theories, and less memorization.  plus, there's not a business equivalent to the Bar exam....

For those coming into law school (presumable straight from college or working in "the real world" for a few years) and who chose the joint degree typically enroll in the JD/MBA program, after being accepted into both schools, with law school taking the first shot at you. Meaning, your first year is nothing but law school (the typical first-year law program), the second year is nothing but the first year of the MBA program, and the last 1 1/2 to 2 years are a mix of both.

My circumstance  is a little different because I already started my MBA before being accepted into law school. So all I have to do is tell the registrar to sign me up for the joint degree. I'm just elated because I only have 2 business courses left and law school will take care of the rest of the MBA requirements...so essentially I get to focus 100% on law since my MBA is basically complete.

Like you I value having knowledge in the field of the clients I want to represent. I think it brings much needed perspective and understanding...and the relationship should be stronger. It also opens other doors in fields outside of law if needbe. The idea firms are "scared" to hire a JD/MBA is ludicrous. The firm I worked at would die to have the business savvy perspective and knowledge from a business degree. And afterall, if someone just truly enjoys business and wants the degree just for knowledge, I don't see why firms should question any loyalty. I also strongly believe those who want to practice law in-house for a corporation would be at an advantage to have an MBA.

arioso

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2005, 01:16:25 AM »
Quote
Law degree and business?

Why not?!

katrina

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2005, 05:32:19 PM »
Many lawyers do not practice law, they work as consultants to law firms, or even as firms' in-house chief technology or chief information officers; or they can be business executives or government officials. The majority of lawyers, in fact, do not appear in court at all.
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office

tacojohn

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2005, 11:04:09 AM »
Wait, "practicing law" does not just mean litigating.  A transactional lawyer is still practicing law.

I hope to never work in a law firm.  There's a couple I would, but mostly because their focus is in the narrow areas I want to work in sports law, and even then a sports business consultant would be preferable.  I would rather work in intercollegiate athletics, where a law degree is becoming an increasingly required credential for certain areas, but when I graduate will still be something of a novelty.

istically

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Re: Law degree and business?
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2005, 05:32:30 PM »
And would you fully spell it with pride?! I mean, the fact that you are going deep into debt to earn a diploma that you'll never use?!