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Author Topic: Law degree for career in politics?  (Read 981 times)

undergrad2009

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Law degree for career in politics?
« on: June 02, 2009, 04:39:15 AM »
Hey,

I just graduated from college and wanted to get some valuable wisdom from you guys. I am interested in a career in government, and am currently trying to figure out how to balance an interest in public policy and politics. I'd like to know if I should pursue a law degree. I think it could be useful either way - it seems like many politicians have the credential, and the degree would be helpful if I decide to focus on international law or even economic policy, among other areas. Based on your experiences, would you recommend I pursue this path? I have a genuine interest in legal issues - I am a huge dork for Oyez.org and am currently reading Jeff Toobin's The Nine, and it gets me fired up about law. Still, three years is a huge commitment of time and money, especially if I am less interested in being a practicing lawyer than in working in government and politics.

One possibility is trying to get work on the Hill eventually, while taking night classes at a DC law school. Still, I would love a top 5-10 school, and I might miss out on the upside of a full-time law school experience, e.g. law review, moot court, etc.

(By the way, speaking of Oyez - I was listening to the Bush v. Gore oral argument and was stunned when one advocate called Stevens "Justice Brennan" and then went on to address Souter as "Justice Breyer." Unbelievable! OK, just had to get that off my chest.)

Thanks for the help!

I am the Lorax

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Re: Law degree for career in politics?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 09:28:20 AM »
I personally think it's a waste of time, energy and money to spend three years and roughly $100,000.00 on a professional degree when you have no interest in the profession, and this article articulates why better than I ever could:

http://www.annaivey.com/iveyfiles/2007/01/law_school_for_.html

Go work in government for a couple of years.  See what you're really interested in.  I used to work in government and policy, and I can tell you the reality is very different from what you think it is.  So I would say intern, find a job in policy, anything before you commit to law school.  For what it sounds like you want to do, an MPP might be more appropriate.

NeverTrustKlingons

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Re: Law degree for career in politics?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2009, 11:59:08 PM »
"Politics" is not a career field.  The good politicians do well in their careers and are called to service.  The US does not really have "career politicians" in the sense that you start as a staffer and work your way up to POTUS.  If you want to be a staffer, yes there are plenty of those in the DC area law schools and with JDs.  Without an advanced degree, you may be able to get a Hill job but your chances of doing anything interesting (other than impressing guys/girls and riding the copy machine at a Senator's office) aren't stellar.

If your interest is in government service, meaning as a career federal employee, those people very rarely transition into politics. 

So in closing, good luck and slow down there, Sparky.
I'll never trust a Klingon.  Klingon bastards killed my son.  -- Captain James T. Kirk, USS Enterprise NCC-1701

NYCFed

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Re: Law degree for career in politics?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2009, 04:53:04 AM »
"Politics" is not a career field.
So... The Sims isn't like real life?