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Author Topic: Ph.D after law school?  (Read 2913 times)

rene_descartes

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Ph.D after law school?
« on: April 12, 2010, 10:26:36 AM »
I am a 2L in law school. I am currently very unhappy with the job market given my skills and credentials. I am wondering what your take is on going to a Ph.D program after law school. I plan to do a Ph.D in a physical science to upgrade my skill so I can be more marketable in the future.  I already have a master's degree in a hard core science but it has not improved my employment chances in any way, shape or form. I am in a school in the 40's in the DC area which is a very cut-throat market and I simply do not know if I can compete with all the Ph.Ds out there at this point.   

Please advise.


Thane Messinger

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2010, 04:29:53 PM »
I am a 2L in law school. I am currently very unhappy with the job market given my skills and credentials. I am wondering what your take is on going to a Ph.D program after law school. I plan to do a Ph.D in a physical science to upgrade my skill so I can be more marketable in the future.  I already have a master's degree in a hard core science but it has not improved my employment chances in any way, shape or form. I am in a school in the 40's in the DC area which is a very cut-throat market and I simply do not know if I can compete with all the Ph.Ds out there at this point.   

Please advise.


Rene -

Looking 10 years into the future, at your happiest possible career . . .

 . . . what position would you like to hold? 

In other words, what work would make you the happiest?

Thane.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2010, 04:34:32 PM »
I am a 2L in law school. I am currently very unhappy with the job market given my skills and credentials. I am wondering what your take is on going to a Ph.D program after law school. I plan to do a Ph.D in a physical science to upgrade my skill so I can be more marketable in the future.  I already have a master's degree in a hard core science but it has not improved my employment chances in any way, shape or form. I am in a school in the 40's in the DC area which is a very cut-throat market and I simply do not know if I can compete with all the Ph.Ds out there at this point.    

Please advise.


Rene -

Looking 10 years into the future, at your happiest possible career . . .

 . . . what position would you like to hold?  

In other words, what work would make you the happiest?

Thane.


To all, it might seem as if this is yet another too-cheerful question from the latest counselor in South Park.  

Yes, the actual job one might choose might not be for ultimate happiness, and, yes, there's a lot of stress out there, especially now.  This is still a crucially important question, particularly when the options are as different as J.D. and Ph.D. in the physical sciences.  There are possible connections, including possible lucrative connections that all-but-remove the right candidate from competition.  (If you're a hiring administrator for the EPA in need of a JD with a PhD in physical science, who you gonna' call?)  But the underlying question is whether it's a JD or PhD, or a JD and a PhD, and, either way, whether both are the right choice for you.

So, there really is a benefit in getting in touch with your happier side, even if just briefly.

rene_descartes

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 07:21:17 PM »
ultimately, i want to use both my scientific knowledge and legal expertise; i would like to work for a drug company eventually as in-house counsel but before i get there, i need some law firm experience. But in order to get into a law, i need a Ph.D.

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2010, 08:17:30 PM »
Or you just get an LLM after lawschool(you can start while in your last year)
Or get a joint jd/maser of public administration

I am a 2L in law school. I am currently very unhappy with the job market given my skills and credentials. I am wondering what your take is on going to a Ph.D program after law school. I plan to do a Ph.D in a physical science to upgrade my skill so I can be more marketable in the future.  I already have a master's degree in a hard core science but it has not improved my employment chances in any way, shape or form. I am in a school in the 40's in the DC area which is a very cut-throat market and I simply do not know if I can compete with all the Ph.Ds out there at this point.   

Please advise.



Thane Messinger

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 08:57:18 PM »
ultimately, i want to use both my scientific knowledge and legal expertise; i would like to work for a drug company eventually as in-house counsel but before i get there, i need some law firm experience. But in order to get into a law, i need a Ph.D.


Rene -

You might check with pharmeceutical company insiders to address some of your assumptions.  As to getting into a law firm, I assume you're referring to specializing in a field closely related to that in pharmaceuticals.  Again, you might confirm these assumptions, as that's quite a commitment unless you're told by someone well-placed that that's a solid requirement and, if so, which field (law or science) would lead to which track.  

It's true that many in-house counsel are hired from firms, but not always (with bigger companies especially), and not always with the precise credentials in the field.  Much depends on the part of the general counsel's office in which one works.  To take pharmaceuticals as an example, there are many tasks besides scientific ones in need of legal work.

This would be well worth exploring, and chances are in-house counsel would be happy to fill you in.  (These can, as well, be good contacts for part-time or introductory work.)  The closer your credentials and true desires, the less the "objective" fit matters.

Contact a few and see if you can invite yourself in for a chat.  Read the Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job; that will be helpful in terms of a generally positive connection in your discussions/interviews, regardless of where it leads.

Best of luck,

Thane.

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2010, 09:36:25 PM »
There is a joint PHD in Pharmacy/JD out there. I believe that it is offered by Drake. It might not be too late to transfer into it.

rene_descartes

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2010, 10:46:09 PM »
Thanks everyone for your advice!

To the last poster, a Pharm.D is not a Ph.D, which means it's a professional degree, it teaches you how to dispense drugs and does not teach you the research or the science behind the molecular mechanisms of these molecules. Of course, a pharmacist must understand basic organic chemistry (I have many friends who went into pharmacy years ago; we were all in science undergrad together). But pharmacy is a profession, it's the service industry rather than research and development industry.  A Ph.D is more technical and you learn all there is to know about mechanisms; so when it comes to drug patents and you get asked technical questions as a lawyer, you will know how to respond.

Thanks everyone! 

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2010, 11:27:22 PM »
so what choice you going to go with then? Still on the fence?

amassherst

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Re: Ph.D after law school?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2010, 10:41:25 AM »
From your description, it seems like you're at American.  Could you do an externship in the Food & Drug Administration?  Would the contacts there help you land a position that is sort of in your area of interest?  I know that government jobs are uber competitive, but is that a route that you may also want to consider so that you start working right away after your three years of law school rather than adding on an additional four of a hard science Ph.D?