XYF

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Who's better?

get a good LSAT, go to a top law school, and be shelling out 6 digits by age 35...

top med schools, on the other hand, are hard to come by and to be a top-paying doctor, you dont get out until you're 35.
 

CanuckRazorback

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XYF said:
Who's better?

get a good LSAT, go to a top law school, and be shelling out 6 digits by age 35...

top med schools, on the other hand, are hard to come by and to be a top-paying doctor, you dont get out until you're 35.
If you're in it for the money, by all means, go to law school!
 

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Do you know the difference between a hooker and a lawyer?

A hooker will stop screwing you when your dead!!

Get lost TROLL!!!! +pissed+
 

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CanuckRazorback said:
If you're in it for the money, by all means, go to law school!
I havent done the math, but I thought that certain medical specialties did better than the average lawyer. It doesnt take long for a higher wage to catch up with tge lower wage that has been working longer a little longer.

The stats I have seen give an average for lawyers around the 150,000 range, while certain medical specialties make significantly more. They also say that lawyers work more hours, and everyone knows how much respect they get.

Maybe medschool quality lawyers make more, as I have heard it is easier to get into law school. Are the stats for lawyers from top schools much different than the national averages?
 

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dnomla said:
I havent done the math, but I thought that certain medical specialties did better than the average lawyer. It doesnt take long for a higher wage to catch up with tge lower wage that has been working longer a little longer.

The stats I have seen give an average for lawyers around the 150,000 range, while certain medical specialties make significantly more. They also say that lawyers work more hours, and everyone knows how much respect they get.

Maybe medschool quality lawyers make more, as I have heard it is easier to get into law school. Are the stats for lawyers from top schools much different than the national averages?
You'll make a lot more as an attorney. The starting average salary for an intellectual property associate is $120,000. Imagine making that kind of money at the age of 24. Doctors, on the other hand, may nominally make $500,000 a year, but with renting office space, hiring employees, paying for malpractice insurance, and dealing with the other expenses of being a business owner, they take home about $120,000 a year. This at the ripe age of 31.

Further, the salaries for doctors have a low standard deviation---they get paid close to the same everywhere. Some lawyers charge $500 an hour. The senior partners in some firms make $500,000-$1 million. As stated by an earlier poster, if you want money, become a lawyer.

As far as the hours: while attorneys are expected to work 60 hours a week (some do hit 80), they are never on call. Doctors routinely work that ammount and constantly have to worry about the little black box from hell waking them up at 2 in the morning.
 

Without Wax

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deuist said:
You'll make a lot more as an attorney.
yeah but there are things that can not be measured in terms of dollars.
Doctors usually get more respect than lawyers

also we have Dr. in front of our names, and MD on our car number plates
 

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You're stuck on a desert island and can only bring one person along- a doctor or a lawyer. Who do you choose?

Yeah, thought so.
 

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deuist said:
You'll make a lot more as an attorney. The starting average salary for an intellectual property associate is $120,000. Imagine making that kind of money at the age of 24. Doctors, on the other hand, may nominally make $500,000 a year, but with renting office space, hiring employees, paying for malpractice insurance, and dealing with the other expenses of being a business owner, they take home about $120,000 a year. This at the ripe age of 31.

Further, the salaries for doctors have a low standard deviation---they get paid close to the same everywhere. Some lawyers charge $500 an hour. The senior partners in some firms make $500,000-$1 million. As stated by an earlier poster, if you want money, become a lawyer.

As far as the hours: while attorneys are expected to work 60 hours a week (some do hit 80), they are never on call. Doctors routinely work that ammount and constantly have to worry about the little black box from hell waking them up at 2 in the morning.
This assumes you:
1. Have a job (not as easy to get one as you may think, especially the high paying ones you mentioned, if you're not at a top-20 school or at the very top (5%) of your class at another school)

2. Have job security (if you're not a partner or in a secure firm, you quickly will be unemployed or worse.. making daytime TV commercials for your legal service)

3. 60 hours a week for an attorney is about right, but most doctors also work 60 hours a week including call according to the AMA (there are exceptions on both sides of the fence, but the general rule is the more money you want, the more hours you have to work).

Basically, the hours are a wash. The earning potential as a stud lawyer is incredible, so if you are a gambler its great. But if you are risk averse, you have great job security and an income in the 98th percentile as a doctor as well.

(Also, I avoided the standard arguments regarding interest, benefiting humanity, respect, etc, since others have discussed those already)
 

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deuist said:
Further, the salaries for doctors have a low standard deviation---they get paid close to the same everywhere.
Just curious, where did you get this information? It doesn't really make much sense to me since the cost of living varies so much from place to place. A doctor in CA would have a crappy standard of living compared to a doctor in AL if they made the same amount of money.
 

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No one makes doctor jokes like they make lawyer jokes. And lawyers don't get cool instruments to do their work.
 

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I think my post could have been taken the wrong way. I don't know who makes more money and it doesn't really matter to me. All I know is that one would have to be crazy to go through medical school and residency just for the money. So I guess what I was trying to say was that if the OP was just interested in making money, then law school would definitely be the easier way to a big paycheck.
 

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2112_rush said:
Just curious, where did you get this information? It doesn't really make much sense to me since the cost of living varies so much from place to place. A doctor in CA would have a crappy standard of living compared to a doctor in AL if they made the same amount of money.
Well, the interesting thing is that doctors in rural areas tend to make more than the urban docs (since the former are the only act in town).

If you look at salary surveys divided by region though, while there is variance in regional salary, it isnt too large a percentage in the grand scheme of things (though it is in the tens of thousands of dollars usually)
 

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Fantasy Sports said:
You're stuck on a desert island and can only bring one person along- a doctor or a lawyer. Who do you choose?

Yeah, thought so.
hahahhahahah. that's is awesome.
 

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Imagine being a lawyer for just a moment and trying to go on vacation.

There is never a time in your career when you don't have a case going, and at some point, someone at the firm is going to need to talk to you because you're the expert.

So you have to be available. All the time. And how is your family going to like that? you?

And then there are the clients who will get p#$#@ed off because you're not there to answer their call. And then when you come back, you have a pile of crap dumped on your desk. Meanwhile, you've never really been able to get away from it all, and the older you get, the more you realize that you couldn't even if you were able to because you eat, breathe, and sleep cases.

By the way, the average salary for an IP associate isn't necessarily 120k. First, it's tough to get those positions because the often require an advanced science degree in addition to a law degree. Second, you're not going to get 120k at most places. Third, IP lawyers are a rare sort of bird. Most lawyers do not deal with IP.

And to lock in one of those high paying, Big Law jobs that starts at 125k without being in IP, you pretty much have to go to a top 14 school or finish at the top of your class. (Yes, #15 is not quite in the same league.) And then when you get there, you need to realize that you probably aren't going to be there long, as you're either going to

1) burnout
2) get canned
3) be told you'll never make partner and abandon ship to a lower paying job.

The real advantage to working at one of these top firms is that you can position yourself to work a cushy in-house job or to jump ship into the business world.

Government lawyers are different story entirely, and if I didn't drop out of law school, I'd be looking to work for the federal government.
 

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freaker said:
Imagine being a lawyer for just a moment and trying to go on vacation.

There is never a time in your career when you don't have a case going, and at some point, someone at the firm is going to need to talk to you because you're the expert.

So you have to be available. All the time. And how is your family going to like that? you?

And then there are the clients who will get p#$#@ed off because you're not there to answer their call. And then when you come back, you have a pile of crap dumped on your desk. Meanwhile, you've never really been able to get away from it all, and the older you get, the more you realize that you couldn't even if you were able to because you eat, breathe, and sleep cases.
okay... this is such BS... You actually sound like you're describing the life of a physician rather than an attorney. My father and sister are both attorneys and I have a brother, sister, and numerous close relative (about 10) that are physicians.

Overall, DOCTORs are the ones who have never-ending cases and can't get away for vacations. Try going on vacation as an internist or surgeon... yeah, that's going to go over real well when you've got patients at the hospital who could potentially die without your care. And about being available??? Who gets paged at 2am when a patient codes? Better yet, who gets paged at 2am when your patient wants to have a bag of potato chips? You got it, you will. Attorney's don't carry pagers the last time I checked....

Attorneys in private practice make a killing once they've established a patient base and they make their own schedule. Granted, if you're a sh!tty attorney, you won't make 2 cents. My father takes vacation whenever he wants, works out of our house, and can leave at the drop of a hat (he's in greece this week). Nobody will die if he leaves, he just postpones his court dates for a week or two and leaves.... Doctors can't postpone patients dying or crashing...

As far as your clients getting pi$$ed off at you... have you been watching the news over the last couple years??? Haven't you heard of the malpractice problem??? Patients are often not the happiest campers.
 

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waterski232002 said:
As far as your clients getting pi$$ed off at you... have you been watching the news over the last couple years??? Haven't you heard of the malpractice problem??? Patients are often not the happiest campers.
what is the root of the malpractice problem??

doctors have had bad outcomes with patients since the first days of doctors. malpractice suits came along when lawyers ran out of people to screw.
 

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clkimmey said:
what is the root of the malpractice problem??

doctors have had bad outcomes with patients since the first days of doctors. malpractice suits came along when lawyers ran out of people to screw.
Not entirely... There are some pretty damn bad doctors out there too.... You should hear about some of the negligence that goes on out there. One of my attendings would tell us stories about malpractice cases he testified as an expert in (they were horrifying).

Also, once you hit 3rd year you'll have to admit transfers from outside community hospitals. When you read how poorly the patients are managed at some of these places, you'll be shocked that they are still alive.

I had one that was transfered to our CCU b/c the outside hospital said that the 34 year old patient was in idiopathic congestive heart failure. This guy had no history of ANY cardiac risk factors!!! His age alone should have virtually excluded him, but he had some peripheral edema. He spent 5 days at the community hospital between their ED, Medicine wards, and ICU before being transfered and NOBODY CHECKED A URINE! A monkey could have made this diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome, and 3 community physicians in 3 different specialties missed it. This guy could have lost his kidneys permenantly and been sentenced to virtual death by age 45 if he didn't get transferred and treated..... This is just one of many examples.
 

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dnomla said:
I havent done the math, but I thought that certain medical specialties did better than the average lawyer. It doesnt take long for a higher wage to catch up with tge lower wage that has been working longer a little longer.

The stats I have seen give an average for lawyers around the 150,000 range, while certain medical specialties make significantly more. They also say that lawyers work more hours, and everyone knows how much respect they get.

Maybe medschool quality lawyers make more, as I have heard it is easier to get into law school. Are the stats for lawyers from top schools much different than the national averages?
As far as the money is concerned, the lawyer path can be much more lucrative. If you come out of a top (fifty) school with great grades and go the big firm in a big city route, the starting salary, after a mere three years of schooling, is about $125,000. Raises each year thereafter can be as much as $15,000 -$20,000 range. This is not the average starting salary by any means, as the average salary is far less than half that, but if you want to compare the career path of those with undergrad grades and standardized test scores which would get one into medical school (and ultimately the types who get the more competitive residencies), this is the number I think you really need to look at. (No one capable of going the allopathic route and getting into dermatology, radiology etc. would be "average" in law).
So, if you consider the time value of money, the fact that law school tuition per year is cheaper than med school, that law school is only 3 years while medicine is 4, and the fact that residencies are a minimum of another four years (much more for the higher yielding specialties) with pay only about $40k/year at best, it should be obvious that it would take many many years at a very high salary for a physician to catch up to such attorney, if ever. Bottom line is, don't go into medicine if your big concern is money! You will do better quicker financially in law, finance/banking, and countless other career paths.
I do agree with the point raised above about job security, though -- you will have more in medicine. But my experience is that people who go into the more competitive professions aren't afraid of a bit of risk.
 

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deuist said:
You'll make a lot more as an attorney. The starting average salary for an intellectual property associate is $120,000. Imagine making that kind of money at the age of 24. Doctors, on the other hand, may nominally make $500,000 a year, but with renting office space, hiring employees, paying for malpractice insurance, and dealing with the other expenses of being a business owner, they take home about $120,000 a year. This at the ripe age of 31.

Further, the salaries for doctors have a low standard deviation---they get paid close to the same everywhere. Some lawyers charge $500 an hour. The senior partners in some firms make $500,000-$1 million. As stated by an earlier poster, if you want money, become a lawyer.
I don't think this could be much further from the truth.

Since my girlfriend just happens to be an associate in intellectual properties/patents (excellent firm) and was editor-in-chief of the law review at her school (point: received highest relative offers) I have some decent knowledge in this respect.

Yes, if you're top 33% or so at a top-20 school or top 10% elsewhere you're probably in line for a decent salary (assuming you prove yourself worthy of an offer during your clerkship).

The best salaries vary greatly based on the city. In the south, Houston/Dallas highest first-year offers MIGHT be in the $120k range, while Baton Rouge/New Orleans are closer to $80k.

Then add a 7% raise per year and often 5-7 yr partnership tracks and you're looking at $125-$200k initially after partnership in the better firms by the time you're 30 (assuming no stopping to "smell the roses"). Senior partners obviously make more...and have more risk if the firm goes to crap (depending on type i.e. plaintiff vs. defense).

Considering medical school is an extra year then say 5 yrs of residency @ $40k/yr...compared to a high starting attorney salary of $100k...a physician would begin practicing around $400k behind an attorney with likely more debt. However, say most MD's will make more than $250k/yr for the next 10 yrs and I think an MD easily makes up the deficit within that decade. An EM physician can do a 3 yr residency and immediately make $250k or so...

What has been missed in the discussion, although Law2Doc alluded to it, is that attorney's graduating from average schools around the middle of their classes or below often have trouble finding ANY job.

I've known many people who started at $40k/yr and were happy to do so knowing many of their classmates couldn't find a job at all.

Any talk of salary std deviation would have to include figures all the way down to $0.

As far as I can tell, there is no regulation of law school class sizes although I believe it's starting in some places...they just keep churning out more lawyers regardless of the demand. I wonder why litigation, especially frivolous litigation is so rampant?

Ultimately, the upper-echelon law students/associates can expect excellent salaries (although they certainly work for it). Plaintiff's attorneys and those lacking integrity can probably make much more.

However, I haven't heard of that many MD's being unable to find employment...
 

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deuist said:
You'll make a lot more as an attorney. The starting average salary for an intellectual property associate is $120,000. Imagine making that kind of money at the age of 24. Doctors, on the other hand, may nominally make $500,000 a year, but with renting office space, hiring employees, paying for malpractice insurance, and dealing with the other expenses of being a business owner, they take home about $120,000 a year. This at the ripe age of 31.
Do you actually know any intellectual property lawyers? Both my husband and best friend are on that path. They both have graduate degrees in computer science and computer engineering respectively.

Joe Schmoe out of undergrad with political science/english/philosophy degree cannot pursure intellectual property which is where the big bucks are. It requires extensive technological knowledge in some field first. The vast majority of lawyers do not earn the numbers at the ages you are throwing out. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are lawyers (I'm the sole med student in a family of lawyers...makes things interesting) and the pressure to bill hours is enormous. They work ridiculous hours only to be told, sorry, we don't think you can make partner in a few years...you're fired!

Unless you're at the top of a top ranked law school, law is not much fun and the rewards are not that good. It's simply an overcrowded profession making the competition pretty rough. And unless you're a public interest lawyer content to make $20,000 a year, there's living with the feeling of "what the hell am i doing with my life, i'm not helping anyone/doing anything productive for society" that might start to bother you after a while.
 

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pillowhead said:
Do you actually know any intellectual property lawyers? Both my husband and best friend are on that path. They both have graduate degrees in computer science and computer engineering respectively.

Joe Schmoe out of undergrad with political science/english/philosophy degree cannot pursure intellectual property which is where the big bucks are. It requires extensive technological knowledge in some field first. The vast majority of lawyers do not earn the numbers at the ages you are throwing out. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are lawyers (I'm the sole med student in a family of lawyers...makes things interesting) and the pressure to bill hours is enormous. They work ridiculous hours only to be told, sorry, we don't think you can make partner in a few years...you're fired!

Unless you're at the top of a top ranked law school, law is not much fun and the rewards are not that good. It's simply an overcrowded profession making the competition pretty rough. And unless you're a public interest lawyer content to make $20,000 a year, there's living with the feeling of "what the hell am i doing with my life, i'm not helping anyone/doing anything productive for society" that might start to bother you after a while.
I think the issue isn't what the average salary is in law-- clearly the average lawyer earns much less than the east/west coast big city, big firm salary. But frankly the average physician doesn't net the mid-six digit salaries thrown about on this board either -- that's just the competitive specialties in the lucrative areas of the country. What I was trying to indicate is that people with the grades and standardized test taking ability who get into allopathic med schools will be able to get into and do well at good law schools. And those that are smart enough to get into the most competitive residencies will also have the same drive and ability to land jobs in the bigger firms, if they choose. And in such situation, the medical specialist will unlikely ever catch up, salary wise IF you consider the initial entrance costs and time value of money.
You really need to focus on the time value of money to see that law is more financially rewarding though. Even if an AVERAGE salaried lawyer puts 10-20% of his income into some growth investment and makes 5-6% compounded annually (which becomes fairly easy once 401k rights kick in after a year of working), this will accrue to a fairly significant pile of $ by the time any doctor starts earning any real money. Thus once again, if you are going into medicine for the money, you are missing the boat.

That being said, there are many (better) nonfinancial reasons people pursue certain career choices, and I totally back this approach. :)
 

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pillowhead said:
Do you actually know any intellectual property lawyers? Both my husband and best friend are on that path. They both have graduate degrees in computer science and computer engineering respectively.

Joe Schmoe out of undergrad with political science/english/philosophy degree cannot pursure intellectual property which is where the big bucks are.
Just FYI, although I wasn't the one who indicated that IP law was where the big bucks are --I actually think that is less the case today than a few years ago--, I wanted to note for the sake of clarity that IP covers not only patent law, which certainly requires a science background, but also trademark and copyright law, which do not. Thus "Joe Schmoe" can still become an IP lawyer of sorts if he so desires. ;)
 

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Law2Doc said:
Just FYI, although I wasn't the one who indicated that IP law was where the big bucks are --I actually think that is less the case today than a few years ago--, I wanted to note for the sake of clarity that IP covers not only patent law, which certainly requires a science background, but also trademark and copyright law, which do not. Thus "Joe Schmoe" can still become an IP lawyer of sorts if he so desires. ;)
i've had patent, trademark, and copyright taught to me so many times by so many people. sigh, i always lump them together and i know i shouldn't.

i should have been more specific and said patent, you're right. my understanding is that patent lawyers still pull in the big bucks pretty fast and with relatively less work than the wall street type lawyers working 100 hour work weeks. i think it's kind of a supply and demand thing.

i think it's funny these fields are compared so much. i cannot imagine there are too many people genuinely interested in both, so i'm pretty skeptical of the motives of someone torn between medicine and law. not that you need to be mother theresa or even want to save the world (the holier than thou stuff gets annoying in med school) in order to go into medicine, but they are two completely different fields with the only relation between the two being 1) good money and 2) the requirement of intelligence/good grades to get into med school and the better law schools.
 

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Law2Doc said:
I think the issue isn't what the average salary is in law-- clearly the average lawyer earns much less than the east/west coast big city, big firm salary. But frankly the average physician doesn't net the mid-six digit salaries thrown about on this board either -- that's just the competitive specialties in the lucrative areas of the country.
http://www.physicianssearch.com/physician/salary2.html
 

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In the end, comparing salaries of such diverse professions is impossible...
pediatrician vs. radiologist

OR

non-profit entity attorney vs. Joe X personal injury lawyer.



Law2Doc said:
That being said, there are many (better) nonfinancial reasons people pursue certain career choices, and I totally back this approach. :)

Hopefully we can all agree on this!
 

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pillowhead said:
Do you actually know any intellectual property lawyers?
Yes, as well as two business attorneys, two personal injury attorneys, a defence attorney, and a slew of current law students who are trying to enter the working profession.


pillowhead said:
Both my husband and best friend are on that path. They both have graduate degrees in computer science and computer engineering respectively.

Joe Schmoe out of undergrad with political science/english/philosophy degree cannot pursure intellectual property which is where the big bucks are. It requires extensive technological knowledge in some field first. .
Very true. In fact, you cannot sit for the patent bar unless you have a degree in a science or engineering field. But I stand by my initial argument, IP lawyers are paid very well coming out of school Just look at Payscale.com for median salaries. I can't find the website, but one of the ranking guides posted a comparison of the average starting salary for law graduates. I think NYU was $105,000 for all of its graduates.
 

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pillowhead said:
i cannot imagine there are too many people genuinely interested in both, so i'm pretty skeptical of the motives of someone torn between medicine and law. not that you need to be mother theresa or even want to save the world (the holier than thou stuff gets annoying in med school) in order to go into medicine, but they are two completely different fields with the only relation between the two being 1) good money and 2) the requirement of intelligence/good grades to get into med school and the better law schools.

I'm interested in both. I think that copyright law and ethics from a legal perspective are both very interesting. I would love to get an MD/JD and become a advocate for patients' rights.

The second part of your post seems to be attacking lawyers. Just as you don't have to be a saint or a scientist to become a doctor, you don't need to be a crook to become an attorney.
 

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waterski232002 said:
Granted, if you're a sh!tty attorney, you won't make 2 cents. My father takes vacation whenever he wants, works out of our house, and can leave at the drop of a hat (he's in greece this week). Nobody will die if he leaves, he just postpones his court dates for a week or two and leaves.... Doctors can't postpone patients dying or crashing...

As far as your clients getting pi$$ed off at you... have you been watching the news over the last couple years??? Haven't you heard of the malpractice problem??? Patients are often not the happiest campers.
You can't do any of this crap when you're working for a corporate firm. And that's where the big money is straight out of law school. Try telling a partner that you're just going to go on a two-week vacation on the drop of a hat and see how long it takes you to get a little notice for you to pack up and leave.