Dismiss Notice
SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

JD who'd rather be an MD

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by weemodin, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. weemodin

    weemodin New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I've had an epiphany about 5 years too late.... I am seriously thinking about going to medical school.

    I am currently an attorney -- a trial attorney, actually (no, not med. mal.) -- at a large law firm. My job is allegedly "big and important" and they pay me an unconscionable amount of money to push paper all day long. It's boring, it's futile, and I absolutely cannot see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I feel like all I do is muck about in other people's problems and charge them buckets of money for this in the process. I see what kind of work the senior attorneys do on a daily basis, and frankly, it doesn't seem that exciting.

    I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I would read my dad's medical textbooks for fun. I did a report on atherosclerosis in the 5th grade. I love being in hospitals, and I currently volunteer at one once a week. In short, I'm not a dabbler who is merely disenchanted with her job.

    Most of you are probably wondering, "why, then, did she go to law school?"

    I have no good answer. At any rate, this is where I am at this point, and any answer I could supply wouldn't have a thing to do with the price of tea in China.

    I am married to a wonderful man, and we want to have children soon. At 26, I'm still young enough to not worry about the age factor re: going back to school.

    I was a biochemistry and genetics major for three years in college, so I have almost all of the prerequisite classes covered. I still need one more semester of organic chemistry, which I can take at the local university.

    There are a few hitches to all of this. My undergraduate grades were just so-so -- I think I graduated with like a 3.2. I did extremely well in law school. Will they consider this?
    I also have about $80k in student loans from law school.
    I am an excellent test taker (and in saying this, I realize I have doomed myself....), so I'm hoping that I can bolster my admission chances with the MCAT.

    I've briefed my husband on this, and he's on board.

    My question is this: am I insane? I don't think I've ever wanted anything so much in my life. Is this doable? Any advice is more than appreciated.

    Oh, and thanks for reading my really long post.
     
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Learfan

    Learfan Machine Gunner

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    To answer your question, yes it can be done. People from a wide variety of backgrounds have left all manner of careers and life situations to pursue a career in medicine. I am currently 47 years old and just completed the MS1 year. My background includes a PhD in chemistry and an MBA along with 18 years of work experience in research and business leadership positions at a major oil and chemical company. I left a job paying $110K with all of the usual bonus, 401K, insurance, vacation and other perks. The job was rotting my soul, there are no longer any opportunities for chemists at my level and I found business to be dirt simple compared to many of the problems I was trained to cope with. Since my first love was medicine and I had dual undergrad degrees in chemistry and biology, there were no prerequisite issues. My undergrad grades were less than stellar but I was able to overcome that with high MCAT scores and high GPAs in the graduate degrees. The MCAT is half of your application package so you will have to shine on that exam. I would be pleased to offer advice and share the experiences of other people who have graduate degrees and later transitioned into medicine. I have been corresponding with several over the last two years. PM me if I can be of assistance.

    Regards,
    Learfan




     
  4. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
    Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Messages:
    10,919
    Likes Received:
    1,109
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    It's definitely doable. I got my JD in 2002, worked while taking some prereqs (not at a lawyer, though) am starting med school next month. For how you do it, well, there are a ton of options, none of which are necessarily superior. So work with your husband and start planning. :luck:

    You know, I too have no idea why I went to law school. It has that way of just sort of sucking people in, doesn't it? :)
     
  5. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
    Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 30, 2001
    Messages:
    9,050
    Likes Received:
    135
    Status:
    Attending Physician

    Hi there,
    What is it going to take? The first step is assessing what you already have and the quality of that work. If it has been a while since you took your pre-med courses or if the grades in your pre-med courses are not good, then you need to re-take them, learn the material and get "A"s in these courses.

    Armed with your new and improved grades and knowledge, you need to prepare for and take the MCAT. The MCAT wants you to take the knowledge base from your pre-med courses (General Biology, General Chemistry, General Physics and Organic Chemistry) and apply it to the types of problems that are asked on this test. There are three sections to master, Verbal Reasoning (should be fine for you), Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences. You NEED to do well in all three sections.

    Law School: Your law school will help you in the sense that successfully completing law school is good evidence that you can successfully complete a medical school curriculum provided you update your science knowledge base.

    Age: As for age, you have plenty of time. There are no age limits to medical school acceptance or attendance. The oldest person in my medical school class was 53 when he started and 57 when he graduated. He has now completed a Family Medicine residency and is in practice. There's a huge energy factor so take this into consideration as it applies to you.

    Financing: Medical school preparation, application and attendance are expensive. You have $80K in loans now + cost of what it will take to get your knowledge base up to speed + application fees for medical school and MCAT + cost of medical school. You could easily end up with well over $250K - $300K in loans with a hefty loan payment for a long time.

    Will you be able to make enough to handle this much debt? Likely but medicine is not a lucrative as it once was with salaries for physicians being eroded yearly by malpractice insurance, low reimbursements for services by both Federal healthcare programs (Medicare) and private insurance companies. The hours are long, the work is difficult and the pay is getting lower and lower.

    Bottom line: If medicine is your goal, plot a course to achieve your goal. It's a long-term goal with many pitfalls around every corner. If you go into this process with realistic expectations, solid disciplined study skills and a willingness to work hard and long, you will be successful in attaining your goal.

    njbmd :)
     
  6. kia ora

    kia ora Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    392
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    there are heaps of people (on this board alone) who are lawyers hoping to become doctors (I'm one of them). it sounds as if you have a good start (you've already taken most of the prereqs). I'm not an expert on this process by any means, but I'd think your undergraduate gpa would require some explaining/bolstering. otherwise, you seem to be in pretty good shape as far as applicants go.

    but I have to ask: are you *really* a TRIAL attorney? one of my (admittedly many) pet peeves is big-firm attorneys who call themselves trial attorneys/litigators, when the sum total of their trial experience is sitting in the third chair on a case that never got past summary judgment...

    ok, I'm feeling irritable today because it's over 90 degrees and I am *so* over summer... anyhow, good luck to you, however you decide to proceed.
     
  7. weemodin

    weemodin New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I guess by those standards I'm not really a trial attorney, no. That's just what they've trained us to call ourselves :) .
    No one really goes to trial anymore -- everything always settles once the client realizes how much an actual trial is going to cost them in the end.

    This is all good advice -- thank you so much.

    As an aside, when factoring in lost earnings, I did figure out that this is going to cost me somewhere north of one million dollars over the 7+ years of medical school and residency. :scared:

    Oh well, it's only money, right? And that's assuming I actually get in.
     
  8. kia ora

    kia ora Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    392
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    one more piece of advice: go into this assuming that you *will* get in. you've been successful in other areas of your life, odds are you'll be successful in this one. that's how I'm looking at it!
     
  9. jd2003

    jd2003 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Non-Student
    Just wanted to let you know that I just quit my job as a trial lawyer - family lawyer to be specific (Ick! I know, right?) - to start a post bacc program this fall. I have a ton of debt as well, and despite all my worrying, wondering and wandering, I've never felt better about finally pursuing my dream. I wanted to do this a long time ago, right after I graduated from undergrad, but for some reason I "chickened out" and went to law school instead. I still have a horrible case of the "what if's" - what happens if I fail miserably in post bacc classes, what if I can't get in to med school, etc. - but I figure at least I will have tried, and I guess if worse comes to worse, I can always sulk back to the dark side...

    Good luck to you. I love SDN - there are several JD to MD's on here that have unknowingly served as inspiration to me.
     
  10. kimmi

    kimmi Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I, too, am a lawyer and about 2 years ago started my pre-req work for med school. I still practice law while I go to school. I find that my study skills are so much better b/c of law school and my science GPA shows it with a 3.84! I have never been happier b/c I am following my heart and my dream to become a doctor. If your dream is to become a physician, then go for it!
     
  11. StudentDoc327

    StudentDoc327 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not trying to discourage you or anything, but have you thought about the fact that there are a lot of doctors who after going through medical school and residency, do not have a sense of fullfilment either? Im assuming you thought you would be doing more meaningful things with your career. Im pretty sure a lot of doctors do as well. Dont get me wrong, Im very glad about the path ive chosen (im in my final year of medical school), but I have to admit its not what I thought it would be when I hear some of the attitudes of residents and attendings on a regular basis.

    Its just that when I hear your story, I cant help but to think how hard you have worked to get to where you are now. Going back to medical school would mean working just as hard or harder and giving up basicaly the rest of your youth (you wont be doing much but medical school... trust me -- and assuming you got in at 27, you wouldnt be a practicing MD until 34-36). I probably wouldnt do it. I would probably try to find a job I thought was more fullfilling or challenging or whatever it is your looking for, with the degree that I had if I was you. And then I would enjoy the rest of my life.

    But whatever you decide I hope it makes you happy and I wish you the best of luck with this tough decision.



    Maybe there are some current upper level medical students or residents who went to law school who can comment on what they think about there decision to enter the medical feild after law.
     
  12. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,510
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Keeping in mind what others have said, you'll need to demonstrate an interest in medicine over the next year or so (if you want to apply for matriculation in 2008).
    By this, I mean that you'll need to get some volunteer/clinical experience (not so bad, you could probably get in at a local hospital volunteer program or whatever, once a week or a Saturday..hours add up!) and if possible some research experience. This serves a few purposes.
    One, letters of recommendation. Besides needing a LOR from someone at your law school, and probably from your undergrad (Science LOR--I don't know if you would get that from the CC where you finished your requirements or what), it would be good to have a letter from a volunteer/research supervisor as well, to show your dedication to the profession.
    Two, you'll get a taste of what goes on, and see if the job is really what you expect it to be. What is the hospital like as a workplace, etc. Good luck with your decision and progress.
     
  13. JimmyG

    JimmyG Really a gal

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I just *FINALLY* finished (well, condensing is the better term) my PS that is all about me "chickening" out of medical school the first go around. I'm proud of you for pursuing your dream. It will be worth it.

    And, for a twist, my husband was a 4 year pre-med that decided his last semester that medical school just wasn't for him. So he is now in law school. Couldn't be happier with his decision. So, hey, both ways. Personally, I am jealous of all of you with JDs already pursuing your education to obtain that MD....since the two fields are becoming more and more intertwined, you will be able to utilize both degrees to an extent...
     
  14. 2Sexy4MedSchool

    2Sexy4MedSchool Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    Hmmmm --- a big important job that lets you push papers and make $$$$$$$ vs. scrubs, disease, vomit, and putting things where the sun never shines. Life is full of tough choices, that's true, but on the plus side you get to play with cool toys and hot nurses, so yeah, go for the MD!

    After 9 years of criminal defense I went back for my pre-reqs in 2002, starting with chemistry 2a and calculus 1; four years later and I'm starting med school next month. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Good luck, counselor! 2S4MS
     
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
    Physician Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Messages:
    31,007
    Likes Received:
    9,844
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    It totally can be done. Couple of things to think about: (1) as njbmd pointed out, you need to not only finish the one prereq but also do well on the MCAT. That may mean retaking, or taking some upper level sciences as refreshers if you haven't looked at that stuff in 5+ years. Many med schools will want to see a recent track record in the sciences from nontrads who have been out in the world anyhow. So expect to take some refresher sciences, and hopefully pump up your GPA a bit. (2) As far as your law school grades, you can expect the whole degree to be looked at as a nice EC, but not considered to bolster your GPA in any way. (3) I wouldn't go with the sentiment that you find your current job "boring" on applications. Both law and medicine are service industries, and you want to emphasize the positives of your law practice, that you have already worked as a professional, under professional pressures, dealth with clients (the analog to patients), and have a ton of transferable skills from your prior career, but that although it was a wonderful experience, it isn't what you want to do. As a litigator you will also need to stress that you have no intention to go back to law after med school and sue doctors. (4) As your subsequent post suggests, and every interviewer will remind you, given that you are coming from biglaw, and given the opportunity cost and time value of money involved, you will never catch up financially to where you would have been had you stayed put. You will never catch up. So if financial security is playing a role at all in your decision, you need to redo the math. If that statement doesn't deter you, go for it. Finally (5), as studentdoc alluded to, a lot of medicine is routine, and there is a fair amount of paperwork involved these days, and salaries arent what they used to be; as a result, there is a fair amount of dissatisfaction in that profession as well. So don't be running away from the law to medicine, in hopes of finding greener pastures. Have a pretty good idea what medicine is all about, and what role in it you find appealing and why. This will not only help with the "why medicine" question you are sure to face, but also ensure that you aren't making an unwise choice.
    Good luck.
     
  16. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  17. Sainttpk

    Sainttpk Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interesting to hear all the lawyers out there who would rather be docs. I just finished Law school and I am sitting for the bar exam tommorw. During my last year of law school I worked as an EMT and took chemistry classses in addition to law classes.

    That is great that you are going for your dream of medicine, but just like the med student pointed out earlier, make sure its something you really really want to do. There are other careers out there besides law and medicine, and maybe neither is good for you?

    I do not want to sound pessimistic in any way, but alot of people put way to much hope in their careers. Many people believe that somehow it will make their life more happier or fulfilling, and it might a little.

    But I would like to remind you that there are many other things in life that are fulfilling such as spending time with your family, going hiking, or maybe even volunteering at your local church or school. I just had a friend spend a month climbing in South American, what a great experience that must have been.

    Just don't let the one track mind of success make you believe that somehow life will be more fulfilling just because your a physician. After working as an EMT I have gotten a slight glimpse into the medical field, and I am beginning to believe that much of what many premeds think of what being a doctor really is about, is not reality.

    You have a great job, your young, you have your whole life ahead of you. And your married. Ask yourself if all the other potential possibilities in life are truly worth a journey into medicine. Talk to as many doctors as you can, be honest with yourself and you might spare yourself alot of pain.

    Otherwise good luck =)

    T
     
  18. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Messages:
    2,307
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Medical Student
    There's quite a few lawyers/law students aiming for medicine on the SDN. The same focus and study habits which put you through law school will no doubt help you in med school.

    I sometimes think that the law profession would retain much more people if they put more pre-reqs into law school. It seems there is a significant group of people who go to law school because they are undecided what they want to do and law school becomes very enticing since that only LSAT and a bachelors degree is required, plus law school offers a sort of structure into one's lives that a job does not.

    I don't think you are crazy for trying for medicine since you obviously have an interest, but keep in mind why you are doing this. You say you have no idea why you went to law school....perhaps you need to do some hard thinking on that. Don't make the same mistake about medicine. Make sure the reason you want into medicine isn't what pushed you mistakenly into law school.
     

Share This Page