law school to med school...good idea?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by juelz721, May 30, 2008.

  1. juelz721

    juelz721 Junior Member

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    So a friend of mine just finished Law School (and like many law school grads doesn't really want to be a lawyer.) After working in med mal for a while (defending doctors) he started to show interest in medicine. Now, he is considering eventually going to med school.

    What are his chances? I know the Law School GPA was bad, but if he did a post bac and had a good gpa...

    Anyone know of any similar stories?
    Thanks :)
     
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  3. Quadratic

    Quadratic Currently not in function

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    Consult Law2Doc. This is right up his alley.
     
  4. bcat85

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    Phoenix can help as well
     
  5. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Probably belongs on the nontrad board. But at any rate, having been a practicing lawyer is a hugely helpful asset when applying to med school. There are a ton of transferrable skills (as both fields are service industry jobs, working with people, healthcare related, regulatory related, paperwork related, you know how to be a professional and what that entails, etc), and med schools love folks who have a track record for success beyond college, and a track record for finishing a professional program. You will have an easy time answering a lot of the essays in med school apps and interviews, particularly the ones relating to ethics and ethical dilemmas. Plus it's easy to stand out as unique when you are one of the dozen or so JDs a typical med school will see in their applicant pool. Most former lawyers I know found their pasts to be huge assets in the application process.

    While a good law school GPA won't make much of a difference to med school, as other professions/degrees tend to be looked at more as ECs than schooling, a bad law school GPA can definitely raise eyebrows and hurt you. The undergrad + postbac GPAs are still going to be more important to the schools, but you are expected to excel in all of your endeavors, scholastically and professionally. So yes, a poor law school GPA or poor professional track record in law can kill you in the med school app process.

    The key to being a law to medicine career changer is generally to have a good story as to why you are changing from law, why med school now, why not before, etc. You cannot be running away from law and expect to get into med school, nobody wants another field's malcontents; you have to have a reason why you are gravitating towards medicine. Best to have had a positive experience in law, have some good recommendations from employers in that industry, and be leaving on good terms and with a positive outlook, not leaving because "like many law school grads doesn't really want to be a lawyer". You need to be going to med school because you want to be a doctor, not because you don't want to be a lawyer. It comes off really bad if it seems like you just want to be a professional and don't really care what, or are trying each on for size. Have some clear direction, and sell it.

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy

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    lmao^^at bold
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I'd actually say about 90% of my graduating law school class really wanted to be a lawyer and have gotten great satisfaction out of the practice of law. Much like the folks on here cannot imagine any other career besides medicine, you find a similar percentage of people with career-centric viewpoints and interests in most other professions. But in law, the malcontents are noisier.
     
  8. juelz721

    juelz721 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the replies!
     
  9. Phoenix.

    Phoenix. Emdee Jaydee
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    While it won't help, I don't think that a poor law school gpa would be a deal breaker if everything else in their app was solid (i.e. good undergrad gpa, strong recent post-bac grades, MCAT, ECs, personal statement, LORs, etc.). And I completely agree that a successful JD to MD transition hinges on the following:

    :thumbup::thumbup:
     
  10. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem

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    What if you haven't gone to law school, but have been working closely with a superlawyer for over five years? Shouldn't that really count as well? Here in CA there is a way to get your JD without law school. If I really wanted, I could get the permission to take the bar exam. I haven't thought seriously about doing that, but my experience should still really help my application, right?

    I would also assume that a high caliber aerospace company should also really help. I have been doing that concurrently with the legal job for three years.

    I have a low GPA right now (before transfer) and the above two actives (full time) + full time school were a major part of the reason for some bad grades and very few ECs. I will be delighted if they will give me a good support. Someone told me that the aerospace stuff won't matter to med schools. I don't know the veracity of that.
     
  11. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    All employment is valuable and I would mention both of yours. However without a professional degree you don't have the track record of having completed a professional school, and without a license you don't have the experience of having been a professional, both of which are big selling points when selling yourself to another profession. So sure, I would mention any employment and whatever strengths and skills you got from that, but don't expect to get the same impact, or anywhere close, as compared to having been a practicing lawyer or other professional. Working with a lawyer is a fine entry into your employment EC, but you don't get to call yourself the equivalent of a lawyer until you get the degree or license, and no med school is going to look at you as such; and might even look at you negatively if you claim you were the unlicensed equivalent -- far too many doctors work with quasi-professionals --NPs, PAs who make the same claim and it doesn't go over well with many. (And I wouldn't refer to your lawyer as a "superlawyer"; that is a distinction given to folks by various magazines, based on peer nominations, but won't give you any more credibility. You can toot your own horn, but you aren't allowed to toot someone elses with the same effect).

    If you sit for the bar and pass, then that might be different, but saying "I could have" really gets you no credit, and to some will actually hurt you for not doing so. If you say you were effectively working as a lawyer the obvious next question from an adcom would be "well then why didn't you go ahead and get licensed"? (And BTW you can get licensed without the law school, but I doubt you can get a JD without law school, as you claim). The other concern is that you probably would be admitting unauthorized practice of law if you claim to have done anything more than paralegal work - which could be problematic if you get an adcom with a law degree or family member with a law degree reviewing your claim. I would also point out that while some states do let folks sit for the bar without law school, the passing percentage tends to be much much lower than those who have attended law school, so you kind of need to actually pass to demonstrate the "could have". Could have is meaningless. For example, both Mike Tyson and Cindy Crawford have said they "could have" become a doctor if they didn't pursue their current paths. You get credit for doing, not saying you could have.

    But no, med schools don't accept employment as a valid reason for poor grades. You are expected to be able to work and maintain good grades. There are enough folks in the applicant pool who are able to. And the grades and scores are what dictates most of the cut offs as to who gets interviewed, not the ECs, I'm afraid. Med schools would rather have the straight A student over the one who held down two jobs. And in this market they often get a few who did both. Which kind of makes sense when you get to the clinical years and find yourself trying to study for shelf exams on top of working 70 hour work weeks.
     
    #10 Law2Doc, Jun 1, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  12. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem

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    Of course, I am not going to write an entire essay mentioning superlawyers, bar exams, or even poor grades (the real reason for these is altogether different). I will just put it in a bullet style and give a brief description. If this is going to help, that should be sufficient. If it's not going to help, then mentioning it still won't hurt.
    One of my jobs does involve research (science), even if not in medical field. I am starting to build my clinical ECs for the next two years and know that I'll need over 400 hours.

    An excuse doesn't really work for anything...
     
  13. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Definitely mention prior employment. It is a solid EC and accounts for what you have been doing career-wise. Just don't expect to get the kind of bump someone who has a law degree/professional experience is going to get. You will be asked about your prior work experience in interviews, and so you need to find a way to talk about it without mention of superlawyers and "I could have"s.

    Find a way to pull up the grades, get some good clinical experience (specific hour amounts are irrelevant), and see what flies.
     

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