Have you thought about combining your law degree studies with another graduate-style program? If you have, don’t worry — you’re in good company. Even if you haven’t thought much about combining your law degree, you will find that there is actually a lot of opportunity to pursue a joint degree — which is what the combination is called.
You have a few options when it comes to pursuing a joint degree. You can cross your law degree with medicine (very common) or business (also very common). Not sure what to choose? Don’t worry; I actually thought the same thing.
While I decided not to ultimately pursue two degrees at once, I have several friends that made the decision and are very happy about it. You will need to think about whether or not you’re willing to stay in school longer. If you know that you want to take a job as soon as you can from law school, you will need to make sure that you pursue just one degree. It’s very difficult to work full time and pursue a courseload like this — a lot of people have tried, and a lot of people have failed. You will need to make sure that you look at your options from every angle, so that there really aren’t any concerns about how you will ever get things done.
Pursuing a cross between a law degree and any other field will give you the skills to pursue law in that industry. You will have a much better field of knowledge than a lawyer that just focuses on law. While it’s true that you do get exposed to all different types of law in law school, having that extra experience from your second degree will give you a leg up. In the case of medicine, it usually means that you will be in the legal side of medicine, which can be very lucrative. Every hospital needs a skilled legal team, and many doctors work directly with lawyers to take care of the legal issues surrounding their practices.
You have to stop and ask yourself if you really have what it takes to go through a second degree from an emotional standpoint. Again, everyone in law school is competing with you. You probably already know this. But you will have to also think about the fact that people will be competing with you here as well. If you loop your law degree with your degree in medicine, you will be competing with medical students — all of whom are just as qualified as you to take it all as top prize.
Law school is a winner take all system, and this is also true for the world of medicine or the world of business. If you’re looking for a massive salary boost, you’re actually going to be mistaken. There really isn’t a big power boost when it comes to the dual/joint degree system when it comes to money, but there is something to be said about prestige.
Money is something that you will also need to think about clearly before you dive into the dual degree program. You need to remember that you will most likely have to take out extra loans to cover the costs of the other degree, and this is not cheap. Starting salaries aren’t as high as they used to be, which means that you will have more debt to pursue over the long run if you aren’t careful. Is the extra debt really worth any points of prestige that you might pick up? Maybe, but this is subjective.
If you’re trying to apply for a job where you will need to stand out, having two degrees at the same time will definitely get you a second look. However, you will need to go “beyond the degree” during interviews and highlight how it actually benefited your life. You don’t want to sit and try to just coast by when this is clearly a massive accomplishment in your life. If you’re afraid to trumpet yourself, don’t be — everyone has to speak clearly and effectively about their own skills.
At the end of the day, the joint degree plan is what you make of it. If you know that you can handle it, then you shouldn’t hesitate to jump right in and go for it!