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  1. #1
    Viking of the Misc fightnak3d's Avatar
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    Debating between Ph.D. in Econ or law degree... Help?

    So I've been tossing and turning at night thinking about the pros and cons for both. I'm at the point that I need to start planning for one or the other... I'm at a good university (arguably the best in the midwest), I have good grades and I'll likely be able to go to law school anywhere I like (within reason) or attain a Ph.D. in economics anywhere I like. It's purely a matter of which route I should take.

    General pros and cons:
    - Law is a competitive field at the moment, economics is, but it's exploding and jobs are very prevalent.
    - My brain operates in a more legal way compared to economics, but I'm still very good at econ.
    - I would say that I like law more, but I would have no complaints at all being an economist for the rest of my life.
    - Even with a 4 year econ degree, the average starting salary is almost on par with a juris doctorate. The average salary for a person with a Ph.D. in Econ is more than the average salary for a private sector lawyer... Although the specialization I'd aim for with law has a higher average salary.
    - Both degrees require me to live in a relatively high profile city, although I can use an econ degree in virtually any type of government (including moderate size municipalities) and a law degree virtually anywhere where there is a considerate amount of people (usually, I'd have to settle for criminal law for this to apply).
    - Economics allows me to live anywhere in the world, a juris doctorate is more difficult in that respect if I'm at all affiliated with the courts.
    - I'd say that a Ph.D. in Economics allows me to leave my work AT work and I'd have a more stable life (coming from a social aspect).
    - I'd likely have more opportunity for advancement with a juris doctorate.

    Will rep for a good analysis.
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  2. #2
    Mathbrah Chrysippus's Avatar
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    Unless you plan on going to a top 10 law school, don't bother.
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  3. #3
    That's how you get ants. BobisMighty's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Chrysippus View Post
    Unless you plan on going to a top 10 law school, don't bother.
    Not true at all, my gf went to a good law school, maybe not top 10, but one of the best in the area, and she got a job as an Assistant prosecutor out of school. Her co-workers haven't even gone to that great of schools but they've left to work for private firms making way more money after a few years.

    How ever, my other friend got his phd in Econ, got a job at a government think tank and is pulling in 6 figures right off the bat. But he had a good situation, with big research papers published before he even go this phd.

    You really have to think about what interests you more.
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    Phd in law? never heard it before. Get phd in economy and work for U.S. Department of the Treasury. Be the next Secretary of the Treasury and further screw this thin economy.
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  5. #5
    That's how you get ants. BobisMighty's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AnotherScorpion View Post
    Phd in law? never heard it before. Get phd in economy and work for U.S. Department of the Treasury. Be the next Secretary of the Treasury and further screw this thin economy.
    Law Degree is a J.D., Juris Doctorate.
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    Can I ask why a PhD? Can you aim for a Masters in Econ? We've got a different system down here, so I'm finding it hard to relate, but you may find that a Masters in Econ gets you as much salary as a PhD in Econ, without as much study.
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    Viking of the Misc fightnak3d's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Chrysippus View Post
    Unless you plan on going to a top 10 law school, don't bother.
    The law school I'd go to would be top twenty, possibly top ten (it's competitive even with outstanding grades, so I'm being realistic).

    Originally Posted by BobisMighty View Post
    Not true at all, my gf went to a good law school, maybe not top 10, but one of the best in the area, and she got a job as an Assistant prosecutor out of school. Her co-workers haven't even gone to that great of schools but they've left to work for private firms making way more money after a few years.

    How ever, my other friend got his phd in Econ, got a job at a government think tank and is pulling in 6 figures right off the bat. But he had a good situation, with big research papers published before he even go this phd.

    You really have to think about what interests you more.
    Yeah, it's really a myth that people NEED to go to the best of the best law schools in the nation in order to make money anymore. It's certainly harder for new lawyers to find positions at decent firms, but it's not like they are destitute if they settle.

    Hence, my difficulties deciding. Lol I'd say a Ph.D. in Econ is more reasonable and leads to a better overall quality of life in many ways, but my interest lies slightly more with the law side of things.

    Originally Posted by BobisMighty View Post
    Law Degree is a J.D., Juris Doctorate.
    Yes.
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    Viking of the Misc fightnak3d's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by karatewoman View Post
    Can I ask why a PhD? Can you aim for a Masters in Econ? We've got a different system down here, so I'm finding it hard to relate, but you may find that a Masters in Econ gets you as much salary as a PhD in Econ, without as much study.
    It's more about the availability of positions. I could enter the job market with a BA in economics and I'd still be able to expect nearly six figures off the bat with my grades.
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  9. #9
    Angus McFife XIII badreligion's Avatar
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    Why not a degree in economic law . If that is such a thing.
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    Originally Posted by fightnak3d View Post
    It's more about the availability of positions. I could enter the job market with a BA in economics and I'd still be able to expect nearly six figures off the bat with my grades.
    What is your undergrad in?
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    That's how you get ants. BobisMighty's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fightnak3d View Post
    The law school I'd go to would be top twenty, possibly top ten (it's competitive even with outstanding grades, so I'm being realistic).



    Yeah, it's really a myth that people NEED to go to the best of the best law schools in the nation in order to make money anymore. It's certainly harder for new lawyers to find positions at decent firms, but it's not like they are destitute if they settle.

    Hence, my difficulties deciding. Lol I'd say a Ph.D. in Econ is more reasonable and leads to a better overall quality of life in many ways, but my interest lies slightly more with the law side of things.



    Yes.
    Another friend of mine went to NY Law School, which is a decent law school, but by no means that great. We went to school at night, and when he graduated and passed the bar got a job doing contract law with a big firm in NYC. He has no life though, working crazy hours, but makes great money. But he's a hard working type of guy so he doesn't mind working hard, it's his style.
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    Phd in Econ.

    Not even close.

    Brb easy AF cush job as a Uni professor. Off 3 months a year.
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    Viking of the Misc fightnak3d's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by badreligion View Post
    Why not a degree in economic law . If that is such a thing.
    It's more associated with business law, which is what I'd likely go into if I went towards a law degree.

    Originally Posted by Dragonslayer5 View Post
    Do you want Mr. in front of your name or Dr. ?
    Lol Dr. in front or J.D. in back.

    Sounds dirty.

    Originally Posted by infinit View Post
    What is your undergrad in?
    Economics and Political Science (double major).

    Originally Posted by BobisMighty View Post
    Another friend of mine went to NY Law School, which is a decent law school, but by no means that great. We went to school at night, and when he graduated and passed the bar got a job doing contract law with a big firm in NYC. He has no life though, working crazy hours, but makes great money. But he's a hard working type of guy so he doesn't mind working hard, it's his style.
    That's my personality. If I'm not being productive, it bothers me. So I wouldn't mind that type of lifestyle for a long while... But I do want a family someday, and that's when an econ degree would probably work better for me.

    Originally Posted by SinaloaPaisa View Post
    Phd in Econ.

    Not even close.

    Brb easy AF cush job as a Uni professor. Off 3 months a year.
    It'd be easy, but I'd probably wait until I'm in pseudo-retirement if I got a Ph.D. in Economics.
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    Originally Posted by fightnak3d View Post
    So I've been tossing and turning at night thinking about the pros and cons for both. I'm at the point that I need to start planning for one or the other... I'm at a good university (arguably the best in the midwest), I have good grades and I'll likely be able to go to law school anywhere I like (within reason) or attain a Ph.D. in economics anywhere I like. It's purely a matter of which route I should take.

    General pros and cons:
    - Law is a competitive field at the moment, economics is, but it's exploding and jobs are very prevalent.
    - My brain operates in a more legal way compared to economics, but I'm still very good at econ.
    - I would say that I like law more, but I would have no complaints at all being an economist for the rest of my life.
    - Even with a 4 year econ degree, the average starting salary is almost on par with a juris doctorate. The average salary for a person with a Ph.D. in Econ is more than the average salary for a private sector lawyer... Although the specialization I'd aim for with law has a higher average salary.
    - Both degrees require me to live in a relatively high profile city, although I can use an econ degree in virtually any type of government (including moderate size municipalities) and a law degree virtually anywhere where there is a considerate amount of people (usually, I'd have to settle for criminal law for this to apply).
    - Economics allows me to live anywhere in the world, a juris doctorate is more difficult in that respect if I'm at all affiliated with the courts.
    - I'd say that a Ph.D. in Economics allows me to leave my work AT work and I'd have a more stable life (coming from a social aspect).
    - I'd likely have more opportunity for advancement with a juris doctorate.

    Will rep for a good analysis.
    Either you go to U of C, or you go to arguably the second best school in the midwest - Northwestern or ND.



    - Even with a 4 year econ degree, the average starting salary is almost on par with a juris doctorate. The average salary for a person with a Ph.D. in Econ is more than the average salary for a private sector lawyer... Although the specialization I'd aim for with law has a higher average salary.


    Why would you compare the average salary for a private sector lawyer?

    you planning to compete with the average lawyers from all the crappy law schools out there



    Go into Corporate Law, so you don't have to be a scumbag half the time or go get your Ph.D
    Last edited by ChiBearsfan; 02-01-2016 at 08:01 AM.
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    What type of math classes have you taken?
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    masters in business administration. investment banking for two years. transition over to private equity afterwards. profit.
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    Depends on the type of law you want to practice but if it were me I'd go econ.
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    law and become a corporate lawyer
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    Get PhD in econ. Go into politics with intent to actually instill decent economic policies. Rep the MISC as El Presidente. Think about the long term.
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    If you haven't already, I'd take a year or two off and work in either law or an Econ related field.

    It will give you better insight as to what you'll actually be doing as a lawyer or economist.

    Law and Econ definitely overlap. There's an entire theory of law developed by Richard posner at the university of Chicago called Law and Economics. Posner is now incredibly influential judge in the 7th circuit and his ideas have had a lot of influence on American jurisprudence.
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    Ph.D in econ has more opening and has one of the highest median pay of all Ph.D, but only half the people who enrol end up finishing it. Law is definitely easier but the pay is less guaranteed.
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    Originally Posted by BobisMighty View Post
    Another friend of mine went to NY Law School, which is a decent law school, but by no means that great. We went to school at night, and when he graduated and passed the bar got a job doing contract law with a big firm in NYC. He has no life though, working crazy hours, but makes great money. But he's a hard working type of guy so he doesn't mind working hard, it's his style.
    lol'd hard at NYLS being decent, it's literally a debt mill.

    It's like the 7th best in NY (after Columbia, NYU, Fordham, Cardozo, St. John's, and Brooklyn) and I'd even argue Pace is better. Your friend is an anomaly and is in no way an accurate representation of the prospects of NYLS grads.

    Not to mention they were recently involved in $200+ million dollar lawsuit for inflation of employment statistics


    OP, go to the best ranked law school you can get into. Do not take your chances on some chit-tier school thinking that if you do well it will all be ok.
    Last edited by DicedPineapples; 02-01-2016 at 08:17 AM.
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    What'd you get on the lsat opie? Taking it in june, wanting to go into patent law
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    Originally Posted by karatewoman View Post
    Can I ask why a PhD? Can you aim for a Masters in Econ? We've got a different system down here, so I'm finding it hard to relate, but you may find that a Masters in Econ gets you as much salary as a PhD in Econ, without as much study.
    Most schools in the U.S don't offer a separate MA in economics and in north america econ jobs usually require either a BA or a Ph.D., only getting a masters would be mostly a waste of time.

    Op what did you score on the GRE and did you take a lot of maths? Most people who go for a PhD in econ have a double major in maths and econ. You should keep that in mind.
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    Law school is a tremendous academic challenge. If you like being pushed and enjoy being competitive then you will like law school. You are taught to think and apply laws in new situations. There is never a simple bright line rule to apply but arguments for and against and the weight of the overarching policy for the particular area of law.

    I like econ as well and the two really intermingle since much of the policy in the US legal system is driven by Economics. My undergrad background was in business finance and it has helped me in law school. Many of the biggest disputes are over business dealings due to the magnitude of the typical business situation.

    I can't speak for where a PHD in Econ will get you but I think either way you choose to go will make for an interesting career. As you get into the higher educational side of Econ you deal with more theoretical material. Law school is the opposite, you deal with the application of the law and how to best position your side within the current framework, which as you learn is usually malleable. Being an attorney will be more strenuous over the life of your career but the sky is the limit. Sounds like you are poised to go to a highly ranked school which will give you good odds at getting a solid job straight out of school so there is not too much worry about employment.
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    Law if you absolutely want to do law.

    Otherwise, I'd choose economics because that opens a lot of possibilities in both the private and the public sector. Also, as far as pay goes, the number is unlimited if you go work for a company or build one yourself eventually. Those bonuses hnggghhh...
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    Econ pretty much hands down only reason you shouldn't is.....


    Top 10 Law school or have an engineering degree and doing patent law. Otherwise you're trading government hours and good pay for good pay + working 120hrs/wk + robots doing your job soon.
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