JD vs MA in environmental policy

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cdarosa

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JD vs MA in environmental policy

Postby cdarosa » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:09 pm

Ok so surely a law school forum isn't the best place to go looking for this kind of advice, but I haven't been able to find it elsewhere so I made an account as a shot in the dark to find some guidance here.

I've always wanted to work in the environmental conservation/management/science field. I'm not going to lie and pretend I know exactly what I want to do. Law itsself doesn't really interest me as more than a means to an end of working in this field. I don't know if I'd have any interest in actually working as an attorney. I don't think I'd find law school interesting, especially not at first. That said, I'm fairly sure I'd be good at it and figured that this is my best shot at employment and making a decent living (spare me comments about how I wont make money in environmental law, its still more than I would as a biologist). Basically, I applied to law school thinking that I'd have a better shot at getting a job than I would if I got a master's degree in a related field (environmental policy, NR management, etc).

I applied to Lewis & Clark and got in with a $33k/year scholarship. I applied to one master's program in coastal policy and got denied. Right now I'm trying to decide if I should be looking for other Master's programs (on the grounds that the actual education would be much more engaging to me) or just saying screw it and starting at L&C this fall cause they offered me decent enough money that I wouldn't be putting myself $100k in debt just to decide law isn't for me.

Reading through this forum, though, has made me really second guess everything stated above about employment. From what I've gathered, I should 100% be trying to go to the best possible law school if I want a chance of getting a job in the (apparently highly competitive) enviro law field.I'm not super jazzed about applying to "reach" schools (162 LSAT and ~3.78 GPA) given how much money I'd be pouring into a law degree I'm not even sure I want.

Does anyone have a sense of how a JD or a master's in environmental policy differ in terms of employment? And if a JD is really worth it, should I wait another cycle and try to get into a better school regardless of cost? Really just looking for someone else's thoughts on this cause I'm tired of spinning myself out trying to debate pro's and con's of two things that I don't even have a full picture of. Feel free to point me in the direction of any resources that might shed some light on this issue.

beinghuman

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Re: JD vs MA in environmental policy

Postby beinghuman » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:36 pm

Those will be two extremely different academic paths.
If you are not necessarily interested in law, you should not go to law school especially when it's not a high ranked school. You'd be miserable for 3 years and would be wasting your time studying something that you might never practice.
You can definitely work in environmental policy without having a law degree. My advice would be to work on strengthening your grad school application and if you want to keep your options open, retake the LSAT and see whether you can get into a T14.

But based on your current situation, I would strongly advise you against law school.

Best of luck.

Leviathan1

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Re: JD vs MA in environmental policy

Postby Leviathan1 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:42 pm

I honestly think policy MA is a useless degree-- it gets you to some government agency/environmental research center/policy think tank/non-profit. That's it. Lack of upward mobility.

JD with a focus in environmental law is much more valuable in the real world, and you can always do policy work after practicing in the field.

Hutz_and_Goodman

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Re: JD vs MA in environmental policy

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:06 pm

Getting a law degree if you don’t have an interest in law is a bad idea. In the past (when law school was much less expensive and there were fewer JDs) this made more sense.

globetrotter659

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Re: JD vs MA in environmental policy

Postby globetrotter659 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:08 pm

Leviathan1 wrote:I honestly think policy MA is a useless degree-- it gets you to some government agency/environmental research center/policy think tank/non-profit. That's it. Lack of upward mobility.

JD with a focus in environmental law is much more valuable in the real world, and you can always do policy work after practicing in the field.


This is bad advice. A JD from a mid tier school is going to open doors everywhere. If you really want to do environmental policy work for the government/non-profit then do the MA.

lawlorbust

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Re: JD vs MA in environmental policy

Postby lawlorbust » Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:12 pm

Leviathan1 wrote:I honestly think policy MA is a useless degree-- it gets you to some government agency/environmental research center/policy think tank/non-profit. That's it. Lack of upward mobility.

JD with a focus in environmental law is much more valuable in the real world, and you can always do policy work after practicing in the field.


Stop posting.

globetrotter659

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Re: JD vs MA in environmental policy

Postby globetrotter659 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:15 am

globetrotter659 wrote:
Leviathan1 wrote:I honestly think policy MA is a useless degree-- it gets you to some government agency/environmental research center/policy think tank/non-profit. That's it. Lack of upward mobility.

JD with a focus in environmental law is much more valuable in the real world, and you can always do policy work after practicing in the field.


This is bad advice. A JD from a mid tier school is going to open doors everywhere. If you really want to do environmental policy work for the government/non-profit then do the MA.


*NOT going to open doors*

Damn typos



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