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Going to Law School After Undergrad or Masters?

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Generally I know for law school sometimes people tend to either go after undergrad, or after getting a masters. Overall which route is ideally considered the best option, or do law schools consider students who have done a masters over those that go to law school directly after undergrad?

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A master's is a soft at best in law school admissions. If you want to go to law school, getting a master's is pretty much pointless unless there's some other specific reason you want it.

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I don't necessarily regret getting my Masters, but it has had no meaningful effect on my law school path.

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A master's degree is a soft factor for law school admissions, but may help you in the job market in some fields. 

A master's in labour studies, industrial relations, human resources, etc. is beneficial for labour and employment.

A master's and/or PhD in STEM is very beneficial for intellectual property and patents. 

A master's in accounting, tax, finance, economics, etc. is beneficial for tax. Those who've done MBAs prior to law school tend to do well in the Big law recruit. They usually have corporate work experience as well.

A master's in public policy, public administration, etc. may be beneficial for government careers, especially for policy jobs (though you do not need to go to law school for that). 

A master's in social work may be beneficial for family law and careers working with marginalized communities. 

Finally, I've noticed that a master's degree from top international schools like Oxford, LSE, Harvard, Columbia, etc. can also work as a soft factor in impressing some employers, and possibly law school admissions. 

It won't make or break you if you are an otherwise unremarkable candidate, but can be a point of conversation in an interview.

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Posted (edited)

Having a Master's has helped me in some, albeit limited, ways in law school:

It provided me with a solid skill set with regard to research methodologies, writing, and the ability to read lots. Arguably it's paid off in my Legal Research course which was my highest mark this semester. The Fall assignment was essentially a research paper that, aside from the knowledge of legal sources, I was quite comfortable in performing.

It's also helped me in adding an associated set of experiences (writing a thesis, participating in co-ops, internships) that employers have really looked fondly upon in law school. I was given a competitive first year RA position arguably because of my MA degree, and I recently got a 1L government interview ostensibly because of what my MA contributed to my CV. 

So I will say having a Master's certainly isn't necessary for admission to law school or doing well in law school, but it can provide some really positive opportunities for you in the right circumstances.

I will say that in my case there are other contributing causal factors (age being one) but I wouldn't doubt that my MA definitely had something to do with a lot of the opportunities I've had so far, which I'm very grateful for.

Edited by capitalttruth
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Posted (edited)

Echoing what everyone has said so far. A master's degree is definitely not necessary for law school, but could be very beneficial. For example, for the 1L IP Recruit - Intellectual Property firms look favourably upon candidates with master's degree in STEM.

I went straight to law school from undergrad, and I don't feel like I'm at a huge disadvantage or anything.

I would just add that you can also pursue a joint JD/Master's degree program.

Edited by dbswl
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