Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

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TheNightsToCome
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Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:54 pm

I am a former healthcare equity analyst with the CFA designation and an MBA from a top-tier school. I am currently a 59 yo physician with an MD also from a top-tier school.

My contract is up at the end of next year when I expect to have a liquid net worth of about 45 times our (modest) average annual expenses, plus a house. That provides the option to pursue law.

I considered a transition to law as an intern and spoke with a prominent healthcare lawyer who was also an MD. He told me that if I attended a top school and did well, then I could earn about $72,000 per year (this was 1987). However, I had substantial med school debt and was only two years from a six-figure income. At the time, I was afraid to take on more debt in order to earn much less several years later.

I'm fairly confident that I would have the credentials to attend a top-tier law school, but:

1. Would law schools decline to accept me because of my age?

2. If I attended a top-tier school with the goal of becoming a law professor, would universities decline to hire me because of my age (assuming my credentials were very competitive in every other way)?

3. If I failed to become a professor, is there another route to an enjoyable career in law? I like to read, write, and think. I'd be happy to work longish hours (e.g., 11/day) in a pleasant work environment, but I would not be happy to work 12-13 hours per day at a pell-mell pace with frequent interruptions for an indefinite period (have too much experience with that lifestyle already). In other words, I wouldn't be happy working indefinitely in Big Law (unless the usual horror stories are exaggerated). I could do that for a couple of years if necessary to build a foundation, but probably not longer.

4. If it would be important to work for a couple of years in Big Law, would major law firms decline to hire me because of my age?

Thank you for your help.

runner3081
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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by runner3081 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:17 pm

If it were me, I would look for ways to pursue my passion without going to law school. You don't need to work, so why worry about money?

beezquimby
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by beezquimby » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:18 pm

You want to go to law school at age 60? LOL, I think you should chill out and relax.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:21 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:54 pm
...
1. Would law schools decline to accept me because of my age?

2. If I attended a top-tier school with the goal of becoming a law professor, would universities decline to hire me because of my age (assuming my credentials were very competitive in every other way)?...

4. If it would be important to work for a couple of years in Big Law, would major law firms decline to hire me because of my age?...
Well, of you were a good lawyer you could always sue them for age discrimination.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:30 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:17 pm
If it were me, I would look for ways to pursue my passion without going to law school. You don't need to work, so why worry about money?
When I was younger I had different interests, all physical pursuits. At this age I enjoy work if:

1. I am, or can become an expert.

2. It doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night.

3. I can work quietly at a comfortable pace without interruptions.

Big Dog
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by Big Dog » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:32 pm

to answer your question, ALL professional schools love non-traditional applicants. That being said, too late.

At the earliest, you'd start law school in teh fall of '19, and graduate 3 years later, or 2022, at which point you'd be what, 64? Do you really want to pay ~$75k/yr for three years to attend?

Do you really want to work 70/80 hour weeks in Big Law at that age (assuming that you ace law school and a big firm would take a chance on a mature grad).

While law profs make bank, at best you'd come in as an adjunct, making peanuts. (Tenure track law prof jobs at top schools are unicorn jobs.)

DC3509
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by DC3509 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:35 pm

I think your post greatly underestimates how difficult it is to become a Biglaw caliber attorney. Becoming a solid attorney and having the legal judgment to succeed at the highest levels of the law in Biglaw is a lifetime pursuit --- much like being a good doctor. It's not a side hobby for someone on the edge of retirement from another career. It takes incredible dedication, energy, intellectual rigor, ambition, attention to the very smallest details, judgment, and an extremely strong work ethic. Just think about it -- if you were being sued or had some other significant legal matter, and needed to hire an attorney, and you were going to spend at least $500 per hour for even the lowest attorneys, and $1000+ for others, would you want doing your case? The answer is obvious.

That all being said, I think this could work, if you had the right expectations. I actually do think you could get into a law school -- probably even a good one if you have the right LSAT/GRE score. Law school admissions are mainly about USNWR rankings, which are in turn driven by admissions numbers. There is no asterisk for unconventional students. If anything, schools often times admit unconventional students with the right numbers just to add some flavor to things. So I think its possible. You will of course be the oldest student in your class -- by a long shot. That may or may not bother you.

There is a great need in this country for attorneys to provide pro bono legal services, or to work in clinics or other legal environments that are devoted to those who can't afford an attorney. If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly, but that working in other environments where the skill set required is very different -- I think you could do a lot of good in the legal world. But it involves a different mindset and expectations.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by kjvmartin » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:43 pm

DC3509 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:35 pm

There is a great need in this country for attorneys doctors to provide pro bono legal medical services, or to work in clinics or other legal medical environments that are devoted to those who can't afford an attorney doctor.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:51 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:32 pm
to answer your question, ALL professional schools love non-traditional applicants. That being said, too late.

At the earliest, you'd start law school in teh fall of '19, and graduate 3 years later, or 2022, at which point you'd be what, 64? Do you really want to pay ~$75k/yr for three years to attend?

Do you really want to work 70/80 hour weeks in Big Law at that age (assuming that you ace law school and a big firm would take a chance on a mature grad).

While law profs make bank, at best you'd come in as an adjunct, making peanuts. (Tenure track law prof jobs at top schools are unicorn jobs.)
"Do you really want to pay ~$75k/yr for three years to attend?"

Possibly.

"Do you really want to work 70/80 hour weeks in Big Law"

The goal is law professor. Higher income is better than lower, but I earn much more than a law professor now (based on my limited research). Money is not the primary goal.

Of course it would be terrific to find a spot at a top school, but I understand that the market is very competitive. My impression is that I would need to do well at a top 5 school and then be happy with a position at any reputable university.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:59 pm

DC3509 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:35 pm
I think your post greatly underestimates how difficult it is to become a Biglaw caliber attorney. Becoming a solid attorney and having the legal judgment to succeed at the highest levels of the law in Biglaw is a lifetime pursuit --- much like being a good doctor. It's not a side hobby for someone on the edge of retirement from another career. It takes incredible dedication, energy, intellectual rigor, ambition, attention to the very smallest details, judgment, and an extremely strong work ethic. Just think about it -- if you were being sued or had some other significant legal matter, and needed to hire an attorney, and you were going to spend at least $500 per hour for even the lowest attorneys, and $1000+ for others, would you want doing your case? The answer is obvious.

That all being said, I think this could work, if you had the right expectations. I actually do think you could get into a law school -- probably even a good one if you have the right LSAT/GRE score. Law school admissions are mainly about USNWR rankings, which are in turn driven by admissions numbers. There is no asterisk for unconventional students. If anything, schools often times admit unconventional students with the right numbers just to add some flavor to things. So I think its possible. You will of course be the oldest student in your class -- by a long shot. That may or may not bother you.

There is a great need in this country for attorneys to provide pro bono legal services, or to work in clinics or other legal environments that are devoted to those who can't afford an attorney. If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly, but that working in other environments where the skill set required is very different -- I think you could do a lot of good in the legal world. But it involves a different mindset and expectations.
"If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly,"

My understanding is that most grads who start in Big Law do not remain there for more than 2-5 years. I'd hope to become a law professor and would only want to work in Big Law for a couple of years if that was important in order to become an accomplished professor.

I've only looked online so far, but my impression is that most professors do not come from the ranks of Big Law partners. Instead, they've earned a Ph.D or done a fellowship and/or clerked for the Supreme Court. They generally come from Top 5 schools (mainly Harvard and Yale) where they performed well and published. I've read criticism that they aren't generally well qualified to practice law, yet they teach it. Don't know if that criticism is valid.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by AlphaLess » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:02 pm

Complex problem with a lot of constraints and low probability of working out.

With that being said, OP: I applaud you and wish you success.
"A Republic, if you can keep it". Benjamin Franklin. 1787. | Party affiliation: Vanguard. Religion: low-cost investing.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:11 pm

AlphaLess wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:02 pm
Complex problem with a lot of constraints and low probability of working out.

With that being said, OP: I applaud you and wish you success.
"low probability of working out"

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case. Hoping to hear from lawyers (especially law professors) who might provide practical advice.

DC3509
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by DC3509 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:11 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:59 pm
DC3509 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:35 pm
I think your post greatly underestimates how difficult it is to become a Biglaw caliber attorney. Becoming a solid attorney and having the legal judgment to succeed at the highest levels of the law in Biglaw is a lifetime pursuit --- much like being a good doctor. It's not a side hobby for someone on the edge of retirement from another career. It takes incredible dedication, energy, intellectual rigor, ambition, attention to the very smallest details, judgment, and an extremely strong work ethic. Just think about it -- if you were being sued or had some other significant legal matter, and needed to hire an attorney, and you were going to spend at least $500 per hour for even the lowest attorneys, and $1000+ for others, would you want doing your case? The answer is obvious.

That all being said, I think this could work, if you had the right expectations. I actually do think you could get into a law school -- probably even a good one if you have the right LSAT/GRE score. Law school admissions are mainly about USNWR rankings, which are in turn driven by admissions numbers. There is no asterisk for unconventional students. If anything, schools often times admit unconventional students with the right numbers just to add some flavor to things. So I think its possible. You will of course be the oldest student in your class -- by a long shot. That may or may not bother you.

There is a great need in this country for attorneys to provide pro bono legal services, or to work in clinics or other legal environments that are devoted to those who can't afford an attorney. If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly, but that working in other environments where the skill set required is very different -- I think you could do a lot of good in the legal world. But it involves a different mindset and expectations.
"If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly,"

My understanding is that most grads who start in Big Law do not remain there for more than 2-5 years. I'd hope to become a law professor and would only want to work in Big Law for a couple of years if that was important in order to become an accomplished professor.

I've only looked online so far, but my impression is that most professors do not come from the ranks of Big Law partners. Instead, they've earned a Ph.D or done a fellowship and/or clerked for the Supreme Court. They generally come from Top 5 schools (mainly Harvard and Yale) where they performed well and published. I've read criticism that they aren't generally well qualified to practice law, yet they teach it. Don't know if that criticism is valid.
Let me clear up how the law professor thing works now -- and believe me there is only ONE career path to this now -- you go to a top 5/10 law school, graduate with top of the class grades, then you get a BigLaw job, and either take that job after law school, or you spend the next several years chasing extremely prestigious but very rare clerkships (district court, then USCOA, then Supreme Court), or government programs (Bristow fellowship, for example). Usually after the clerkships, there is some period of time spent working in Biglaw again. Even with all of those credentials and career moves -- getting an actual entry level professor job is extremely hard. You'll be applying to law schools that are ranked way lower than wherever you went to school. And even if you somehow get a law professor job competing against everyone else -- you then spend the rest of your days writing articles for law reviews that nobody will ever read, or teaching a bunch of 1L's legal concepts that by that point are pretty basic.

Look -- what you are talking about is the ultimate inside straight draw, and if things don't work out at any of the stages -- you flunk your Property exam 1L year for example -- this plan is toast.

Why don't you just become a medical school professor?

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by LarryAllen » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:15 pm

So you are a career student? Congrats on all the diplomas. I like to focus on making money myself.

I think this would be a waste from a financial perspective but you might enjoy the educational side of it.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by livesoft » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:16 pm

It reads like you might have more than enough assets to donate a building to a law school. Thus you can buy yourself a law professorship. Go for it!
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by AlphaLess » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:18 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:16 pm
It reads like you might have more than enough assets to donate a building to a law school. Thus you can buy yourself a law professorship. Go for it!
I like creative ideas.

However, there is some area of expertise in which OPs experience would be *VERY* useful to the school.
I don't know what it is though.
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by visualguy » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:20 pm

You want to switch to an academic career as a law professor in your 60s coming from a different career in a different field? Are you serious? :shock:

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by Gill » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:23 pm

In spite of your outstanding credentials, upon passing the bar exam you would be a newly-minded lawyer competing with thousands of others, most of whom are about 25 years old. The difference is you would be about 64 years old. Although it may be unfair, it’s difficult to see law firms or law schools being interested in an inexperienced lawyer who is about the same age as those retiring from their organizations.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:24 pm

DC3509 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:11 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:59 pm
DC3509 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:35 pm
I think your post greatly underestimates how difficult it is to become a Biglaw caliber attorney. Becoming a solid attorney and having the legal judgment to succeed at the highest levels of the law in Biglaw is a lifetime pursuit --- much like being a good doctor. It's not a side hobby for someone on the edge of retirement from another career. It takes incredible dedication, energy, intellectual rigor, ambition, attention to the very smallest details, judgment, and an extremely strong work ethic. Just think about it -- if you were being sued or had some other significant legal matter, and needed to hire an attorney, and you were going to spend at least $500 per hour for even the lowest attorneys, and $1000+ for others, would you want doing your case? The answer is obvious.

That all being said, I think this could work, if you had the right expectations. I actually do think you could get into a law school -- probably even a good one if you have the right LSAT/GRE score. Law school admissions are mainly about USNWR rankings, which are in turn driven by admissions numbers. There is no asterisk for unconventional students. If anything, schools often times admit unconventional students with the right numbers just to add some flavor to things. So I think its possible. You will of course be the oldest student in your class -- by a long shot. That may or may not bother you.

There is a great need in this country for attorneys to provide pro bono legal services, or to work in clinics or other legal environments that are devoted to those who can't afford an attorney. If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly, but that working in other environments where the skill set required is very different -- I think you could do a lot of good in the legal world. But it involves a different mindset and expectations.
"If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly,"

My understanding is that most grads who start in Big Law do not remain there for more than 2-5 years. I'd hope to become a law professor and would only want to work in Big Law for a couple of years if that was important in order to become an accomplished professor.

I've only looked online so far, but my impression is that most professors do not come from the ranks of Big Law partners. Instead, they've earned a Ph.D or done a fellowship and/or clerked for the Supreme Court. They generally come from Top 5 schools (mainly Harvard and Yale) where they performed well and published. I've read criticism that they aren't generally well qualified to practice law, yet they teach it. Don't know if that criticism is valid.
Let me clear up how the law professor thing works now -- and believe me there is only ONE career path to this now -- you go to a top 5/10 law school, graduate with top of the class grades, then you get a BigLaw job, and either take that job after law school, or you spend the next several years chasing extremely prestigious but very rare clerkships (district court, then USCOA, then Supreme Court), or government programs (Bristow fellowship, for example). Usually after the clerkships, there is some period of time spent working in Biglaw again. Even with all of those credentials and career moves -- getting an actual entry level professor job is extremely hard. You'll be applying to law schools that are ranked way lower than wherever you went to school. And even if you somehow get a law professor job competing against everyone else -- you then spend the rest of your days writing articles for law reviews that nobody will ever read, or teaching a bunch of 1L's legal concepts that by that point are pretty basic.

Look -- what you are talking about is the ultimate inside straight draw, and if things don't work out at any of the stages -- you flunk your Property exam 1L year for example -- this plan is toast.

Why don't you just become a medical school professor?
"Look -- what you are talking about is the ultimate inside straight draw"

That's helpful. If the cost is several hundred thousand dollars and the chance of success appears to be preposterously low, then I wouldn't want to begin.

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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:26 pm

LarryAllen wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:15 pm
So you are a career student? Congrats on all the diplomas. I like to focus on making money myself.

I think this would be a waste from a financial perspective but you might enjoy the educational side of it.
"I think this would be a waste from a financial perspective but you might enjoy the educational side of it."

Clearly. I'm not in this for the money. I'd like to earn some, but if I wanted more money I'd stay put.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by HomerJ » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:27 pm

Let me ask you this.

What would you say if a retired 60-year old lawyer asked you if she should go to medical school and become a doctor?

But she didn't want to work long hours with lots of interruptions...

Oh, and maybe she might want to be a medical school professor instead if the actual work of doctoring was too hard.

How would you answer her?
The J stands for Jay

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:27 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:16 pm
It reads like you might have more than enough assets to donate a building to a law school. Thus you can buy yourself a law professorship. Go for it!
Not even close. Just a run-of-the-mill boglehead in terms of net worth.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:28 pm

visualguy wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:20 pm
You want to switch to an academic career as a law professor in your 60s coming from a different career in a different field? Are you serious? :shock:
Yes.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by HomerJ » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:28 pm

Now if you just want to learn the law, that's awesome, but that's not what you asked.

BigLaw is absolutely not for you, neither is becoming a law school professor.

However, you could indeed earn a law degree, enjoy the education very much, and then maybe, since you don't need the money, maybe could you help less fortunate people? Work for non-profit firms?

That actually sounds very rewarding.
The J stands for Jay

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by Tribonian » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:30 pm

I find your ambition inspiring.

I say go for the law degree but the path to becoming a professor would be to publish which dovetails nicely with your interest in critical thought and writing. BigLaw is not the best path.

You would probably make an excellent expert witness and could go into patent law, both very lucrative and interesting.

Good Luck!

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:32 pm

Gill wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:23 pm
In spite of your outstanding credentials, upon passing the bar exam you would be a newly-minded lawyer competing with thousands of others, most of whom are about 25 years old. The difference is you would be about 64 years old. Although it may be unfair, it’s difficult to see law firms or law schools being interested in an inexperienced lawyer who is about the same age as those retiring from their organizations.
Gill
Thanks. That would not surprise me. Do you have a role in hiring decisions?

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:34 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:54 pm
1. Would law schools decline to accept me because of my age?
Doubtful they'd diss you for your age. Here is a guy I worked with decades ago who went to law school after he retired and when he was older than you: http://asts.org/about-asts/chimera-chro ... h-m-lee-md
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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by dknightd » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:34 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:54 pm
I am a former healthcare equity analyst with the CFA designation and an MBA from a top-tier school. I am currently a 59 yo physician with an MD also from a top-tier school.

My contract is up at the end of next year when I expect to have a liquid net worth of about 45 times our (modest) average annual expenses, plus a house. That provides the option to pursue law.

I considered a transition to law as an intern and spoke with a prominent healthcare lawyer who was also an MD. He told me that if I attended a top school and did well, then I could earn about $72,000 per year (this was 1987). However, I had substantial med school debt and was only two years from a six-figure income. At the time, I was afraid to take on more debt in order to earn much less several years later.

I'm fairly confident that I would have the credentials to attend a top-tier law school, but:

1. Would law schools decline to accept me because of my age?

2. If I attended a top-tier school with the goal of becoming a law professor, would universities decline to hire me because of my age (assuming my credentials were very competitive in every other way)?

3. If I failed to become a professor, is there another route to an enjoyable career in law? I like to read, write, and think. I'd be happy to work longish hours (e.g., 11/day) in a pleasant work environment, but I would not be happy to work 12-13 hours per day at a pell-mell pace with frequent interruptions for an indefinite period (have too much experience with that lifestyle already). In other words, I wouldn't be happy working indefinitely in Big Law (unless the usual horror stories are exaggerated). I could do that for a couple of years if necessary to build a foundation, but probably not longer.

4. If it would be important to work for a couple of years in Big Law, would major law firms decline to hire me because of my age?

Thank you for your help.
You can do anything you want. If you want this go for it!

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by larsm » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:40 pm

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

So CAN a 60 yo MD, MBA start a law career? The answer is surely yes.

So SHOULD a 60 yo MD, MBA start a law career? My answer would be not in a million years, but you clearly feel differently. So do what makes you happy.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by Leif » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:42 pm

As far as I know there is no law against it.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:42 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:27 pm
Let me ask you this.

What would you say if a retired 60-year old lawyer asked you if she should go to medical school and become a doctor?

But she didn't want to work long hours with lots of interruptions...

Oh, and maybe she might want to be a medical school professor instead if the actual work of doctoring was too hard.

How would you answer her?
I went to med school with a 50-something chemistry Ph.D who had a successful career at Monsanto, and the path to a medical career is substantially longer.

An average eleven hour day is considered a good day's work in most settings. I enjoy work.

As an equity analyst my day was spent reading, working on spreadsheets, and writing. There were few interruptions. Most days were about 11 hours, but after the Spitzer settlement with the sell-side banks we worked much longer hours. Many of my colleagues moaned and complained, but it still seemed like a vacation to me because my frame of reference was private practice cardiology. I just want to be able to focus on a task and be left alone to work -- without a beeper interruption every few minutes. No one has ever complained about my work ethic.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:46 pm

Tribonian wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:30 pm
I find your ambition inspiring.

I say go for the law degree but the path to becoming a professor would be to publish which dovetails nicely with your interest in critical thought and writing. BigLaw is not the best path.

You would probably make an excellent expert witness and could go into patent law, both very lucrative and interesting.

Good Luck!
You're one of the few to offer encouragement, Tribonian. Are you a lawyer? That is, do you have experience that suggests there is a reasonable chance of success?

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:52 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:34 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:54 pm
1. Would law schools decline to accept me because of my age?
Doubtful they'd diss you for your age. Here is a guy I worked with decades ago who went to law school after he retired and when he was older than you: http://asts.org/about-asts/chimera-chro ... h-m-lee-md
That's interesting. Do you know if he practiced law? What were his goals?

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by 123 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:54 pm

Your career opportunities are not limited to BigLaw firms. There is a wealth of opportunities in the public sector (government or non-profit). You could be associated with a district attorney, or a public defender's office, should you so desire.

If you want a legal connection without as much time and effort just market yourself as an expert witness, your MD gives your credentials and creditabililty in many areas.

It's really an opportunity to change the world, go for it. If not now, when?
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by cantos » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:54 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:30 pm
When I was younger I had different interests, all physical pursuits. At this age I enjoy work if:
1. I am, or can become an expert.
2. It doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night.
3. I can work quietly at a comfortable pace without interruptions.
I believe the answer is you can do it. Easily.

However, given what you said above, I don't see why you would want to do law. Both #2 and #3 are basically out of the question in most law practices.'

Edit: Yes, I am a lawyer and have experience. Worked with an older lawyer who was an MD most of his adult life. Changed to law in his late 50s and practiced for about 5-10 years, then went back to his med practice. A very kind man and highly intelligent. He practiced high end medical malpractice (an obvious route for you to go with your MD, but with your MBA you can choose other routes like biz law).
Last edited by cantos on Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:56 pm

larsm wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:40 pm
Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

So CAN a 60 yo MD, MBA start a law career? The answer is surely yes.

So SHOULD a 60 yo MD, MBA start a law career? My answer would be not in a million years, but you clearly feel differently. So do what makes you happy.
"but you clearly feel differently"

Not if I will spend several hundred thousand dollars to earn a lottery-like probability of reaching my goal.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by Ragnoth » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:02 pm

I'm assuming this is more about personal fulfillment and amusement.

Law schools admissions offices probably wouldn't discriminate based on your age (provided that you meet the LSAT/Academic standards and are willing to pay). The academic market for law professors is very competitive, and it's not abnormal to see candidates in their 30's-40's with a string of publications, big-law experience, and high-end clerkships under their belt. I don't think they could outright deny you a position based on age alone... but the chances of landing anything better than an adjunct position is pretty slim under even the best of circumstances.

Big Law is pretty grueling, and people burn-out for a reason. Also, it's not unheard of for firms to have *mandated* retirement at age 65. They are probably some niche positions that you would be uniquely qualified for. For example, it's not unheard of for joint MD/JD's to have great success in patents or tort litigation related to medical devices or pharmaceuticals. But these are a little atypical (and in the case of patents, somewhat disconnected from the actual material you learn in law school).

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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:05 pm

cantos wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:54 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:30 pm
When I was younger I had different interests, all physical pursuits. At this age I enjoy work if:
1. I am, or can become an expert.
2. It doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night.
3. I can work quietly at a comfortable pace without interruptions.
I believe the answer is you can do it. Easily.

However, given what you said above, I don't see why you would want to do law. Both #2 and #3 are basically out of the question in most law practices.
Based on blogs and online articles, it seems that Big Law involves many interruptions, and many deadlines -- both impossible and bogus. However, I haven't read that the job wakes you up at night.

In any event, I think that work as a law professor might suit both my interests and talents. I have much more research to do to confirm that, but first I need to know if that is even a realistic goal.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by rbaldini » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:06 pm

This all sounds pretty crazy.

Obviously the idea makes no sense financially, so I won't even mention it. Presumably that should factor in, though, since you are not the only person affected by your financial decisions (you used the term "our".)

If the goal is to learn, then guess what: there is a thing called the internet that contains vastly more information than you could ever hope to learn. And, best of all, it doesn't cost $200,000!

So it sounds to me like you just have a thing for getting degrees from "top-tier schools."
Last edited by rbaldini on Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by cantos » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:09 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:05 pm

Based on blogs and online articles, it seems that Big Law involves many interruptions, and many deadlines -- both impossible and bogus. However, I haven't read that the job wakes you up at night.

In any event, I think that work as a law professor might suit both my interests and talents. I have much more research to do to confirm that, but first I need to know if that is even a realistic goal.
If you carry your own practice, you will have higher autonomy, thus less interruptions/etc. I suppose the keeping you up at night really depends on how your mind works. While in private practice I thought about my files constantly (50-70 files at any one time, high end litigation), when I was awake, when I was asleep, when I was on vacation. Your clients keep a lot of pressure on you, and that is also a constant thing. There is a never-ending task list, homework, things to do, etc. If you can manage all that and sleep fine, great - there are some lawyers that can do that - but in my experience, not many.

Law prof: I don't find that to be interesting at all. I'd much rather retire and open up a practice just taking on what I want to take on. Have you ever experienced academia? I was a PhD student for a while and academia sucks, I don't care if it's law or something else. Lots of politics, people fighting over little things, cliques, etc. The worst.

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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:10 pm

cantos wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:54 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:30 pm
When I was younger I had different interests, all physical pursuits. At this age I enjoy work if:
1. I am, or can become an expert.
2. It doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night.
3. I can work quietly at a comfortable pace without interruptions.
I believe the answer is you can do it. Easily.

However, given what you said above, I don't see why you would want to do law. Both #2 and #3 are basically out of the question in most law practices.'

Edit: Yes, I am a lawyer and have experience. Worked with an older lawyer who was an MD most of his adult life. Changed to law in his late 50s and practiced for about 5-10 years, then went back to his med practice. A very kind man and highly intelligent. He practiced high end medical malpractice (an obvious route for you to go with your MD, but with your MBA you can choose other routes like biz law).
Thanks. That's helpful. Was your older colleague hired by a major law firm out of law school at that age? Do you know why he went back to medicine?

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by Cobra Commander » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:14 pm

DC3509 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:11 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:59 pm
DC3509 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:35 pm
I think your post greatly underestimates how difficult it is to become a Biglaw caliber attorney. Becoming a solid attorney and having the legal judgment to succeed at the highest levels of the law in Biglaw is a lifetime pursuit --- much like being a good doctor. It's not a side hobby for someone on the edge of retirement from another career. It takes incredible dedication, energy, intellectual rigor, ambition, attention to the very smallest details, judgment, and an extremely strong work ethic. Just think about it -- if you were being sued or had some other significant legal matter, and needed to hire an attorney, and you were going to spend at least $500 per hour for even the lowest attorneys, and $1000+ for others, would you want doing your case? The answer is obvious.

That all being said, I think this could work, if you had the right expectations. I actually do think you could get into a law school -- probably even a good one if you have the right LSAT/GRE score. Law school admissions are mainly about USNWR rankings, which are in turn driven by admissions numbers. There is no asterisk for unconventional students. If anything, schools often times admit unconventional students with the right numbers just to add some flavor to things. So I think its possible. You will of course be the oldest student in your class -- by a long shot. That may or may not bother you.

There is a great need in this country for attorneys to provide pro bono legal services, or to work in clinics or other legal environments that are devoted to those who can't afford an attorney. If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly, but that working in other environments where the skill set required is very different -- I think you could do a lot of good in the legal world. But it involves a different mindset and expectations.
"If you were realistic that getting a Biglaw job is not in the cards because you simply will not have the runway to develop skills correctly,"

My understanding is that most grads who start in Big Law do not remain there for more than 2-5 years. I'd hope to become a law professor and would only want to work in Big Law for a couple of years if that was important in order to become an accomplished professor.

I've only looked online so far, but my impression is that most professors do not come from the ranks of Big Law partners. Instead, they've earned a Ph.D or done a fellowship and/or clerked for the Supreme Court. They generally come from Top 5 schools (mainly Harvard and Yale) where they performed well and published. I've read criticism that they aren't generally well qualified to practice law, yet they teach it. Don't know if that criticism is valid.
Let me clear up how the law professor thing works now -- and believe me there is only ONE career path to this now -- you go to a top 5/10 law school, graduate with top of the class grades, then you get a BigLaw job, and either take that job after law school, or you spend the next several years chasing extremely prestigious but very rare clerkships (district court, then USCOA, then Supreme Court), or government programs (Bristow fellowship, for example). Usually after the clerkships, there is some period of time spent working in Biglaw again. Even with all of those credentials and career moves -- getting an actual entry level professor job is extremely hard. You'll be applying to law schools that are ranked way lower than wherever you went to school. And even if you somehow get a law professor job competing against everyone else -- you then spend the rest of your days writing articles for law reviews that nobody will ever read, or teaching a bunch of 1L's legal concepts that by that point are pretty basic.

Look -- what you are talking about is the ultimate inside straight draw, and if things don't work out at any of the stages -- you flunk your Property exam 1L year for example -- this plan is toast.

Why don't you just become a medical school professor?
I agree with this assessment that it will be extremely difficult to obtain a position as a law professor given the statistical difficulty of each step required in the process. One other point in addition to those above is that law school classes are graded on a curve so that may or may not be an adjustment for you (I'm not sure if med school or MBA programs do this as well?) You might be smart and hard-working but so is everyone else and you are going to need top grades to get a law professor gig.

The other point not mentioned above is that you have to do a stint as a VAP (Visiting Assistant Professor). This is extremely risky because once you take yourself off the law firm track it will be nearly impossible to get back on once you've shown an interest in academia and there are no guarantees your VAP will turn into a tenure track position.

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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by cantos » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:14 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:10 pm
Thanks. That's helpful. Was your older colleague hired by a major law firm out of law school at that age? Do you know why he went back to medicine?
Yes, one of the best firms with one of the top medmal practice areas. Have no idea why he went back to medicine, but the reasons for leaving law are often the same. Pressure from clients, not nice colleagues, being essentially 24-hr on call (your work phone is constantly going off w/ emails and some firms have a policy that you have to call back or reply within 2 hrs, etc.), pressure from the firm to bill long hours, etc.

Some insight into the lawyer personality: https://www.lawyerbrainblog.com/2013/02 ... skeptical/
Last edited by cantos on Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:14 pm

Ragnoth wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:02 pm
I'm assuming this is more about personal fulfillment and amusement.

Law schools admissions offices probably wouldn't discriminate based on your age (provided that you meet the LSAT/Academic standards and are willing to pay). The academic market for law professors is very competitive, and it's not abnormal to see candidates in their 30's-40's with a string of publications, big-law experience, and high-end clerkships under their belt. I don't think they could outright deny you a position based on age alone... but the chances of landing anything better than an adjunct position is pretty slim under even the best of circumstances.

Big Law is pretty grueling, and people burn-out for a reason. Also, it's not unheard of for firms to have *mandated* retirement at age 65. They are probably some niche positions that you would be uniquely qualified for. For example, it's not unheard of for joint MD/JD's to have great success in patents or tort litigation related to medical devices or pharmaceuticals. But these are a little atypical (and in the case of patents, somewhat disconnected from the actual material you learn in law school).
"The academic market for law professors is very competitive, and it's not abnormal to see candidates in their 30's-40's with a string of publications, big-law experience, and high-end clerkships under their belt. I don't think they could outright deny you a position based on age alone... but the chances of landing anything better than an adjunct position is pretty slim under even the best of circumstances."

Thanks. Appreciate the insight.

"For example, it's not unheard of for joint MD/JD's to have great success in patents or tort litigation related to medical devices or pharmaceuticals."

Am I correct that this sort of success would only follow many years of BigLaw-type experience?

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by dknightd » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:19 pm

"An average eleven hour day is considered a good day's work in most settings. I enjoy work."

You are lucky!

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:20 pm

rbaldini wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:06 pm
This all sounds pretty crazy.

Obviously the idea makes no sense financially, so I won't even mention it. Presumably that should factor in, though, since you are not the only person affected by your financial decisions (you used the term "our".)

If the goal is to learn, then guess what: there is a thing called the internet that contains vastly more information than you could ever hope to learn. And, best of all, it doesn't cost $200,000!

So it sounds to me like you just have a thing for getting degrees from "top-tier schools."
I'm fairly sure that a law degree is necessary to become a law professor. :D

I only mentioned that my MBA and MD were from top-tier schools to support my expectation that I might be accepted to a top-tier law school. That is important because the overwhelming majority of law professors are selected from top-tier schools, basically the top 5, mostly from Yale > Harvard. Apparently, your school ranking is much more important in the legal profession than in any other. At least, that's what my research suggests so far.

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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:24 pm

cantos wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:09 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:05 pm

Based on blogs and online articles, it seems that Big Law involves many interruptions, and many deadlines -- both impossible and bogus. However, I haven't read that the job wakes you up at night.

In any event, I think that work as a law professor might suit both my interests and talents. I have much more research to do to confirm that, but first I need to know if that is even a realistic goal.
If you carry your own practice, you will have higher autonomy, thus less interruptions/etc. I suppose the keeping you up at night really depends on how your mind works. While in private practice I thought about my files constantly (50-70 files at any one time, high end litigation), when I was awake, when I was asleep, when I was on vacation. Your clients keep a lot of pressure on you, and that is also a constant thing. There is a never-ending task list, homework, things to do, etc. If you can manage all that and sleep fine, great - there are some lawyers that can do that - but in my experience, not many.

Law prof: I don't find that to be interesting at all. I'd much rather retire and open up a practice just taking on what I want to take on. Have you ever experienced academia? I was a PhD student for a while and academia sucks, I don't care if it's law or something else. Lots of politics, people fighting over little things, cliques, etc. The worst.
"I was a PhD student for a while and academia sucks, I don't care if it's law or something else. Lots of politics, people fighting over little things, cliques, etc. The worst."

I admit I haven't considered these sorts of factors, except to assume that they are more or less the same in every setting.

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by rbaldini » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:25 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:20 pm
I'm fairly sure that a law degree is necessary to become a law professor. :D

I only mentioned that my MBA and MD were from top-tier schools to support my expectation that I might be accepted to a top-tier law school. That is important because the overwhelming majority of law professors are selected from top-tier schools, basically the top 5, mostly from Yale > Harvard. Apparently, your school ranking is much more important in the legal profession than in any other. At least, that's what my research suggests so far.
Maybe it wasn't clear, but I was implying that you shouldn't try to become a law professor at all. If you're interested in law, then by all means, study it. Educate yourself, improve yourself. But really, *why* do you want to become a law professor? It's not for financial reasons, as you've said; it's not for the pure pursuit of knowledge, as others have suggested, because that's free online. So why?

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Re: Can a Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by calmaniac » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:26 pm

TheNightsToCome,

First of all I want to commend you for your ernest responses to the many posts.

I have not seen any postings asking why you want to go into law. Is there a specific aspect of law you want to work in?

I left an academic medical career and joined a start up biopharma company at age 58. Not as big a transition as you are considering, but still a big change for me. I would encourage you to focus on what you want to do in your encore career, not what degree/career should you choose. My guess is that there are some really cool and fun new career paths you could take with your current training. Or maybe with a year of some kind of speciality training (big data, informatics?). You have so much expertise built up with your current skill set, why not turn it inside out and backwards and learn to use it a new way?

Manically yours.

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Re: Can Retired 60 yo MD, MBA Start a Law Career?

Post by cantos » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:31 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:24 pm
"I was a PhD student for a while and academia sucks, I don't care if it's law or something else. Lots of politics, people fighting over little things, cliques, etc. The worst."

I admit I haven't considered these sorts of factors, except to assume that they are more or less the same in every setting.
1000x worse. Professors feel free to chime in here! In the meantime, google such keywords as academia politics, chronicle higher education academia life, etc. I have a few theories on why... one suspicion is there is nothing important profs do, so they fight over ridiculous things, directing their energies to silly issues... another is they were geeky/nerds who never developed social skills, and now as profs they suddenly have power (revenge of the nerds)... but it's all speculation on my part, heh. I don't think there's any dispute, though, that academia infighting/politics/etc is among the worst.

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