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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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JD v. MBA: a picture comparison

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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When I finished my undergrad and began to look seriously at law school, I briefly contemplated going the MBA route as well. I mention that only because some days, in this case, this past saturday morning, I wonder how things would be different. I snapped these pix as trudged into the bowels of O’Quinn law library for an exciting, fun-filled day of legal research and paused to look longingly at the B-school parking lot across the street.


The law school parking lot was, as usual on saturdays, about 60-75% full. The depth-of-field is a little deceptive but I’m guessing the B-school lot (admittedly larger) is about 5-10% full.

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3 Responses

  1. Sean John says:

    As a graduate of the MBA program here at UH I can tell you yes it is much easier than law school. And unlike law school everyone can get an A (no crappy curve) and nearly every class includes a group project which teaches people to work together rather than be adversarial, (like mean old law school). It is overall much more practical and a lot less theoretical than law school, and the group projects are designed to try and mimic real world problems.

    In my capstone class for MIS Management the Chief Information Officer for the University was our teacher and he asked people in the class how to solve various Enterprise Resource System deployment scope creep and other implementation problems which I imagine was close to his heart since the University was implementing PeopleSoft at the time.

    However, I think the real question you should ask yourself is not what if? But why not? Do both through the Joint JD/MBA program and vastly increase your employment options further down the road. It will only add about another 30 hours to your program at most and you will have far more job opportunities down the road since you won’t have to necessarily work as a practicing lawyer to make good money, or you will have a much better chance of doing corporate law if you do want to practice, which I think is much more enjoyable then something like family law, or torts. Being a lawyer in a corporate setting I with an MBA can put you on the fast track to senior management even if you don’t practice. I had quite a few lawyers or joint program students in my classes when I was over there.

    But then again as an alum they have already brainwashed me into carrying their water I suppose, and since I met my wife through a student org there I guess you can say I’m that much more biased. Besides I’ve been a big cheerleader for capitalism in nearly every case ever since that first economics class in high school so long ago. (Working for the state or Federal government for more than 12 years went to great lengths in solidifying my convictions.)

    If you or any of your chums want any info about the program, GMAT etc. just ask me. I can give you the scoop on professors too if you do decide to join the program. I graduated back in 2003.

  2. Jen C. says:

    I taught LSAT at the Princeton Review after I got my MBA. I would tell my students that if they aren’t willing to put in the hours studying for the LSAT or slogging through 3 years of law school, or if they’re just going to grad school to make their parents happy, they should just go to business school instead.

    In business school if you show up to class and do the work they’ll hand you a degree after two years. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed getting my MBA and it is one of the greatest accomplishments bar none. I think I became a little teary-eyed when I picked up my diploma.

    But will my law degree get a fancier frame for the office? Heck yeah.

  3. Sean John says:

    One thing I will say that does not really apply to the part time class like us is that your typical 25 year old newly minted lawyer who has never had a real job usually has no concept of what a business is and how to serve clients. I knew a guy who’s father had just died. He went with his wheelchair-bound terminal cancer-stricken mother to a lawyer to file her personal bankruptcy due to medical bills and funeral expenses. The sociopathic lawyer kept looking out the window during the meeting mentioning that it was “too nice of a day” for him to be “stuck in this office”. Needless to say he did not get the job regardless of how many intellectual merit badges he may have had.

    Being a lawyer really is a business and relating to and serving your clients well really is the key to success, not just being smart, winning the mock trial, schmoozing those professors for reccomendations, etc. I tried to elaborate on this on the whole Faculty Blog battle about whether or not law schools teach practical skills, but I guess it wasn’t Politically correct enough to get posted, (never have been good at the whole PC thing).

    I think it was interesting that you posted this and then what Chase mentioned today, lawyers increasingly not practicing as traditional lawyers. Perhaps that is not a bad route to go as far as lifestyle goes even though in some ways there may be less ultimate income potential. Although statistically for most of us those 135K starting jobs and making partner at a big firm in five years stories are the landscape often painted by the brush of rose colored glasses dipped in the pallete of an law student’s Fantasy Island.

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