Law school instead of a MSN

  1. I have been thinking of not getting a MSN, but instead of going to Law School because I think that with having nursing background it give me a unique specialty area in which to work in.

    Please let me know what your thoughts are on this idea.
    Finally, I would be going to Law School to defend medical professionals from lawsuits. Not to become an ambulance chaser.
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  2. Visit krazykev profile page

    About krazykev

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 154; Likes: 83
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: Neurosciences

    15 Comments

  3. by   lindarn
    Quote from krazykev
    I have been thinking of not getting a MSN, but instead of going to Law School because I think that with having nursing background it give me a unique specialty area in which to work in.

    Please let me know what your thoughts are on this idea.
    Finally, I would be going to Law School to defend medical professionals from lawsuits. Not to become an ambulance chaser.
    I would go to law school over earning an MSN. How much do Masters prepared nurse earn? Not very much, compared to what an attorney makes, and will make over the course of a career. The earning potential is much lower for a nurse, regardless of what type of degree one has. A law degree is very marketable. An attorney who has a nursing/medical background is a very desirable career altenative. That is the reality of being a nurse. JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, Rn, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
  4. by   rn2bnwi
    I don't know I have friends with law degrees...and experience that cant get work right now because of the economy. the grass is always greener but there are lawyers that make little pay as well . But I think for the OP go for it if that is a dream of yours! I thnk that sounds like a fascination career with a good specialty....lol, as long as you aren't an ambulance chaser
  5. by   krazykev
    Quote from sschrader
    I don't know I have friends with law degrees...and experience that cant get work right now because of the economy. the grass is always greener but there are lawyers that make little pay as well . But I think for the OP go for it if that is a dream of yours! I thnk that sounds like a fascination career with a good specialty....lol, as long as you aren't an ambulance chaser

    But, if I was unable to find work as an attorney, I could always moonlight as a nurse. LOL!
  6. by   rn2bnwi
    Lol, so true!
  7. by   mom2michael
    I know some lawyers that make 10x what an MSN prepared nurse makes and then I know some nurses that make far more than some lawyers. I supposed much like nursing there are a million aspect of being a lawyer too.

    It's a tough decision really because on one hand how cool would it be to be an RN and a lawyer and defending our very practice but realistically you want to make enough to eat and at least pay for this endeavor.

    I have no idea what the "right" answer would be. Good luck though in whatever you decide!!!
  8. by   getinfall
    1. depends on where you work? In San Francisco, I know a female nurse with 5 years of experience making 140K a year. Any where around the bay area pay very well here.

    2. Lawyer, depends on what kind of jobs you got. I know people graduated from UC Berkeley who is making around 100K a year and have a very angry life. He couldn't get into business law firm so he spent 1.5 year to look for a good job but he couldn't. He finally end up being a criminal lawyer and very stressful becoz all he deals with are high crimes.

    3. Lawyer can make a better $$$ when they usually get older. (that also depends on what your work experience is) You want the $$$ when you are young right?

    4. I also think that law firms may not be as stable as hospitals.

    5. I'm not sure how much can you make in an insurance company with nurse and law degree. I would like to get some info from you guys?

    6. Is there any other options if you stay in the medical field. Anesthesia could be one but what other degrees is worthy to get in terms of getting better compensations?

    Thank you!
  9. by   krazykev
    Okay, I have been thinking about being respected as a professional and nurses do rank #1 in terms of ethics in most polls that I have read. And attorneys rank near the bottom of the polls.
    So that is definitely something to consider.
  10. by   martgabby
    Going to law school will be better, because i think it will broaden your knowledge, you can also earn more pay, because in addition to practising as a nurse, if you like, you can also switch to law practise at any time if the occassion demands.
  11. by   Dr.Nurse2b
    Quote from mom2michael
    I know some lawyers that make 10x what an MSN prepared nurse makes and then I know some nurses that make far more than some lawyers. I supposed much like nursing there are a million aspect of being a lawyer too.

    It's a tough decision really because on one hand how cool would it be to be an RN and a lawyer and defending our very practice but realistically you want to make enough to eat and at least pay for this endeavor.

    I have no idea what the "right" answer would be. Good luck though in whatever you decide!!!
    Ten times?? How much do the masters prepared nurses you know make?

    My significant other just happens to hold a JD and has been practicing law for about 10 years. She earns a great living but no where near 10x a nurse. None of our friends make 10x that of a nurse either.

    I am seeing $65,000 as a median salary for a masters prepared nurse...this is a base average. Experience and location may affect salary in either direction. NPs tend to make a bit more...about $90k, again depending on location and experience. I just read a job ad for a deparment head position...requires a masters degree or BSN with experience considered...salary is $120k.

    Ten times a nurse...$650,000 to $900,000 per year for an attorney...I don't think so. Perhaps if you're a senior partner is a large downtown Manhattan firm.

    Based on my experience and knowledge attorney income is about $80k per year...that's average median. Some make much more, some make a little less.

    Now what everyone forgets is you don't start making this kind of money out of law school. Trust me! I lived it...

    Another important factor...Depending what school you graduate from the first thing you may notice is that your monthly student loan payment is comparable to a mortgage payment.

    You will spend the first year out of law school clerking for a judge and earning about $40k a year. You'll work 50 - 70 hours a week and you may get to see the inside of a courtroom once in a while. My wife was hooked up with a large firm and was sent to trial often which was invaluable experience.

    Third year out of school is when you can think about a new BMW and hitting career cruise control. By now you should have a nice office, a secretary, Blackberry, perhaps a gas card and the firm may even make your car payment for you. This is where you start to get paid for all your work. $70k - $80k plus perks.

    Year 5...if you are ambitious, agressive and in firm that likes you then you should be approaching that $100k mark if not already exceeded it. You're working 70+ hours per week, in court most of your day. You've turned in your Beemer for a Mercedes and you're putting 50,000 miles a year on it because you drive allover the state for court. Your secretary never know's where you are and you like it this way...your spouse doesn't know where you are either and often wonders if you are really in court or taking a nap somewhere. You have enough money to do pretty much whatever you want but no time to do it...this is actually great for the spouse who will be able to buy toys and find new hobbies that don't involve you.

    I thought lawyers made millions...my wife always tells people "Yeah, lawyers on TV". Unless you're planning on becoming an ambulance chaser...doing personal injury where you get a third of the take I would plan on a regular income.

    My 2 cents...if you're primary reason for going to law school is "for the money" I'd recommend considering some other profession....or better yet just stick with nursing. Most of the lawyers I know work for large firms, make a good living but have no time for a life. Trust me when I tell you that I wish my spouse was a Veternarian!

    PS: A masters degree in nursing will take you about 18-24 months. A JD is three years. I would suggest using average income numbers and perform a "ROI" - Return on investment. You are spending time, money and unearned salary by extending your education not to mention time away from "life" itself. Make certain you are going to acheive the financial goal you set for yourself based on real numbers...not the numbers you "could make" or "should make".

    Finally...one of our friends just purchased his first air plane...a little 4-passenger Sesna. He also has a small home overlooking the ocean and drive's a very nice car too...

    He's a nurse by the way.
  12. by   krazykev
    Quote from Dr.Nurse2b
    Ten times?? How much do the masters prepared nurses you know make?

    My significant other just happens to hold a JD and has been practicing law for about 10 years. She earns a great living but no where near 10x a nurse. None of our friends make 10x that of a nurse either.

    I am seeing $65,000 as a median salary for a masters prepared nurse...this is a base average. Experience and location may affect salary in either direction. NPs tend to make a bit more...about $90k, again depending on location and experience. I just read a job ad for a deparment head position...requires a masters degree or BSN with experience considered...salary is $120k.

    Ten times a nurse...$650,000 to $900,000 per year for an attorney...I don't think so. Perhaps if you're a senior partner is a large downtown Manhattan firm.

    Based on my experience and knowledge attorney income is about $80k per year...that's average median. Some make much more, some make a little less.

    Now what everyone forgets is you don't start making this kind of money out of law school. Trust me! I lived it...

    Another important factor...Depending what school you graduate from the first thing you may notice is that your monthly student loan payment is comparable to a mortgage payment.

    You will spend the first year out of law school clerking for a judge and earning about $40k a year. You'll work 50 - 70 hours a week and you may get to see the inside of a courtroom once in a while. My wife was hooked up with a large firm and was sent to trial often which was invaluable experience.

    Third year out of school is when you can think about a new BMW and hitting career cruise control. By now you should have a nice office, a secretary, Blackberry, perhaps a gas card and the firm may even make your car payment for you. This is where you start to get paid for all your work. $70k - $80k plus perks.

    Year 5...if you are ambitious, agressive and in firm that likes you then you should be approaching that $100k mark if not already exceeded it. You're working 70+ hours per week, in court most of your day. You've turned in your Beemer for a Mercedes and you're putting 50,000 miles a year on it because you drive allover the state for court. Your secretary never know's where you are and you like it this way...your spouse doesn't know where you are either and often wonders if you are really in court or taking a nap somewhere. You have enough money to do pretty much whatever you want but no time to do it...this is actually great for the spouse who will be able to buy toys and find new hobbies that don't involve you.

    I thought lawyers made millions...my wife always tells people "Yeah, lawyers on TV". Unless you're planning on becoming an ambulance chaser...doing personal injury where you get a third of the take I would plan on a regular income.

    My 2 cents...if you're primary reason for going to law school is "for the money" I'd recommend considering some other profession....or better yet just stick with nursing. Most of the lawyers I know work for large firms, make a good living but have no time for a life. Trust me when I tell you that I wish my spouse was a Veternarian!

    PS: A masters degree in nursing will take you about 18-24 months. A JD is three years. I would suggest using average income numbers and perform a "ROI" - Return on investment. You are spending time, money and unearned salary by extending your education not to mention time away from "life" itself. Make certain you are going to acheive the financial goal you set for yourself based on real numbers...not the numbers you "could make" or "should make".

    Finally...one of our friends just purchased his first air plane...a little 4-passenger Sesna. He also has a small home overlooking the ocean and drive's a very nice car too...

    He's a nurse by the way.

    I like the manner in which you have presented your debate to me.
  13. by   SanDiegoScrubs2010
    Nursing and legal work are very, very different. I think you should consider how much you like to sit at a computer all day! Legal work is very, very abstract. There are no right answers to anything and often no concrete or satisfying results to show for your work. I went to law school for a year and decided to drop out during my first summer internship because it wasn't worth ANY amount of money I would be paid. I sobbed from frustration and restlessness and boredom every day. I knew a former nurse who was working there, but it was a government job and starting salaries there were only around $50,000. Still, it was a desirable position because you only had to work 40 hours a week! In litigation, like malpractice defense, you'll work day and night seven days a week and it's hard to make plans for vacation or anything because at any moment you could get that letter or whatever you've been waiting for and now you have to respond to it immediately. My fianc is a lawyer and when we fly somewhere together I can never be sure he'll make it to the airport. Now I am starting an accelerated BSN program in January and taking prerequisites now, and I love it more than anything I've ever done. I finally realized that I need to be able to move around and interact with people. At a firm doing medical malpractice defense you could spend 5-10 years sitting in a little office (or a basement, according to some stories I've heard) by yourself just searching for other cases similar to the one you're working on and writing pages and pages of memos. I do remember meeting one woman who worked in malpractice defense who seemed very happy (but I think she had been doing it for a long time), but my father and my fianc are both lawyers and between them and their friends and my law school friends, I have seen so much unhappiness in that career. (My fianc is the only person I've seen get excited about the work sometimes, and he's an aggressive ambulance chaser type!) At my school they told us that something like 70% of lawyers are clinically depressed and 90% are alcoholics. Plus it's tough to get a job and I know many, many people who are really struggling. My mom is a nurse and she loves it; she loves her friends, she loves helping people, and she loves that she can get a job anywhere. But it's not for everyone! Just think about what you want to do all day and not just how much money you can make.
  14. by   Dr.Nurse2b
    Quote from krazykev
    I like the manner in which you have presented your debate to me.
    Good!

    My personal opinion and current favorite career option is CRNA. Median salary in my area is $160k base. I say if you're in it for the money this is the way to go.

    Also...as a Legal Nurse Consultant or RN - Attorney I don't think you'll be helping anyone. As a legal "expert" you will be employed to crucify people and blow holes in medical malpractice cases...OR...you'll be hired to crucify doctors being sued for malpractice.

    Either way you will be hitman...I would imagine you got into nursing to help people, not ruin their lives.

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