AN extensive online debate is being churned out around whether a Master of Laws (LLM) is a worthwhile option for laid off lawyers. The general consensus is that it’s a waste of time and money.
The Above The Law, a legal blog, debate has spurred other online debates around what further education may assist lawyers without jobs to make a fresh start.
“Worthless degrees, during a recession, remain worthless,” one lawyer wrote.
“Ya, adding another $40-50k to your already immense student loan of $150,000 plus is a smart move in today’s economy,” another wrote.
LegalBlogWatch, another site, suggests a nursing degree as an alternative to the Master of Laws because of the extensive role nurses have to play in the criminal justice system. It suggests this degree may be the answer to finding a job for laid-off lawyers.
The New York Times, as well, has reported on the lawyer-turned-nurse opportunities.
“Nurses with forensic training may gather data at accident sites and in other situations where crimes may have occurred or medical evidence needs to be collected. They may also testify in court cases and help lawyers understand medical records – often for medical malpractice cases,” the Times article reports.
Some nurses with this training start a business as legal burse consultant, and others become coroners, completing work such as that of medical examiners, who hold doctor of medicine degrees, it reports.
Nurses with forensic training are well compensated. In the US, it’s not uncommon for a legal nurse consultant to make six-figures. But the Times reports it can take some time to get there.
One legal nurse consultant says in the Times report: “I love that no two cases are alike.” The lawyers often don’t brief her before Holly Bedgio reads case files so as not to influence her findings. “It’s like reading a mystery novel. You have to put the pieces of the puzzle together to solve the case,” she said.
The nurse-legal alternative career for laid-off lawyers was pondered by bloggers this week as they assessed the value of the LLM degree.
Legal blog LegalBlogWatch reported this week that the low cost of an nursing degree, and the higher job opportunities, was inspiring some lawyers to choose it over an LLM.
One Above The Law reader commented that even after achieving high results in an LLM, the course has had no impact on job prospects. “I am an LLM at one of the schools mentioned. I enrolled after the dissolution of my law firm. My grades put me in the top 10 per cent here. My JD was from a T20 school with solid grades (top 33 per cent, not top 10 per cent). Not a single job offer despite a bunch of interviews. I've been told repeatedly it's the market, but that's starting to feel like a girl saying, ‘It's not you, it's me’.”