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Hi all,

I am an undergrad majoring in Sociology and Political Science and minoring in Chinese. I am debating whether to go for a Master in Public Policy or JD in law school. I read a lot on this topic and everyone seems to be saying different things.

Background Info: I am generally interested in areas of immigration, women's rights, domestic violence, human trafficking, LGBT rights, and much more into international issues. If go to law school, I would like to do immigration law or international law. If I do an MPP, I am thinking of becoming a policy/program analyst but do not know what field yet. I would like a job that balances between something I find meaningful and works to improve social justice,  and pays around $60,000-$80,000 per year (do they exist?). It seems that immigration law and certain policy analyst jobs provide that sort of $, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Questions:
1. Many comments say that an MPP is very different from a JD and will give u skills a JD wont, and vice versa. What are the specific skills one will gain by doing each degree that one couldn't obtain doing the other degree? What are the advantages each have on employment?

2. I can find a lot of information about job prospects for law grads but not MPP grads. If anyone got an MPP, around what percentage of your class got jobs in related fields? How competitive is it to get a related job compared to lawyers?

3. Are there certain personality traits or working styles that would be more suitable for one type of career than the other?

4. How do the hours, work/life balance, and pay of a policy/program analyst compare with lawyers (especially immigration lawyers)? Does the average MPP grad make less, more, or equal to around $60,000-80,000 a year?

Any insights would truly help. Thank you so much!

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Hi, I'm a B.L and also a lawyer admitted to the bar in my country, and now I'm going for an MPP. 

If you want to make money, go for the JD.

As for the skills....to me, an MPP is widening the skills I've got, but since you have already studied sociology and political science, maybe that wouldn't be the case...

Anyways, professional paths are tricky and hard to predict, but usually, lawyers are more practical and case focus on their work, unlike policy makers who tend to focus on the whole picture. 

As for the skills required....to be honest, too many people study law. The pool of possibilities is too big to say you are skilled enough or not. 

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On 8/8/2016 at 8:32 PM, DreamyMatcha said:

Background Info: I am generally interested in areas of immigration, women's rights, domestic violence, human trafficking, LGBT rights, and much more into international issues. If go to law school, I would like to do immigration law or international law. 

Go to top-law-schools.com and ask for advice there. People on that board are frank (strikes noobs as harsh), but advice you receive will be spot on. For example, be prepared to get laughed at if you say you want to "do international law." They'll explain why. 

Those folks might not be able help you much regarding an MPP.

 

 

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Not a lawyer, but can comment on MPP. Both are professional programs.

Most MPP grads work in policy analysis as research analyst or public administration with federal/local government or non profits. Some end up in the private sector (public sector consulting, lobbying, public finance, data analysis).

skills: Project management (time line, delivery, budgeting), policy analysis (writing and presenting briefs, quant and qualitative analysis), implementation and impact evaluation using metrics. You learn about quantitative methods, governance, influencing decision makers, writing grant proposals, communication and people management skills for senior jobs. Internships have a practical element and there are capstone projects.

Personally, I believe that some work experience prior to MPP is conducive to one's development and highly valued by schools. Look at class profile and most schools prefer applicants with 2-5 yrs experience. You can relate to lectures and class discussions with your work, contribute and you will find it easier to find internships. Admissions take a more holistic view of your MPP profile: GPA/GRE, work, extracurriculars, LoR, essays, goals, fit with program. I think that law schools look closer at LSAT/GPA score and pedigree of your undergrad school.

Lifestyle: Average MPP salary is lower compared to lawyers, but most MPPs tend to have a work life balance. Lawyers in general have more pressure with billing and performance.

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