Going To Medical School And Law School…At The Same Time!

Check this out. What you will see is the line of reasoning that caused Ton La, pictured above, to apply to Baylor’s joint MD/JD program.  

Logistically, the joint program doesn’t really have the student learning both professions literally at the same time. In order to maintain at least a modicum of students’ sanity, the program has them complete the medical basics, then move on to law school, then back for residency after graduating from law school. If all goes well, both MD and JD are in hand in “just” six years.  

I first bumped into the MD/JD notion years ago when I was discussing a government survey on which I was working with an FDA staff member. As I listened to him talk, I heard him sliding seamlessly between medical and legal concepts. Finally, I broke down and asked him if he was a doctor or a lawyer. 

His answer?

“Yes!” He went on to explain that he was one of about 300 professionals in the U.S. at the time who held both degrees. At the time, getting both sheepskins didn’t happen through a dual program.  He did medicine first, and then applied to law school. The mind boggles!

Bottom Line. So what’s the point here? Ponder this student’s reason for signing up for this academic marathon. Simple. He wants to “help people.”  

Then consider the areas where he might like to employ his training, e.g., working in areas like medical ethics, health policy, etc.

Finally, ponder the desirability of NOT having the only interface between law and medicine be in courtrooms in medical malpractice cases. Is there a more efficient way to get these two professions to work together more constructively than through a dual degree program?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *