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Is It A Good Idea To Pursue An MBA After Law School?

An MBA after law school is not uncommon, but you must be be clear about why you want to go to business school


Wed Jan 1 2014

Law graduates at an MBA school is not a rare sight. However, it is not a logical path to take for most law graduates. According to the statistics released by the Harvard Business School, there are not significant enough law graduates attending their MBA program. It’s a similar story at the New York University Stern School of Business. So that brings us to the question of whether or not MBA after law school makes sense.

First things first - there is nothing wrong with an MBA after law school. In fact, lawyers add a much needed diverse perspective to an MBA program and that is quite welcome. However, the law graduate applying for an MBA program needs to answer some...


The first question is why do you actually need an MBA after law? This is a question to which needs a perfectly logical answer. A popular reason among applicants is that they do not really enjoy being a lawyer and that they enjoy the business side of things better. This is perfectly fine. However, this is not a convincing reply to yourself or to the interviewers. What would your recourse be if you found out MBA was not what it seemed like once you graduate? The bottom-line here is that you should convince yourself on why you need an MBA; not why you need to quit law.

Another popular reason among applicants is that they want to open their own law firm, and an MBA would complement this ambition. This is a perfectly logical answer. However, in such a scenario, it makes sense for you to toil hard at a law firm for a few years to gain experience. This is much more valuable to starting a law firm than knowing the business aspects of it.

Having said that, an MBA after law makes perfect sense for those looking to open their private law firm. According to the Legal Marketing Association, there are over 1.1 million attorneys in the United States. 76% of these law firms in the country have less than 5 lawyers. Given this thin spread and the general lack of business skills, there are widespread inefficiencies in the way modern law firms operate. A simple example: an average lawyer in the US uses 1000 pounds of paper a year according to A business degree before opening a law firm will give you valuable business insights that will help you run your organization much more shrewdly than others and this in itself is a massive competitive advantage.

Another important reason why an MBA should help you when starting your own law firm is because it helps you build a terrific network. A significant chunk of MBA graduates end up launching their own startups. With access to these graduates, yours would be the de-facto law firm that they approach while setting up the legal side of things.

So what happens if you have no plans to start your own law firm? Is it a good idea for a law graduate to end up in a marketing or finance job? This depends very much on what your priorities are. Have you worked on marketing or finance before studying law? Do you have an exhaustive understanding of what you would be doing on a day to day basis at these jobs? It is pretty important for a serious applicant to “de-glamorize” the marketing and finance jobs to look into the nitty-gritties of everyday work to understand if it is something that tthey want to do in life.

A good way to approach this would be to apply for a sales, marketing or finance internship and work for a few months at a business to get an idea of the things to expect. This will not only help you personally arrive at a decision, but will also strengthen your resume while attending the interview for an MBA program. Interviewers love candidates who have done their homework. And there is no better homework than actually spending time on your prospective jobs to understand the core.