Law school student wanting to go to Med school

I’m currently in my first semester at a top 10 law school, and I think I’ve made a mistake in coming here. Indeed, I’m beginning to realize how how much I am going to hate the adversarial process. I can’t believe I got myself into this, knowing I had a better personality for medicine (particularly pediatrics, which I want to go into, having coached the micro-dudes for years as a swim coach), anyway. I don’t mind competition, I don’t mind the workload. I do, however, mind the cold-heartedness of law school, the you-help-me, I’ll-help-you attitude. The fact that associates seem to have become expendible commodities. This is all becoming increasingly clear as I have become better acquainted with the legal profession.
I was one of those pre-meds who majored in art history and English, but came into college really wanting to go into the sciences–actually, into genetic research. I gradually realized that research wasn’t for me, began experimetning a bit, fell in love with art history…long story short, I spun around so many times that I just went to law school because I enjoyed my experience working at a smaller firm. I thought it sounded like a nice compromise, especially if I worked in insurance law. Bad idea.
I just turned 25, I’ve taken the pre-reqs a few years ago at a top-notch school, have a 3.75 gpa and a 3.5 in the sciences, and I scored a 32 on the MCAT–though I think it’s expired, as it has been nearly 4 years.
I’m afraid med schools are going to see my quitting law school as a definite negative. I think I can explain my reasoning, I’m willing to retake the pre-reqs if necessary, and I’ll definitely be taking the MCATs. Does anyone have any advice?
Also, I’m worried about recommendations in this stage of the game. I haven’t had contact with science professors in years, which is another reason I’m thinking of taking another course or two. Additionally, I almost feel bad appraoching the same teachers who wrote my law school recommendations to write another set.
There is also the element of my having found a deeper connection to my religious convictions, and I’m beginning to feel called to serve.
Wow, hindsight…or foresight, depending upon your perspective. Any advice?

Good for you! I think that you should go
where your heart is, and it appears from
your post that your heart is in medicine.
Don’t worry what AdComms (Admission Committees)
will think about your quitting law school;
remember, it is better to quit now and start
your journey to med school that to finish law
school, become a lawyer, and then decide to
go to med school. And besides, you have
your youth (unlike some of us) to get in.
Work to overcome your fear of your professors;
get those letters of recommendation (LORs).
As far as the MCAT is concerned, you should check
with the schools to which you are applying. Some
don’t care how old your MCAT scores are. Most
schools prefer science grades within 5 years; they
want to see recent coursework.
Good luck! You are in a much better position
than the majority of us oldsters!

I am pretty sure that MCAT scores can only be approximately three years old by the time you matriculate into medical school so beware…

You ask about getting letters of recommendation (LORs) from the same folks who wrote letters for your law school apps. They must’ve thought well of you - after all, you did well in school, you got into a top law school, so the letters must be good!
Thus, I would not hesitate to go back to them. You’ll definitely need to schedule a sit-down discussion with each person you approach to explain what’s been going on. But my guess is that, for the most part, they’ll be happy to help you.
Also, go back to your undergrad school’s pre-med committee, if it has one. From listening to others here on OPM, many of these committees will serve graduates as well as current students. It’s certainly worth asking about - you might be able to get additional help in the process.
Your thought of taking a class or two is fine, but frankly I’d put that pretty low on your priority list. Your GPA is great and those grades are recent compared to a lot of us here! It’s worth keeping in mind as an option if you find that it is going to be difficult to get the necessary LORs from your past contacts.
You’re right, you will have to take the MCAT again. I am not sure any schools in the U.S. will accept scores that are more than three years old. (there is considerably more variability among schools about the acceptable age for prerequisite courses.) You did very well on the MCAT last time, so with some refresher time, you will be able to get back into the groove on that and do well again. I THINK your old score will also show up on the score report (though I could be wrong; check the AAMC website on this, which in your case is great!
You don’t mention extracurricular activities - as many of us have discussed on about a zillion other threads, it is important that you’ve had some sort of clinical experience in order to demonstrate that you’ve done some “testing” of this inclination to medicine, but I suspect you know that already.
Good luck - it sounds like you’ve got your thoughts in good order for undertaking this switch.

I have been a practicing attorney for 8 years the last 7 of which have been in midtown Manhattan. I am now in the process of “the switch” and am taking post-bacc classes. I am 39 and although I do not regret my decision to go into law, since it has given me many skills that I would not otherwise have obtained, I am, and have been for many years, drawn to a more helping profession. That said, please let me add that not all law firms have a culture of backstabbing and competition. There are many great firms that foster cooperation between associates. Smaller firms also are generally less competitive because the intermediate associate tiers are not present and even the most junior associate gets to work with the partners. I am not suggesting that you stay in law school if you don’t feel that is your calling but please know that law firm environments vary greatly, plus there is also in house counsel and government jobs.

You are young, with a great GPA and from a good school. You have time and credentials working in your favor. There could be an element of fear of telling the people in your world that you have changed your mind. You might appear fickle and indecisive. You fear asking your professors for another round of LORs. Well, the truth is that you have to live with the consequences of your actions, not them. You have to sit for the bar exam and you have to repay the law school loans. Not them.

If I were back in your position and felt truly called to medicine and not law, I would, knowing what I know now, switch. The question you must ask yourself is why do you want to pursue medicine instead of the law. I too am not polemic and chose a very intellectual, non-litigious branch of the law: tax law (LLM for NYU Law). It served me well and has been extremely mentally stimulating as a job but I am not really helping anyone (except large business entities save tax dollars). Try to find your authentic self and let that lead you.

Hi there,
Before you quit law school, do be aware that some medical schools will require that you finish a degree program that is in progress before they will admit you. Check to see if this applies.
You will be required to explain your decision not to practice law but your explanation should be enough. You are not going to be penalized for finding your calling later in life as long as you can convince your interviewers that you are finally on the right track. Be sure to get some good shadowing experiences in place with physicians who understand your decision and are willing to back you. Othewise, go for it.
I don’t want to tell you how many former careers I have had before surgery.

You certainly seem to be on the right track, and have already received some great advice from other people here at OPM. I would echo Nahani esp, saying, it is your life, and you are the only one who has to live with the choices you make. Good luck in your endeavors, you certainly sound like the GPA and MCAT portion will be no problem for you!
Kathy in Richardson, TX

Oh My GOd im totally in the same boat as you. I am so confused. I am a first year law student, I go to a top 20 school. I am 24 years old. I feel the same way about law school as you.
I am just scared to leave because it is very secure for me right now. I have this desire to go into medicine and I can’t seem to get rid of it. Can u please give me your email adresse? I’d like to talk to you. The main thing that worries me is that if I quit law school it seems like med schools would think I was a quitter. Do you think I could get away with not even putting down that I did 1 year of law school?

You might want to check out They have a forum and I’ve read threads there from 1st year law students doubting their decisions to tackle law school. Other law students would chime in about their experiences as 1st year students saying that their 1st year was incredibly tough and severely undermined their confidence. However things did improve for them after the first year. I’m not trying to dissuade you or anything like that, but the gist of their message was stick through it for the first year before making any big decisions.