LLM or Upgrading? Both?

I have a difficult decision to make about the approaching academic year. I’m a lawyer. I’m five credits shy of completing a part-time LLM in Health Law, which has been a key part of my renewed interest in medicine.

When I looked into the widely varying entrance requirements for the schools in my province, I found out that one of my undergrad semesters is one credit short of a full load and won’t be considered in my GPA calculation. I have two options to repair this: i) do a second undergrad (has to be four year) and apply in the final year (the only option) or ii) do a “special year” of full-time non-degree studies and have that sub in for my “inadequate” semester.

My problem is that I work full-time. Work + the part-time degree has been totally manageable. Work + part-time degree + full-time undergrad studies + MCAT studying (already underway) sounds like a recipe for disaster. I know I need to prioritize the undergrad studies as I need a minimum 3.7, but the LLM is my “bridge” between law and medicine. If I put it on pause now, I’m worried that it will hurt my application since it also comes with research opportunities.

I’m trying to cram too much into the year, I know. It’s one of the downsides of being a “super non-trad” - I feel like I need to apply as soon as possible. Because my health law studies are really important in the grand scheme of my application, I’m very concerned about putting them on the back burner. There is a crazy part of me that thinks that I might be able to manage everything. I’m pretty sure that is a terrible idea, but…is it?

I think I’m looking for advice / insight from people who have gone back to do undergrad credits later in life and managed to balance them with other priorities. I am a very “experienced” student … grad school, law school, lots of exams under my belt, no kids. :thinking:

Hi, I graduated law school Dec 2019, so fairly recent. As much as I would have liked to have done an LLM, it just wasn’t crucial or would have made a difference in the line of work I chose after graduation and more so now that I am pursuing med school (in my opinion). My fiance took on an LLM in international tax due to the fact he went into international tax law, but I went into Compliance and in our case (you and me) I really think our law degrees on its own is a huge plus. I don’t think it would hurt your application at all if it isn’t completed and there are plenty of other ways to gain research experience. I too have great interest in health law but having the extra degree just because it is related to medicine in a sense does not seem worth the extra mile it will take you to complete it in this small time frame you set up for yourself. You say it is your “bridge” but I am sure you have many other reasons to want to be a physician that will appeal to schools. Even without kids, it just seems like too much to take on. I say prioritize the things NECESSARY to get into med school which is your undergrad studies. An LLM is not necessary to get into medical school but science prereqs/having a decent gpa is! This is just my opinion and what I would do in your situation. I am currently in a post bac program set to finish in Spring 2023 where I will take the MCAT no later than early May. Then I will take the bar exam that July which is perfect timing since law grads only get from graduation mid-May to end of July to study anyway. Why not consider doing the same with your LLM? Finish it in the fall the year you apply since you wouldn’t be starting med school until fall the following year anyway if you’re accepted that cycle.

Thanks for your response! Nice to hear from another lawyer on a similar path. You are right … I have to prioritize GPA. The LLM just isn’t important “enough” to juggle with everything else (and I can pick it back up again). I just have to frame it as “you have no choice but to crush the GPA, and anything optional that might get in the way of that has to go.”

My biggest struggle is going to be taking it slow. As a non-trad there is this added pressure to rush ahead, but what is the point if the result isn’t going to help you? Reminder much appreciated.

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