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Economics BA vs BS for Law School

dman19dman19 4 replies1 threads New Member
Hello, I am a current undergraduate student currently majoring in Econ BS and hoping to go to law school after to work in corporate law. My question is which econ degree will be more beneficial for Law School? Which one will prepare you more and which one will look better to Law Schools? Thank you for your help in advance.
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Replies to: Economics BA vs BS for Law School

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24790 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Makes no difference if you get a BA or BS. Often the difference is not in the major classes but in the requirements of the college. Ex, at my school the college of Arts and Sciences gave a BA, so all econ majors got a BA. That also meant the student had a foreign language requirement and a certain number of science classes, social sciences, English comp, etc. A different college might have different requirements and thus award a BS (ex, journalism at my university). A computer science degree awarded through A&S gets a BA but a very similar degree from college of engineering gets a BS.

    Personally, I think the more courses you have that require reading, writing, and reasoning, the more prepared you will be for law school. The school itself won't care if you have a BS or a BA.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 28004 replies205 threads Senior Member
    edited May 26
    Neither will be better than the other for law school admissions. As Two notes above, many top colleges, such as U-Chicago (top #5), only offer a BA (or AB) in Econ.

    Law schools care first and foremost about two numbers: GPA and LSAT. But classes that help your critical reading and thinking skills -- I'm a fan of Philosophy -- will make a huge difference for 1L.

    edited May 26
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  • happy1happy1 24011 replies2407 threads Super Moderator
    Agree, either a BA or BS would work fine.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited May 27
    OP: Either degree is fine.

    What is your understanding of the practice of "corporate law" ?
    edited May 27
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  • dman19dman19 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Hey Publisher, thank you for your question. To be quite honest my knowledge is quite limited but I know it has a lot to do with contract reading and things like that. Pretty much just protecting a company and making sure it stays within the law. I am also thinking about taking a year or two to get work experience at a company (and possibly get my masters online while working) before going to law school.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    I asked because the study of economics is relevant to the practice of antitrust law. If this is an area of interest to you, then the University of Chicago Schoool of Law would be one to consider. Antitrust attorneys tend to be highly intellectual.

    In the largest law firms, corporate departments tend to focus on mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate governance matters. There are sub-specialty areas--such as tax--within those areas. Lots of document review & drafting of documents.

    Of course, the practice scope of a firm's corporate law department is defined by that firm. Typically, the practice of corporate law is transactional and, therefore, distinct from litigation (trial attorney work).

    While law schools rarely care about one's undergraduate major, it is relevant for the practice of patent & trademark law (certain courses are required to be taken in order to sit for the patent bar exam) as well as for antitrust attorneys.

    As shared above, law school admissions is primarily focused on an applicant's LSAT score & then on an applicant's undergraduate GPA.
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  • dman19dman19 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Gotcha and those were things I had not even considered. Thank you for the insightful comments, Publisher. I have read quite a few other forums on here as well and your posts are always very helpful.
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1640 replies8 threads Senior Member
    To add to Publisher's list, a major area of corporate law also includes transactions related to financings. This could be equity or debt. It could be for the private or public markets. It could be straight bank debt or it could be some esoteric asset back debt that is marketed specifically to sophisticated institutions.

    The nature of the corporate law (and litigation) practice will vary significantly by firm, Big Law vs Main Street, big urban centers vs medium cities and towns because what a firm practices is driven by its client base and the internal resources it has in quality and experience of lawyers to compete for desired business.

    As a young corporate lawyer, you will spend a lot of time reviewing and summarizing documents as part of due diligence processes. You will also likely be asked to research and draft memo's regarding specific interpretations of law/regulations. At some point, you move on to contract drafting, then negotiating and deal structuring. To eventually make partner, you will have to exhibit some level of skill in client relations and marketing to retain and acquire clients.

    I agree that having an Economics background will be helpful in an anti-trust practice, but it is not necessary. The concepts that a lawyer needs to grasp can be at a pretty general level. There will be expert trained Economists representing all the interested parties. To be well prepared for transactional law requires reading, writing and good communicative skills, as well as the ability to problem solve, oftentimes in a non-linear fashion because there are often multiple moving parts which are interrelated -- addressing an issue in one place may well create an issue in another place. Attention to detail, time management and organizational skills are a must like any other high skill/high complexity profession. The most successful corporate lawyers I have worked with have an ability to see the "big picture" from the client's viewpoint. They "want" something and are willing to expend certain resources and take certain risks to obtain it. A good lawyer will be able to accurately and practically assess the legal and business risks and potential consequences for the client to consider. I have also run across some bad lawyers (deal killers) who have a singular inability to differentiate between levels of risk, and back their clients into a corner over something pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    @BKSquared wrote:

    "I agree that having an Economics background will be helpful in an anti-trust practice, but it is not necessary. There will be trained Economists representing all the interested parties."

    Necessary due to government regulations in the US and in other countries.

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  • oldlawoldlaw 325 replies14 threads Member
    GULC's take on anti-trust practice:
    https://www.law.georgetown.edu/your-life-career/career-exploration-professional-development/for-jd-students/explore-legal-careers/practice-areas/antitrust/

    Not aware that an econ background is required by governmental regulations in the US. GULC seems to indicate it would be helpful but not necessary.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    I see how my post could be misinterpreted.

    Government regs do not require antitrust practitioners to have a background in economics, but government regs (both here & abroad) & oversight necessitate arguments be made on the basis of economic impacts.

    The Georgetown article referred to by an above poster states:

    "Due to its focus on markets and pricing, antitrust law often overlaps with the field of economics."

    And the Georgetown article continues:

    "...antitrust attorneys with economics training may find themselves more comfortable with issues related to antitrust."

    In short, economics is the basis of antitrust law.
    edited May 29
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    Another posted sent me a link to a Harvard Law Antitrust professor. Although a biochem major in undergraduate school, he became an expert in economics & antitrust. Graduated first in his class from Harvard Law School.

    https://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/10234/Elhauge/

    The profile includes four works he authored on antitrust law. Each of the four works includes "economics" in the title:

    Research Handbook on Economics of Antitrust Law

    US Antitrust Law and Economics

    Global Antitrust Law and Economics

    Global Competition Law and Economics

    So, while it is not required to major in economics in order to become an antitrust practioner, economics is the basis on which antitrust & competition law is based.
    edited May 29
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  • oldlawoldlaw 325 replies14 threads Member
    But, again, there is no regulatory requirement anywhere that compels a lawyer practicing anti-trust law to have a background in economics.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    Yes, that is true. Thought I clarified that in my posts #11 and #12 above.
    edited May 29
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  • oldlawoldlaw 325 replies14 threads Member
    edited May 29
    As your initial comment was incorrect in all its particulars:
    "Necessary due to government regulations in the US and in other countries" it's better to start at square one, as it needs no clarification, but rather is simply incorrect.

    There are no govenmental regulations in the US and in other countries requiring a background in economics.
    edited May 29
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 1174 replies9 threads Senior Member
    OP, consider being a paralegal for a couple of years at the type of firm you think you might want to practice in (e.g. a big firm in a city). It will give you a bird's eye view of corporate practice, and you can then make an informed decision as to whether you like it (or not). Many -- but certainly not all! -- people dislike it, myself included, and I wish I had known better what practicing law in a big city firm was like before I went to law school.
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  • Matty1600Matty1600 5 replies0 threads New Member
    Building on what others have said, I don't think there is much difference between a B.S. and B.A. in Economics. Honestly, the degree and major you chose is probably less important than your GPA, LSAT score, any internship experiences you have with law firms etc., and a compelling reason why you want to study law. If you have a good reason to study law and a true "passion" for it, you'll have the drive to make it into any law school you choose.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    dman19 wrote: »
    Hello, I am a current undergraduate student currently majoring in Econ BS and hoping to go to law school after to work in corporate law. My question is which econ degree will be more beneficial for Law School? Which one will prepare you more and which one will look better to Law Schools? Thank you for your help in advance.

    A recent study suggests that the majors that have an edge in predicting success in law school are STEM majors and EAF (economics, accounting, finance).
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    @Bill Marsh: Do you have a cite to that study ?

    @oldlaw: Let it go ! LOL

    P.S. How many antitrust briefs or cases have you read that do not discuss economic impact ?

    Change "necessary" to "essential" if that will help you to understand.
    edited May 29
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    @dman19: If the ECON BS has more quant courses it may make you an attractive candidate for management consulting firms & for investment banking firms.

    My question: What is the difference in terms of courses between earning a BA versus a BS in economics ?

    Plus, if you are quant oriented there are some very valuable certificates offered by a few schools for those interested in consulting or banking careers. Since you are already attending college, you need to check whether or not your current school offers such certificate programs. (Typically, accept a limited number of students & it is fairly competitive to get accepted into the certificate programs with which I am familiar.)
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