Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Police Officer or Lawyer?

I've passed all rounds of a local Police Dept's hiring round unemployedtroll07/30/12
Which city are you in? bostonlawyer.207/30/12
midwest unemployedtroll07/30/12
Ohio? I would take it. There's job stability, a union, gre dudeingorillasuit07/30/12
Not Ohio, but I'm not trying to out myself. Farther west. unemployedtroll07/30/12
That's a good point. There's only a handful of police depart isthisit05/17/17
Take the cop job. After a couple of years with a police dept gs1307/30/12
This is my thinking. However, I still feel like I'm not livi unemployedtroll07/30/12
Not living up to your potential? You are making at least as theesquire07/30/12
It sounds like you have no attorney job on the table so why butt_hair07/30/12
Being a cop is a great stepping stone for someone with a law gs1307/31/12
Update, I'm going to take the cop job if and when my securit unemployedtroll07/31/12
Agree you will have a tough time going to a traditional priv countryfried07/31/12
Your gf needs to be on board with the decision because it wi patentesq07/31/12
I know you posted this 5 years ago, but I hope you never bec zebrateam105/17/17
I was actually looking into becoming a cop. There are some p kretan18205/17/17
Man, how do you even go back five years to find a post that redemptionsong05/18/17
I never get these idiotic bumps. People do it once a month a vohod05/18/17
The law degree might help you get to the higher levels of th eject07/30/12
^This. And 40-45 hours is practically non-existant in th 2tierreality07/30/12
The salaries for senior level police in major cities is real bigsal08/01/12
As a member of the National Lawyers Guild it pains me to say metttalheadesq07/30/12
oh, and i have seen plenty of ex-cops with law degrees who h flawed07/30/12
Forget prestige, potential, etc (never mind that you will li wolfman07/30/12
Absolutely take the cop job. My buddy from college went to andy07/31/12
Ditch your pretentious gf and keep the cop job. In 20 years digitalserf07/31/12
It's funny, I'm trying to think of a way to decompress this jordan07/31/12
Another random thought... Cops have so much power. When t jordan07/31/12
I did both, starting a practice after retiring from a PD. T aintnoreason07/31/12
Thanks, aintnoreason. Will my JD help me advance within the unemployedtroll07/31/12
"when cops "mess up", the organization will find the one job bigsal08/01/12
Thanks for talking some sense into me, JDU. I was blinded by unemployedtroll07/31/12
Well, you are still young enough to correct your mistakes, i digitalserf07/31/12
Is someone actually asking this? Blend the two if possibl kw6713a07/31/12
Marine Corps? J.D.? You're doubly qualified for the FBI. andy07/31/12
Yeah, I was a Marine Corps officer (Military Police) after c unemployedtroll08/01/12
If it is a Democrat controlled union friendly state or city. bostonlawyer.207/31/12
What they all said. Take the job. Government employment is keithd07/31/12
Thanks everyone. unemployedtroll08/01/12
Also, unemployedtroll would qualify for PSLF for whatever lo bigsal08/01/12
The relevancy of a law degree in a police patrolman is somet aintnoreason08/01/12
I'd go the cop route and try and excel. Big question is tha jd4hire05/18/17
This thread is half a decade old.. mrtor05/18/17
You are observant. I am not. Why was it revived? jd4hire05/18/17



unemployedtroll (Jul 30, 2012 - 8:55 pm)

I've passed all rounds of a local Police Dept's hiring rounds. I've been given a conditional offer of employment. This whole deal has taken over a year now. If I pass the background check, which is expected, I will get a full-time offer at 44k. This is appealing to me because I feel like cops don't work that hard, but job stability seems to be really good. I'm the kind of guy that just wants to work 40-45 hours and enjoy my life. I really value my free time. I'm a Marine Corps veteran which is probably why I got this job. My girlfriend says I'm crazy and selling myself short. "You've worked so hard on my law degree, just wait for an attorney job, something will work out for you!!!!"

Should I take this and abort my legal career before it starts? I can't find an attorney job to save my life so far. T2 grad with average grades.

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bostonlawyer.2 (Jul 30, 2012 - 8:58 pm)

Which city are you in?

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unemployedtroll (Jul 30, 2012 - 8:59 pm)

midwest

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dudeingorillasuit (Jul 30, 2012 - 9:22 pm)

Ohio? I would take it. There's job stability, a union, great benefits, and a pension. One drawback I can think of is doing shift work. You could work 1st, 2nd, or 3rd shift.

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unemployedtroll (Jul 30, 2012 - 10:26 pm)

Not Ohio, but I'm not trying to out myself. Farther west.

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isthisit (May 17, 2017 - 7:51 pm)

That's a good point. There's only a handful of police departments in the midwest.

Take the cop job.

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gs13 (Jul 30, 2012 - 9:24 pm)

Take the cop job. After a couple of years with a police dept you can join a federal agency like the ATF or OIG. Your a vet with a law degree. You should be golden!!

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unemployedtroll (Jul 30, 2012 - 10:27 pm)

This is my thinking. However, I still feel like I'm not living up to my full potential if I just become a beat cop. Oh well.

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theesquire (Jul 30, 2012 - 10:33 pm)

Not living up to your potential? You are making at least as much, if not more, than the average entry level associate. And you have job security. And you have less stress. And you don't take your job home. And you are treated with respect by society.

So, how is this not your full potential?

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butt_hair (Jul 30, 2012 - 10:36 pm)

It sounds like you have no attorney job on the table so why don't you just take the job and see if you like it?

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gs13 (Jul 31, 2012 - 1:35 am)

Being a cop is a great stepping stone for someone with a law degree. In fact having a law degree with a police background will only open doors for you. Don't buy into all the prestigious hype!!

Plus like I said before: law degree + veteran + police experience = golden opportunities later down the road.

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unemployedtroll (Jul 31, 2012 - 1:49 pm)

Update, I'm going to take the cop job if and when my security check and offer comes back. I don't need no damn prestige of the law!

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countryfried (Jul 31, 2012 - 9:34 am)

Agree you will have a tough time going to a traditional private firm after cop job. However, you will have good prospects for crim. law later on. DA's and private crim. defense both hire former cops. PD's will never hire you, but who cares about them.

44k is more than most starting DA's and PD's, and there's fewer hours and less stress. And you're currently unemployed, so what do you have to lose?

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patentesq (Jul 31, 2012 - 1:47 pm)

Your gf needs to be on board with the decision because it will have an impact on her as well being married to a leo. If she doesn't support you in this, you can expect the relationship not to last.

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zebrateam1 (May 17, 2017 - 7:37 pm)

I know you posted this 5 years ago, but I hope you never became a police officer. Why? Because I can tell by the question you asked and some of your comments that you don't respect the profession.

Statements like "I don't think cops work that hard" and "I'm not living up to my potential if I become just a beat cop" and "I'm going to take the cop job" show me that you're a disrespectful smug person with a higher sence of self being than you should have.

Being a police officer is not just "some job" like you claim it is. It is an honor to wear the badge and protect the streets. It is a calling.

And it takes a lot of work to become a proficient and skilled police officer. It is something that can only be learned through many years of working the streets and interacting with very dangerous people. You can't just learn how to do it by reading out of some lawyer book that they give you in law school. And as an officer you will face many situations were you may have to use force, sometimes deadly force. Knowing you may have to take someone's life one day is a lot of responsibility that many people can't handle.

I am a police officer in a major city with a lot of violence. We are slammed EVERY night, so please don't tell me that I don't work hard because I do.

I know your post was old and if you did become an officer I sure hope you changed your mind about some of the things you said. If you still feel like how you did 5 years ago and never ended up being an officer, keep it that way. We have better men doing the job

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kretan182 (May 17, 2017 - 7:52 pm)

I was actually looking into becoming a cop. There are some perks, such as loan forgiveness and having solid benefits and a pension. However, the current political environment for law enforcement is not ideal, especially if you work in a big city. Last year, hundreds of cops were killed on the job. It is hard to think that you are putting your life on the line everyday for people who hate you and do not appreciate the work you do. The PD will likely also throw you under the bus if there is an incident involving force, especially if it involves a minority.

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redemptionsong (May 18, 2017 - 12:05 am)

Man, how do you even go back five years to find a post that offends you and then insult the person who made it? Why?

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vohod (May 18, 2017 - 12:10 am)

I never get these idiotic bumps. People do it once a month and its always a really passive aggressive screed directed at a user who hasn't posted in a half decade and is very likely deceased or off the grid (knowing what small law does to associates).

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eject (Jul 30, 2012 - 10:45 pm)

The law degree might help you get to the higher levels of the police department.

And don't let the girlfriend's likely absurd visions of success determine the direction of your life.

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2tierreality (Jul 30, 2012 - 11:39 pm)

^This.

And 40-45 hours is practically non-existant in the legal field. Attorney overtime is a unicorn.

The world actually needs more GOOD cops and fewer jagoffs. Good luck to you.

P.S. Don't get shot.

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bigsal (Aug 1, 2012 - 7:48 am)

The salaries for senior level police in major cities is really good. Plus, some of them have law degrees. Take a look at this guy's resume: http://law.wisc.edu/profiles/mscott@wisc.edu.

Assuming no political impediments to promotion, this is one time a law degree can definitely help.

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metttalheadesq (Jul 30, 2012 - 10:58 pm)

As a member of the National Lawyers Guild it pains me to say this, but definitely take the cop job. The benefits and pension alone are probably much better than anything that any of us will ever find as a lawyer (in the private sector). Add the union and job stability...you're set for life.

I wouldn't think of it as settling; you won! As others have said, you could always use it as a stepping stone if you wanted to continue that route.

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flawed (Jul 30, 2012 - 11:22 pm)

oh, and i have seen plenty of ex-cops with law degrees who have retired with like an 80% lifetime pension making huge bank as Traffic/Crim attorneys or DWI experts.

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wolfman (Jul 30, 2012 - 11:46 pm)

Forget prestige, potential, etc (never mind that you will likley make more money as a police officer than 90% of attorneys in their lifetime, will have better benefits, and be healthier and happier).

See it this way: this is your one chance to join a profession that is actually liked and respected by many in society as opposed to one that the general public despises and reviles and even its members very often hate.

Finally, you lose NOTHING by taking a cop job. If you ever want to go be a lawyer (don't, until you put in your 20 and get the pension) you can do that, but NOT the other way around. If I was younger/fitter/not set on a different way of leaving law, I would become a policeman in a second.

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andy (Jul 31, 2012 - 1:33 am)

Absolutely take the cop job. My buddy from college went to the police academy while I was a 2L. He's been a cop for 8 years now and loves it. He makes 100k+ and has a sweet union gig. Do it.

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digitalserf (Jul 31, 2012 - 8:54 am)

Ditch your pretentious gf and keep the cop job. In 20 years you will be making over $100k and living the good life (and getting ready for retirement). Forget the law, you can always go back to it later.

Forget that social climbing girl and find someone more down to earth. If she is embarrassed to say her bf is a cop, then eff her.

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jordan (Jul 31, 2012 - 9:10 am)

It's funny, I'm trying to think of a way to decompress this morning. With litigation comes a lot of angst and anxiety. I just want to not be a lawyer for a single day. That's all I'm asking for.

That ain't reality.

You're probably catching me on a bad day, but be a cop. You won't take as much work home with you, the hours are better, as is the stability.

Also, the only thing prestigious about law is wearing a suit. What you don't know is most of the suits come from the thrift store. I put up an ad to hire a per diem attorney at $25 an hour, and I got more resumes than I could handle. Mostly from other attorneys with 10+ years of experience.

Here is the story of an attorney who got sanctioned in the six figure range, and then argued that was unfair because he only makes $20k a year:

http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/PubArticleCA.jsp?id=1202564118235

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jordan (Jul 31, 2012 - 9:17 am)

Another random thought...

Cops have so much power. When they mess up, nothing happens 99% of the time. They have a ton of immunity under the law.

Lawyers get sanctioned, disbarred, and sued for malpractice.

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aintnoreason (Jul 31, 2012 - 10:09 am)

I did both, starting a practice after retiring from a PD. The thing is, once you get used to the interactive soap opera that is law enforcement on the street, a desk job pushing papers is boring, and the people's legal problems are much more mundane. The problem is, once your fellow cops know you're an attorney, that status will make you an outsider to some. It is also mentally hard to follow some of the idiot orders, although your service training should have taught you when not to think. Police are so much more fun to be around than a group of lawyers, they don't keep their sheilds up all the time. It's also a fairly affordable lifestyle, since you might be given a car to drive, and only have to buy underwear, boots, and socks. Gotta argue with jordan, though, when cops "mess up", the organization will find the one job within the pd that the person can't stand and run the guy off. About half make it to pension. The way to get through the years is to find who you want to work for, and try to follow them through the years and assignments instead of constantly having a different supervisor with their personal preferences on what laws you should be enforcing or not enforcing, or whether you should be wearing your hat while you're chasing a burglar or your uniform tie in your patrol car at 3am. As to potential, you will still have those options of promotion or specialization available within the organization, but you may come to a realization you don't want to be in charge or don't want a higher stress police job than beat cop (like homicide det.).

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unemployedtroll (Jul 31, 2012 - 1:58 pm)

Thanks, aintnoreason. Will my JD help me advance within the police dept at all, or is it irrelevant to them?

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bigsal (Aug 1, 2012 - 7:59 am)

"when cops "mess up", the organization will find the one job within the pd that the person can't stand and run the guy off"

Like when Rawls put McNulty on the boat or when he put Lester in the pawn shop unit in the Wire.

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unemployedtroll (Jul 31, 2012 - 1:55 pm)

Thanks for talking some sense into me, JDU. I was blinded by the prestige of being a lawyer for a minute. I had to splash some water on my face and re-confirm that law is for losers. I wish I just took all these civil service exams 3 1/2 years ago when I got out of the Marines instead of the LSAT. Live and learn.

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digitalserf (Jul 31, 2012 - 3:27 pm)

Well, you are still young enough to correct your mistakes, in a few years you won't be.

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kw6713a (Jul 31, 2012 - 5:56 pm)

Is someone actually asking this?

Blend the two if possible. Work as a cop for a little while, then transition into US Marshals guarding a courthouse.

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andy (Jul 31, 2012 - 6:17 pm)

Marine Corps? J.D.? You're doubly qualified for the FBI. Have you considered applying there? It just so happens that their twice-yearly application window opens up at midnight tonight until August 15.

https://fbijobs.gov/032.asp

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unemployedtroll (Aug 1, 2012 - 7:29 am)

Yeah, I was a Marine Corps officer (Military Police) after college. Got out after one contract and went to law school :X

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bostonlawyer.2 (Jul 31, 2012 - 9:35 pm)

If it is a Democrat controlled union friendly state or city...then I would take the cop job. It's a no brainer.

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keithd (Jul 31, 2012 - 9:37 pm)

What they all said. Take the job. Government employment is the gold standard right now, because as economies collapse, the government is the only entity that can still legally print its own money.

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unemployedtroll (Aug 1, 2012 - 7:30 am)

Thanks everyone.

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bigsal (Aug 1, 2012 - 8:01 am)

Also, unemployedtroll would qualify for PSLF for whatever loans they may have.

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aintnoreason (Aug 1, 2012 - 9:48 am)

The relevancy of a law degree in a police patrolman is something of a two edged sword. During the time, I was in----all the brass like to think that they are farther along than the troops they supervise, and the degree stands out as a testament of that fallacy. You have two fallacies,( as it relates to subordination based upon education and training). The law degree and the military officer. At the troop level, you'll find your military officer skills challanged because there will be some supervisors that are basically uneducated cowards proving they're in charge by criticizing whatever they can find to nitpick. The old military word for that was chickenshit, and probably the current is anal. Police don't lead from the front but supervise from the rear, and the emotional leap from getting out of a hairy situation, with arrests and injury and bad guys in jail to go to HQs and having the situation criticized by some housemouse who hadn't been on the street in years is the real challenge to continued employment at a PD because all your emotional juices are still flowing from the incident, and right then you are most vulnerable to your inner thoughts that this person is (1) not a real police since they don't make arrests (2) brainless due to a lack of education, and (3) wouldn't make a pimple on a leader's ass---your hardest task will be to be subordinate to those types, because you're trained to despise that type of nonleadership (especially in the Marines). I think over time you'll realize you don't want to be in charge, and would rather be on the street than part of that in-the-rear-with-the-gear supervisory HQS, who over time develop a fear of ever getting back on the street, and hence become the antithesis of what the job calls for. Once you drink the streetcop coolaid, a lot of other things will start to taste like small beer, including any girlfriend who wants to be Mrs. Lawyer instead of Mrs. Cop.

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jd4hire (May 18, 2017 - 2:26 pm)

I'd go the cop route and try and excel. Big question is that I'd want to see the current CBA and ensure there is a pension and how long until it vests. You might serve your twenty years and then be able to have a lucrative law career.

Buddy of mine who I went to LS with was an active PO during the whole time. He came out, passed the bar and still is the CO of his PD. I don't know how, but they also allow him to practice law - criminal defense - in all municipalities except his. Because of his intimate knowledge of the law and practical PD operation, he is doing very well with his legal practice and is riding out his time on the force until he vests on his pension and then starts practicing full time.

He is highly sought after for DUI/DWIs.

And you'll get PSLF (if it still exists)

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mrtor (May 18, 2017 - 2:29 pm)

This thread is half a decade old..

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jd4hire (May 18, 2017 - 3:15 pm)

You are observant. I am not. Why was it revived?

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