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Thread: Would a JD help?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Would a JD help?

    I have always considered getting a JD and using it as an environmental tool. As of late, I've realized that I'm definitely committed more to getting a planning degree. However, it looks like that can be variable for job outlook. Any thoughts on getting both? Or one over the other?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    if you're only worried about job security, i don't know if either one is any safer than the other. the current downturn is affecting both the planning and legal job outlook.

    if you've already got some planning experience or a planning undergrad, a dual degree may be redundant. as far as picking one over the other, that should really be based on your career goals (none of which i'm aware of). you want to be a planner? get a planning degree. want to be a lawyer? get the law degree. the law degree won't really help you get a planning job (except maybe in a few cases), and the same is true vice versa.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I did a year of law school and decided that it just wasn't what I wanted. From my limited experience in the program, I would say, do not waste your time and/or money on getting that JD unless you actually plan on practicing law.

    I think if you have a planning background and a JD you may be more marketable to a place like the Environmental Resource Defense Council or some of the very large planning/engineering firms as an actual counsel for them but if you want to be in the trenches planning, I don't think the JD is going to add much to your resume. I assume that most reputable planning programs out there require some sort of land planning course and land planning is covered on the AICP exam and I think that that basic knowledge would be sufficient for 99.99% of planners out there.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for the replies. The issue is that I am not 100% sure about my career goals. I am involved in LEED coordination for buildings at the moment, which I really like. I like thinking a little more broadly about the area around the buildings as well, how the buildings are used and in what capacity we can structure an urban environment to decrease fuel and energy use. This has not defined a career choice though. Any thoughts? Any thoughts on programs that might be helpful?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    USGBC has a pilot rating system for neighborhood development available at http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=148 which addresses the larger site issues outside of the building envelope.

    If you are really passionate about the larger picture regarding sustainability, best management practices, etc., I can see you going several routes: landscape architecture or architecture, engineering, planning, or environmental law. I would say get a job with USGBC, ULI, Lincoln Institute, or some other related think tank.

    What is your background/training in?

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    There's a few private firms that hire only planners with JDs; Clarion Associates is one of them. It could open up some more doors for you.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yeah....

    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    There's a few private firms that hire only planners with JDs; Clarion Associates is one of them. It could open up some more doors for you.
    And more than a few law firms that only hire attorney's with planning degrees
    Skilled Adoxographer

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