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A law degree is really just a second bachelor’s degree. Sure, you need a B.S. or B.A. (or B.-something) to get admitted to law school, but there are no other prerequisites. In other words, a B.F.A. in puppetry with an emphasis in children’s theatre from the
will get you into
law school just as easily as a B.S. in bioengineering from Cal Tech. (In fact, the law degree used to be called
the LL.B., or bachelor of laws, but its name was changed to J.D., or juris
doctor—probably in an effort to gain respect and prestige.) But medical schools, on the other hand, require
very specific and rigorous coursework before an applicant can even be admitted,
let alone graduated and licensed. (Puppetry majors need not apply.) University
of West Virginia
In addition to education, another thing that separates lawyers from doctors is supply and demand. Due to a massive oversupply, law graduates today have very limited employment opportunities, and, for those who are "lucky" enough to land law-related jobs, they often earn very little money. Doctors, on the other hand, remain highly employable.
But despite all of this, a brilliant television show called Community hit the nail right on the head about three years ago. The following exchange between characters Jeff and Abed, in the episode “Beginner Pottery,” brilliantly and succinctly captures the difference between doctors and lawyers:
Abed: If he wants to impress people, why join a pottery class? Why not just say “Hi, I’m a doctor”?
Jeff: Because he’s crazy. And fancy jobs don’t impress people. I mean, you weren’t impressed that I’m a lawyer.
Abed: Well, anyone can be a lawyer. You can even represent yourself. You can’t do surgery on yourself; it’s illegal. You’ll get arrested. And then you get a free lawyer.
Free lawyer. Maybe that’s why our pay is so low.