Law students and medical students have some things in common based on the financial and personal sacrifices most need to make in order to earn their degrees. Medical school and law school both cost a ton of money, and the coursework in both types of graduate programs is usually rigorous. In addition, both medical students and law students enter professions upon graduation that traditionally lead to relatively comfortable lives. However, from my own experience, law students and medical students do not mix, and it is difficult for such students to forge personal and social connections with students at the other school.
When I was in law school at Georgetown University Law Center, the student bar association hosted bar reviews at different bars around the District of Columbia each month. The events were well-attended (especially by first-year law students) who hoped to take a break from their studies and let off some steam with fellow law students. One time, the student bar association decided to host a bar review event along with a similar group at Georgetown’s medical school. The event was called “medical malpractice” and with a name like that, I knew I had to attend!
On a cursory level, it makes sense that law students would want to host an event with medical students. It is always nice for people to expand their social circles, especially since law school can be very gossipy and somewhat like high school when it comes to the social scene. In addition, lawyers and doctors sometimes interact with each other in professional settings, so it might be nice for law students and medical students to interact with each other in school.
However, the “medical malpractice” bar review was not fun. The law students mostly kept to themselves, and the medical students mostly kept to their schoolmates as well. The scene looked like something out of a junior high school dance! There was very little mixing between students at both schools except for people who already knew folks from the other school from some other context.
In other situations, I also saw firsthand how law students and medical students sometimes do not mix. I am a triplet, and when I was in law school, one of my triplet brothers attended medical school. One weekend, my brother decided to join me at Georgetown so that he could see the sights and spend time with me in my law school environment. During this time, I invited my brother in medical school to a bar where a bunch of law students were planning to meet up to knock back a few after a long week of classes.
Throughout the evening, the law students kept discussing topics related to their legal studies that would not be too interesting to someone who did not attend law school. I felt bad for my brother since he could not participate in the conversations much. Law students are naturally engrossed in the law, and legal subjects are part of many conversations between law students. It can be difficult for medical students to relate to these subjects and participate in such conversations.
The same is true of law students in social settings in which they interact with medical students. I also visited my brother when he was attending medical school. During these trips, I frequently met medical school classmates of my brother. It was difficult for me to interact with these medical students since they wanted to talk about things they learned in class as well as gossip about the people who attended medical school. Medical students, like law students, are in their own world, and it can be difficult for outsiders to interact with people who are outside of this bubble.
All told, there should be more interactions between medical students and law students, since both professions can learn a thing or two from the other. However, it can be difficult for law students and medical students to mix due to the different experiences medical students and law students face.
Jordan Rothman is a partner of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey law firm. He is also the founder of Student Debt Diaries, a website discussing how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.