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Steps to become a Child Advocacy Lawyer? JD/MSW?

Discussion in 'Law School & Careers in Law' started by abfish, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. abfish

    abfish Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi all! I have recently begun the steps towards my law school journey. I have narrowed down schools I'd like to apply to and currently studying for my LSAT. However, in terms of long-term goals, I've always wanted to work in the Juvenile Justice realm! After researching occupations, I found Child Advocacy Lawyers to be the most interesting.

    So, in your opinion would it be a poor decision to go to school for a JD/MSW? (I've seen mixed reviews and I am unsure if a JD and a masters in social work would be helpful considering a child advocacy path.) Or would it be financially smarter/save time to just solely focus on my JD w/ a juvenile law concentration?
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That. ^

    Social workers can't practice law without a law degree.

    Lawyers can do social work without a social work degree.
     
    abfish likes this.
  3. abfish

    abfish Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well said, thanks!
     
  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Get your law degree and take some courses in law in areas that will help you with what you want to do. Most law schools do not offer the equivalent of a "minor degree" like you see in bachelor's programs, and when they do, it's in a few selected areas that are, legally, rather technical like tax law. While there might be some law school out there that has a juvenile law concentration program I'm not aware of it. You'll do better picking your law school based on getting the best overall legal education. You'll get your experience and training in your preferred area after law school when you choose where you are going to work.

    As a lawyer, you won't be doing social work. You'll work with the social workers and others who are assisting the child. Your job is doing the legal work, and you don't need a social workers degree for that.
     
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  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Let me start by pointing out that not all of the folks who post here regularly are lawyers and, as far as I know, no one who posts here regularly has any particular expertise in the child advocacy/social work area (I certainly could be wrong about that, though).

    That being said, would it be a poor decision to get both a JD and an MSW? I doubt it, except that it will certainly be more expensive than getting only a JD. Is there a school that offers a combined JD/MSW (there are some (and maybe many) schools that offer combined a JD/MBA)? If so, then admissions/counseling folks at one or more of those schools would likely be a good source of information for you.

    Will it be "financially smarter/save time" to get only a JD? It certainly will save time. If "financially smarter" means that you graduate with less school loan debt, then that's a yes also. In that regard, keep in mind that the area you're looking at is not one that is known for high pay (relative to other legal fields), so you may want to look into grants and things of that sort.

    Whatever you choose, good luck.
     
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