Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dental School v. Law School

Number of Schools: How many blogs started by unemployed, broke, angry dental practitioners do you run across? Look at the numbers – dental graduates each year are less than 5000. There are only 56 ADA-approved dental schools in the United States. And the number of schools and seats has actually declined from the mid-1980s!! In contrast, the 190+ ABA-approved law schools graduate in excess of 40,000 students each year.


Rankings: The dental schools ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to be ranked by USN&WR. This is an industry that cares about its practitioners and students!! This is the antithesis of law school administrators and ABA lackeys (who only care about Biglaw). For all practical purposes, it does not matter if you have your D.D.S. from Columbia University or Creighton whereas it does matter if you have your J.D. from these institutions. The ADA understands that the training is just as thorough and competent at any of its 56 member schools.

http://www.ada.org/prof/ed/programs/information.asp (under Dental School Rankings)

The majority of law graduates come from non-T14 schools. Hence, their job prospects are limited from the moment they enter said law school – unless, of course they end up ranked #1 in their class. Then there are the non-ABA approved schools, whose graduates will be limited pretty much to PI or criminal defense work in California (if they can pass that state’s bar exam).

Job Security: When you, or one of your kids, have a tooth ache, you make sure to get into a dentist’s office for a checkup. If there is something that needs to be addressed, you then see the doctor again for follow-up treatment and services. Hell, many poor people will gladly pay out of pocket to make sure their teeth are treated. Most poor people cannot afford a competent attorney AND they don’t see this as a vital service.

You also have the option of representing yourself in legal matters. You can usually look up the statutes (and some case law) online, or you can do so at the local law school library. You DO NOT have the option (or the talent, skills, education, tools and competence necessary) to remove your own permanent retainer or perform a root canal on yourself, or on someone else.

In sum, the ADA cares about the investments of their students in their professional training. The first two years of school are classroom-based, whereas the last two years of the program are clinic-based. In contrast, the ABA does not give a damn about the over-saturation of the legal market. Law schools still rely on legal theorists to train future lawyers! The ABA does not require any clinical practice before a student graduates. But the ABA will be sure to make an example of you if you make a mishap as a poorly-trained solo practitioner.


  1. I was waiting for the professional school side-by-side comparison blog entry! Nicely done!

  2. While I agree with the general idea that there are too many law schools, I don't think ranking them is a problem. In fact, I think rankings are actually necessary in order to perhaps figure out which ones need to be de-accredited in order to lower the oversupply of lawyers.

    Medical schools allow for rankings, and there doesn't seem to be much of a problem there. It's more important to decrease the absolute number of law schools than refuse to rank them against each other.

  3. So true...I am going Friday to pay $750 for a new crown to my dentist. I don't have insurance but gladly fork over this money because after all, your teeth have to last a lifetime! I considered dental school growing up and wish to G-D I had done that instead of making the life-ruining mistake that is law school! I agree that the number of law schools needs to be vastly reduced, and I did graduate from a T14 school and have been unemployed since graduation.

  4. Has anyone from Drake approached you saying, "You shouldn't disparage our good name."

    I used to blog openly about my old institution and I was chastised. At the moment, I'll remain anonymous.

  5. time to call out the law school apologists in JD underground:



    They keep the propaganda and establishment alive.

  6. How can you graduate from a T14 school and be unemployed? Did you graduate in the bottom (toliet)of your class?

  7. I'm currently in dental assistant school and wouldn't change a thing.

  8. To Anonymous who wrote the comment about graduating in the "toliet" (sic) of my school...no, I did not. I graduated in the middle of my class and know lots of other people who graduated from my school who also have never been able to find a legal job, at least not the kind we were so highly promised by the school administrators trying desperately to get us to sign on for massive debt. I personally turned down excellent scholarships to 1st tier schools to attend my alma mater, which is my own stupidity, but the lure of the T14 (my school is actually T10) was just too strong.

    It sounds like you're one of these law school "apologists" so let me give you a few facts about my experience that may help you out. First off, just playing the odds, it's very doubtful you went (or go) to a top school and also very doubtful that you could get into one. If you did manage to get into one, I'll wager you couldn't do any better than I did. As you may know, the law school grading system is very random and skewed and even more so at these kinds of schools where you're taught more theory than black-letter law. So, your little "toliet" comment is just a way to make yourself feel better because you either have gone to law school and don't like your career prospects (join the club) or you are in law school now and are scared to death about what you're facing when you get out (which is justifiable). You would like to think "oh, if only I'd had the opportunity to go to that kind of school, I'd be in Biglaw, etc., etc." Well, in this economy, most T14 grads will never get into Biglaw. I should qualify my statement that I am currently "unemployed" by saying I am unemployed as a lawyer in this noble "profession." I have worked as a "lawyer" in doc review and at a crappy small firm where I was treated like a slave for wages lower than what I was making before I entered law school. By the way, I sat next to laid off Biglaw associates and fellow top school unemployed grads in doc review. It's not worth it so I have exited this "profession" and now do something completely different which is well-paid and interesting. Getting to Biglaw is just not possible for most of us, even T14.

    You will need to find something else to console yourself with as I still did most everything right, am a normal person who interviews well, have held excellent positions outside the law and I STILL could get only crap jobs in law. If you're in school now, you may want to reconsider. The only lawyers I know who are happy and making good money don't go on blogs like this (they have no time to do much else besides work) so I'm pretty sure you're not one of those. You will need to find more reasons to apologize for the legal "profession" and those who scam people into entering it.

  9. Oh my God. May God bless you. This is one of the smartest blogs I have come across in my life. Dead Serious. I don't even know where to begin... Well, I feel exactly the same way. I am in my last semester of undergrad and had planned on going to law school to do public interest because I want to save the world from all its injustices. However, while in undergrad I worked for a law firm as well as volunteer for various public interest law related commitments-- Court Advocacy, Legal Aid, ect... First and foremost: I do not believe in the law much to be so heroic and Second, all the things you said: lawyers are a dime a dozen, underpaid or works so much to get paid enough to pay for life and debt. As a public interest lawyer if you are lucky to get a job you get paid as much as a receptionist at a private law firm. As an attorney for a private law firm, you might as well live in your office bec. of billable hours.

    So... I felt the need to step back and currently in another continent outside of the US thinking the same things you have blogged about. I am planning to return to the US after taking a break and get a job at a dental office while I complete my pre-requisites for dental school and prepare for the DAT. It's just I don't mind working my ass off towards a goal and borrowing money but i feel the law is just overrated career thats infested with assholes who think they are the shit. Sorry for the profanity but seriously hate lawyers.

    Thank you for this blog. I am sorry that you are in the boat that you are in but, obviously you are smart to have figured it out sooner than others. I have heard about a Harvard law grad that actually ended up in dental school... female name starts with A. But, she was able to use that law degree along with her new path. Good luck with whatever you decide to do next... Great blog! Thank you!

  10. Thank you for the kind words, 5:51. Good luck with dental school. My brother in law will start his last year of dental school this summer.

    I know several dental practitioners. While it is not a picnic - and a large salary is not guaranteed - at least those who graduate from dental school have a realistic chance to practice their trade. They also learn practical skills – and are able to practice on patients - during school!

    Plus, dental clients pay up front for services. Dentists also have the luxury of billing their clients' dental insurance. Lawyers must continue to represent a client, even when the client can no longer afford his services. When it comes to dentists, I also do not see anywhere near the same level of arrogance, pettiness, and overall nastiness that you see in lawyers and law students. I hope you continue to follow this blog.

  11. Hello well there is not comparison between these 2 schools cause they see different fields one see the law and the other the dental care so for my is hard to see the relation .

  12. Well as a dentist myself, I have a few words on the topic. I recently graduated in May of this year and was fortunate enough to to have full time employment(32 hours/week) as soon as I graduated. Both fields are extremely different in way that we work. I have friends who are lawyers that log more hours per week than I do however they have more off time. When I go to work I am extremely busy from 8-5 everyday and when the day is over I am dead tired, which is not a bad thing by any means. There is however some comparisons that can be make. The dentist in todays age is viewed by the public as unscrupulous by some of the population. A few bad apples in our field and over treated pt and this usually makes it to the news. Even though patients need the service they view it as over-priced, and in my practice I find that I often have to take photos of any cavities that I find to emphasis to the pt what is going on. Now not that this is a bad thing, I actually think that any pt should know exactly what is going on with their oral health. But when compared to 20 years ago, my partner in the practice has stated numerous times that are much more hesitant to take your professional opinion. Likewise the lawyers that I have talked to tell me that their clients often feel that they are being cheated by the hourly rates that is charged. I believe that the general public doesnt realize what exactly is done by their lawyer, and they dont realize the overhead cost of running a dental practice. Overhead at a typical general dental practice ranges from 50-70%. So therefor that $150 filling that was placed really only netted $45. Most pt think that the dentist just put their 150 in his pocket which is not the case. There is also the huge debt that the average dental student graduates with. I currently owe 200,000, just from dental school alone, which makes my payments roughly $2100/month for 10 years. I am not sure exactly how the law business runs so I can't make any comparisons.

    Overall these are two entirely different professions but both face a stigma from the general public. A great person to discuss this would be the dean at my former school who practice law for 6 years then went back to dental school to get her dmd.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. None of my pre law friends like science; in fact, all of my prelaw friends avoid science classes like the plague.Why? Because they are uninterested and are not gifted in natural science. They STINK at science classes and flunk science courses. How could you compare dentistry to law when the required interests of prestudents of these apples vs orange fields are blatantly opposite and unrelated? I'm shocked. It isn't easy to do science. You can't just skip-a-doodle-doo from law to science ... SMH

    2. ^Hello, stupid bitch.

      On September 27, 2012, Paul Campos - law professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder - wrote an entry entitled "Bad deal book." Look at this opening:

      "Ohio State law school professor Steven Davidoff has written an analysis of the economics of law school for a New York Times' Deal Book "special section" on "the future of Big Law."

      Davidoff begins by noting that veterinary schools aren't being called a scam or a bubble even though veterinarians make less than lawyers and pay even more to go to school. I suspect there's a simple explanation for this: people who graduate from veterinary school get to be veterinarians.

      Veterinary schools in the US produce just 2500 graduates a year (Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Georgetown, and George Washington by themselves collectively produce more lawyers), and the number of jobs for veterinarians is projected by the BLS to increase by 38% over the course of this decade. I gather from several minutes of internet research that, to the extent that vets face any employment difficulties, this is a product of the fact that more prefer to be pet doctors rather than large animal vets relative to the available job opportunities. But if you graduate from veterinary school and want to be a veterinarian, you get to be one. In this regard, veterinary school graduates resemble medical and dental school graduates, who get to be - check this out - doctors and dentists."

      Do…you…understand…that, moron?!?! In the next paragraph, Campos continued:

      "Davidoff's whole analysis is premised on a fundamentally faulty assumption, which is that law school graduates get to be lawyers. Law professors, still stuck in their world of Columbia law degrees and federal appellate clerkships and Shearman & Sterling associate gigs, constantly make the mistake of thinking -- well not really thinking, but rather semi-consciously assuming -- that their students are going to be lawyers. This assumption is going to be wrong in regard to an enormous percentage of people currently enrolled in ABA-accredited law schools -- even at "good" law schools like the one Davidoff started teaching at this past year (previously he was at Wayne State and UCONN, where he taught lots and lots of students who did not become lawyers). Any analysis of the situation that fails to grapple with this point is missing the central fact regarding the crisis of the American law school."

      You are welcome for the beatdown, ass-clown.

  14. How much better is dentistry vs. law? Ah, the grass is always greener, isn't it? Some of you choose to believe what you want, no matter the facts, but as a practicing dentist for 15 years, here's some advice. Go to a dental broker's website and look at practices for sale. They range in gross (that's gross, before expenses) revenue from $150,000 to $1.8 million. So the person at the high end is making a great living. But I can assure you that the ones generating $150,000 in revenue aren't. And those new graduates without family money are often over $400,000 in debt. So pick your poison.

  15. Dental school is waaaay harder than law school. Juat sayyn

  16. I wouldn't do either tbh. Dentistry your looking at $400k+ in debt and will have to work as an associate making $100k. Own dental practice is a crapshoot b/c the chains are putting the mom/pops out of business. Dental specialties are hard af to get into, plus the crown jewel being ortho is dying b/c technology/invisalign.
    That's if you can even get into a specialty, remember you have to finish top ~20% of class but your class is made up of beasts nowadays in dental school.OMFS would have you homefree if you could run the table and (1) get into dental school, and (2) finish top of class, (3) get into omfs, (4) handle 4 years of dental school + 4-6 years residency. Law school is easier than ever to get into and as some prior posters mentioned is not guaranteeing squat.


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