Is Law School Harder than Medical School?

medical school

The law school vs. medical school debate seems to be never-ending. Both options are very tough, but is law school harder? Which one should you choose for your career path? It’s time to think about your future and the route you want to take, but you’ve likely got questions about which one is right for you.

Law focuses on the fact that lawyers resolve legal problems for their clients. Med school is boiled down to medical doctors resolving medical problems. It’s simple, but there are many nuances between the two.

Both routes can be highly rewarding and fulfilling but can also be challenging and hard. Studying law focuses on problem-based learning and finding out about the many legal issues. Law school allows you to get information from law professors, many of whom have never practiced law. Sometimes you get a retired judge to teach if you are lucky. Even then, you are probably not attending court regularly and developing collegial relations.

However, med students get hands-on training, learn about the medical field, and find out about medical terms. They make friends with nurses and doctors and help resolve medical problems during residency. This is the traditional way law students learn. They attended the Inns of Court or worked as apprentices, reading law.

“Traditional (actually modern, according to this article about becoming a lawyer without law school here) law schools don’t read law, and they don’t learn in court or an Inn as they used to, says Law Office Study Graduate Michael Ehline.”

If you’re searching for a lawyer right now for your upcoming case, Ehline says:

“One fresh out of law school will not have the hands-on training a properly trained apprentice would have. Even then, a law office study grad will be able to have built a huge cadre of friends along the way to share information with, not to mention having worked with the local courts and perhaps having attended and assisted with trials, depositions, discovery, and litigation,” said Ehline.

Acceptance to Medical Schools and Law Schools

Both law school and medical school provide challenging environments to students because they want them to be the best doctors and lawyers.

Generally, it’s easier for students to get accepted into law school than med school. In a sense, law school doesn’t have as many prerequisites, except you need a bachelor’s degree that can be in any subject. You will also need to pass the law school admission test, which can be easily achieved with the help of quality LSAT prep courses and practice.

However, medical schools require prerequisites like a pre-med degree or biology, as well as taking science electives as an undergrad.

Each school has various acceptance rates and requirements. The general requirements for medical school include:

  • Undergraduate degree within the science field
  • High school diploma
  • Extracurricular activities
  • An undergrad GPA of at least 3.0
  • Minimum MCAT results (each medical school sets the score requirements)
  • Good TOEFL language scores
  • Completion of a pre-med course like humanities, general college chemistry, biology with labs, math (statistics or calculus), college physics with lab.

Overall, the general requirements for law school include:

  • Undergrad degree with no specific courses required (students get admitted to law school for almost any academic discipline)
  • High school diploma
  • LSAT test scores
  • 3.0 GPA for most law schools, but a 3.5 GPA for the top law schools
  • Personal statement of why you want to practice law
  • Letters of recommendation.

What You Learn and How

Both law school and medical school use challenging curriculums for the students. The goal of medical school is primarily to train physicians. The medical students begin their first two years by focusing on a science foundation, such as pathology, pharmacology, and basic sciences. From there, they move to clinical knowledge with problem-based techniques and find out about scientific understanding.

Overall, a medical school requires students to memorize medical terms, diseases, and body systems. Students may take four to five courses at once.

Those first two years of med school include clinical opportunities. From there, they must take the first step of the USMLE exam and then move to the final two years before doing any hands-on medical training. The last two years have focused on clinical training. That’s when students work in hospitals, rotate to different departments, and learn about specializations.

On the other hand, the goal for law school is to teach law and think like a lawyer. In a sense, law school relies more on writing, classroom time, and reading. Professionals in law school tend to engage with law students by reciting case facts and applying legal principles.

Students learn to break down various legal problems into small and individual ones so that they can be analyzed. You can also be taught about evidence, intellectual property, tax, real estate, trial advocacy, and more. Law school isn’t about memorization and thinking. In fact, you must understand things and how to reason. Most law schools have exams after each semester, and they could account for 100% of the grade.

Therefore, med school is more hands-on and requires memorization, whereas law school is focused on critical thinking and analytical work. You’re writing and reading a lot here, but medical school focuses on clinical studies.

Degree Completion

Once you finish your bachelor’s degree, a medical student often needs four years more to complete their medical degree. However, a law degree only takes three years more than earning a bachelor’s degree.

After the Degree

After earning a medical degree, you must start your residency program, which is the internship, to become a medical doctor. While you practice medicine, someone looks over your work all the time. This can last about three to seven years. However, you work immediately after finishing the degree. Once the residency program is complete, you can get a medical license within your state.

doctor with stethoscope

Those who choose to practice law can often start immediately after they graduate, but they must pass the state bar exam. However, it might take a while to begin working with a firm and many years before you work for yourself.

Final Thoughts

One person might say that med school is harder, while another claims that law school is tough. However, it depends on you, your natural abilities, how you learn, and your aptitude as a student. Those who like science may want to choose a medical school, while those who like presenting arguments might prefer law school.

Medical school gives you plenty of hands-on learning and requires you to memorize many things, such as anatomy and medical terms. However, law school requires heavy reading and the ability to learn all aspects of the law.

An overwhelming majority of people focus on the starting salary but don’t think about the skills needed or the long hours they put in just to learn about their profession. It can take a long time before you get a job, which means studying, working hard, and putting much of your social life on hold.

Those who have an upcoming court case or feel they have a claim against someone should call a lawyer for a free consultation is they want to pursue legal action against another party.