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I've been a lawyer for two years. During my UG Biology degree I interviewed for med school twice (Mac two years) but did not get in. I am content being a lawyer but being a doctor is not leaving my mind; in a way I think of not getting in and not becoming a doc as a personal failure and a way that I let myself down previously. Law was the backup plan. It's not that I necessarily dreamed of being a doctor but I could have gotten better grades, done better on the MCAT with better preparation, and prepped better for the interviews I did have. 

I know I would not be a strong candidate but I'm just looking for realistic appraisals of my chances. I am not completely informed on any and all quirks that could affect or help more mature applicants and would appreciate anybody pointing any such things out that might benefit me. 

These are my OMSAS converted grades, based on my quick tabulation:

  • cGPA: 3.57 across all 4 UG years and 3 Law school years.
  • UG GPA: 3.74 (little trend year-to-year: 3.70, 3.76, 3.78, and 3.70)
  • Law GPA: 3.35 (3.37, 3.20, and 3.54)

Law school is a huge handicap for these purposes based on what I've read, since it's treated in med apps as just a normal UG degree. My school had a strict curve where only 15% receive As in any class, which means 60+% are getting 3.0 or 3.3 grades. I don't think any med schools really care about law degree difficulty. Maybe some give brownie points but it's not known or even in their written policies. 

Graduated from UG in 2013 and Law in 2017. 

Wrote the old MCAT and scored a 30, that was with a 13 I believe in VR (hence law school...). I did not take any physics and only took the minimum chem in UG and did not study properly for those portions of the MCAT. I am very confident I could crush the CARS part of the new MCAT and I believe I did very well on CASPer before based on the Mac interview invites. If I were to give this a go, I would use my "maturity" to study much more effectively for the physics/chem/biochem sections of the new MCAT than I did before. 

I have been a solo practitioner lawyer for the last two years doing solicitor work (wills and estate planning, estate administration, real estate, etc.) There is some healthcare-ish stuff with doing Wills and POAs - discussing advanced care planning and substitute decision making, assessing mental capacity, etc. The experience of running a law office and having a lawyer's level of responsibility would probably help in both a potential interview and in making my work experience look meaningful/applicable. I articled in a public interest law job and did poverty law with a large amount of ODSP appeals. In law school I did an intensive experience in disability law, volunteered at speciality legal clinics for people with disabilities and the elderly, and a few other similar things. 

Appreciate any insight. If the grades are just so poor these days that I'd need to pull an unrealistic MCAT number, please be brutally honest and maybe I can reason my way into moving on completely. It would not be fair to say that being a doctor is a dream of mine, but neither was being a lawyer. Being said, I have 35-40 more useful working years and if I think that I would enjoy them more as a doctor, and there is a realistic chance I could get in without, say, doing a new UG degree (not an option - family and bills) then I might give it one more try. 

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People do make the leap from Law to Medicine (I've heard/read of a few cases), and I'm sure there's a physician who's jumped to Law, so it is possible. 

OMSAS says they do not typically count Law grades (Mac explicitly says they do). I'd be curious what anyone has heard from individual schools/OMSAS have to say about "not normally" based on Mac's exception since I'm in a similar place (backup is in the list below). 

Quote

The following are not normally included in the OMSAS GPA:

  • Naturopathic and chiropractic medicine
  • Consecutive Bachelor of Education programs
  • College courses (even if transfer credit is granted)
  • Challenge for credit courses
  • Continuing Education programs
  • Graduate courses
  • Undergraduate courses taken as part of a graduate program
  • JD or LLB programs
  • MD programs

Which means you would be applying with a (undergrad) 3.64 cGPA (3.57 at Mac), a 3.77 best 2 year, and 3.74 2 most recent are not great but you do have some hope. In Ontario Ottawa is out as is Toronto for GPA reasons.  Depending on your MCAT you could be competitive at Western (only need two full-time years (check their definition) above 3.7), Queens, and Mac with a fantastic CARS score and great CASPer. Life experience is supposed to lead to better CASPer results, although you may need to be careful since "being legalistic" is a red-flag for CASPer. As far as grades go, you probably can't excuse undergrad grades, but schools let you write academic explanations essays, and explaining that a 3.8+ GPA (as seems to be the norm applying to Medicine) is essentially impossible in Law may help you at the schools that do count your grades. 

As far as the MCAT score you need, you'll need a minimum of 126 in each section (Queens cutoffs) and to make the most of a rewrite, beat Western's cutoffs and get above a 130 on the CARS section (ideally a max score 132) to overcome the cGPA issue. This isn't "insane" for anyone that was capable of above average law grades, but it is going to be a tough uphill slog. 

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Had 2 classmates who did law then med, and had a few preceptors who practiced law for a while before jumping to med. They all went into Family Medicine(shorter time horizons for getting into earning an income again).

MCAT: Focus on CARS and dominate, and apply to McMaster and do very well on CASPER, until you get to the interview stage.  

If you don't want to do more undergrad(can't imagine you would earning a good living already) this is probably the most viable path.

Otherwise, focus on all the MCAT sections, get a strong score, and apply to McMaster, Western(if your GPA meets the cut off even) and Queens...and consider applying to US medical schools, will just cost alot - which may not be a big deal for you, compared to the time-horizon for eventually *maybe* getting into Mcmaster. 

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Thanks for the input so far. I figured that Mac would be my best chance, if I can do very well on CARS and CASPer. Interesting to know that Queens and UWO could at least be remote possibilities though, depending on the MCAT, based on how they handle GPA. Even if the law marks aren't factored into the GPA calcs I'd imagine it's still incredibly rare for anybody with a UG cGPA or B2/L2 GPA around 3.75 to get into any of these three schools. 

I think it would probably be prudent for me to contact all three of those schools to clarify how they would handle the degrees and GPA. 

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19 hours ago, thefridge said:

I've been a lawyer for two years. During my UG Biology degree I interviewed for med school twice (Mac two years) but did not get in. I am content being a lawyer but being a doctor is not leaving my mind; in a way I think of not getting in and not becoming a doc as a personal failure and a way that I let myself down previously. Law was the backup plan. It's not that I necessarily dreamed of being a doctor but I could have gotten better grades, done better on the MCAT with better preparation, and prepped better for the interviews I did have. 

I know I would not be a strong candidate but I'm just looking for realistic appraisals of my chances. I am not completely informed on any and all quirks that could affect or help more mature applicants and would appreciate anybody pointing any such things out that might benefit me. 

These are my OMSAS converted grades, based on my quick tabulation:

  • cGPA: 3.57 across all 4 UG years and 3 Law school years.
  • UG GPA: 3.74 (little trend year-to-year: 3.70, 3.76, 3.78, and 3.70)
  • Law GPA: 3.35 (3.37, 3.20, and 3.54)

Law school is a huge handicap for these purposes based on what I've read, since it's treated in med apps as just a normal UG degree. My school had a strict curve where only 15% receive As in any class, which means 60+% are getting 3.0 or 3.3 grades. I don't think any med schools really care about law degree difficulty. Maybe some give brownie points but it's not known or even in their written policies. 

Graduated from UG in 2013 and Law in 2017. 

Wrote the old MCAT and scored a 30, that was with a 13 I believe in VR (hence law school...). I did not take any physics and only took the minimum chem in UG and did not study properly for those portions of the MCAT. I am very confident I could crush the CARS part of the new MCAT and I believe I did very well on CASPer before based on the Mac interview invites. If I were to give this a go, I would use my "maturity" to study much more effectively for the physics/chem/biochem sections of the new MCAT than I did before. 

I have been a solo practitioner lawyer for the last two years doing solicitor work (wills and estate planning, estate administration, real estate, etc.) There is some healthcare-ish stuff with doing Wills and POAs - discussing advanced care planning and substitute decision making, assessing mental capacity, etc. The experience of running a law office and having a lawyer's level of responsibility would probably help in both a potential interview and in making my work experience look meaningful/applicable. I articled in a public interest law job and did poverty law with a large amount of ODSP appeals. In law school I did an intensive experience in disability law, volunteered at speciality legal clinics for people with disabilities and the elderly, and a few other similar things. 

Appreciate any insight. If the grades are just so poor these days that I'd need to pull an unrealistic MCAT number, please be brutally honest and maybe I can reason my way into moving on completely. It would not be fair to say that being a doctor is a dream of mine, but neither was being a lawyer. Being said, I have 35-40 more useful working years and if I think that I would enjoy them more as a doctor, and there is a realistic chance I could get in without, say, doing a new UG degree (not an option - family and bills) then I might give it one more try. 

I am usually one of the first to support people on this forum, especially non-trads, in pursuing medicine if they're motivated. There's lot of good reasons to pursue a second career. And medicine can be a very rewarding option, with flexibility (depending on your speciality choices) and interesting work.

The one thing that gives me pause in your posts is the number of times you said that being a doctor is not a "dream" of yours. You say you're content as a Lawyer, although that's also not your dream. I would recommend that you think long and hard about whether it's worth another 6-9 years in school (including all of your lost income as a lawyer) to pursue another career you may also only be 'content' in. Does it really matter that much to prove to yourself that you can get in? You're right that your experiences in law are probably relevant for the applicant, would help you in the interview, and you probably could get in if you applied to the right schools and really put effort into your MCAT, etc. But getting in isn't really the 'success' part. It's just the start of 6-9 years of a lot of work.

If you really think you'll enjoy your remaining 35-40 working years a lot more in Medicine than Law, then I agree with you, that's a good reason to give it a shot. Just . . .be wary of thinking the grass is necessarily greener on the other side. I have both lawyers and doctors in my extended family. Both sets of people are relatively well off and enjoy their work overall, but the lawyers tend to work a LOT less than the doctors.  

Edited by frenchpress
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34 minutes ago, frenchpress said:

I am usually one of the first to support people on this forum, especially non-trads, in pursuing medicine if they're motivated. There's lot of good reasons to pursue a second career. And medicine can be a very rewarding option, with flexibility (depending on your speciality choices) and interesting work.

The one thing that gives me pause in your posts is the number of times you said that being a doctor is not a "dream" of yours. You say you're content as a Lawyer, although that's also not your dream. I would recommend that you think long and hard about whether it's worth another 6-9 years in school (including all of your lost income as a lawyer) to pursue another career you may also only be 'content' in. Does it really matter that much to prove to yourself that you can get in? You're right that your experiences in law are probably relevant for the applicant, would help you in the interview, and you probably could get in if you applied to the right schools and really put effort into your MCAT, etc. But getting in isn't really the 'success' part. It's just the start of 6-9 years of a lot of work.

If you really think you'll enjoy your remaining 35-40 working years a lot more in Medicine than Law, then I agree with you, that's a good reason to give it a shot. Just . . .be wary of thinking the grass is necessarily greener on the other side. I have both lawyers and doctors in my extended family. Both sets of people are relatively well off and enjoy their work overall, but the lawyers tend to work a LOT less than the doctors.  

This is great push back and I appreciate it. There is undeniably an aspect of proving something to myself in considering medicine. 

At 30 years old I've never had an employment dream or anything that felt like one and I'm not expecting one to reveal itself. I think if I do give medicine another shot it will not be out of some naive hope that the grass will be greener but maybe there will be some hope that the grass will be more interesting. 

Career fulfillment is not easy. I think for a lot of people it's not something they find so much as it's something they construct for themselves based on their situation. I think a lot of doctors probably experience low points after med school when their "dream" doesn't ever seem that dreamy. It's possible that after careful consideration of all factors (the comparative jobs, the time, effect on my family, the money and opportunity cost) I end up sticking with law and making it as invigorating for me as I can. The careful consideration stage is important for either direction. 

Interesting that you've emphasized how much less the lawyers work as law is a profession with notoriously bad work/life balance. It depends highly on practice area, of course, as it might in medicine. 

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29 minutes ago, thefridge said:

Career fulfillment is not easy. I think for a lot of people it's not something they find so much as it's something they construct for themselves based on their situation. I think a lot of doctors probably experience low points after med school when their "dream" doesn't ever seem that dreamy. It's possible that after careful consideration of all factors (the comparative jobs, the time, effect on my family, the money and opportunity cost) I end up sticking with law and making it as invigorating for me as I can. The careful consideration stage is important for either direction. 

Interesting that you've emphasized how much less the lawyers work as law is a profession with notoriously bad work/life balance. It depends highly on practice area, of course, as it might in medicine. 

I agree, constructing fulfillment is really important, and I think one can do this in a lot of careers. 'Content' is often as much as many can hope for. Medicine is very interesting though - ultimately, that's why I did it. I had a career I really loved in many ways, but I just couldn't care that much about the subject matter. 

You're right, law is also very variable in work hours! I suppose I made that comparison based on your current practice area you described. Certainly my family in criminal law have had crazy hours. . . but it still doesn't seem as bad as some of the speciality call in medicine by comparison. 

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17 hours ago, thefridge said:

This is great push back and I appreciate it. There is undeniably an aspect of proving something to myself in considering medicine. 

At 30 years old I've never had an employment dream or anything that felt like one and I'm not expecting one to reveal itself. I think if I do give medicine another shot it will not be out of some naive hope that the grass will be greener but maybe there will be some hope that the grass will be more interesting. 

Career fulfillment is not easy. I think for a lot of people it's not something they find so much as it's something they construct for themselves based on their situation. I think a lot of doctors probably experience low points after med school when their "dream" doesn't ever seem that dreamy. It's possible that after careful consideration of all factors (the comparative jobs, the time, effect on my family, the money and opportunity cost) I end up sticking with law and making it as invigorating for me as I can. The careful consideration stage is important for either direction. 

Interesting that you've emphasized how much less the lawyers work as law is a profession with notoriously bad work/life balance. It depends highly on practice area, of course, as it might in medicine. 

Hey - I also worked in law before getting into med school. I would agree it's a bit of change going back to school after having worked for some time. And as you're a solo practitioner, you could definitely continue working (maybe part-time hours) while you're in medical school - that's something I wish I did during pre-clerkship at least. It keeps things interesting and can be a good source of income! 

Perhaps you should consider applying, studying for the MCAT etc, and see how you feel about it during the process. The whole process will take at least a year - you could write the MCAT this summer and apply in the fall. It is possible you'll realize better whether it is something you want to do or not; however, no matter how much you've looked into the profession and how many others you talk to about it, in my opinion its hard to really know what being a medical student/physician is really like until you're there.  For me, so far I do find the subject matter more interesting and I enjoy working with patients (a lot more than sitting in an office and drafting documents and reading caselaw), but the cost (both financially and personally) was higher than I originally imagined. 

 

 

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18 hours ago, frenchpress said:

I agree, constructing fulfillment is really important, and I think one can do this in a lot of careers. 'Content' is often as much as many can hope for. Medicine is very interesting though - ultimately, that's why I did it. I had a career I really loved in many ways, but I just couldn't care that much about the subject matter. 

You're right, law is also very variable in work hours! I suppose I made that comparison based on your current practice area you described. Certainly my family in criminal law have had crazy hours. . . but it still doesn't seem as bad as some of the speciality call in medicine by comparison. 

Yeah law runs the gamut. Bay Street and similar "Big Law" environments are notorious for lawyers working obscene hours in order to meet billable hour targets (or maybe for some just because they love the work and it's their life.) There are also solo practitioners or lawyers in small firms who work very long hours nearly every day too because their practice is just that busy or overwhelming to them. But a good number of lawyer roles are pretty close to normal 40 hour work weeks and I know some senior solo practitioners who work, say, 4 day weeks or take extended winter vacations almost every year. I imagine the spectrum is comparable to medicine when you look at someone in a specialty vs. say a family physician. 

 

59 minutes ago, criston said:

Hey - I also worked in law before getting into med school. I would agree it's a bit of change going back to school after having worked for some time. And as you're a solo practitioner, you could definitely continue working (maybe part-time hours) while you're in medical school - that's something I wish I did during pre-clerkship at least. It keeps things interesting and can be a good source of income! 

Perhaps you should consider applying, studying for the MCAT etc, and see how you feel about it during the process. The whole process will take at least a year - you could write the MCAT this summer and apply in the fall. It is possible you'll realize better whether it is something you want to do or not; however, no matter how much you've looked into the profession and how many others you talk to about it, in my opinion its hard to really know what being a medical student/physician is really like until you're there.  For me, so far I do find the subject matter more interesting and I enjoy working with patients (a lot more than sitting in an office and drafting documents and reading caselaw), but the cost (both financially and personally) was higher than I originally imagined. 

 

Sent you a PM if you don't mind!

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  • 1 month later...

This is just my opinion but I am not sure why you are making this transition. I feel like you probably went to law school without thinking it through and I am guessing you probably didn't go to the top law schools in Canada (based on your stats and the 2019-2020 admission stats) and probably want to switch field now because you don't feel that great in the legal field. Not saying that there is anything wrong if you discovered your true love late but you should really think about why you want to do medicine. Can you picture yourself seeing patients everyday for similar issues (assuming you are a specialist) or general issues (if you are a family doctor) for the next 40 years or more? Do you think you have enough patience and empathy for that? would you be happy doing another 4 years of school plus residency with shit pay and crazy hours? If you just want stability in your life and regular hours professional schools are, by all means, not the only way to go. But this is again my opinion. It is better to grill yourself with these questions now than finding out that you want to transfer field again later. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I relate to the feeling of "failure" so much. To be accurate, not feeling like a failure but the feeling that I am not 100% self-actualized and got what I deserved in life. Maybe for now, just focus on your application, and do everything to get in. After you got your acceptance letter, then unbiasedly decide if you want to stay a lawyer or become a doctor. At that point, it is all about what you want not what you can get.

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