DD undecided - Law or Engineering -

(75 Posts)
hattymattie Thu 20-Dec-12 14:08:58

My daughter is absolutely stressed about what she should study - she would be a great lawyer but also is looking at engineering on the advice of her dad who is a civil engineer. She's not sure what branch of engineering she should look at and also how women get on in this male dominated profession. I would be particularly interested in anybody's experience - their degree, career path, whether they enjoy/regret their career.

Thank you - I know there is a shortage of engineers and too many lawyers so this may be a more sensible option if she enjoys the subject matter.

HelpOneAnother Thu 20-Dec-12 14:37:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HelpOneAnother Thu 20-Dec-12 14:39:50

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ValentineWiggins Thu 20-Dec-12 14:42:31

Engineering...then there is the option of law conversion afterwards...that doesn't work the other way round!

Def engineering. The world will be her oyster. DH is one, and we have had great opportunities. And there are plenty of jobs - from graduate entry upwards.

Wow, law or engineering, they are poles apart smile

What does she love more? Which subjects are currently her strengths? As they are so far removed from one another perhaps she has a preference deep down for one of them and for the subjects required to study it?

wanderingalbatross Thu 20-Dec-12 14:50:10

I am an Engineer, and I think it's a great degree that has a lot of other options for future careers. I'd recommend a general engineering degree as then you can specialise in your third and fourth years, or at masters level, and you get a good grounding in everything. In contrast to what a previous poster said, most of my engineering uni friends have great careers with good salaries. Does your daughter have any specific questions? And does she like maths? Wouldn't do engineering if she's not keen on maths.

Sorry, know nothing about law!

SingingSands Thu 20-Dec-12 14:55:03

Is she interested in healthcare? My degree course was Prosthetics & Orthotics, and awarded by the engineering department of the university. It's not an obvious one!

hattymattie Thu 20-Dec-12 14:55:42

Thank you help - that is food for thought. I did think that in the future we would have a higher demand for engineers and the pay would therefore balance out.

Behind DD1 is good all rounder - this is turning out to be a mixed blessing - she loves English Lit and Physics/Maths - she can choose.

Valentine it's true we are looking at the law conversion option. DH is a consultant - so isn't directly involved in engineering anymore - I should add that we are in France - so DH thinks automatically that grande ecole is the way to go. Her school however says she would bloom more in the UK (I tend to agree with this).

HelpOneAnother Thu 20-Dec-12 15:11:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PeskyPiskie Thu 20-Dec-12 15:43:17

I did a general engineering degree and then a law conversion course. I now work in the tech industry and would recommend taking my path, although it is a long one! It is not necessary (or always desirable) to take a law degree to become a lawyer. If you DD likes engineering and is happy to spend 3 or 4 years studying the subject I think she should take that route. It leaves her with more options at the end e.g. patent attorney.

creamteas Thu 20-Dec-12 15:45:05

Does she have a preferred study method?

Law - lots of reading, long essays, critical assessment
Engineering, - problem solving, more practical, maths

If the mode of study doesn't suit, it is difficult to do well. One of the things I stress at open days to prospective social science students is that if they hate reading and like 'certainly' they are in the wrong place!

wavesandsmilesatSanta Thu 20-Dec-12 16:01:46

Only bits of advice I can add, are that I was another "good all rounder" at school and really struggled with what to study at uni. I did a degree in English (after toying with engineering, funnily enough), and then, some years on, have done the law conversion course. I did this, and the subsequent vocational course by distance learning, and in my limited experience, those who successfully got pupillages. training contracts were those who had not studied only Law, but who had first degrees in other subjects, and work experience in specific sectors which added to their ability to specialise in particular areas of law. It certainly seems easier to move into law, having studied other subjects, than it is to move into other, particularly more specialised, fields.

hattymattie Thu 20-Dec-12 16:17:34

Thank you - waves that is very interesting - I had heard that often law firms prefer people who've done conversion rather than law degrees for this very reason.
pesky what is the tech industry - and what made you do law at the end rather than continuing in pure engineering?

PeskyPiskie Thu 20-Dec-12 16:59:46

I'm in the semiconductor industry and decided against engineering after my sandwich year. I realised that I rather liked being in an office and not on the "shop floor" so I worked in a law firm and then did my conversion course etc. It has proved useful to have a background in engineering for my job. I can at least read a very basic logic diagram and understand the personalities of the engineers in the company I'm in - think The Big Bang Theory but in an office rather than a university grin

LIG1979 Thu 20-Dec-12 18:20:43

I am a medical engineer and love it. We have a real struggle to recruit good engineers so there are always vacant jobs. The pay isn't great compared to city bankers (isn't bad either) but for a job I love and good hours it is worth it. The nhs paid for me to do a masters and diploma and gave me a salary whilst doing this. When I was younger I travelled a fair bit but that was out of choice and not wanting to work in a hospital with no travel. Now I work in cancer treatment in a private company and work in engineering management. Please feel to pm me if you want to know more.

Another advantage of an engineering degree is that it doesn't shut any doors and you can still do a law conversion or patent law later. With a law degree you couldn't then become an engineer without doing another entire degree.

LikeAVirginMary Thu 20-Dec-12 18:32:27

Definitely engineering. An engineer can become a lawyer. A lawyer cannot (without huge expense and time) become a lawyer.

Engineering will also open up many other doors.

hattymattie Fri 21-Dec-12 06:19:31

Thank you for everybody's kind responses - I've let DD1 read the thread so she can have a think. wandering your advice is very positive.

SJisontheway Fri 21-Dec-12 06:54:53

I'm an electrical engineer. Researcher / consultant. I love my job. I have travelled the world, but when it came to settling down, I had no problem getting a good job in my home city. My old uni friends all have such diverse careers - law, banking, IT. It's a fantastic general degree.

HollyMadison Fri 21-Dec-12 06:57:01

If she has the opportunity to speak to lawyers or engineers who are 10 years into their profession that might be a good thing. I'm a lawyer and only know one lawyer my level who likes his job (and he's nauseating to be around). The rest of us daydream about leaving to write a novel, work in a ski chalet or just generally try to find the soul we lost along the way. Not sure what my engineering friends are doing these days. On the plus side, fellow law students will be better dressed...

Suttyshotty Fri 21-Dec-12 07:03:11

Anything but law! I am a lawyer and whilst I love my job, it is almost impossible to find a training contract these days, law firms are full of secretary's with law degrees who cannot qualify, as they cannot find a training contract. The changes in PI law which take place in April are likely to put thousands of lawyers out of work, so there will be even fewer jobs available then. It used to be a good career option but not any more I'm afraid hmm

frenchfancy Fri 21-Dec-12 07:17:33

Not quite sure why some people think you need to go abroad to get a job as an engineer :? Though I do think that at the top end young lawyers are paid more than young engineers, and there isn't the potential to earn millions. But in general engineers can have a better work life balance. It is easier to find a job where you do your hours then go home.

In terms of France vs England, I would chose France for Engineering (Grand école bien sur) but England for Law. With a French Engineering degree she would be able to work all over the word, a French law degree is much more limiting.

Engineering is still male dominated so you do need to have a bit of character about you to get on, I used to work with some shy retiring type girls but they didn't go very far in the proffesion before dropping out. (I'm Chem Eng by the way)

I'm a solicitor and do enjoy my job very much but it's in the public sector. I recruit trainees and NQ lawyers as part of my job and it is very very competitive. And expensive to qualify.

I see a lot of people who have done the LPC/BVC who might never get the opportunity to qualify in either branch of the profession, which is very sad.

oldpeculiar Fri 21-Dec-12 11:23:45

I think with law , employments is very much about 'who you know' rather than 'what you know'

oldpeculiar Fri 21-Dec-12 11:24:20

How old is she now?

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