Obtaining a JD and Masters in Social Work

Are your passions driven by the need to impact society? Are you interested in working with children? Families? Couples? Marginalized or oppressed groups? Do you find yourself frustrated with the legal system? If you answered yes to any of the above, a career in social work and law is for you!

People often make the mistake in believing that social work and legal professions are mutually exclusive, but in fact, they complement each other well.  In both fields, the everlasting impacts are unimaginable as you have the ability to impact the lives of individuals or families who are unable to advocate for themselves, while helping them navigate the complexity of the legal system.

There are many professional paths you can take after getting a Juris Doctor and Masters of Social work:

  • Family Law – legal practice area that focuses on issues involving family relationships, such as adoption, divorce, child custody, paternity, and emancipation
  • Juvenile Advocacy – defend the legal rights of children and help ensure that children’s best interests are protected in the courtroom
  • Elder Law- wide range of legal matters affecting an older or disabled person, including issues related to health care, long term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, etc
  • Women’s Rights Law – protecting women’s rights and protecting victims of domestic violence, rape, assault etc
  • Penology/ Criminal Justice or Corrections: the study of the punishment of crime and of prison management. There are opportunities to be a criminal attorney with more opportunities available within rape crisis centers, police departments, prisons, and juvenile group home residences

And so much more!

Now that you know the professional opportunities, how do you get there?  The amazing part of social work and law is the fact that every path is different. First and foremost, your first step is exposure and research!

Utilize your resources on campus: On Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in the Homer Babbidge Library (HBL) Class of 1847 Conference room from 5:30p.m – 7:00p.m, Careers for the Common Good is teaming up with the UConn School of Social work to bring to you a panel of social work alums within the different areas of Community Organizing, Individuals, Groups and Family’s and Policy Practice to talk about their experiences in the field Social work. Come enjoy refreshments, hear their stories and network with the professionals after the panel!

Next, research programs that offer a dual degree program in obtaining a Juris Doctor and Degree in Social work. Here are some key facts to know when applying to Law Schools.

  • You can major in ANYTHING
  • Law schools do require you take a Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
  • You have to get accepted into both programs
  • Takes a total of four years to obtain both degrees; three for JD and 2 for Social work (they overlap in year 2 and 3);
  • Many states require a social work license in order to practice
  • Must pass the BAR exam to be certified attorney within the state you take it in

Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life is stressful, but let your passions drive you to whatever you are meant to do. Obtaining a master’s degree in Social work and a Juris Doctor gives you wiggle room in how you can impact the next person within your community.

By Ashley Andino
Ashley Andino Career Intern