Advantages of a JD/MBA
Recently a number of people have emailed me asking about salary statistics for JD/MBA graduates. This is very hard to quantify as there is no such thing as a "JD/MBA position". JD/MBA graduates work as attorneys or in business and their salaries will correlate strongly (at least in the short term) with their JD or MBA counterparts depending on the route they choose. Many large law firms are now offering recent JD/MBA graduates a bonus and or 2nd year associate status.
Here is a very interesting link from Columbia (but a few years old) with bonus statistics for new JD/MBA hires.
Some drawbacks of a JD/MBA:
Clearly the bonus itself will not pay for the extra year (the Northwestern 3 year JD/MBA program is an exception) of school and opportunity cost of giving up another years income.
Some law firms may be scared that JD/MBA graduates will be more likely to leave in a few years for jobs in finance or business. These firms need to be convinced of your passion to practice law or they will be hesitant to hire you.
Unlike top law schools, most top MBA programs will not admit people without significant full time work experience. For those with limited work experience it may become slightly easier to gain admission to business school after already being admitted to law school. Many JD/MBA programs will allow law students to apply to the business school during their first year at the law school.
Some advantages of a JD/MBA:
Increased flexibility: It will be much easier to leave a law firm job to go in house at a corporation, investment bank, venture capital firm, etc later in your career.
More credibility: As a lawyer your clients (business people) will respect you more if they feel you can understand their business and financial statements, etc. An MBA may help here. This may help you with rainmaking (bringing in clients) or making partner at a law firm (which is a business itself) down the road. This does not imply that without an MBA you cannot be credible. Most attorneys learn what they need to about business on the job and do just fine.
Of course you do not need to practice law at all. A JD will help you make better decisions in the business world if you decide to go the business route right away after a JD/MBA program. Investment Banking is a common option here. However if you are sure you do not want to ever practice law you should think carefully about going to law school at all. Just about any business (non legal job) is accessible without a JD and a MBA may suffice by itself.
If you are an entrepreneur at heart like me you may also find that having a JD may make it easier to raise capital for new businesses, etc as it will increase your credibility. My goal is to ultimately start my own hedge fund and or venture capital firm with an emerging market (China) focus. For finance related jobs a CFA is perhaps just as good or even better (depending on your MBA program) as an MBA. I recommend that as well.