The Difference Between Doctors and Lawyers

Health_Healthcare.jpgSince I started my series about Medicine and the Law, I’ve been thinking a lot about a debate I used to have with my friends when I was younger. Some of my friends wanted to be lawyers, others wanted to be doctors. At that time, doctors were paid more than lawyers. Since that time, lawyers are paid more than doctors.

At the heart of this debate were a few simple questions:

  • Who works harder, doctors or lawyers?
  • Who should get paid more?
  • Whose job is most important?

CourthouseI’ve always felt that doctors worked harder than lawyers. That medicine is a profession with no restrictions to work hours and that law is a corporate type of job with restrictions. I understand that in every profession there are difficult and less difficult specialties. Radiologists, physiatrists, and dermatologists are all doctors but they definitely don’t work as hard or as long of hours as surgeons, traumatologists, or intensivists. Similarly, litigators are under a lot of stress and must work after hours to prepare for cases. If clients get in trouble after hours, they must attend to them. On the other hand, there are contract lawyers that review contracts and don’t spend time in front of judges or juries. So in both professions there are those that work hard and long hours.

One key difference for me is that doctors are responsible for care at all hours of the day and night. If your doctor doesn’t see you when you need him/her you can die and bad things can happen. If your lawyer doesn’t see you, perhaps something bad can/will happen, but you can always get another attorney or if you get in trouble one will be assigned to you.

I guess both doctors and lawyers must take their work home at night. But when you are a doctor and someone is in the hospital, you must field calls from nurses all night. Lawyers don’t really have the same sort of torture and can sleep.

I definitely feel that doctors have more important jobs than lawyers. I know I am biased and that many of you will probably be upset and disagree, but the truth is that all across the world you can live without a lawyer, but you can’t live without doctors.

SurgerySo who should get paid more? Well, in most other countries outside the U.S. doctors do not make much money. They probably get more respect but don’t get paid as much. I still feel that doctors should get paid more than lawyers, but the payment mechanism of this country continues to punish physicians. But this is for several reasons including the inability of the government to pay for the aging population, the rising costs of healthcare, and the sheer necessity of providing care to everyone in need. Perhaps those facts reveal that medicine is more important than law — those that cannot afford lawyers simply don’t get them and they do fine. But people need doctors to stay healthy and doctors but there are too many people that need doctors and it is too expensive for the government to pay for them all.

One final note is that I think it is interesting that the payment mechanism in law has not changed. Lawyers continue to get paid exorbitant hourly wages. The more senior attorney you are the higher your hourly rate. Lawyers get paid more for longer cases or more complicated ones. And most importantly, there is no incentive for lawyers to make things short and sweet — doing so decreases their billable hours.

But doctors have an incentive to work fast. They don’t get paid hourly. In fact, when they spend more time with someone it reduces their economic productivity.

I don’t need to spell out how to change this system. Anyone with a pea of a brain could figure out how to incentivize physicians to work more effectively.

Hopefully none of my lawyer friends are reading this!

  • Justin

    I’m afraid you don’t know much about the legal profession. Criminal lawyers are indeed under substantial deadlines and often great stress on behalf of their clients. Have you ever been wrongly accused of malpractice? Have you ever been put in front of the medical licensing board? Your livelihood is at stake and it is often a single attorney’s actions which determine the rest of your future as a physician.

    And as you mentioned there is a great deal of range within the profession. The most tedious of lawyers are simply parsing a linguistic code and applying it to a specific case. Similarly, the most tedious of doctors are no more than well-trained mechanics. Neither deserve half of the money or prestige attributed to the exceptional practitioners of the same field.

    The lawyer gives you your freedom, the doctor your life. I personally can not do without — and think as you will on Patrick Henry’s famous quote:

    Give me liberty or give me death

    • Anonymous

      This was one of the most one-sided things I have ever read. Lawyers have an easier time sleeping? Uh, lawyers hold the fate of other people’s lives in their hands. Depending on what type of law- let us say toxic torts law where someone is dying of a terminal disease due to asbestos. They hire you so that they can sue the company responsible in order that they can leave their family money after they die but the case looks bleak because your client has failing memory and seems to misremember things. I think you might have a hard time sleeping at night.

      Also, being afforded a crappy attorney in place of the attorney you once hired is not a good thing. If someone is sick and their doctor is busy, are there usually not other doctors that would take care of you (ehem, the ER doctors)?

    • Emanuel

      Yeah dude, you don’t know much about the legal profession at all. I have a buddy in residency at Weil and our hours are roughly the same (I’m a corporate attorney). I have a blackberry (much like a doctor’s pager!) that makes me accessible to partners, to other associates, partners and even clients and they will call you to work at any time of day or night. This year alone I’ve billed at least three 300 hour months (which only accounts for the time I billed, not the time I was actually at work). And even as a junior attorney your work can literally be the reason for millions (or even billions) of dollars in losses or gains. I nearly helped wreck a $54M financing in May over some signature pages (it closed! :). Being a doctor is amazing, but don’t sleep on Law when it comes to rigor and importance of the work.

  • Lawyers and doctors both have strict jobs that demand more out of them then they ever want to give. I am in neither profession so I do not have a biased but I believe doctors have a harder job out of the two.

    Doctors are forced to deal with patients every hour of the day. Lives of people are always in the hand of the doctor. Justin mentions “Give me liberty or give me death” but their suspects are alive after court cases. Patients could die if there is a problem in the Operation Room.

    Lawyers work hard and long hours to provide freedom to their clients. They are always going over contracts and evidence to contradict the opposing argument.

    Lawyers keep people free. Doctors keep people alive.

    My vote needless to say is Doctors. Doctors have a harder job than lawyers.

    • Anonymous

      What’s the difference between dying and being locked away due to a life sentence? Either way your life is over, they both contribute a great deal to society, we shouldn’t be comparing their importance against each other.

    • james

      Doctors are not forced to take care of their patients throughout the day, for every hour. They are on call, but they don’t see patients every hour of the day. This is an exaggeration. And those doctors that have this sort of position, are rare.

      Currently many doctors go through early retirement, and on the other side, many doctors are being forced into bankruptcy. Some live a very lavish life, but its believed that they deserve it.

      There are currently more people in America who are being penalized for some sort of crime in comparison to people in hospitals. Also, there are immigrants trying to start a better life in this country, which adds up to even more millions. There are people who are wrongfully accused, people facing death sentences, people who are in need of protection from cases which include domestic violence, rape, murder, stalking, all kinds of dangerous acts. Who will help you? your doctor? no, your lawyer will take the burden from your shoulders, and shift it onto his own shoulders. When you are in dire straights with banks and other creditors, and you owe hundreds of thousands of dollars or else you will be stripped of everything you have, who will help you? your doctor? no, your lawyer will.

      Now, I am not saying that lawyers are smarter than doctors, but give a lawyer the respect they deserve, they are the top 5% of the intelligent population of the world. Without lawyers, consider your freedoms, and safety from the government and other suing entities goodbye. After all, when a doctor is in dire straights, they come to lawyers for help to fix their problems because they dont know how. And when a lawyer is in dire straights, they will come to a doctor to fix their problems as well. They are equal.

    • Anonymous

      Doctors excel at mathematics and science, much better and more reliable indicators of intellect than verbal prowess. As an educator of 16 years, mathematical genius is a rare treasure that knows no socio-economic boundaries. Verbal skills, on the other hand, reflect the socio-economic and educational status achieved by parents. In short, math geniuses can come out of the ghetto, whereas those of elevated and persuasive vernacular are trained monkeys from the houses on the hill.

      Lawyers are overpaid liars and actors.

      • Anna

        I am 100% agreed with you. lawyers are big liars. If you don’t pay them upfront they will not represent you.
        On the other hand – no matter what as a doctor he or she has to treat you. They do not get pay by the hour as lawyer does. doctor gets pay by the insurance. Sometime doctor did not get pay from the insurance.

        • Anonymous

          “If you don’t pay [lawyers] upfront they will not represent you.”

          Hahaha. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you will be appointed one at no cost. If you cannot afford a doctor, there’s a cemetery down the street.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t agree with you Spring Valley!

  • I do not get why we are talking about doctors and lawyers here. At least after these cases they are alive and functioning regardless of the outcome! People at the center of these cases are PEOPLE, with lives and families and people who love them. YES everything should be done that is humanely possible to restore them to a somewhat level of functioning, ONCE EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DONE the person is no more – not on this planet anyways.

    I completely understand the position of Mrs. Shiavo’s parents. I can’t bare to think about what they went through for all those years – I sampled it for 14 weeks and almost lost my mind – those poor people. You want so badly to believe that the person is going to be OK. Once the person actually looses conscousness the same feelings as death sets in for the loves ones. Has anyone ever heard about the stages of grief? Anyone ever heard about denial?

    For me it was 7 years ago and I can look back now with much clearer thoughts. I wanted my wife to live so bad that I would have also kept her alive no matter what condition she would have been in. Let me ask you one question: HOW FAIR WOULD THAT HAVE BEN TO HER? Do you think she would have wanted to live like that? Of course she would have chosen life – BUT NOT LIKE THAT!

    I’m glad that Mr. Shiavo had the ability to let his wife go and not live as a vegetable. And for those who talk about him being with someone else – HIS WIFE HAS BEEN GONE FOR 12 YEARS – should he live as he is also dead? I didn’t date for over 4 years after my wifes passing and believe me I didn’t really want to and only did so after much convincing by people who cared about me.

    The right thing happened here, I would not have said this 7 years ago, but after having so much time to reflect I am glad that he had the ability to let his wife move on and the power to move on himself!

  • MB

    Your whole argument is premised on the assumption that all lawyers are corporate lawyers, or work for big firms. You also don’t seem to recognize how great and complex the legal needs of people living in poverty in this country are. And your commenters are right to bring up criminal lawyers but there are also a whole bunch of other lawyers providing essential legal services that are not criminal. I am a public interest lawyer, as are most of my friends. We represent people caught up in the criminal justice system (who are overwhelmingly poor and minorities, and often mentally ill), we represent victims of employment discrimination. In my case, I represent prisoners who are abused (sometimes to death, but in the best of cases, before that can happen), and people with disabilities who have lost the ability to work and are being screwed over by their insurance companies when it comes to long-term disability benefits. We get paid at most 1/4 what our friends in firms make, it is (for perverse reasons) more competitive to get a job in our field, and we also get paid far less than doctors. And in fact, what we do does affect people’s lives in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it is life and death, sometimes it is the ability to have shelter, to have access to benefits for food, to maintain ties with your family, to earn a living, etc.

    I’m not suggesting that lawyers are “more important” than doctors. If forced to choose, I might choose doctors, but I don’t find the question particularly interesting or useful. I just want to make it clear that you are talking about a particular type of lawyer and a particular type of client, and you may well be right when it comes to them, but your comments suggest a real blindness to the experience of people living in poverty in this country and the extent of their powerlessness in the legal system without the work of public interest lawyers.

  • I’m a prosecutor, busily catching up all those minority and mentally ill people in the criminal justice system. I roll out at least two nights a week on search warrants, and after 18 years on the job I’ve reached my maximum salary of $92,000.

    I had no idea I was so much better off monetarily than an 18 year experience doctor!

    Seriously, I do my work because I love it. There’s more to satisfaction than a pay check, and I’ll never complain. If I wanted to do something else that paid more, I would. I suspect there are few doctors who quit, because most of them don’t doctor just for the money.

    • Becky

      I disagree with you. People are always going to need lawyers. To get them out of legal trouble. Doctors don’t always know what they’re doing. No offense. And I never heeard of a lawyer killing one of their clients.

  • Anonymous

    Doctors make more than lawyers — $250,000 for an anesthesiologist, $92,000 is nothing.

  • MPJ

    Just remember that there are plently of lawyers out there who are getting rich off of doctors for frivolous claims. Forget about who’s job is harder (the answer is medicine because it takes a minimum of 7 yrs of post-graduate training compared to three for lawyers)…the true question is who’s job is more respected. I haven’t heard too many doctor’s jokes that start out “What’s the difference between a dead dog in the road and a dead….” We work harder, train longer, and generally get reimbursed well…but at least we aren’t the topic of sleazeball jokes. Lawyers are a necessary evil…nothing more. And the answer to the joke is that there are skid marks in front of the dead dog…not the dead lawyer.

    • KD

      I am in my final year of FRCS neurosurgery training. Prior to that I worked 6 years as an M&A lawyer for one of the big firms and then ended up at a hedge fund. I can state without a shadow of a doubt that high end corporate law is a far more difficult proposition than even neurosurgery. As a neurosurgeon absolutely every task I perform is as a result of thorough training and learning in a collegiate environment. My experience in law was far different. We get thrown in the deep end from day one (I was given a $140m takeover on day one and ended up doing an all nighter on my first day as a lawyer)- all with a minimum degree of supervision. The attitude in big firms is that they seek to hire the brightest possible law students and lateral recruits who can then spend as much time on money making billables as opposed to training. If i actually got time to spend with a partner it was a miracle – they were far busier doing billables or business development work themselves. Also, the money in top end law is obscene. There is absolutely no arena within Medicine (even derm and plastics) that competes. There are top end partners earning in excess of a million a month aty some of the big firms and within the hedge fund/private equity space – i know no less than 10 such lawyers who banked over $100m last year…

      In medicine, you are trained. In high end law, there is no such thing. You either have the IQ and put in the hours to survive and ensure a succesful outcome for your client but god help you if a deal fails due to your incompetence.

      I much prefer the practice of medicine but corporate M&A is by far and away the absolute scariest area of practice.

  • Doug

    Both Doctors and Lawyers are important but based on data world wide and and our national well being it would seem we have an abundance of one and a shortage of another.

  • LMG

    Obviously, you’ve never had to work with lawyers who are dealing with/appealing death-penalty cases. The phrasing of the question is a set-up to pit doctors and lawyers against each other — furthermore, it really self -aggrandizing — a set-up to promote the status of the doctors as ‘gods’ — all so-much-better and all-so-much-morally superior than the the rest of humanity.

    The truth is that we really all need each other…no man (or woman) is an island — so it really doesn’t help compare professions by asking “who works harder” or who is better or smarter. Nurses often work harder than both lawyers and doctors and often don’t get nearly the same compensation.

    • Anonymous

      Just want to clarify this, nurses don’t work and never work more than doctors. I’m a nurse, studied for 4 years, worked as one for 6 years, I had duties that would go up to 24 hours a day. Now I’m a doctor. During my internship a 24 hour duty was normal. In fact it could go up to 48 hours or more with an exam around 7 hours after that duty.

  • Lesley

    I’m a South African lawyer.. we’ve got very few doctors and very difficult healthcare circumstances and heaven knows I think doctors are way more important.
    But i think what we sometimes forget is that humans individually make the choices that end them up needing doctors and lawyers… lawyers get to solve conflicts between people and doctors perhaps conflicts within people..or the outcomes of choices people make.
    The HIV pandemic in SA has to be seen to be believed but it takes place because of choices (and they are informed choices believe me) that people make.
    So although doctors and lawyers are important – lawyers are helping people avoid the consequences of their own idiocy more directly while we feel more compunction for the person suffering physically from their poor choices..
    There’s no conflict at all between us either and I think although doctors work harder when they’re younger in their carreers and get to slack off later – it works the other way around for lawyers, you work harder as you get older..
    And there are NO goalposts.. there are lawyers (cheap and poor) and lawyers (filthy rich) and doctors and doctors likewise ! Life ain’t as tidy as the question assumes ~!

  • Anders

    What are you, twelve? My dad can kick your dad’s ass. Because he’s an engineer, and tecnhology is what has made our whole society possible.

  • marc

    Neither profession is more important than the other. I say this as a practicing physician and lawyer. Because these are separate and distinct fields of study and practice, a practitioner of the other, though well acquainted with the quirks of his field, cannot presume to know everything about the other profession to warrant a conclusion.
    As to who is more important, doctors tend to be the popular choice because of the ridiculous academic preparation, the long hours of work, all the hype that goes with the stethoscope and scrubs, and the age-old “good doctor” stereotype. While we are in the business of handling and saving lives, sometimes attention need be drawn only to cases where no lives hang on the balance. In a way, they also do not have the burden of having to ponder on legal implications at every turn.
    All doctors undergo the same required training before they settle into their more comfortable specialties. It may be true that most doctors start off idealistic, sadly a few end up slaves to their doctor’s fees behind the mask of continuing discipline.
    Lawyers on the other hand bear the brunt of ridicule because of the actions of a few misguided fellow practitioners, the protracted and tedious adversarial nature of litigation, and the number of “compromises” they have to make along the way. But the study of law is unique, and though it requires less time, is by no means any easier than that of medicine. The same goes with actual practice. Curiously, the level of government supervision and legal ethics impose higher standards of integrity on lawyers. The efforts of lawyers maintain a certain degree security not only to lives but to the world economy, and to the justice system as well. In comparison to the medical field, the legal field is far- reaching and almost all-encompassing.
    The courtroom drama captures the imagination and respect of many, and often times the wining client sees his counsel as a god. Similarly, the ER scene and hospital demi-gods can make for popular media features.
    The money each makes differs per country. In my opinion, regardless of profession, how much you make depends on how enterprising you are. Unfortunately, medical and legal ethics discourage running the profession like a business.
    Doctors rarely want to have anything to do with legalities, much less having to deal with lawyers. Lawyers on the other hand rarely ever want to dabble with medical details, and the fact that the two professions clash over medico-legal issues does not in reality strengthen the notion that the medical field is a fertile area for litigation.
    In fairness to doctors, many all over the world are underpaid and over-worked. The same can be said for lawyers.
    We love to hear about exceptional individuals who work selflessly for the welfare of the impoverished many. Many doctors and lawyers work in the spirit of service. They immerse themselves into the crevices of society, concealed from the wealth-loving public. Similarly, the legal profession is tainted by the poison of a few “bad-apples” within the system. But bad-apples exist also in comparable numbers in all professions. The medical profession is not exempted. And who do we call when our reputations are in danger? Lawyers!
    I agree completely that life must be held precious above all other mundane things. But a life without justice is no life at all. Doctors may need lawyers just as lawyers may need doctors. Its funny how we often think too highly of ourselves over the next guy, until the time we find ourselves needing him.

    A salute to all Doctors and Lawyers who faithfully and ethically practice their professions!

  • Anonymous

    well put jc.when one looks at the amount of stress that doctors go through.its obvious they desrve much more.

  • Matthew

    In the United States, those working in each category of occupation that requires the M.D. or D.O. degree make appreciably more than any category of lawyers for which data are reported. If there were some clean of way of separating New York securities lawyers and lawyers who do class action plaintiffs’ work, maybe you could show that those few individuals, on average, make more than most categories of doctors.

  • Anonymous

    I wanted you to highlight about dealth sentences by lawyer.

  • lawyer

    “Lawyers continue to get paid exorbitant hourly wages. The more senior attorney you are the higher your hourly rate.”

    You confuse what one bills with what one gets paid. Regardless of where you practice, these are never the same.

  • Dr. Law

    Doctors are important (and paid substantially higher than laywers) for one reason. There is an intentional shortage of doctors in the United States. The U.S. produces 18,000 medical school graduates and has 25,000 specialty training residency slots each year. 7,000 of those slots are taken up by those who were trained outside the United States because the U.S medical schools do not produce anywhere near enough graduates to meet the demand of the U.S.’s aging population. The U.S. could easily increase medical school enrollment to 30,000+ each year, which would drive down medical costs, and unfortunately physician salaries. The American Medical Association will keep putting out propaganda such as this blog article to divert attention from the increasing shortage of physicians in the United States.

  • Anonymous

    This is just silly. I think that doctors shouldn’t speak of the legal profession and attorneys shouldn’t speak of the medical profession. Both are insanely inaccurate about the other. It is no different than the battle of the sexes. Men don’t know what it is like to be a woman. Women don’t know what it’s like to be a man. When one claims to understand or know better than the other, an argument usually ensues. Who is correct? Probably neither. That is just common sense folks. You do NOT know anything about a profession until you’ve been a part of it. Just like you don’t know what it is like to be a man if you are a woman and visa versa. For example, most people do not know that though firms bill hundreds of dollars per hour new attorneys in small firms often get paid less than $50,000. Six figure salaries go to less than 10% of each graduating class. Some secretaries make more. There are NO restrictions on the number of hours an attorney can work and corporate attorneys can actually work MORE hours than criminal attorneys. My personal viewpoint is unless you’ve done both professions your comments are likely just an expression of ignorance.

  • jt

    the difference is the doctors salary is not delineated by the free market but from price fixing by medicare in the USA.

    you cant pay more for a good doctor.
    you cant pay less for a cheap surgeon.

    you cant pay more for an Ivy League educated physcian or a “top doc”

    lawyers can choose their fee schedule.

  • +Shane+

    To be strict and straight, I guess your “Obiter Dicta” (opinion wise) was stated not very accurate. I’m a law practitioner myself and I’ve always have reasonable thoughts about both of tese professions, and I think that both medicine and legal fields are or adequately spoken; were very much tough occupations. Basically, I do not think that you’ve offended everyone else in this reply room, the understandings of both professions will not have an ending; who said that the existence of law must be exempted? Without the aids and supports of the legal field, the world will now proably be in the state of chaos and will become disorganized, which will gravely lead to uncivilization. It’s not actually about the matter of payment, as doctors and lawyers were both very respetable professions. It was admitted that doctors usually have most of the good hearted wiseness and they provide sufficient careness to their patients; but think again, we lawyers also shared the same aspect as the physicians, lawyers must perform full duty and carry out full responsibility like doctors to protect their clients as well until their last breath. Doctors could not refuse to treat their patients when they were caught in an emergency; but think again, same goes to lawyer; are we really’ve been given a choice, to refuse? Of course not, lawyers can’t always or even think of refusing to accept cases approached to them. This is a matter of the Duty of Care (DOC) in which greatly experienced by both professions at the same time. That is why, this is an atmosphere of neutrality. I could not agree solely on doctors are more important than lawyers. Without doctors, there’ll be the end of humanity due to the causes of health issues and diseases; but without lawyers, there’ll be the end of humanity as well due to the lack of guidance in a civilization, or even historical reforms that had changed the world. Please bear in mind that reforms and revolutions were done by the ones whom practiced law and order. So, basically doctors and lawyers are equally important in this world.

  • lawyer

    The question is petty. Are you really a doctor or just a med school hopeful with something to prove?

    I’ve not practiced medicine so I can’t speak to it. However I have doctors and they have saved my life more than once. I am grateful for their work. I help people navigate the extremeley complex regulations governing our society so that they can live fulfilling lives. People are grateful for my work. Once a week, two men come in a truck and they take the garbage from the front of my house. I am grate for their work -it keeps my lawn clean and I save the time of driving to the dump.

    There is no more or less important. We all have our roles to play. There is no need to try to lord your education or workload over others like a weapon. Jobs are not paid what they’re worth, they are paid what the market will bear. These are generally not the same.

  • james

    Hmm… My grandmother is a doctor, but she doesn’t have a degree, from her experiences she has saved the lives of many people. Certified doctors who have patients who can’t pay for the medical work, send their patients that they refuse to help to my grandmother. My grandmother helps them for free, and if they wish to compensate her for her work, they do, if they don’t, then they don’t. I have learned that if a client does not have the money to pay the lawyer, the lawyer may not refuse service to the client. The lawyer must continue to provide services regardless of the clients welfare. Who is more noble? Ive never heard of pro-bono doctors, but i have heard of pro-bono attorneys. Also, it is a requirement for lawyers to do a particular amount of pro-bono work every year to keep their bar license.

  • 3L

    I am wrapping up my JD, so I am going the lawyer path myself.

    You don’t have to pick between the two though. There are joint degree between JD and DO,MD,PharmD,etc.

  • Interesting post and ensuing thread… not enough time to add my own comments though… too busy curing fatal diseases and getting innocent people off death row.

    Sheesh. Arguing over which of the learned professions is more important or more deserved to be recipients of greater financial reward is a bit egotistical and self aggrandizing.

    – Paul

    • And to be sure, I’ve done my bit of sticking up for both professions against the public’s scorn (for the record more people hate lawyers than doctors – that is an easy argument to win). Of course, I really don’t spend my days curing fatal diseases or working with death row inmates… some have called what I do ambulance chasing… of course, not my clients. As do many people in many professions, I work my butt off (yet it’s still there), would love to be better respected for what I do, and feel what I do is very important… and I like to think every hardworking person deserves the same.

      – Paul

  • @James


    Your grandmother is either a nurse, or illegally practicing medicine.

    Either way, NOT a “doctor” The very word “doctor” means DOCTORATE.

    -seriously thats like the kids who thinks every deputy is a sheriff.

  • @paul

    What made you go with both paul?
    Did you do a joint degree, or one and then the other later?

  • Answering “What made you go with both paul? Did you do a joint degree, or one and then the other later?”

    I got my M.D. in 1991 and worked as an urgent care physician since then. I got my J.D. in 2005 and then started my own law firm with one partner. Though I practice law full time, I continue to practice medicine. I could talk for hours (and sometimes do, to the dismay of those within earshot) of how the field of medicine has changed over the last twenty years from one of a calling which required an incredible amount of study and “practice” to properly care for “PATIENTS” one that involves making sure the “CUSTOMERS” are happy. Funny thing, though, now that I don’t practice medicine full-time, I like it more than ever when I do.

    – Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
    Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
    Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
    980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
    Corona, CA 92879
    (951)520-9684 /

    “When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor… Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D… Call (888)MDJDLAW.”

    * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
    ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.

    • TYPO… “… an incredible amount of study and “practice” to properly care for “PATIENTS” into… one that involves making…”

      – Paul

  • Anonymous

    The thing is … Nobody cares … It is completely irrelevant which job is harder or more in demand. What matters is that both profession, all professions, in fact, have easy and hard parts, and ALL professions are fundamental to society’s existance. Take firefighters for instance. The one’s that run into the buildings require courage and training. The ones that hold the hose need no more training than a four year old learning to piss in a urinal.

  • i disagree

    man this article is biased.we all need each thing you should know is that you can also live without a doctor just go to africa there are prophets who can heal any disease including cancers and hiv.just search on google.

  • Ari

    I am both a lawyer and a physician and let me tell you: both are demanding, but nothing kicks you in the rear like medical residency. Being a doctor is so much more demanding. It’s lives at stake.

  • Ali

    Your article sucks. You obviously don’t know anything about law. I remember you said “you can live without a lawyer”. So if someone sues a docter cause of a mistake, then who is gonna save him?.????????? I guess a LAWYER!!!!!but you said you can live without a lawyer.

    • Anonymous

      Noone would sue the doctors if there were no lawyers to begin with though.

  • Anonymous

    You have GOT to be kidding! I have seen a lawyer maybe twice in my lifetime. I have seen a doctor maybe 3 times a year…for a Pap Smear or some sickness. If I had to choose between the two, I would say a doctor or anyone in the medical profession is more important to me. I am not a criminal or have anything that I need a lawyer for. I guess we own a house and saw our lawyer once to set up the deed, but that’s about it. Sorry, lawyers are a dime a dozen (because I know far too many) and doctors prescribe me antibiotics for my UTI or something or other. I rather pay my doctor than my lawyer. Man, you guys must be serious criminals or doing something underhanded to need a lawyer as badly as a doctor. I feel bad for you. In general, in a person’s normal lifespan, they will need a doctor far more than they will ever need a lawyer if they are NORMAL, everyday people. Lawyers probably need to work harder to keep their clients because if they f*** up, all the person needs to do is go to another lawyer next door for their needs. Getting a good doctor is far harder than getting a good lawyer especially if you are limited by your insurance provider or not having any insurance. Do they work harder? Who cares?!!??? I am not going to go to a lawyer if I needed to be treated for cancer or infections. I can get some free advice online if I need legal advice for something trivial. Sorry, I am no murderer, drunk driver, or criminal. Most lawyers end up being politicians anyways. If it were the end of the world and there was nothing left but a doctor and a lawyer, I’d keep the doctor and kick the lawyer to the curb.

    • Anonymous

      Well said.

  • Anonymous

    Look, to put it ever so simply…they are both enormously important professions in society.
    I am a medical student (3rd year…2 more years to go!) 😀 and I know for a fact that when it comes to life or death doctors are obviously the most important. Without them many people will die…FACT!
    But having said that, lawyers are there to help improve our quality of lives (not in the medical way). So many things can go wrong i.e. compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault to housing problems where the landlord is being unjust with you. Their job is to exercise your rights as a human being to not be bullied by others and so that you are treated fairly.
    How on earth can you compare the two?! Good god people, listen to yourselves, “Err doctors are better”, “No lawyers are better”. This is stupid, they don’t work in the same field, they don’t study the same subjects and their roles are completely different.
    In a nutshell, doctors are there to help us live longer, lawyers are there to improve our lives from injustice. Simple. Lawyers do not help us live longer and doctors do not deal with injustice.

    • Anonymous

      I am studying law ryt now nd believe me it is very

  • Fred

    Dr.JC seems to be Indian, in India they have these kind of ‘i am better’ mentality.
    Source: I am Indian.

    • Anonymous


  • Chris Svenstrom

    Without a just society, living is not worth it. One needs a civil society.
    Why do (or did, as our system is breaking down, due to politics) most people want to live in the US? Why did people stream into this country over the last 200 years? Because of doctors? They wanted to live here because we were a nation of civil laws with minimal corruption. Lawyers maintained that.
    So you can have all the doctors you want in Syria, or Sudan or Iran or North Korea, or Saudi Arabia or Iraq or China or Venezuela but those are uncivil countries with no freedom — and lots of corruption — no sense of law. Many American medical students study in Mexico — do they stay there? No. They come back here where to the land of the free and the home of the brave –incidentally, where all the so called ‘bad’ lawyers live. The doctors all want to come here because we have freedom and liberty provided by law, which is enforced and maintained by lawyers (of course now this appears to be changing, but that is another subject). Doctors are important, but you can have millions of doctors living in a corrupt, dismal society, like those mentioned above.

  • Anonymous

    Humanity has always evolved from morality.No society has ever evolved from legality.Lawyer profesion is useless.If i know my case very well then why should I hire an attorney and waste my money.People who cannot do anything opt for law as it involves merely mugging up the laws and no innovational brains.

  • stupid article

    clearly, you do not realized that lawyers are doing (a) risk management, (b) negotiations, (c) solving problems, and (d) mitigating losses.


Dr. JC is a medical doctor who has a passion for health promotion and education.

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