5 Reasons Why a Pharmacist Would Go to Law School

Some of us have contemplated returning to school, but what do those who've done it say about the experience?

Some of us have contemplated returning to school, but what do those who’ve done it say about the experience?

I decided to ask Tad Ushijima, BSPharm, JD, about it, including what drove him to venture down a new career path.

Tad has been a retail pharmacist for more than 18 years, and he has experience as both a staff pharmacist and manager. He completed his JD in 2014 while working full-time as a pharmacy manager, and he currently works as a managed care pharmacist.

Here are 5 reasons why Tad went to law school:

1. For a change of pace.

After 18 years in various retail settings, Tad decided it was time for a change of pace. He needed to challenge himself to break up his daily routine.

2. To gain indispensable knowledge and skills.

While vacationing in Japan, Tad noticed that the future of pharmacy is becoming more automated. Over his years of working in retail, he has seen the scope of practice shift, and he wanted to ensure that he stayed valuable in terms of knowledge and skillset.

3. For self-improvement.

Along with taking on more responsibility by training for upper management in his company, Tad wanted to gain experience by pushing himself to do the tasks he didn’t care for. He hated to read and write, but he knew that going to law school would force him to improve upon his weaknesses.

I’m not sure if he likes reading and writing now, but at least he grew from the experience.

4. To network.

A valuable lesson Tad learned after graduating from pharmacy school was that a professional network is essential for career development and satisfaction. But, after 18 years of working as a retail pharmacist, he noticed that his network wasn’t continuing to expand.

Tad attended law school part-time, and his classmates were also working full-time jobs, so they made similar sacrifices. They helped each other “virtually every night and weekend” in studying for finals and the bar exam. The law school classmates Tad graduated with are probably his strongest comrades.

5. For a sense of accomplishment.

While Tad may not have been looking for a sense of accomplishment before he started law school, it’s something he realized he was looking for all along.

“When you sacrifice 4 years of your adult life reading and writing every day of the week on 5 hours of sleep while managing a 24-hour pharmacy, you will feel as if you can overcome any obstacle,” he explained.

What I’ve learned from speaking with Tad is everyone has their reasons for going back to school. As a pharmacist myself, I’ve seen the shift that retail pharmacy has made to become more service-based.

Although I have no personal interest in attending law school, I see the benefit in continually growing as a person and as a health care professional. I urge everyone to find their own version of “law school.” Whether it be a residency/fellowship or management program, do something that forces you to learn and evolve through difficulty.