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   should I even bother going to law school!!
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   Author  Topic: should I even bother going to law school!!  (Read 2063 times)
Aaron
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should I even bother going to law school!!
« on: May 20th, 2006, 5:22pm »
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Hello,
  Patent law interests me alot!  I have a B.S. in Biochemical Pharmacology (3.0 gpa).  I am a senior research associate at a pharmaceutical company and have been there for 4 years now. I am taking the lsat in october and so far I have been getting around 164-167 on lsat pratices exam so figure I will receive a score near that.  I know that my gpa is a weak point so I don't plan on applying to any top 20 schools.  My question do I have any chance of being successful as a patent lawyer or evening getting a job if say I squeeze into a mid level law school and graduate.
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recentlawgrad
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Re: should I even bother going to law school!!
« Reply #1 on: May 22nd, 2006, 12:46pm »
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With your numbers, you should be able to get into a top tier law school.  Your job prospects coming out of LS will depend mostly on your LS class rank.  Some firms will only consider law review, some will only consider top 5-10%, etc.  More and more patent firms are also starting to look for "advanced degrees" (i.e. advanced scientific degrees, MS, PhD) from their entering patent attorneys.  As far as your GPA/LSAT combination - - don't sell yourself short and don't try to make any predictions when it comes to LS admissions.  I got turned down from lower-ranked law schools than the one I ultimately chose to go to (which was my #1 choice).  I had a similar GPA as yours with a BS in chemical engineering.  Most schools recognize that it is MUCH harder to get a 3.0 in a science/engineering curriculum than it is in political science/english/history that many of your classmates will be coming in with and they will take this into consideration.  I would stress your unique background, your interest in pursuing patent law, your work experience, and anything else that will set you apart from some other random 22-year old fresh outta undergrad.  Good Luck!!
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florida
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Re: should I even bother going to law school!!
« Reply #2 on: May 22nd, 2006, 5:44pm »
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I am not trying to discourage you, and you should make your own decision.  However, I think you should take this decision very seriously and really read up on law school.  A good book I would suggest is 1L by Scott Turrow.
 
Law school is a negative experience for a lot of people.  I had a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and went to law school.  I just finished my second year, and to be honest a lot of mornings I wake up and ask myself "why didn't I take a job as an engineer."  I could type for hours about this, but basically what it boils down to is that law school can be very elitist and superficial.  On top of this, the grading is arbitrary.  As an engineer, I was used to getting my tests back with a bunch of red ink and understanding exactly what I did wrong and exactly where my grade came from.  At law school, your entire grade is one test at the end of the semester.  My law school doesn't return your tests, you can go look at them in a room but you can't take them with you.  Often times they have no markings on them at all, just a grade.  Sometimes the teachers will not even give a sample answer, and I have met very much hostility in trying to have a meeting with my professor to go over my exam.  In my opinion, this is very contrary to learning.
 
My class rank is a little higher than 50% at a top tier school, and I have been very dissappointed by my employment opportunities.  You may think to yourself, 'maybe this guy just interviews poorly,' put I have also had a very hard time getting interviews and I look pretty good on paper.  Many law firms will specify that they will only interview the top 5%-10%, on down to about top 33%.  I would estimate that being in the top 50% of my class, I am excluded from even submitting my resume to 97% of the firms that come on campus to interview.  I have also had very little success getting interviews by contacting firms individually.
 
Also, there is a lot of hype surrounding the IP market.  You would think that because so few engineers go to law school, that law firms would have to compromise on their requirements to get IP lawyers.  This is not true in my experience.  From what I can tell, talking to a lot of people, firms will give you a higher starting salary for an IP position, but they don't seem to budge from their top X% standard.  
 
Anyway, I am just babbling on.  Plus, some people are probably going to bust my balls and say I have it all wrong.  Take it for what its worth.
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recentlawgrad
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Re: should I even bother going to law school!!
« Reply #3 on: May 23rd, 2006, 7:32am »
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I too share many of florida's sentiments.  The best way to describe LS is that it's a "3-year mind-f@ck."  Florida is absolutely correct in that LS grading does not directly correlate with the amount of work you put in.  In undergrad, it was easy - - you work hard, and your grades will reflect it.  In LS, however, you work hard and it's a crap shoot.  For myself, I worked my hardest in first year and that is where I got my worst grades.  I worked just as hard or harder to get a B-/C+ than I did for the elusive A.  Another thing to consider is that the "golden days" for wannabe patent attorneys are long gone.  It used to be that even civil engineers were highly recruited for patent positions.  The fact of the matter is that the market for patent attorneys is saturated and that means firms can be a lot more picky in who they hire - - top of the class, advanced degrees (MS, PhDs), etc.  By far, the most sought after group for patent positions are EEs.  Do talk to other people who have been to LS and get as many different opinions as you can.  For florida, don't get discouraged as bleak as it might seem right now.  Try to do some journal work to enhance your resume and consider submitting something to an IP writing competition - - you might get published and this could also help.  If you're thinking of going into patent lit, try to get an unpaid clerkship working for a judge or (if your school offers it) try to get into a clinic - - get as much hands-on and in-court experience you can.  If you still can't find a job in patent lit, consider other general lit positions (e.g. insurance defense) that are less competitive/selective.  While these jobs might be "less glamorous," they will give you good experience which might allow you to leverage yourself to move into patent lit later on down the road.  If you're thinking about patent prosecution, consider applying to micro-boutiques or even the PTO as an examiner.  I've been told that examiner experience (even post-LS) will open doors for you.
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PTOPTO
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Re: should I even bother going to law school!!
« Reply #4 on: May 24th, 2006, 1:53pm »
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Could you guys recommend a few LS in DC area strong on IP laws?
 
 
Thanks
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