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(Message started by: eliza on Mar 18th, 2006, 12:13pm)

Title: patent examiners in law school?
Post by eliza on Mar 18th, 2006, 12:13pm
Does anyone know if working as a patent examiner increases one's chances of getting admitted into law school (part-time, evening program in DC area)?

Also, do a lot of examiners take advantage of the PTO's law school tuition reimbursement program? If so, are the examiners pretty much competing with each other for the available slots in the evening program? As a result, do many examiners get rejected?


Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by guest on Mar 18th, 2006, 2:23pm
I know a lot of people working at the PTO and going to law school, and a lot of people i work with are planning to go at some point in the future. Many sooner than later. Right now i think 10 people in the part time program at American are PTO employees (that would be more than 10% of the class - you can check their webpage for details), and i imagine that number will sharply increase. The averages for the part-time programs in the area already have.

I'm not sure how many are taking advantage of the law school program. Lots of people that i know haven't been there long enough (2 yrs). In terms of them competing for slots, i don't see how it can be otherwise. Everyone competes against everyone else for limited slots in LS, assuming there are more applicants than seats available.

Bringing 1000 new people to the area per year (which the PTO is doing) and forcing them to choose from a limited pool of schools in a geographical area, i don't see how it can't raise admissions standards. And i see it getting MUCH worse.

And as to whether working at the PTO increases ones chances of admission to LS, i'm sure holding a job does over someone straight from undergrad, but if there is a flood of applicants with the same work experience then how can it help that pool at all unless there is something else to distinguish a particular applicant over that pool. Something outside of their PTO experience or better grades/LSAT, etc. I have many thoughts on this subject and could go on and on, but i've probably gone on too long!

Good luck.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Eliz on Mar 21st, 2006, 8:44am

on 03/18/06 at 12:13:32, eliza wrote:
Does anyone know if working as a patent examiner increases one's chances of getting admitted into law school (part-time, evening program in DC area)?


I don't know specifically, but I would guess that the answer is no, or that if it helps, it does so to a minimal extent.  The fact that you work at the PTO has no effect on the law school's UNSWR ranking.  Law schools vary in how much they value work experience, but in general, LSAT and your undergrad GPA will matter most, because this is what affects the school's ranking.  

I was a bit naive about how much numbers matter in law school admissions when I applied--my advice would be to focus on getting the best LSAT score you can (and if you are still in undergrad, make sure you keep your GPA high).  
Good luck!
Eliz

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by SciGuy on Mar 21st, 2006, 9:03am
My guess is that being an examiner qualifies as "experience."  So, just like other factors the fall under "experience" (i.e. graduate degrees, work experience, etc), if your GPA and LSAT numbers are borderline then experience can get you accepted.  In other words, it won't get you in but it might help if your application is otherwise pretty close.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by eliza on Mar 24th, 2006, 8:04pm
Thanks to all for replying!

I have some tax related questions regarding the tuition reimbursement program.

I know the PTO pays 100% of the tuition costs each semester by adding the money to your regular paycheck.  If so, I'm assuming taxes are withheld.  Then the tuition money received is considered "income," right? For example, an examiner making 60K would be taxed as though they're making 80K (if tuition is 20K)?

So, in reality, is the examiner really receiving two-thirds of the tuition money and funding a third themselves?  

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by guest on Mar 25th, 2006, 7:53am

on 03/24/06 at 20:04:07, eliza wrote:
Thanks to all for replying!

I have some tax related questions regarding the tuition reimbursement program.

I know the PTO pays 100% of the tuition costs each semester by adding the money to your regular paycheck. If so, I'm assuming taxes are withheld. Then the tuition money received is considered "income," right? For example, an examiner making 60K would be taxed as though they're making 80K (if tuition is 20K)?

So, in reality, is the examiner really receiving two-thirds of the tuition money and funding a third themselves?


Tuition reimbursement is taxable income.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by ipuser on Apr 26th, 2006, 3:10pm
there might be a ceiling as far as the amount, but most tuition reimbursement is put on your paycheck untaxed.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Wolfcastle on Apr 27th, 2006, 2:49pm
If tuition reimbursement is taxable income then it would seem that you would also qualify for the hope tax credit, which would offset a fair portion of the taxes paid.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by daven on Apr 27th, 2006, 4:12pm
That's interesting.  I took two graduate engineering classes and my (federal government) employer paid the tuition directly to the school using a government charge card.  The tuition they paid was never reflected on my leave/earnings statement.  I assume various federal agencies determine their own policy on paying tuition.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Isaac on Apr 27th, 2006, 4:31pm

on 04/27/06 at 16:12:07, daven wrote:
That's interesting. I took two graduate engineering classes and my (federal government) employer paid the tuition directly to the school using a government charge card. The tuition they paid was never reflected on my leave/earnings statement. I assume various federal agencies determine their own policy on paying tuition.


Law school tuition is different.   Graduate engineering classes do not qualify you for a new profession, but instead increase your ability to perform in your current profession.   Such training is usually tax deductable, and most likely, a private sector employer could deduct the money given to the employees.  However law school is a required qualification for practicing law and is decidedly not tax deductable by the student.


Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Wolfcastle on Apr 27th, 2006, 9:01pm
While I agree that law school tuition does not qualify as work-related education, it seems that it does qualify under the hope/lifetime learning credit.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf


Quote:
Qualified Education Expenses
For purposes of the lifetime learning credit, qualified education expenses are tuition and certain related expenses required for enrollment in a course at an eligible educational institution. The course must be either part of a postsecondary degree program or taken by the student to acquire or improve job skills.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Isaac on Apr 28th, 2006, 1:02am
Yes, the lifetime credit and the hope credit can be used.  

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by eliza on Apr 29th, 2006, 9:48pm
Are there any current (or former) examiners willing to share what their GPA/LSAT score was when they applied to night programs at DC area law schools and which schools accepted them?

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Examiner X on May 26th, 2006, 6:35pm

on 04/29/06 at 21:48:52, eliza wrote:
Are there any current (or former) examiners willing to share what their GPA/LSAT score was when they applied to night programs at DC area law schools and which schools accepted them?


I applied this cycle (2006). I have a 3.2/166. I got accepted everywhere except Georgetown (where I am waitlisted).

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Guest on May 27th, 2006, 4:18am
Examiner X,

I know you don't want to give your life story away, but was your 3.2 earned at a "top" school or an "average" school?  Do you hold any advanced degrees or anything else that made you more attractive?  Thanks for the help!

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Examiner X on Jun 1st, 2006, 5:02pm
I have a BS in CS from UMass.  I think I made the right choice against pursuing an advanced technical degree.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by guest on Jun 2nd, 2006, 1:40pm

on 06/01/06 at 17:02:13, Examiner X wrote:
I have a BS in CS from UMass. I think I made the right choice against pursuing an advanced technical degree.


I think by advanced he meant graduate. BS is undergrad, so you have no advanced degree.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by guest on Jun 2nd, 2006, 2:44pm
Thank you, Examiner X.  I was kind of looking for a ballbark idea of how hard it is to get accepted to the part time programs in the DC area if I decided to try to get a position with the PTO or, preferably, as a patent agent with a firm.  I was just wondering if your 3.2 was Ivy League or similar where the admissions committee might view it differently.  I'm just kind of worried because I have a medicore undergrad GPA (~3.0 overall; 4.0 in my major) from a mediocre state school.  The bad GPA is due to one bad year--take it out and it's closer to 3.5 but unfortunately I can't go back and do that.  My BS is in Biology and I'm working on my PhD in a Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences though what I really do is biosensors/implantable devices on a cancer nanotech fellowship.  I'm hoping that my PhD and my LSAT score (top 1%) will help offset my mediocre undergrad GPA.

And thank you also, other "guest," for pointing out that when I said advanced degree I did mean an MS or PhD, but Examiner X answered my question just the same.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by IPW on Jun 2nd, 2006, 3:22pm

on 06/02/06 at 14:44:32, guest wrote:
I'm hoping that my PhD and my LSAT score (top 1%) will help offset my mediocre undergrad GPA.


With an LSAT in the top 1% and a Ph.D., I'd expect you to get into at least a couple Top 10 schools. Assuming you want to work in DC, you'd be a cinch at either GW or Georgetown part-time.

FWIW, I'll be at GW part-time in the fall and my LSAT was not >165.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by Anon ymous on Jun 16th, 2006, 3:36pm
I was admitted to GW with a 3.3/159.
The 3.3 GPA was from a fairly prestigous engineering program. (for example the average SAT was over 1300).
The 159 was the average of two tests - 156 and 162.

I believe that PTO experience was a factor.

Title: Re: patent examiners in law school?
Post by guest on Jun 16th, 2006, 3:47pm
thank you both for responding.  that makes me feel a little more confident about being accepted to at least one place i'd like to go.  i'd love to have the "burden" of picking between gw and georgetown, but i think i'd even be happy if i got accepted to gmu with all the work it seems like they've put into their patent law dept (based only on what i've read; i have no actual experience with gmu).

now i just have to convince my wife to move to the dc area :o



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