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   Is this what my life will be like?
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   Author  Topic: Is this what my life will be like?  (Read 1395 times)
Jackdaw
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Is this what my life will be like?
« on: Sep 10th, 2007, 1:29pm »
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I went to Cal Poly where I got my electrical engineering degree.  After 4 years in private industry working on missile/radar systems I decided "office space" wasn't for me.  So I took the leap into law school.  While I find it kind of interesting so far, this first year has been very stressful as well and it's only 6 weeks in.  Our school tells us realistically we'll be working 60 hour weeks, and thats why we have the amount of homework assigned to us that we do.  
 
I thought my life was mundane enough as it was, without extending my work week an additional 20 hours.  Do you all actually work on average 60 hour weeks?  I like my free time to myself but I feel like i'm constantly studying, and when i'm not studying I feel guilty that i should be studying.    Have I traded a relatively stress free 75k for a hectic life earning I dont even know what as a lawyer.  
 
Tell me it gets better, or rather tell me the truth and maybe i'll just take my old company up on it's offer to go back.
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plex
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Re: Is this what my life will be like?
« Reply #1 on: Sep 10th, 2007, 2:10pm »
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Hey Jack,
 
I'm in my 1st year as well, and an electrical engineer, with three years of office space experience, as well as a patent agent. So, I am pretty much in the exact same position.
 
As I'm writing this, I have an RWA legal style writing book on my lap, I don't really find it that painful reading it though, because I enjoy reading. There are things I would enjoy more than reading technical writing books, such as reading about investing or current events, but, the point is, I like reading and so do most people who go into law. You also have to enjoy writing, because there is a lot of that as well.  
 
The main difference between engineering and law, is one involves lots of spreedsheets, powerpoints, databases and meetings, while the other involves a great deal of writing and reading.  
 
There are more hours required for IP law, but the difference isn't huge, at least compared to when you get into engineering full time. You will be expected to work later than just 8-4 at many engineering companies if you are working at anything higher than entry level, and sometimes even weekends, it usually adds up to at least 50 hours a week. You can reasonably expect a ballpark figure of 60 hours for law, more if you go into litigation and even more if you go into a big firm, but, there is less if you go into prosecution and possibly less if you go into a small firm (it varies). Prosecution tends to have set deadlines that allow you to plan your time in advance, reducing your hours. Litigation requires immediate responses, and as a result, requires tons of last minute, abnormal hours of research.
 
Also, it is perfectly normal to get a bit overwhelmed by the beginning of law school. It is a big transition for anyone, regardless of their degree and the most common reaction people have to it, is wondering if they are doing enough. It is a ton of work, and at the same time, it is fairly easy to understand, so you are left wondering when you are supposed to be outlining, when you are supposed to be checking supplements or how exactly you should be approaching note taking. It is a reaction that is shared by most law students, there is nothing strange about it.
« Last Edit: Sep 10th, 2007, 2:13pm by plex » IP Logged
MattB
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  mbycer   MBycer
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Re: Is this what my life will be like?
« Reply #2 on: Sep 10th, 2007, 4:10pm »
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stress free 75k

 
Ha, ha.  Forget a stress free existence from here on out.  
 
It is survivable, I left a consulting gig 65K, but it was never stress free.  Went through law school to find out that that sort of income was spectacular.  Only my mind, boredom, and search for respect took me to law school.
 
You'll probably work hard.  If you wanted your career to be your life 24/7 then law is for you, but if you relished leaving work every day at 4pm to forget everything and move on, I fear a career in law may not suit you well.  Additionally, the $ and benefits do not even closely compare to what you got in engineering.
 
I advise: enjoy law school for what it is. You are paying profs to teach you, you are the boss, and there are a bunch of interesting classmates to get to know.
 
Have fun!
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Matthew L. Bycer
Registered Patent Attorney
http://www.bycer.com
http://www.cvglaw.com
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Re: Is this what my life will be like?
« Reply #3 on: Sep 10th, 2007, 8:12pm »
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Jackdaw,
 
You can also head back into engineering and get an MBA a few years down the line. This will lead you into management. In management, you make good money, don't have to work as many hours as attorneys do, and the work is probably more interesting than patent prosecution - dry, tedious, mundane.
 
Of course you prolly won't make as much money in management, but you'll make more than enough for a decent living. Good Luck.
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MattB
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Re: Is this what my life will be like?
« Reply #4 on: Sep 11th, 2007, 3:51pm »
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Good point, SS,
 
I've heard MIT-Sloan has a fantastic MBA/master's in engineering management program.
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Matthew L. Bycer
Registered Patent Attorney
http://www.bycer.com
http://www.cvglaw.com
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