I have a BS in molecular biology and was wondering which of these schools would give me more opportunities. I know santa clara is highly ranked in IP but hastings is more esteemed overall. Any thoughts?
Definitely Hastings. As advice from patent law sites have reiterated, being ranked high in IP doesn't mean much. Perhaps it would make a difference between two schools of equal reputation, in terms of courses available to you, but you're comparing Hastings with Santa Clara here. In the end, what matters most, regardless of whether you want to pursue IP law or Commercial Law, is the name of the school you went to. The name of the school will get your foot in the front door. If you don't have a foot in the front door, then how will you get your resume to the desk of the hiring director? Most hiring directors will not care that you went to such and such a school that is tops in IP. You will need a strong foundation in all the other areas if you are to be a successful lawyer.
I'm not sure what firms require nowadays but the BS may not be enough. Seems like alot of Patent Firms employ attorneys with PhDs in science areas.