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Author Topic: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?  (Read 3175 times)

PNym

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UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« on: April 23, 2008, 12:33:33 AM »
If I'm going into IP litigation, how do big firms' (e.g. OMM, MoFo, Sidley Austin, DLA Piper - not super-prestigious Cravath/Wachtell) GPA cutoffs differ between UT and Georgetown?

From 1990-2009, Georgetown has ranked on average of 13.05th, while (if you throw out 1998, the year it fell out of the top25) UT has ranked on average of 16.05th. This fact would argue that the GPA cutoff differential is significant. However, if you look at the years 1999-2009, this difference shrinks to 14.00th vs. 15.45th, arguing that the differential, if any, is not so significant.

I've gone to the UT ASD and met its incoming class, and I think I'd like living in Austin and going to school with this group, but I don't know how deciding to go there vs. Georgetown would affect my future career prospects. I don't have a particular geographic region that I'd like to live in, although I'd prefer not to live in DC. I've heard that IP attorneys are in enough demand that geographic considerations aren't as crucial for associates in that field, anyways.

An acquaintance of mine at MoFo stated that their general UCLA/UT cutoff is a 3.1. Unfortunately, she can't say what their cutoff is for Georgetown, nor what it is for IP litigation in particular.

Trill

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 03:40:16 AM »
If I'm going into IP litigation, how do big firms' (e.g. OMM, MoFo, Sidley Austin, DLA Piper, Paul Weiss - not super-prestigious Cravath/Wachtell) GPA cutoffs differ between UT and Georgetown?

From 1990-2009, Georgetown has ranked on average of 13.05th, while (if you throw out 1998, the year it fell out of the top25) UT has ranked on average of 16.05th. This fact would argue that the GPA cutoff differential is significant. However, if you look at the years 1999-2009, this difference shrinks to 14.00th vs. 15.45th, arguing that the differential, if any, is not so significant.

I've gone to the UT ASD and met its incoming class, and I think I'd like living in Austin and going to school with this group, but I don't know how deciding to go there vs. Georgetown would affect my future career prospects. I don't have a particular geographic region that I'd like to live in, although I'd prefer not to live in DC. I've heard that IP attorneys are in enough demand that geographic considerations aren't as crucial for associates in that field, anyways.

An acquaintance of mine at MoFo stated that their general UCLA/UT cutoff is a 3.1. Unfortunately, she can't say what their cutoff is for Georgetown, nor what it is for IP litigation in particular.

The NLJ250 data suggests Georgetown has a fairly significant advantage in terms of firm hiring compared to schools ranked just below it like Vandy and UT.

The data isn't perfect, but it's a good indicator.




Looks like BigLaw + Clerkships is around 55% at Georgetown vs UT's 38%. It's not a HUGE difference, but it is a difference. Georgetown also carries a bit more recognition in the legal world (and it terms of layman prestige, for whatever it's worth). I would not focus on the rankings so much as I would focus on the data itself. There's a decent dropoff once you get out of the T14. Generally speaking, if you want to work in IP litigation, your school and rank DO matter. There's not as much of an IP boost for litigation as there is prosecution (where the boost can be substantial if you have the proper background). Georgetown would also allow you to make some rather powerful local connections to a market that is the heart of the IP world.

First, you need to answer some questions:

1. What is your undergraduate background?

2. What is the financial situation for UT/Georgetown. Is there a significant difference in price? Presumably, if you were admitted to GULC I'd have reason to believe that UT would be cheaper (even substantially so).

3. Have you visited Georgetown?

If the ~17% difference in placement means enough to you, and the financial considerations aren't miles apart, then perhaps Georgetown would be an ideal place if you don't hate the area. If, on the other hand, UT would be substantially cheaper and you would prefer living and studying in Austin rather than DC, UT would be the obvious choice. Regardless, you have some great options.

Best of luck.

PNym

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 10:40:32 AM »
1. I studied Genetics at an Ivy League institution.
2. UT would be cheaper because I can get in-state tuition after my 1st year. In addition, I have a small scholarship.
3. I haven't visited Georgetown, but I have visited DC. I think I'd prefer living in Austin over DC.

I've actually heard that IP litigators are in high enough demand that institution doesn't matter quite as much. Since litigation is more lucrative than prosecution, firms supposedly look for litigators more.

How is DC the heart of the IP world? From my research, it appears that the largest #s of IP cases are on the Northern California, Southern California, and East Texas dockets. I doubt many tech companies work out of DC/NoVa.

chammon2

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 11:11:16 AM »
How is DC the heart of the IP world? From my research, it appears that the largest #s of IP cases are on the Northern California, Southern California, and East Texas dockets. I doubt many tech companies work out of DC/NoVa.

I think you're correct.  I've heard the same thing and that numbers in East Texas are growing because of favorable rulings.

PNym

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 04:03:23 PM »
Genetics should qualify you to take the patent bar, so that's good.  Even if you only want to do litigation, most firms want to be able to call you a patent attorney (not just an "attorney with an IP focus" or whatever), and that requires a reg number.  However, if you're angling to get into pharma/biotech litigation, keep in mind that you'll be competing with a lot of people who have graduate degrees, which clients in this practice area really like to see.

Are you sure that I'd be competing with people with graduate degrees should I enter pharma/biotech litigation? I thought graduate degrees were more important for people entering patent prosecution, since litigation firms hire technical experts anyways. I heard from the president of the UT IP club that the demand for IP litigators is high enough that firms will consider hiring people who don't even have a science background, although one helps quite a bit - any idea if this is true or not?

Just because most cases are in certain districts doesn't mean the firms litigating those cases are based there or even have satellite offices there.  DC has the USPTO, which means a large contingent of IP practices.

Good point. I hadn't considered that. Wouldn't that affect prosecution work more than litigation work, though? I can't imagine why a firm would establish an office close to the PTO if they didn't extensively interact with PTO employees, and I'm guessing that would be a requirement more for prosecutors than litigators. Then again, I'm just guessing here.

Bulldog86

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 06:07:08 PM »
In your original post, were you averaging USNWR rankings? I can see how that might matter, but I'm not sure the difference here is significant enough to really make a difference.

The NLJ hiring numbers, to me, could be more important although a) they're a one-year snapshot, not a long-term trend, and the numbers do fluctuate over time; and b) they reflect the entire NLJ250, including firms that don't do IP and firms you're not even considering.

You said 3.1 is "the cutoff" at UT. According to Texas's Career Services Office, the median of last year's graduates was a 3.43; it looks like the 1L curve is around 3.35. So if that 3.1 figure is right, that's a very good sign for Texas's prospects in that regard. People below the median are getting the jobs you want. (Someone who has taken stats more recently than I could figure out exactly what percentile that would be...)

You might try checking with the career offices at UT and GULC and asking what their track record is for IP placement. They might have some interesting things to say.

Anyway, my guess (total guess) would be that GULC would have somewhat better job prospects, but not THAT much better. It sounds like you really want to go to Texas and live in Austin, and you really don't want to live in DC. That should matter; you won't do well in school if you're miserable. If I were in your shoes, I don't think whatever small percentage gain I might make in prestige/hiring would be worth paying more to go somewhere I didn't really want to go. Go to Texas.
UVA Law Class of 2011

themanwithnoname

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 07:39:34 PM »
I don't know why I'm bothering but I just want to point out that on your list, Paul weiss is considerably more selective than the others.

Trill

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2008, 08:06:21 PM »
Genetics will qualify you for the patent bar, however it's not necessarily an "in demand" major unless you have a PhD. Though, you don't even need to take the PatentBar if your goal is to work in Litigation. Most patent prosecution involves hardware/software patents, which is why Electrical/Computer Engineers as well as Computer Science majors are the most in demand. Most inventions are of this nature, and as such, you will see the most prosecution and litigation in this area as well.

My guess is that the president of the UT IP club is a bit off base with his comment. Yes, you don't even need a science background to do IP litigation, however firms like to hire people with science backgrounds and a strong legal education. If you don't have the prerequisite science background, then finding a job in IP will be harder, and it may mean that you need stronger law school credentials.

The IP "boost" is ONLY applicable to prosecution, and generally speaking, ONLY applicable to certain majors as I alluded to above. Since you're a Genetics major and want to do IP litigation, your legal education is going to be the most important factor. I've spoken to a few IP attorneys that work with BigTex firms, and one of them confirmed to me that to work for a BigTex lawfirm in litigation, that they don't dip lower into the class even for the hottest majors (EE degrees).



themanwithnoname

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2008, 08:06:44 PM »
I thought DC/NoVa has a pretty large tech sector.

PNym

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Re: UT vs. Georgetown - firms' hiring GPA cutoffs?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2008, 08:50:41 PM »
I don't know why I'm bothering but I just want to point out that on your list, Paul weiss is considerably more selective than the others.


You're probably right about that. My knowledge of law firms is pretty limited, although I know Cravath & Wachtell are very selective. I've corrected my original post.