Law School Discussion


« on: July 29, 2010, 01:36:33 PM »
After working as a chemist/engineer I've come to realize that, while I like science and technology, I like reading and thinking about it a lot more than doing it. People who don't work in a lab day in and day out don't realize how tedious and monotonous and frustrating it can be. I like to read and write, I have technical expertise, so I figure a career in IP is a good move for me.

With my GPA I can say farewell to the "first tier" right off. Since I can't get into any of the T14, nor into any of the first tier IP giants (GWU, Boston U, etc.), it seems like I should go to UNH school of law hopefully with a little money to mitigate the debt. They really are very strong in IP, patent attorneys from "Franklin Pierce" are practicing in IP hotspots all over the country, not just in/around Boston. The median starting salary is solid, probably because of the high demand for patent attorneys.

I took the LSAT back in February. My preparation consisted of taking some previous exams from "The next 10 actual official LSAT preptests". Interestingly, on all the verbal sections I get a nearly perfect score, maybe 1 or 2 wrong in each verbal section. On logic games I just can't go fast enough. I finish half the questions in logic games, getting almost all of them right, and my time is up. Given an hour to do this section I could ace it. I got the Logic Games Bible and went through it, but I haven't been able to substantially improve my performance on this section. Like I said, it's not so much that I don't know how to do the problems or that I just screw them up, I just cannot seem to move fast enough. The Bible teaches you a few little tricks to not waste as much time, but when I'm actually on the section I feel so pressed for time that employing the "tricks" seems to consume as much time as I would have wasted without them.

Anyway, maybe I don't need to get a 168 so I can have a shot at GWU/BU as a splitter. Maybe getting money to go to UNHSL would get me a great job anyway with less debt if I work hard and place highly in my class.

The low GPA in undergrad is just because I didn't take it seriously. Also the chem. engr. program at NCSU is intense, it's a serious school for chemical engineering. Also piling on a chemistry curriculum and 3/4 of a biochem curriculum doesn't help.

Re: Me
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 02:23:17 PM »
If it is only the games (AR) section you are struggling with, and it is what kept you from scoring higher, I would recommend taking them again.  From my experiecne taking as well helping some friends out, it is the most "teachable" part of the test.  If you don't understand reading comp, there is not much you can do, IMO. 

Re: Me
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2010, 03:52:18 AM »
First off, the patent law market is just as sluggish as the rest of the legal market now.  Maybe more so, since as a "lawyer" you can go do whatever the hell you want, but as a "patent attorney", every law firm you talk to will pigeonhole you as someone who should only be hired for patent work.

Second, avoid Boston U like the plague.  It's a bad experience all around.  The school admin goes out of its way to make life miserable for students.  Even getting a complete and correct transcript from them for submitting to the USPTO was a giant pain in the ass, and if I hadn't had one from when I graduated, I'd be utterly screwed because they changed the format to no longer show course credits from high school AP classes.

Third, I'd look carefully at FP.  I know their reputation in IP is supposedly high, but that means a lot less to law firms than USNWR makes it seem.  Especially when it comes to IP, you have to remember that a lot of experienced patent agents used to be sent back to law school by their firms, and they'd go to places like FP or John Marshall in Chicago.  (In the 2005 NALP survey, JM placed about 5% of its grads into biglaw.  Want to guess how a T4 does that?  They're "wired" candidates who already had a biglaw job waiting for them when they APPLIED to part-time night school.)

IMHO, your best path would be to skip law school for now, take the patent bar, and go find a job as an agent for a couple of years.  A lot of law firms are now going after agents instead of attorneys because the agents won't ever be allowed to make partner -- they're employees forever, unless they go back to law school.

After two or three year as an agent, you'll have the experience and contacts you will need in order to get a job as a newly graduated patent attorney.

I wish to hell I'd followed this advice.  When I started law school, everyone told me that as a CS major, I'd have no problem finding summer work and a job upon graduation.  That's no longer true.