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Should I go to law school?

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student79:
I am considering going to law school. I would like to get some input from senior attorneys.

I have MS in Engineering, 10 years experience in automotive industry. At work I am responsible for design and release of safety components at a major OEM. I also help our legal guys answer interrogatories when we are being sued by someone. Of course, I consult only from technical side.

How helpful do you think my experience in automotive industry will be for my legal career in product liability realm?

Don't get me wrong, I'd don't want to go after my employer. Automotive OEMs operate very similarly though and I would have pretty good technical perspective at some of the running changes that they adopt.

If you are running a legal firm, would you hire a guy like me with law degree at a decent salary? What is a salary range can a person like me expect?

Thank you for feedback,

student79





IrrX:
Personally, if I were in your position, I would take the engineering degree and job experience to work for the Patent and Trademark Office. That would prevent the loss of three years' salary, the hassle of trying to find a job after leaving law school, and would provide a salary at least comparable to what you would be making after law school (if you found a job right away). So, instead of spending a ton of money for three years, you could be making it. I mean, it would be in DC, but I can think of far worse places.

http://careers.uspto.gov/Pages/PEPositions/Jobs.aspx

student79:

--- Quote from: IrrX on April 09, 2013, 01:25:32 AM ---Personally, if I were in your position, I would take the engineering degree and job experience to work for the Patent and Trademark Office. That would prevent the loss of three years' salary, the hassle of trying to find a job after leaving law school, and would provide a salary at least comparable to what you would be making after law school (if you found a job right away). So, instead of spending a ton of money for three years, you could be making it. I mean, it would be in DC, but I can think of far worse places.

http://careers.uspto.gov/Pages/PEPositions/Jobs.aspx

--- End quote ---

IrrX,

Thank you for reply. Its an interesting idea. Being a firm owner or partial owner is very important to me.

You bring good point about salary lose though, I am a family man. If I end up going, I will most likely try part time program at T2 university. I have masters in engineering from good engineering college, at the time when they accepted me my department was ranked #2 in the nation. I did very well on GRE. I should do well on LSAT, predicting over 170, but I think I will pass on the top law school as I do not want to work for a top law firm. I want to work at a small, preferably my own law firm, so I will try to work as engineer and get the degree in the same time. I've done it with my MS degree. It was completely free after tuition reimbursement.

But again, you bring a good point, business case should make sense.

Regards,

Student79

jack24:
Do you want to take the patent bar? 
Have you ever considered networking with attorneys to become an expert witness?

It seems like it's almost impossible to predict where you'll end up after law school.  The most predictable areas are Personal Injury, Family Law, Tax, and Patent.  In other words, if you try hard to get into one of those practice areas, you have a much better chance than if you wanted to do Mergers and Acquisitions or corporate litigation.

I think your background is cool, but many small firms won't care unless then need a patent attorney (which would require you to sit for the patent bar).   If you want to open your own firm, you need to consider how good you are at networking and selling, both of which are more important than your engineering background.

IrrX:
A T2 school will in no way guarantee a job, of any kind, after graduation. Working in engineering instead of a legal environment while you're in law school will only aggravate this when it comes to hiring. Like Jack said, unless you're taking the patent bar and the firm needs a patent attorney, anything regarding engineering will be perceived as irrelevant (or even viewed negatively, as a waste of time that could've been spent doing legal work) to what they want you to do for them, which is almost as a rule grunt work in any area of law they personally don't want to handle, for any new associate.

Because your goal is to be a partner in your own firm, anyway, you still don't have to go to law school. You just have to know something about business, including accounting, recruitment and hiring practices, marketing, business development, human resources, and know a couple lawyers, and you could be a managing partner of a firm tomorrow. They could even be 3Ls now, and creating the firm could be their first application of what they learned in Business Associations, or whatever they're calling it at their school, once they've passed the bar and are ready to jump into practice.

That expert witness thing Jack talked about: hugely lucrative. I can't believe how much those guys get paid. Do that, yesterday.

I guess a couple questions are in order:

1) Can you explain to me what lawyers do?
2) What excites you about doing that?

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