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Author Topic: Changing from a medical career?  (Read 845 times)

ace52387

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Changing from a medical career?
« on: July 31, 2014, 09:47:07 PM »
I'm a hospital pharmacist without any overt gripes about my profession or job currently. On the other hand, I cannot see myself doing this forever. I do enjoy the field of medicine and I would like to know what my prospects and options are regarding law school and a career as an attorney.

My GPA in school was a 3.1, but I believe with good preparation I can score well on the LSAT. With what I've got and a best-case-scenario LSAT score of 170-175, what would my options be?

As far as what I should look into to further evaluate whether or not I should take the plunge, what niche might my credentials and experience be suited for? I've considered IP law but my real interest would lie more around litigation and regulation in the field of medicine. Legal counsel for a hospital or a pharmaceutical company maybe? Or simply working as a medical specialist in big/mid law? I've read in other discussions that there is no benefit to having any credentials; that experts fill that role, but I feel as if my own understanding of medical sciences may help with evaluating and analyzing research materials.

Thanks in advance for your help

Miami88

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2014, 10:10:05 AM »
Intro

170-175 LSAT is not easy. Seriously. I'll assume in the below that you get there, but understand that even assuming you are actually capable (not being mean, just realistic), it will still take a ton of work and effort to get there. Way more than you will ever expect. So, if you really think you can make it there, prepare to practice the LSAT BIG time - like part-time job (if not full time job) worth of preparation.

IP would be great. Know that you need to have advanced degrees in science. I'm not sure of the specific requirements to sit for the Patent Bar (there is a specific licensure you need to actually practice Patent Law), but I believe to be somewhat competitive in this field you need a Ph.D. (not just masters, and certainly more than a Bachelors). Good, qualified IP (specifically Patent Law) lawyers are rare and, if you hustle, can be quite lucrative. It is extremely niche, however, and will thus require exceptional entrepreneurship.


Overview

In genearl, about 66-75% of a law school's decision is simply placed on your GPA and LSAT. These are your hard factors (factors that are firm and measurable). If both of these are at or above a school's median, you have a legitimate shot. If you are an underrepresented minority (URM) AND you are at least within the average band (25-75th percentile), then you have a legitimate shot. Other factors, like work experience, your application essays, your undergraduate major, etc., are considered soft factors and play a relatively small role in the decision (about 25-33%, if that). These factors are more so tie breakers than decision makers. Strong softs might push you over the edge if your hard factors are borderline, but they will not make up for relatively poor hard factors.


The sorta-negative (not really negative, just more realistic)...

Assuming you are not a URM, the issue you will be facing is that of your GPA (and even if you are a URM really). If you do indeed score in the 170-175 range, then your LSAT is within range of the very top schools (Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, etc.), however (big however), your GPA will place you far far below their average band. This scenario is referred to as a splitter (above median LSAT, below median GPA). The likelihood of getting into these schools as a non-URM splitter - even with really strong softs - are slim. You might be able to sneak into a lower T-14 (T-14 refers to the US News Top 14 ranked schools, generally considered the elite national schools), but I wouldn't count on it.


The positive (yay!)

Your best bet would be to apply to schools relatively lower ranked schools (fyi - there is nothing wrong at all with these schools, but not all schools can be Harvard, ya know). Again, assuming you do indeed score in the LSAT range you are looking for, you will be a shoe-in for serious scholarships at these schools. You will probably get full tuition scholarships from several. Understand that Big Law is extremely limited if not impossible for grads coming from these schools. Your best bet would be a small law firm specializing in IP Patent Law.

I would specifically apply to lower ranked schools in the region you wish to work in. A law school's employment prospects become more and more regional the lower in rank it is. For example, where a degree from Harvard (ranked 2nd) can legitametly help you get a job almost anywhere in the US, Vanderbilt (16th) will be more so confined to the South. University of Florida (50ish) will be more so confined to Florida, University of Miami (75ish?) will be confined to Southern Florida, and FIU (100) to Miami in specific.


Conclusion

So... rock the LSAT, apply to all the T14 schools (you never know!) and any school in the region(s) you want to work in, and take the least expensive option.

ace52387

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2014, 09:56:27 PM »
Thank you so much for all of the info. As far as career options go, if the hard science Ph.D's are the coveted IP law candidates, I feel like I would be quite a step down from that. At my best, my skills in chemistry/biochem were that of a BS in those fields. I rarely use those skills and as a result they have deteriorated to something even less than that. Do you think my experience/credentials might help me as an 'ambulance chaser' or someone that might defend against 'ambulance chasing' claims?

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2014, 01:37:15 PM »
Without a real LSAT score everything is speculation. Not to sound rude, but there really is no point in assuming you'll get a 170+ unless you're consistently scoring in that range on timed practice exams. Even then, it's not guaranteed.

However, assuming you score well (160+) you'll have many options. Elite schools will probably be out because of your GPA. They want a high GPA and high LSAT. Many good regional and local schools may be a possibility, though. Focus on the LSAT and get the highest score possible, but don't put the cart before the horse.

Do you think my experience/credentials might help me as an 'ambulance chaser' or someone that might defend against 'ambulance chasing' claims?

Maybe a little, but not really. If you understand the medical field better than the average lawyer, then that's a plus. However, tort claims usually turn on whether a duty was owed, and whether that duty was breached. The applicable standards are set by statute, common law, and professional associations. Any lawyer, with or without medical knowledge, can research the relevant standard and argue for or against a breach.

kckeisel

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2014, 05:39:43 PM »
Just make sure that you will be happy with your career once you decide to change. Read this article. There are many attorneys that are unhappy with their positions. Just make sure that it is worth it!

http://www.lawcrossing.com/article/900042544/25-Reasons-Why-Most-Attorneys-Go-Crazy-And-What-to-Do-About-It/

Citylaw

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 11:12:45 AM »
As other posters suggested a 170-175 is not easy, and places you in the top 5% of college graduates that were motivated enough to go to law school, study for the LSAT, and had the fortitude to actually take the LSAT. There is a 95% chance you will not score that high. I imagine with your background you can score sufficiently high enough to attend an ABA school, and there is a 5% chance you will score a 170-175.

With that said, I think your best bet is to study for the LSAT and take the test. If you enjoy studying for the LSAT you will probably enjoy law school, and if you get a great score awesome the world is your oyster. If you hate studying for the LSAT and get a terrible score then law school was not for you. I know many people in your situation with an active career, which is where I was when I applied start thinking of the countless possibilities that could happen and put the carriage in front of the horse.

For now give up a few weeks to study for the LSAT and one or two hundred dollars for the test fee. If the score and studying goes well then really consider the pros and cons of law school.  If the score and studying goes poorly then law school is not in the cards, and no need to stress about it.

 Good luck.




I.M.D.Law

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 12:28:15 PM »
As other posters suggested a 170-175 is not easy, and places you in the top 5% of college graduates that were motivated enough to go to law school, study for the LSAT, and had the fortitude to actually take the LSAT. There is a 95% chance you will not score that high. I imagine with your background you can score sufficiently high enough to attend an ABA school, and there is a 5% chance you will score a 170-175.

With that said, I think your best bet is to study for the LSAT and take the test. If you enjoy studying for the LSAT you will probably enjoy law school, and if you get a great score awesome the world is your oyster. If you hate studying for the LSAT and get a terrible score then law school was not for you. I know many people in your situation with an active career, which is where I was when I applied start thinking of the countless possibilities that could happen and put the carriage in front of the horse.

For now give up a few weeks to study for the LSAT and one or two hundred dollars for the test fee. If the score and studying goes well then really consider the pros and cons of law school.  If the score and studying goes poorly then law school is not in the cards, and no need to stress about it.

 Good luck.
Worth noting there is zero indication this score will be achieved, just a "base case scenario" hypo

ShonMI

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 02:49:30 PM »
Intro

170-175 LSAT is not easy. Seriously. I'll assume in the below that you get there, but understand that even assuming you are actually capable (not being mean, just realistic), it will still take a ton of work and effort to get there. Way more than you will ever expect. So, if you really think you can make it there, prepare to practice the LSAT BIG time - like part-time job (if not full time job) worth of preparation.

If someone is a pharmacist, they are probably already pretty brainy. A high LSAT score would not be unrealistic for them. If anything, medical school, pharmacy school,  even nursing school are far more challenging than law studies. That's because they have to take a lot of math and science courses to succeed in their career. A high LSAT score would be a cakewalk for someone who is a pharmacist. I am not sure why some here are doubting that the OP could achieve a high score. It is totally realistic for him.

What the OP needs to consider, though, is that he has a very good career now and entering law would be risky. It is an over-saturated field! If the OP doesn't like pharmacy he should consider another field of medicine, where he can always remain employed.

I.M.D.Law

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 05:47:06 PM »
Yes and No.

Not saying it won't happen, just saying it has not happened yet.
I would not consider a 175 lsat a cakewalk even if they had a 4.0 GPA in it (which they don't)

I.M.D.Law

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Re: Changing from a medical career?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 05:48:23 PM »
I'm a hospital pharmacist without any overt gripes about my profession or job currently. On the other hand, I cannot see myself doing this forever. I do enjoy the field of medicine and I would like to know what my prospects and options are regarding law school and a career as an attorney.

My GPA in school was a 3.1, but I believe with good preparation I can score well on the LSAT. With what I've got and a best-case-scenario LSAT score of 170-175, what would my options be?

As far as what I should look into to further evaluate whether or not I should take the plunge, what niche might my credentials and experience be suited for? I've considered IP law but my real interest would lie more around litigation and regulation in the field of medicine. Legal counsel for a hospital or a pharmaceutical company maybe? Or simply working as a medical specialist in big/mid law? I've read in other discussions that there is no benefit to having any credentials; that experts fill that role, but I feel as if my own understanding of medical sciences may help with evaluating and analyzing research materials.

Thanks in advance for your help
Kind of silly question here but are you a PharmD, or a lower ranking assistant?
Is that your undergrad gpa, grad gpa, or combo?