Law School Discussion

Contemplating going to Law School (specifically IP Law)

Contemplating going to Law School (specifically IP Law)
« on: April 03, 2006, 02:56:08 PM »
I live in Indiana and just graduated from college this past December with a BS in Media Arts and Science (New Media) - Minor in Business and Cert. in Computer Science, as well (3.5 GPA and admitted to various honor societies, Deans' Lists and informatics student council).  I've been using the last few months to relax and take some time off from school and really think about what I want to do for a career.   I graduated feeling a bit lost and I didn't really know what I wanted to do; didn't really find a niche I really enjoyed in my major - that and my major tended to cater towards more creative people, which I'm not really like.

Anyway, I'm looking into various graduate programs which include Law (specifcally IP Law), MBA, MS in Information (possibly Archiving at UMich), MS in Computer Technology, MS in Informatics.

Law School research so far:
- talked with an IP lawyer and a Divorce lawyer in my city
- talked with a 1st year law student at the university I attended (IUPUI)
- various Internet research
- browsed over LSAT testing materials
- read the book "Should You Really Be A Laywer"

Next steps:
- visit IU Law School - Indianapolis
- delve deeper into LSAT testing

I've also done a lot of soul searching recently (writing down interests and personality traits to help me grasp what I may like to).  Went to a career counselor in December which told me that I'm very much like people in business and that I may enjoy law school (technology/computer related work).  The overall results indicated that buiness was my strongest suit (particulary finance; which is not a big interest of mine), with possibly law next, followed by technology (technology being a good spin off of the two former or something else).

I will say that IP in general has been an interest of mine for the last four years (buying, selling, who owns what, licensing, etc.).  Right now I'm taking an online class titled "Technology and the Law", which has been very entriguing.

Even after all of this, I'm still not really sure what I want to do.  If I can't decide if I'm going to grad school in the next few months or so, it may be that I have to go out and get job/career experience before I really know what I want to do.  I don't have any dream jobs at the moment, nor are there any companies that I'm dying to work for.  Also, if possbile, I'd probably like to stay in the Midwest or Indiana (for now, anyway).  Salary is not really a factor; I just really want to find a career I enjoy doing.

If anyone out there has some advice to help me choose or weed out law school, it would be much appreciated.  In fact, any advice (regarding the above) at this point would probably be helpful.

Many thanks!


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Re: Contemplating going to Law School (specifically IP Law)
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2006, 08:38:46 PM »
Have you taken the LSAT?

Re: Contemplating going to Law School (specifically IP Law)
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2006, 11:01:56 PM »

Re: Contemplating going to Law School (specifically IP Law)
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2006, 06:49:42 AM »
I admire the thought you've put into making your choice, but you're probably going to need a more advanced technical degree to succeed in IP law.  Will your BS even qualify you for the patent bar (if you wanted to do patent)?  You might want to think about going for a masters first.  This will improve both your long-term job prospects and your law school applications.  Good luck.     


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Re: Contemplating going to Law School (specifically IP Law)
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2006, 07:05:55 AM »
a BS/BA in comp sci. should be fine for IP law, as far as I know.  MS in Comp Sci is a really demanding program, that combined with law school is going to give you tons of headache.

Re: Contemplating going to Law School (specifically IP Law)
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2006, 07:57:40 AM »
the thing about comp sci/comp engineering is that there are special accreditation issues to consider; this seems to be a guard against folks who took a Microsoft certification class and such signing up to take the patent bar.

i don't know what the IP lawyer told you, but one thing you might ask is the degree to which firms in your area look at an applicant's undergrad degree.  i know people with adanced biology degrees (e.g., PhDs) who have passed the patent bar but have had trouble finding jobs b/c their degree was not what firms were looking for, whereas someone who hadn't taken the patent bar yet but has a BS in Mech eng was more successful.  another place to ask your question would be on the Greedy IP board on  there are IP people there from all sorts of backgrounds and experience levels who can offer you solid (and diverse) advice.

from what i've seen, most firms seem to want people who have either taken or are eligible to take the patent bar even if they will be doing "soft" IP such as trademark and copyright.  a lot of (but not all) firms don't want to hire someone just to do TM/copyright when they can hire someone who can do all three.

i would say the next thing to do would be to find out if your degree qualifies you to take the patent bar.  it seems like you don't have a degree in Comp Sci, but rahter a certification; definitely find out where that puts you.  i will say that if you're seriously interested in IP, an advanced degree (esp in comp sci or comp engineering) will give you a huge leg up vs. just an bachelor's degree.

something to think about as well if you qualify for the patent bar is passing it and trying to find work as a patent agent.  agents may prosecute patents and practice before the patent office, but don't have law degrees.  you would get exposure to the real-life practice of IP before you decided to plunk down tens of thousands of dollars to go to law school...and who knows, your firm might pay for it as well. 

but again, a graduate degree will serve you extremely well.  i would strongly urge you to look into that route.