Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: from science to law?  (Read 2916 times)

qt314

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1400
  • pi = 3.14, k?
    • View Profile
    • bluewords
from science to law?
« on: August 22, 2007, 06:41:52 PM »
Hi all,

I'm pretty new here, but I thought I'd ask for your feedback since I've seen some really helpful replies here. I'm an MD/PhD student switching into law, and though my undergrad GPA is pretty good and my practice LSATs aren't bad, most of my coursework was in the sciences. I haven't done anything that sounds traditionally pre-law. Would you guys recommend pausing for a year, working as a paralegal, etc. to get more experience and a "pre-law" history before applying? Why/why not?

Thanks in advance for your input!!
NYU Class of 2011!

BlueWhite

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2007, 09:03:27 PM »
As long as your undergrad GPA and LSAT are solid, you're fine.  I asked some admissions officers whether it was okay that I was coming from a pure science background, and they said that was fine.  I don't think working as a paralegal would help much because I'm sure lots of applicants do that, too.  You just need to have a convincing story about why you're making the switch from science to law so that they don't think you're a serial student. 

qt314

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1400
  • pi = 3.14, k?
    • View Profile
    • bluewords
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2007, 11:10:15 PM »
BlueWhite, you made the switch, too? That's awesome! I'm glad I'm not alone  :). are you applying this year?

pignacious, are you saying i just need to have a good personal statement explaining my switch? i guess at first glance, i do kind of sound like a serial student (just rounding up every degree :).) i do have real reasons why i know this is the right choice for me, so my strategy for the personal statement was just to be as honest as possible about my trajectory.

NYU Class of 2011!

BlueWhite

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2007, 11:31:11 PM »
Bluegenes, you're definitely not alone :)  I'm finishing up a PhD and there are a bunch of other PhDs on these boards, too.  There was also an MD that used to post on the Nontrad board, too.  I'm applying this fall, so I don't yet have much anecdotal evidence of my own, but I can share what others have told me.
With your personal statement, I suggest being honest, but also be mindful of your audience and don't take for granted that they'll know things.  I've been having some of my non-scientist friends read my essays because I'm trying to explain the connection between pharmaceutical research and the law (my PhD is in Pharmaceutics), but there are some things I take to be common knowledge about scientific research that really aren't for people outside the field.  Best of luck!

lioness

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 49
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2007, 05:59:17 AM »
I wouldn't worry about it. Many students enter law school w/o a pre-law background.

qt314

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1400
  • pi = 3.14, k?
    • View Profile
    • bluewords
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2007, 03:00:29 PM »
final_id, i love the smile in your pic, so funny :)

i appreciate your replies. scientists and doctors think i write well, but perhaps they are not the best judges, eh?  ::)

i also spoke with my pre-law advisor (JHU) and she was quite blunt: law schools may SAY they look at your whole package, but everything really boils down to numbers. if you have a high index, nothing else matters.
NYU Class of 2011!

BlueWhite

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2007, 07:25:09 PM »
Your pre-law advisor's right.  You'll be fine.  You must've done well in school to get into a MD/PhD program, and the LSAT's a breeze compared to the MCAT (don't listen to any of the kids on this forum complaining about how impossible the LSAT is).  Good luck!

qt314

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1400
  • pi = 3.14, k?
    • View Profile
    • bluewords
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2007, 10:26:27 PM »
ha!... i will say this... whatever masses of knowledge you THOUGHT you struggled to memorize in undergrad, will be trumped by the sheer volume of information thrown at you in the first month of med school. i think we memorized the equivalent of 2 textbooks per month. verbatim. basically, to succeed in med school, you have to be pretty imaginative to invent mnemonics to help you retain that stuff. fun, fun, fun.

bluewhite, i don't know about you, but i'm having fun taking these practice lsats. i wish the mcats had games! i scored a 170 on a diagnostic and am trying to consistently get above 175, i guess it's just practice and focus. by the way, i got a lecture from a postdoc in my lab today on how it's possible to work in a law firm as a Ph.D. and pretty much do similar work, so getting a JD was essentially useless... not a lot of scientists really support the Ph.D. to J.D. transition, huh?
NYU Class of 2011!

BlueWhite

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2007, 10:51:05 PM »
I actually enjoyed studying for the LSAT, too (although I rarely admit it for fear of incurring the wrath of some others on this forum).  It was the first standardized test I've ever taken where I didn't have to memorize anything.  I don't know what you're using to study, but the Powerscore Bibles (Games and Reasoning) really helped me.  I also started being more consistent in my scoring after I went through all my old practice tests and made note of what I was getting wrong.
It's true that you could work in a law firm with a Ph.D., but it definitely wouldn't be in the same capacity as someone with a J.D.  You wouldn't have the same opportunities for career advancement.  Plus, with more and more Ph.Ds going into law, I think the demand for those with Ph.D.s only will decrease (this is just my speculation).  I think a lot of scientists view giving up research for law as some kind of betrayal or something, but my thesis committee has been nothing but supportive of my decision, and they're all writing recommendations for me, so I was lucky.       

OptiJamesJ

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
Re: from science to law?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2007, 11:05:50 PM »
I think science is harder than law, but that's just me.  And maybe that's why I'm going into law.