Am I making a good decision?

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weis14
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Am I making a good decision?

Postby weis14 » Fri May 07, 2010 10:54 pm

I would like comments on my decision to attend law school. I have been accepted into Indiana University Bloomington and have a nice scholarship which will cover the cost of tuition. I am married, so my wife will be able to help with COL and I don't have any undergraduate debt. I will graduate with about $50k in loans. I graduated from undergrad with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and intend to go into patent law. However, I am working at a mid size automotive company making about $55k / year with good prospects of advancement. however, I am not particularly interested in staying in my job as there are a lot of things I am frustrated with. Also, the auto industry is notorious for its up and down nature and just 2 years ago half of my department was laid off. Salary for mechanical engineers in this company tops out at about $70k.

I am quite excited about learning the law and practicing as an attorney. However, I am nervous about the debt / lost opportunity cost I will accumulate in law school. I am also nervous about quitting a good job ITE. Should I just stay where I am? Any thoughts are appreciated.

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merichard87
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby merichard87 » Fri May 07, 2010 10:59 pm

EE/CE here. You have pretty good options for law school since you won't be incurring a massive amount of debt. With your situation I don't think it would be a bad decision for you to go to law school but in the end it would be about what you are most interested in. I don't think it would be a huge jump to assume you could start at that 70 - 80k (at minimum) right out of law school.

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lostjake
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby lostjake » Fri May 07, 2010 11:02 pm

Undergrad degree has a lot to do with prospects in patent law, keep that in mind.

yabbadabbado
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby yabbadabbado » Fri May 07, 2010 11:03 pm

Are there strings attached to the scholarship? If so, you might not keep it all 3 years.

Any chance you can defer going to LS a year and take the patent bar in the meantime while you keep your current job?

I would see about about becoming a patent agent before going to law school right now. If you can't find a good job as a patent agent after passing the patent bar, things probably aren't looking so hot after you come out of law school either. In that case, you can save yourself the time and expense of going to law school and figure out what else you'd like to do.

Don't know what things will be like for you when law school recruiting season for patent attorneys comes around, but ITE, all bets are off. I've heard more than one story of guys that hoped to become patent attorneys going back to engineering or whatever their previous career was because of how bad the legal job market is. At least they have something to fall back on, unlike the law grads with no work experience and no marketable ugrad degree.

weis14
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby weis14 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:10 pm

yabbadabbado wrote:Are there strings attached to the scholarship? If so, you might not keep it all 3 years.

Any chance you can defer going to LS a year and take the patent bar in the meantime while you keep your current job?


The scholarship is renewable based on maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Basically, as long as I don't get in trouble or fail any classes I keep the scholarship. Unfortunately, if I defer, I would guess that I would lose the scholarship. I don't know for sure though.

lostjake wrote:Undergrad degree has a lot to do with prospects in patent law, keep that in mind.


I know that EE is in more demand. What else do you mean by this comment?

Thanks for the comments so far.

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lostjake
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby lostjake » Fri May 07, 2010 11:16 pm

weis14 wrote:
yabbadabbado wrote:Are there strings attached to the scholarship? If so, you might not keep it all 3 years.

Any chance you can defer going to LS a year and take the patent bar in the meantime while you keep your current job?


The scholarship is renewable based on maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Basically, as long as I don't get in trouble or fail any classes I keep the scholarship. Unfortunately, if I defer, I would guess that I would lose the scholarship. I don't know for sure though.

lostjake wrote:Undergrad degree has a lot to do with prospects in patent law, keep that in mind.


I know that EE is in more demand. What else do you mean by this comment?

Thanks for the comments so far.


Just like law school rankings IP firms will look at the strength of your undergrad and your work experience. I knew someone from Ferris who graduated with an engineering degree and only had to take calc I. I'm not trying to make any insults, just something to think about. I think that if you don't have any kids law school at that price would probably worth doing.

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merichard87
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby merichard87 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:30 pm

lostjake wrote:
weis14 wrote:
yabbadabbado wrote:Are there strings attached to the scholarship? If so, you might not keep it all 3 years.

Any chance you can defer going to LS a year and take the patent bar in the meantime while you keep your current job?


The scholarship is renewable based on maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Basically, as long as I don't get in trouble or fail any classes I keep the scholarship. Unfortunately, if I defer, I would guess that I would lose the scholarship. I don't know for sure though.

lostjake wrote:Undergrad degree has a lot to do with prospects in patent law, keep that in mind.


I know that EE is in more demand. What else do you mean by this comment?

Thanks for the comments so far.


Just like law school rankings IP firms will look at the strength of your undergrad and your work experience. I knew someone from Ferris who graduated with an engineering degree and only had to take calc I. I'm not trying to make any insults, just something to think about. I think that if you don't have any kids law school at that price would probably worth doing.



Engineering with only Calc 1? wtf?

weis14
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby weis14 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:32 pm

lostjake wrote:Are there strings attached to the scholarship? If so,
Just like law school rankings IP firms will look at the strength of your undergrad and your work experience. I knew someone from Ferris who graduated with an engineering degree and only had to take calc I. I'm not trying to make any insults, just something to think about. I think that if you don't have any kids law school at that price would probably worth doing.


Thanks for your honesty. I know that Ferris is TTTT when it comes to engineering, but hopefully it won't drag me down too much. Obviously I don't have any research experience, but my work experience is not too bad. Also, I did have to take advanced calculus and differential equations, but I also know of some crap engineering degrees from Ferris where you don't even need calc I. I guess it makes the rest of us look even worse.

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merichard87
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby merichard87 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:42 pm

Just checked out the Ferris website. You might want to make sure your degree meets the requirements to sit for the Patent Bar. I didnt actually see any degrees that ended with Engineering.

weis14
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Re: Am I making a good decision?

Postby weis14 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:48 pm

merichard87 wrote:Just checked out the Ferris website. You might want to make sure your degree meets the requirements to sit for the Patent Bar. I didnt actually see any degrees that ended with Engineering.


My degree is Mechanical Engineering Technology, but I should qualify under Category C of the Patent bar requirements as I have passed the FE exam in the sate of Michigan.




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