Some help getting started...

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Sun May 13, 2012 9:01 pm

Hello, TLS! I've looked at the school profiles and statistic pages for a few weeks now, so I figured I would finally join the forums. Of all of the message boards I've scoured, this one seems like I'd have the best discussions / most helpful responses, so here goes.

I currently have a year left of undergrad and I'm strongly considering law school. My degree will be from Purdue University in chemistry (with an English minor). The only branch of law I'm interested in is intellectual property law. I saw a funny post about "The Six Wrong Reasons to go to Law School" and I can proudly say I didn't consider this path for any of those reasons. I truly think chemistry is interesting, and I thoroughly enjoy reading about novel pursuits in the field (and, of course, the patent potential for each of said pursuits).

I'm not exactly worried about my GPA or my LSAT score. I have work experience and I'm a very effective writer, which will help take the pressure off when it comes to the numbers. I'm not trying to be arrogant or anything - I've just had a really rough go at it when it comes to my undergraduate career, and although I can't erase my past I intend to do all I can to tell law schools I'm cut out for their curriculum.

ALL of that said, I don't really know where to start looking. Try as I might I can't seem to find a comprehensive list of schools that are especially good at patent law. I prefer urban settings, and I really want to go to the east coast (because I heard from a rather reliable source that the east coast is pharmaceutical-specialized and west coast is engineering-specialized as far as the IP goes). So this spurs a few questions:

1. Is it even worth looking for a school that specializes in IP law? That is, can I go to a law school that's ranked (for example) 40th and get the exact same out of it as I would at the 50th ranked school that's T10 in IP law?

2. What are some schools (as far as reach / middle / sure thing) I could be looking at that I'm definitely not right now?

3. Are there any schools that have gained a reputation for giving people with low GPA's a chance (perhaps a probational admission as in other graduate programs) to prove themselves?

Thanks for your help in advance!

rad lulz
Posts: 9844
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 13, 2012 9:11 pm

Specialty rankings don't matter and no one can tell you what schools you should be looking at without a GPA and LSAT.

Also enjoy lawschoolnumbers.com and lawschoolpredictor.com

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby shoeshine » Sun May 13, 2012 9:16 pm

GMChappe wrote:Hello, TLS! I've looked at the school profiles and statistic pages for a few weeks now, so I figured I would finally join the forums. Of all of the message boards I've scoured, this one seems like I'd have the best discussions / most helpful responses, so here goes.

I currently have a year left of undergrad and I'm strongly considering law school. My degree will be from Purdue University in chemistry (with an English minor). The only branch of law I'm interested in is intellectual property law. I saw a funny post about "The Six Wrong Reasons to go to Law School" and I can proudly say I didn't consider this path for any of those reasons. I truly think chemistry is interesting, and I thoroughly enjoy reading about novel pursuits in the field (and, of course, the patent potential for each of said pursuits).

I'm not exactly worried about my GPA or my LSAT score. I have work experience and I'm a very effective writer, which will help take the pressure off when it comes to the numbers. I'm not trying to be arrogant or anything - I've just had a really rough go at it when it comes to my undergraduate career, and although I can't erase my past I intend to do all I can to tell law schools I'm cut out for their curriculum.

ALL of that said, I don't really know where to start looking. Try as I might I can't seem to find a comprehensive list of schools that are especially good at patent law. I prefer urban settings, and I really want to go to the east coast (because I heard from a rather reliable source that the east coast is pharmaceutical-specialized and west coast is engineering-specialized as far as the IP goes). So this spurs a few questions:

1. Is it even worth looking for a school that specializes in IP law? That is, can I go to a law school that's ranked (for example) 40th and get the exact same out of it as I would at the 50th ranked school that's T10 in IP law?

2. What are some schools (as far as reach / middle / sure thing) I could be looking at that I'm definitely not right now?

3. Are there any schools that have gained a reputation for giving people with low GPA's a chance (perhaps a probational admission as in other graduate programs) to prove themselves?

Thanks for your help in advance!


1. Specialty rankings don't mean anything.

2. I can't tell you without a GPA/LSAT

3. not sure.

On another note. You should be worried about your GPA and LSAT. No matter what your work experience and writing skills are schools only really care about your hard numbers (GPA/LSAT). The other things will help if you are already on the cusp of admission but nothing makes up for a bad GPA and LSAT(outside of URM status).

Having said that, The best IP schools are arguable Stanford and Boalt. This is somewhat a function of geography because they are near silicon valley and many of the largest IP firms are based there. However, it is not hard to find a job in IP coming for any T14 and to a lesser extent the T25.

GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Sun May 13, 2012 9:51 pm

Thanks for the links, lulz.

Shoeshine, I should have been more clear; "on the cusp of admission" was definitely what I meant by "not caring" (or whatever I exactly said in the first place). I want to get my foot in the door to any place I can with the hard numbers, and then I want to show them I can do it given everything else.

Let's say for the sake of argument (and your suggestions) that my GPA is 2.8 and my LSAT will be 164.

JasonR
Posts: 421
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:09 am

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby JasonR » Sun May 13, 2012 11:30 pm

I'm just going to be blunt, and you probably won't like what you read, but it's not going to be far from the truth: If you have a 2.8 and you score a 164, you just shouldn't go to law school. Your odds of attaining your career goals in law out of any law school that you'll be able to get into with those numbers will just be vanishingly small -- so small that you should consider the idea a practical impossibility. (To say nothing of the crushing debt you'll have in the face of poor employment prospects.) Prestige matters as much as or more in this profession than anywhere else.

With a 2.8, it is essential that you absolutely crush the LSAT (as in score comfortably above 170). There are a few top-14 schools who are much more forgiving of sub-3.0 GPAs when the applicant has an amazing LSAT score -- namely UVA, Northwestern, and Georgetown. You will want a score of 175+ and a really early application to feel reasonably comfortable about your odds of getting into one or more of them. You will need to apply ED in a staggered fashion. Search for Samara's guide for splitters.

Basically, the only thing that matters for you now is the LSAT. You have to destroy it. It won't be worth going to law school otherwise.

User avatar
stillwater
Posts: 3811
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:59 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby stillwater » Sun May 13, 2012 11:35 pm

JasonR wrote:I'm just going to be blunt, and you probably won't like what you read, but it's not going to be far from the truth: If you have a 2.8 and you score a 164, you just shouldn't go to law school. Your odds of attaining your career goals in law out of any law school that you'll be able to get into with those numbers will just be vanishingly small -- so small that you should consider the idea a practical impossibility. (To say nothing of the crushing debt you'll have in the face of poor employment prospects.) Prestige matters as much as or more in this profession than anywhere else.

With a 2.8, it is essential that you absolutely crush the LSAT (as in score comfortably above 170). There are a few top-14 schools who are much more forgiving of sub-3.0 GPAs when the applicant has an amazing LSAT score -- namely UVA, Northwestern, and Georgetown. You will want a score of 175+ and a really early application to feel reasonably comfortable about your odds of getting into one or more of them. You will need to apply ED in a staggered fashion. Search for Samara's guide for splitters.

Basically, the only thing that matters for you now is the LSAT. You have to destroy it. It won't be worth going to law school otherwise.


I agree with most of this. Poster is entirely correct you need to retake the LSAT and smash it. Ill temper it by saying you need to get a minimum score of probably 168, which could get you WUSTL/GW. But the lessons remain the same, retake and kill it.

GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Sun May 13, 2012 11:53 pm

Interesting responses, I appreciate the complete honesty. I guess I didn't realize that law was THAT prestige-driven. I had been thinking that my sub-par GPA would be reconsidered simply because it's in chemistry (as opposed to communications, philosophy, or something I could do in my sleep) at a school well known for its chemistry in Purdue University. I wanted the technical background to succeed in patent law, but it obviously backfired in that I'm not very good at lab things or anything beyond Calc II.

I digress. But yeah, I wouldn't say I'm as much shocked as I am just a little discouraged. I guess my two options I can see right now are:

1. Take the LSAT again and hope I break 170 "comfortably".

2. Attempt to get into a T3 school, smash it grades-wise, and apply for transfer after a year.

So, uh ... doable?

User avatar
top30man
Posts: 1224
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:11 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby top30man » Sun May 13, 2012 11:56 pm

GMChappe wrote:Interesting responses, I appreciate the complete honesty. I guess I didn't realize that law was THAT prestige-driven. I had been thinking that my sub-par GPA would be reconsidered simply because it's in chemistry (as opposed to communications, philosophy, or something I could do in my sleep) at a school well known for its chemistry in Purdue University. I wanted the technical background to succeed in patent law, but it obviously backfired in that I'm not very good at lab things or anything beyond Calc II.

I digress. But yeah, I wouldn't say I'm as much shocked as I am just a little discouraged. I guess my two options I can see right now are:

1. Take the LSAT again and hope I break 170 "comfortably".

2. Attempt to get into a T3 school, smash it grades-wise, and apply for transfer after a year.

So, uh ... doable?

Unfortunately law schools don't really care about undergraduate rigor because it doesn't get reported to US news. Option one is definitely what you should do. Trying to transfer wont work out 90% of the time because you need top 10% grades to transfer.

GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Mon May 14, 2012 12:08 am

Well, shit. I guess all I can do is study for a standardized test, and it's either own that or my career path is ruined. Sad day.

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby shoeshine » Mon May 14, 2012 12:12 am

GMChappe wrote:Well, shit. I guess all I can do is study for a standardized test, and it's either own that or my career path is ruined. Sad day.

Sad but true. It is better you realize it now than later.

(of course it would have been best to realize it when you could have still affected your GPA but oh well)

User avatar
Tiago Splitter
Posts: 15524
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon May 14, 2012 12:15 am

shoeshine wrote:
GMChappe wrote:Well, shit. I guess all I can do is study for a standardized test, and it's either own that or my career path is ruined. Sad day.

Sad but true. It is better you realize it now than later.

(of course it would have been best to realize it when you could have still affected your GPA but oh well)


He still has a year. Gun hard senior year to get that GPA up.

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby shoeshine » Mon May 14, 2012 12:17 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
shoeshine wrote:
GMChappe wrote:Well, shit. I guess all I can do is study for a standardized test, and it's either own that or my career path is ruined. Sad day.

Sad but true. It is better you realize it now than later.

(of course it would have been best to realize it when you could have still affected your GPA but oh well)


He still has a year. Gun hard senior year to get that GPA up.

Holy shit I misread. Yeah very true. Or better yet defer graduation and get your school to count a bunch of CC college classes toward your GPA.

The key is to not complete whatever your degree requires for you to graduate until the last semester.

User avatar
Br3v
Posts: 4174
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby Br3v » Mon May 14, 2012 12:26 am

shoeshine wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
shoeshine wrote:
GMChappe wrote:Well, shit. I guess all I can do is study for a standardized test, and it's either own that or my career path is ruined. Sad day.

Sad but true. It is better you realize it now than later.

(of course it would have been best to realize it when you could have still affected your GPA but oh well)


He still has a year. Gun hard senior year to get that GPA up.

Holy shit I misread. Yeah very true. Or better yet defer graduation and get your school to count a bunch of CC college classes toward your GPA.

The key is to not complete whatever your degree requires for you to graduate until the last semester.


Question with this, as soon as you meet requirements for grad in the major, does gpa stop? Or is it Only the semester you apply for graduation, say even if you were 100% eligible to graduate the previous semester or something?

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby shoeshine » Mon May 14, 2012 12:31 am

Br3v wrote:Question with this, as soon as you meet requirements for grad in the major, does gpa stop? Or is it Only the semester you apply for graduation, say even if you were 100% eligible to graduate the previous semester or something?

It is everything that counted toward your GPA before you complete your degree. Schools handle this differently. some allow you to keep adding classes (however extraneous) until you apply for graduation. Others will allow you to take more classes but count it separately on your transcripts.

LSAC only counts GPA and classes that were completed before you "completed" your first bachelor's degree. They don't look into when that literally happened unless your school makes it clear on the transcript.

The only way to be sure it will count (from an LSAC perspective) it to not complete one needed class.

GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Mon May 14, 2012 12:32 am

Yeah, I still have a year left. I've planned it out where the entire fall semester is dedicated to an English minor, and the spring semester finishes up the two classes I have left for the chemistry major.

My 2.8 also doesn't count my year at another school, where I received something close to a 3.5. Is that going to be relevant?

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby shoeshine » Mon May 14, 2012 12:34 am

GMChappe wrote:Yeah, I still have a year left. I've planned it out where the entire fall semester is dedicated to an English minor, and the spring semester finishes up the two classes I have left for the chemistry major.

My 2.8 also doesn't count my year at another school, where I received something close to a 3.5. Is that going to be relevant?

Yep. LSAC counts every class at every school before your first bachelors degree was earned.

User avatar
Ludo!
Posts: 4764
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:22 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby Ludo! » Mon May 14, 2012 12:36 am

GMChappe wrote:Yeah, I still have a year left. I've planned it out where the entire fall semester is dedicated to an English minor, and the spring semester finishes up the two classes I have left for the chemistry major.

My 2.8 also doesn't count my year at another school, where I received something close to a 3.5. Is that going to be relevant?


Yes, LSAC counts all schools and all grades so that will help you a bit. You still need to crack 170 on the LSAT to get in anywhere worth going.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13918
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon May 14, 2012 12:36 am

shoeshine wrote:
Br3v wrote:Question with this, as soon as you meet requirements for grad in the major, does gpa stop? Or is it Only the semester you apply for graduation, say even if you were 100% eligible to graduate the previous semester or something?

It is everything that counted toward your GPA before you complete your degree. Schools handle this differently. some allow you to keep adding classes (however extraneous) until you apply for graduation. Others will allow you to take more classes but count it separately on your transcripts.

LSAC only counts GPA and classes that were completed before you "completed" your first bachelor's degree. They don't look into when that literally happened unless your school makes it clear on the transcript.

The only way to be sure it will count (from an LSAC perspective) it to not complete one needed class.
OP, definitely learn what your school does...and then double and triple-check it. My school swore that we would NOT graduate until we applied for a review of our transcripts to make sure we'd completed all requirements and didn't have any outstanding fines, etc. I didn't apply for graduation and took another term of optional classes (all As), walked at commencement in June, and received an empty diploma folder. Turns out they'd graduated me the last term without telling me and my diploma had been on file in the registrar's office for 3 months. I would've had 3 more classes of A in my GPA if they hadn't screwed up.

GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Mon May 14, 2012 12:42 am

Cool. Future is slightly brighter. I suppose the bulb is very dim as opposed to completely off.

Another thing I was thinking about doing was getting a masters in tech writing from another school (or maybe stay at Purdue) and then start the whole law school application process. That way, I'll have a Masters Degree, a guaranteed better GPA, and a formidable LSAT score. PLUS, if all law career paths remain under construction at that point, I'll most likely have a job lined up in the technical writing field.

rad lulz
Posts: 9844
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby rad lulz » Mon May 14, 2012 12:46 am

GMChappe wrote:Cool. Future is slightly brighter. I suppose the bulb is very dim as opposed to completely off.

Another thing I was thinking about doing was getting a masters in tech writing from another school (or maybe stay at Purdue) and then start the whole law school application process. That way, I'll have a Masters Degree, a guaranteed better GPA, and a formidable LSAT score. PLUS, if all law career paths remain under construction at that point, I'll most likely have a job lined up in the technical writing field.

Master's don't mean jack for lawl school admissions, unfortunately.

GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Mon May 14, 2012 12:47 am

rad lulz wrote: Master's don't mean jack for lawl school admissions, unfortunately.


GAH. I was misled. Maybe I'll just sneak into a law school a few years down the road.

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby shoeshine » Mon May 14, 2012 12:48 am

GMChappe wrote:Cool. Future is slightly brighter. I suppose the bulb is very dim as opposed to completely off.

Another thing I was thinking about doing was getting a masters in tech writing from another school (or maybe stay at Purdue) and then start the whole law school application process. That way, I'll have a Masters Degree, a guaranteed better GPA, and a formidable LSAT score. PLUS, if all law career paths remain under construction at that point, I'll most likely have a job lined up in the technical writing field.

Sounds cool but the Master GPA does not count in an admissions context. Also, generally master's degrees only help IP candidates(from an employment prospect perspective) if they are in Engineering or a hard science.

GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Mon May 14, 2012 12:52 am

shoeshine wrote:Sounds cool but the Master GPA does not count in an admissions context. Also, generally master's degrees only help IP candidates(from an employment prospect perspective) if they are in Engineering or a hard science.


Oh, so THEN chemistry would help. Looks like the system is just out to get me. Then again, this IS law we're talking about.

Edit: That was totally a joke, I appreciate everyone's help!

wearefoxsports
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:54 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby wearefoxsports » Mon May 14, 2012 1:09 am

GMChappe wrote:I guess I didn't realize that law was THAT prestige-driven.

Not really. I am going to be blunt here. A 2.8 GPA won't carry you very far academically. Unlike going to chemistry graduate schools or medical schools, you actually have a chance to go to a good law school with a sub-par GPA, given that you annihilate LSAT. One person here with your GPA actually gets into NU (he scored 176 in LSAT though). You can do it too.


GMChappe wrote:I had been thinking that my sub-par GPA would be reconsidered simply because it's in chemistry (as opposed to communications, philosophy, or something I could do in my sleep) at a school well known for its chemistry in Purdue University.

Again, I am going to be blunt here. Maybe you think too highly of the chemistry major and the chemistry program at Purdue.


You mentioned you have work experience (that's good), but since you are still in school, is it a summer internship or something like that? I would imagine a summer internship in undergrad isn't as valuable as a full time real job.

Also, I wouldn't bet on transferring either. You would put way too much pressure on yourself to shot for something very difficult to achieve.

GMChappe
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Some help getting started...

Postby GMChappe » Mon May 14, 2012 1:25 am

Prefacing everything with "being blunt" makes it less blunt. It's a full-time job with legitimate biotech experience attached to it. The 2.8 is a result of unforeseen circumstances throughout my undergraduate career - something I could definitely explain given a personal statement or interview opportunity. Yes, I understand that the number's too low for most departments to even give me that chance. It's just a shame I have to live with a few mistakes during undergrad for the rest of my life.

In terms of thinking to highly of chemistry and Purdue's program, maybe I am and maybe I'm not. I'm still saying I could have pulled a 3.6 in communications if someone told me the number was all that mattered when I started college. I can write a paper way better than I can transcribe Engrish into meaningful notes for quantum physics exams. Once I realized who I was working with at Purdue, I decided the best way to use my time was to build a rapport with the amazing department and actually understand what was going on in the labs - as opposed to locking myself away and studying for exams for days on end.

That said, I will own the LSAT, and I will get into a decent law school. All I need is a chance.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: laowhynot109 and 5 guests