Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

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ellachem

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Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby ellachem » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:48 pm

I am planing to go to law school in California, and have been admitted to Berkeley, UCLA (both no scholarship), and UC Irvine ($75, about half tuition). I would really like to hear your advice on which school to pick. Here is a little bit about me:

1. I am an organic chemist with a Ph.D., planing to get into patent law.
2. I am in my early 30s, married and have a very young baby. I would love to get into biglaw right after law school. I understand how demanding it is to work in biglaw, but I am prepared to give about 5 years to get my experience, with the end goal to get an in house position for better work life balance.
3. I would like to practice in California, where it provides the best chances for both my spouse and I to have a good career. But I am open to going to other states, especially if in the future my spouse has to take a job somewhere else. So the national reputation of the law school we choose may be important.
3. We don't want to take out any loans for law school. With my spouse's full time job and our savings, we will be able to afford Berkeley tuition and COL in the bay area, but our pockets will be completely empty after three years. UCLA is a little better because COL is a little lower, it may save us around $50K as compared to Berkeley after three years. We will be in the green for UC Irvine, leaving most if not all of our savings untouched.
4. My stats: LSAT 165, no GPA as I did my undergrad in a foreign country.

With my LSAT below median for both Berkeley and UCLA, I am lucky enough to get in, so I am not expecting to get a good scholarship from them. I will try to negotiate with UC Irvine, but they don't seem to be as generous as previous years. We have considered retaking the LSAT, but have ruled it out. I have been actively seeking jobs in chemistry patent field as well, if I end up getting a job before law school I may consider taking the job, but the chance is slim as I have been trying for a long while.

Thank you for your advice in advance. Any inputs will be greatly appreciated.

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waldorf

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby waldorf » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:52 pm

Have you received any acceptances from peer schools that you could use to negotiate with UCLA?

Have you considered a June retake? There are no guarantees, but you could use it to negotiate for more money at UCLA or Berkeley.

ellachem

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby ellachem » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:41 pm

sjs12 wrote:Have you received any acceptances from peer schools that you could use to negotiate with UCLA?

Have you considered a June retake? There are no guarantees, but you could use it to negotiate for more money at UCLA or Berkeley.


I don't have any schools in between UCLA and Berkeley. I have UMN and ASU, both full rides, and have been trying to negotiate with UC Irvine, but that's been fruitless so far. I got the feeling that they are not giving out as much scholarship as previous years. They did say they will revisit their funds at the end of this month though.

June retake may be an option, but we more than likely have to make a final decision before then.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby UVA2B » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:58 pm

ellachem wrote:I am planing to go to law school in California, and have been admitted to Berkeley, UCLA (both no scholarship), and UC Irvine ($75, about half tuition). I would really like to hear your advice on which school to pick. Here is a little bit about me:

1. I am an organic chemist with a Ph.D., planing to get into patent law.
2. I am in my early 30s, married and have a very young baby. I would love to get into biglaw right after law school. I understand how demanding it is to work in biglaw, but I am prepared to give about 5 years to get my experience, with the end goal to get an in house position for better work life balance.
3. I would like to practice in California, where it provides the best chances for both my spouse and I to have a good career. But I am open to going to other states, especially if in the future my spouse has to take a job somewhere else. So the national reputation of the law school we choose may be important.
3. We don't want to take out any loans for law school. With my spouse's full time job and our savings, we will be able to afford Berkeley tuition and COL in the bay area, but our pockets will be completely empty after three years. UCLA is a little better because COL is a little lower, it may save us around $50K as compared to Berkeley after three years. We will be in the green for UC Irvine, leaving most if not all of our savings untouched.
4. My stats: LSAT 165, no GPA as I did my undergrad in a foreign country.

With my LSAT below median for both Berkeley and UCLA, I am lucky enough to get in, so I am not expecting to get a good scholarship from them. I will try to negotiate with UC Irvine, but they don't seem to be as generous as previous years. We have considered retaking the LSAT, but have ruled it out. I have been actively seeking jobs in chemistry patent field as well, if I end up getting a job before law school I may consider taking the job, but the chance is slim as I have been trying for a long while.

Thank you for your advice in advance. Any inputs will be greatly appreciated.


I would definitely milk UCI for every penny its worth, but your risk calculus for law school is slightly different than the average candidate. You have the credentials where straight employment numbers aren't as helpful. As a Ph.D chemist looking to do patent work, you're more likely to punch above your school's employment numbers' weight. I'm actually fairly surprised you can't get bites at any IP firms to be a scientific advisor. Have you applied for/taken the patent bar? Getting your patent bar reg. number could be incredibly helpful because now you could be a scientific advisor for IP lit or get hired as a patent agent (if you didn't end up in law school). Since you haven't gotten any bites yet, I'm going to go ahead and assume you haven't taken the patent bar yet.

Given you're a bit older, and you seem to be in a more comfortable financial situation than the average applicant, combined with your science background, I'd say you have to make a personal decision: Berkeley at sticker is a huge investment, but it all but guarantees you'll get the job you want (catastrophic performance in 1L could definitely hurt you, but I'll assume median since that's the most likely outcome). UCI at a minimal cost is slightly riskier, but given your credentials and the nature of IP hiring, you'd probably still be in a great place to get a job at an IP firm.

I don't want to paint an overly rosy picture of your employment prospects, but it's pretty well established that chem Ph.D's are in pretty high demand for that space of IP law, so it's more likely that you just need to avoid tanking 1L year at a place like UCI vice needing to be top 25%. Personally, I'd go that route since it'd be significantly cheaper, but I'd understand taking Berkeley if you're absolutely sure you can leave without debt (savings can be replenished once you're dual income).

ETA: UCI is (mostly) regional for the first job, but if your spouse gets a job elsewhere a couple years into practice, the regionality matters much less. You'll be hired as a lateral/in-house more based on what you've done to that point than the school you graduated from. The first job is where the school's placement matters most.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby waldorf » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:32 am

ellachem wrote:
sjs12 wrote:Have you received any acceptances from peer schools that you could use to negotiate with UCLA?

Have you considered a June retake? There are no guarantees, but you could use it to negotiate for more money at UCLA or Berkeley.


I don't have any schools in between UCLA and Berkeley. I have UMN and ASU, both full rides, and have been trying to negotiate with UC Irvine, but that's been fruitless so far. I got the feeling that they are not giving out as much scholarship as previous years. They did say they will revisit their funds at the end of this month though.

June retake may be an option, but we more than likely have to make a final decision before then.


My personal vote would be to save the 50k and go to UCLA.

I'd also throw some applications out to peer schools, especially if you have fee waivers, and use them (if accepted) as negotiating tools.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby zot1 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:40 am

Are you hoping to do patent work? UCI has 4 patent law boutiques that consistently recruit at the school.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby ellachem » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:55 am

UVA2B wrote:
ellachem wrote:I am planing to go to law school in California, and have been admitted to Berkeley, UCLA (both no scholarship), and UC Irvine ($75, about half tuition). I would really like to hear your advice on which school to pick. Here is a little bit about me:

1. I am an organic chemist with a Ph.D., planing to get into patent law.
2. I am in my early 30s, married and have a very young baby. I would love to get into biglaw right after law school. I understand how demanding it is to work in biglaw, but I am prepared to give about 5 years to get my experience, with the end goal to get an in house position for better work life balance.
3. I would like to practice in California, where it provides the best chances for both my spouse and I to have a good career. But I am open to going to other states, especially if in the future my spouse has to take a job somewhere else. So the national reputation of the law school we choose may be important.
3. We don't want to take out any loans for law school. With my spouse's full time job and our savings, we will be able to afford Berkeley tuition and COL in the bay area, but our pockets will be completely empty after three years. UCLA is a little better because COL is a little lower, it may save us around $50K as compared to Berkeley after three years. We will be in the green for UC Irvine, leaving most if not all of our savings untouched.
4. My stats: LSAT 165, no GPA as I did my undergrad in a foreign country.

With my LSAT below median for both Berkeley and UCLA, I am lucky enough to get in, so I am not expecting to get a good scholarship from them. I will try to negotiate with UC Irvine, but they don't seem to be as generous as previous years. We have considered retaking the LSAT, but have ruled it out. I have been actively seeking jobs in chemistry patent field as well, if I end up getting a job before law school I may consider taking the job, but the chance is slim as I have been trying for a long while.

Thank you for your advice in advance. Any inputs will be greatly appreciated.


I would definitely milk UCI for every penny its worth, but your risk calculus for law school is slightly different than the average candidate. You have the credentials where straight employment numbers aren't as helpful. As a Ph.D chemist looking to do patent work, you're more likely to punch above your school's employment numbers' weight. I'm actually fairly surprised you can't get bites at any IP firms to be a scientific advisor. Have you applied for/taken the patent bar? Getting your patent bar reg. number could be incredibly helpful because now you could be a scientific advisor for IP lit or get hired as a patent agent (if you didn't end up in law school). Since you haven't gotten any bites yet, I'm going to go ahead and assume you haven't taken the patent bar yet.

Given you're a bit older, and you seem to be in a more comfortable financial situation than the average applicant, combined with your science background, I'd say you have to make a personal decision: Berkeley at sticker is a huge investment, but it all but guarantees you'll get the job you want (catastrophic performance in 1L could definitely hurt you, but I'll assume median since that's the most likely outcome). UCI at a minimal cost is slightly riskier, but given your credentials and the nature of IP hiring, you'd probably still be in a great place to get a job at an IP firm.

I don't want to paint an overly rosy picture of your employment prospects, but it's pretty well established that chem Ph.D's are in pretty high demand for that space of IP law, so it's more likely that you just need to avoid tanking 1L year at a place like UCI vice needing to be top 25%. Personally, I'd go that route since it'd be significantly cheaper, but I'd understand taking Berkeley if you're absolutely sure you can leave without debt (savings can be replenished once you're dual income).

ETA: UCI is (mostly) regional for the first job, but if your spouse gets a job elsewhere a couple years into practice, the regionality matters much less. You'll be hired as a lateral/in-house more based on what you've done to that point than the school you graduated from. The first job is where the school's placement matters most.


Thank you so much for your inputs! I did pass the patent bar a couple years ago. I have been sending out applications while working full time as a research scientist to get any patent related work. But sadly that hasn't taken me anywhere. That's why I am not very confident in whether my Ph.D. and registration number can eventually get me the job I want. Going to law school will definitely open more doors for me, but I would hate to go through law school and find myself not being able to get the job again. I am just struggling with whether I should pay $100K for a 30% higher chance of getting in biglaw , if I compare Berkeley with UCI; or 50K for 10% higher chance when comparing Berkeley with UCLA.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby ellachem » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:58 am

sjs12 wrote:
ellachem wrote:
sjs12 wrote:Have you received any acceptances from peer schools that you could use to negotiate with UCLA?

Have you considered a June retake? There are no guarantees, but you could use it to negotiate for more money at UCLA or Berkeley.


I don't have any schools in between UCLA and Berkeley. I have UMN and ASU, both full rides, and have been trying to negotiate with UC Irvine, but that's been fruitless so far. I got the feeling that they are not giving out as much scholarship as previous years. They did say they will revisit their funds at the end of this month though.

June retake may be an option, but we more than likely have to make a final decision before then.


My personal vote would be to save the 50k and go to UCLA.

I'd also throw some applications out to peer schools, especially if you have fee waivers, and use them (if accepted) as negotiating tools.


Would it be too late now to apply? I also applied to USC and WUSTL, but haven't heard anything from them since I submitted my app back in Oct.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby ellachem » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:22 am

zot1 wrote:Are you hoping to do patent work? UCI has 4 patent law boutiques that consistently recruit at the school.


Yes, patent prosecution and litigation. I talked to someone from UCI career development, they told me the same thing, but only that they are not sure what the specific technical backgrounds are, which makes a huge difference. For example, CS and EE are in very high demand; chemistry is a difference story, even with a Ph.D.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby mudiverse » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:22 am

ellachem wrote:3. We don't want to take out any loans for law school. With my spouse's full time job and our savings, we will be able to afford Berkeley tuition and COL in the bay area, but our pockets will be completely empty after three years. UCLA is a little better because COL is a little lower, it may save us around $50K as compared to Berkeley after three years. We will be in the green for UC Irvine, leaving most if not all of our savings untouched.


I think you should immediately rule out Berkeley. Zero-ing out your savings can really put an enormous amount of pressure on the relationship and also puts the burden of making it back on how well you do at OCI. I've had family go through this and I don't think its a healthy risk to take. UCLA and UCI seem like good choices either way. I would suggest you get in touch with UCI alumni that have placed into your target firms and if that seems to fall short of expectations jump at UCLA.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby UVA2B » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:06 am

zot1 wrote:Are you hoping to do patent work? UCI has 4 patent law boutiques that consistently recruit at the school.


Also important to remember that IP has Loyola Patent Fair to broaden IP hiring. I've been told, anecdotally, that a lot of IP types get jobs out of Loyola before OCI even becomes a concern. Like I said, the job search is just slightly different for hard science IP types.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:42 am

Did you consider GW in DC ? Almost certainly would offer a full tuition scholarship.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby zot1 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:43 am

UVA2B wrote:
zot1 wrote:Are you hoping to do patent work? UCI has 4 patent law boutiques that consistently recruit at the school.


Also important to remember that IP has Loyola Patent Fair to broaden IP hiring. I've been told, anecdotally, that a lot of IP types get jobs out of Loyola before OCI even becomes a concern. Like I said, the job search is just slightly different for hard science IP types.


Yeah, I tend to think that it's easier to get an IP job because they are in such high demand. I could be wrong though.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby Colonel_funkadunk » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:52 am

i dont think berkeley or ucla have sent out any scholarship info yet so this may be premature

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby Rigo » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:37 am

I suggest getting the most out of UCLA, using a Berkeley acceptance to get them to give you some money.
Milk UCI too using Berkeley and UCLA so that you can turn around later and use UCI $$$ to negotiate with UCLA.

Congrats on doing really well so far this cycle. In a cycle where apps are down don't feel like you can't push for more just because you're below median LSAT. You never know!

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby ellachem » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:55 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Did you consider GW in DC ? Almost certainly would offer a full tuition scholarship.


I have, but there is no job near DC for my spouse.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby ellachem » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:02 pm

Rigo wrote:I suggest getting the most out of UCLA, using a Berkeley acceptance to get them to give you some money.
Milk UCI too using Berkeley and UCLA so that you can turn around later and use UCI $$$ to negotiate with UCLA.

Congrats on doing really well so far this cycle. In a cycle where apps are down don't feel like you can't push for more just because you're below median LSAT. You never know!


Thanks for the kind words. I will definitely try to get some money. The problems are 1. I don't have money from UCLA or Berkeley to bargain with UCI, using just an acceptance as leverage may be too weak; 2. UCLA and Berkeley don't really see UCI as their peer school.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby waldorf » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:05 pm

ellachem wrote:
Rigo wrote:I suggest getting the most out of UCLA, using a Berkeley acceptance to get them to give you some money.
Milk UCI too using Berkeley and UCLA so that you can turn around later and use UCI $$$ to negotiate with UCLA.

Congrats on doing really well so far this cycle. In a cycle where apps are down don't feel like you can't push for more just because you're below median LSAT. You never know!


Thanks for the kind words. I will definitely try to get some money. The problems are 1. I don't have money from UCLA or Berkeley to bargain with UCI, using just an acceptance as leverage may be too weak; 2. UCLA and Berkeley don't really see UCI as their peer school.


But both schools are significantly higher ranked than UCI, so UCI might play some ball in order to keep students that can clearly be accepted to much higher ranked schools.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby Rigo » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:06 pm

ellachem wrote:
Rigo wrote:I suggest getting the most out of UCLA, using a Berkeley acceptance to get them to give you some money.
Milk UCI too using Berkeley and UCLA so that you can turn around later and use UCI $$$ to negotiate with UCLA.

Congrats on doing really well so far this cycle. In a cycle where apps are down don't feel like you can't push for more just because you're below median LSAT. You never know!


Thanks for the kind words. I will definitely try to get some money. The problems are 1. I don't have money from UCLA or Berkeley to bargain with UCI, using just an acceptance as leverage may be too weak; 2. UCLA and Berkeley don't really see UCI as their peer school.

We are kind of cart before horse at this point since (as Colonel said) neither Berk nor UCLA have given scholarships yet. When you know the offers, that could change everything. If both Berkeley and UCLA are sticker though you can 100% go to UCLA and be like "hey I got into a better school. Can you give me SOME money to help me feel more able to commit to UCLA?"

Who knows what Berk will be like with money this cycle since they're changing up how they do things.

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby ellachem » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:49 pm

Rigo wrote:
ellachem wrote:
Rigo wrote:I suggest getting the most out of UCLA, using a Berkeley acceptance to get them to give you some money.
Milk UCI too using Berkeley and UCLA so that you can turn around later and use UCI $$$ to negotiate with UCLA.

Congrats on doing really well so far this cycle. In a cycle where apps are down don't feel like you can't push for more just because you're below median LSAT. You never know!


Thanks for the kind words. I will definitely try to get some money. The problems are 1. I don't have money from UCLA or Berkeley to bargain with UCI, using just an acceptance as leverage may be too weak; 2. UCLA and Berkeley don't really see UCI as their peer school.

We are kind of cart before horse at this point since (as Colonel said) neither Berk nor UCLA have given scholarships yet. When you know the offers, that could change everything. If both Berkeley and UCLA are sticker though you can 100% go to UCLA and be like "hey I got into a better school. Can you give me SOME money to help me feel more able to commit to UCLA?"

Who knows what Berk will be like with money this cycle since they're changing up how they do things.


That's true. I will wait and see if any new information comes up. Hopefully that will make my decision easier in the end. Thanks again!

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Re: Berkeley (sticker), UCLA (sticker), UC Irvine ($75K))

Postby Yea All Right » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:50 pm

I know that the COL in the Bay Area is generally higher than in LA. But if you end up really liking Berkeley, with savvy management of your finances and reasonable housing costs/ other expenses, Berkeley might not cost you $50k more than UCLA?

Of course, you could turn around and argue that you could save even more than $50k by attending UCLA if you are similarly prudent with your finances and costs.



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