UCI Law vs Boston College

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kingshamu

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UCI Law vs Boston College

Postby kingshamu » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:11 pm

Hey all,

I have to make a difficult decision today. I received a 164 on my LSAT and have a undergraduate GPA of ~3.4 The 164 was quite low for me, as I normally scored in the 170+ range on practice tests. Regardless, I do not want to take a gap year and have to go with what I got. I may still retake the June LSAT to increase my chances of getting off the waitlist at some of the schools I have been waitlisted at, but that's a concern for a later time.

I majored in Chemistry at U.C. Berkeley and want to go into big-law. Specifically, I would like to go into patent law. UCI has given me a scholarship of $20,000 per year, and I am currently in the process of negotiating a slight increase to this scholarsihp. UCI is also only 10 miles from my home, so I would be able to commute from home, saving living expenses. As a result, my parents have agreed to contribute $12,000 per year if I go to UCI, bringing the totally cost of attendance of UCI to around $13,000/year. I have also received a $22,000 scholarship per year to BC, and my parents have agreed to pay for living expenses if I go there. Therefore, the cost of attendance to go to BC will be about $30,000 a year for me.

I'm aware that BC has a very strong alumni network, and patent law is kind of hot in Boston right now. I'm also aware that a greater percentage of BC graduates go into biglaw than UCI graduates. That being said, I do know that an entry level patent prosecutor in Orange County makes around 150-175k per year, which is around the same median salary that BC graduates boast. I'm also aware that a lot of UCI graduates focus on public-interest, so self-selection may play a role in why fewer UCI graduates go into big-law.

As for location, I would prefer to live in southern California. That being said, I believe a large part of this is due to me having been raised in California. I have visited both campuses, and while I find Boston very beautiful, it is quite cold and I do prefer UCI slightly. I do think that if I went to BC, Boston would grow on me and my preference for location might change, however. I also think it would be nice to go to BC, because I think it would be more fun to live with fellow students in Boston, rather than sharing a home with my parents near Irvine.

I also know that UCI is ranked slightly higher than BC (#21 vs #27). I also know that a lot of US News rankings are bullshit and can fluctuate wildly. To be honest, after my visits to both schools, I was leaning towards UCI. I was pretty committed to UCI, but now I'm just super worried that I might be squandering my career potential by not going to BC. I prefer UCI as a school and I prefer its location, but I don't want to trade career success for these benefits. I didn't think I'd make one of these posts, but I'm honestly just really confused.

I have less than 4 hours to make this decision so I appreciate any advice.

Thanks!

sparkytrainer

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Re: UCI Law vs Boston College

Postby sparkytrainer » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:25 pm

First, you realize most firms are downsizing their patent pros practice right? Some have jettisoned them altogether.

Both are not great placing into biglaw. Irvine is about 10%. BC slightly higher. BC places into Boston, Irvine places in Cali.

OP, I'm going to level with you for a second. I was literally in the exact same spot numbers wise and with similar options. I decided to really focus, take another year, and now Duke/UVA is paying for my legal education totally and I have a biglaw job lined up in the market I want.

You know what the difference was? 10 more questions right on a stupid test. I was going to pay a similar number to yours here, which works out to be 150-200k for a legal education that gives you a 10-15% chance at biglaw. Granted, with a science background, you have a slightly better shot. But on the reverse, patent pros is a dying field in biglaw. Not enough profit margin.

OP, take the time you need to get a 170+. You said you were practicing at that level. There is literally hundreds of thousands ($$$) of reasons why you should take your time and retake and reapply.

JosefK

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Re: UCI Law vs Boston College

Postby JosefK » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:55 pm

This is potentially already after your decision, but I second everything said by the above poster.

In addition to retaking, if you don't hate academia and benchwork and can grind out a Masters or PhD, I would strongly urge you to do so if you're really interested in patent law.

First off, you're never doing pharma patent pros with a B.S., so that's off the table entirely without an advanced degree. Small chance of maybe industrial or petrochemistry patent work at a smaller firm, but still unlikely.

Second, as the above poster notes, IP groups in big law are not growing like they were a decade ago. They do still exist though, and firms (at least mine) seem to love listing the number of attorneys and patent agents with advanced degrees, so even for transactional or litigation work having an advanced degree really can give you a leg up.

Which leads me to my last point - having an advanced degree makes you attractive for technical advisor programs that allow you to experience what patent law is like, see whether you like it, and in many cases pay for night school (for a rare few firms, day school is also on the table).

FreeAdviceFrom2017

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Re: UCI Law vs Boston College

Postby FreeAdviceFrom2017 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:59 pm

This is probably after your decision, but in case you are still deciding I will provide my insight.

I am a current student at BC and not too long ago I was in your shoes with the exact same numbers, making the exact same decision, with the exact same scholarship offers. Many will say that the difference in BigLaw placements is marginal between the two entities. They are wrong. Those who say wait and retake because 3 LSAT points may boost get you into Duke/UVA neglect to actually look at job placement statistics which are actually on par and sometimes better than those schools. They may argue that Duke/UVA have a more national reach, but that is because they are well-respected schools non-major-metropolitan areas that have no choice but to have their students network in other cities, i.e. D.C., NY, Chicago.

You touched upon the strong alumni network at BC. That is an immense understatement. BC's alumni go to the nines to help their alums. While most BC students work in Boston after law school, many go to NY and to a lesser extent California. The one thing I will say is that BC's career services, alumni and faculty do everything in their power to personally prepare and aide you in job searches to maximize your potential.

A prosecutor in Orange County may make 150-170k, however, the living expenses in Southern California are well above the living expenses in Boston. BC's average private sector starting income is 180k (before bonuses). About 40% of BC's students get BigLaw or Federal Clerkships.

Your debt difference is 50k but if you make the same amount of money, your money will go farther in Boston than in California. Additionally, you have a higher ceiling in terms of pay and bonuses if you are in the private sector instead of the public sector.

BC has an amazing faculty, provides their students with all the tools to succeed, and has the job results to prove it.
AboveTheLaw has BC ranked 17th, this ranking is more practical than USnews because they place more emphasis on jobs rather than yield. BC doesn't "yield protect" like other schools, hence, the USnews ranking being slightly lower.

UCI is also a phenomenal choice, especially at that price point, so regardless you are in a good situation. Best of luck with your decision.

sparkytrainer

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Re: UCI Law vs Boston College

Postby sparkytrainer » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:42 pm

FreeAdviceFrom2017 wrote:This is probably after your decision, but in case you are still deciding I will provide my insight.

I am a current student at BC and not too long ago I was in your shoes with the exact same numbers, making the exact same decision, with the exact same scholarship offers. Many will say that the difference in BigLaw placements is marginal between the two entities. They are wrong. Those who say wait and retake because 3 LSAT points may boost get you into Duke/UVA neglect to actually look at job placement statistics which are actually on par and sometimes better than those schools. They may argue that Duke/UVA have a more national reach, but that is because they are well-respected schools non-major-metropolitan areas that have no choice but to have their students network in other cities, i.e. D.C., NY, Chicago.

You touched upon the strong alumni network at BC. That is an immense understatement. BC's alumni go to the nines to help their alums. While most BC students work in Boston after law school, many go to NY and to a lesser extent California. The one thing I will say is that BC's career services, alumni and faculty do everything in their power to personally prepare and aide you in job searches to maximize your potential.

A prosecutor in Orange County may make 150-170k, however, the living expenses in Southern California are well above the living expenses in Boston. BC's average private sector starting income is 180k (before bonuses). About 40% of BC's students get BigLaw or Federal Clerkships.

Your debt difference is 50k but if you make the same amount of money, your money will go farther in Boston than in California. Additionally, you have a higher ceiling in terms of pay and bonuses if you are in the private sector instead of the public sector.

BC has an amazing faculty, provides their students with all the tools to succeed, and has the job results to prove it.
AboveTheLaw has BC ranked 17th, this ranking is more practical than USnews because they place more emphasis on jobs rather than yield. BC doesn't "yield protect" like other schools, hence, the USnews ranking being slightly lower.

UCI is also a phenomenal choice, especially at that price point, so regardless you are in a good situation. Best of luck with your decision.


Just a quick point, Duke and UVA place 75%-85% in biglaw and fed clerk. In no universe is at best 40% at BC anywhere close to that. But please, continue with your self-serving biases.

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sallysitwell

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Re: UCI Law vs Boston College

Postby sallysitwell » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:47 pm

Yeah, as a recent BC grad, I have to respectfully disagree with what's been said about BC's alumni network. While it is true that the alumni network is strong, saying that alums "do everything in their power to personally prepare and aide you" is a stretch. Plus, if OP wants to end up in CA, BC's alumni network is much smaller there. Don't get me wrong, BC is a great school, but given OP's situation, BC does not seem like the right choice for his/her goals.



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