Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
Jtung

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 27, 2019 12:10 pm

Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby Jtung » Mon May 27, 2019 12:18 pm

Hi All

I’ve been working as a process engineer in BioPharm since 2013 after graduating with a B.S. in chemical engineering. I’ve been thinking of getting into IP law. My GPA wasn’t that great (3.37) and I haven’t taken my LSAT. I’m first considering if it’s even worth it to go to Santa Clara Law. I’m born and raised in the South Bay so I could stay at home and save on rent. I’d want to specialize in biotech/pharma/chemicals at a patent attorney and the SF Bay Area has a ton of biotech companies.

What are the overall job prospects for a program that’s bottom ranked (current ranked 104 according to 7sage) but top ranked for that niche (ranked 4 in IP). I’m confident I can get my LSAT in the range to get acceptance into SCU but not so much into any top ranked (not even sure about T50).

Thoughts?

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5915
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon May 27, 2019 5:50 pm

No, Santa Clara isn't worth it. Specialty rankings are meaningless.

But why are you selling yourself short? A 3.4-ish doesn't keep you out of good regional schools. You just need to get a decent LSAT to be competitive for admission and scholarships.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2139
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby QContinuum » Mon May 27, 2019 8:17 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:No, Santa Clara isn't worth it. Specialty rankings are meaningless.

But why are you selling yourself short? A 3.4-ish doesn't keep you out of good regional schools. You just need to get a decent LSAT to be competitive for admission and scholarships.

Or even the T13. I mean, OP probably won't be getting into Stanford even with a 180, but with a sufficiently strong LSAT, the T13/T20 would absolutely be in play.

User avatar
LSATWiz.com

Partner
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:37 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby LSATWiz.com » Tue May 28, 2019 11:45 am

I think the key thing to keep in mind is that employers do not look at a school from the perspective of "We normally wouldn't hire here, but their IP department is reputable". That just isn't how it works. All the specialty rankings mean is they have renowned professors from those fields and offer more classes in them, but law school does not teach you much about legal practice and firms no they are going to have to train you regardless. They don't care if you've taken 4 classes in IP law vs. 2.

It can be tempting for an applicant seeking to avoid retaking and reapplying to see specialty rankings as a loophole in the system - i.e. I am not happy with this school's placement stats, but the IP field is ranked #2 or something. While this may be useful if you're trying to show off at a party, it is useless for the purposes of trying to secure post-graduate employment in IP. The only situation in which it may be worthwhile is if you are planning on becoming a solo-practitioner right out of law school.

Jtung

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 27, 2019 12:10 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby Jtung » Tue May 28, 2019 11:50 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:No, Santa Clara isn't worth it. Specialty rankings are meaningless.

But why are you selling yourself short? A 3.4-ish doesn't keep you out of good regional schools. You just need to get a decent LSAT to be competitive for admission and scholarships.


That's encouraging! What's considered a decent LSAT? SCU law isn't worth it what tier should I be aiming for?

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5915
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed May 29, 2019 11:17 am

Jtung wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:No, Santa Clara isn't worth it. Specialty rankings are meaningless.

But why are you selling yourself short? A 3.4-ish doesn't keep you out of good regional schools. You just need to get a decent LSAT to be competitive for admission and scholarships.


That's encouraging! What's considered a decent LSAT? SCU law isn't worth it what tier should I be aiming for?


You should be aiming for a school that will allow you to achieve your career goals at a price that you'll be able to afford paying off. For you, that means aiming for a T13 school if possible (which likely requires a 170+ LSAT with your GPA) or a well-regarded regional school for a decent scholarship. In California, you have USC and UCLA, both of which will likely require a mid-160s LSAT for admission and a high-160s/170+ for a scholarship.

You don't have any special qualifications for IP work (undergrad degrees aren't enough), so you'll need to go to a school that has the placement power to make your career goals reasonably likely after graduation.

User avatar
LSATWiz.com

Partner
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:37 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby LSATWiz.com » Wed May 29, 2019 11:36 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Jtung wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:No, Santa Clara isn't worth it. Specialty rankings are meaningless.

But why are you selling yourself short? A 3.4-ish doesn't keep you out of good regional schools. You just need to get a decent LSAT to be competitive for admission and scholarships.


That's encouraging! What's considered a decent LSAT? SCU law isn't worth it what tier should I be aiming for?


You should be aiming for a school that will allow you to achieve your career goals at a price that you'll be able to afford paying off. For you, that means aiming for a T13 school if possible (which likely requires a 170+ LSAT with your GPA) or a well-regarded regional school for a decent scholarship. In California, you have USC and UCLA, both of which will likely require a mid-160s LSAT for admission and a high-160s/170+ for a scholarship.

You don't have any special qualifications for IP work (undergrad degrees aren't enough), so you'll need to go to a school that has the placement power to make your career goals reasonably likely after graduation.

I'd add that a 170+ is not realistic for most people. The LSAT is designed to test analytical and reading comprehension skills that ultimately measure someone's potential to develop legal reasoning skills. Many people are simply not able to develop top 1% type scores because they simply lack that type of intellect. Unless you're becoming a federal clerk or trying appellate cases, you don't necessarily need amazing legal reasoning skills to succeed. While the LSAT isn't an IQ test, you do need to have an IQ above 100 to break a 170 and I'd venture to say many successful lawyers likely have IQ's closer to 90.

That said, you should be able to at least get in the 160s and look at attending strong regional schools with decent job placement, ideally with a scholarship. If you can't break a 160, law school is a bad call because you are going to attend a school that offers you poor odds of repaying your student debts, and it also suggests that you may not be cut out to do well in law school or to competently represent clients (there is nothing wrong with either of these things - it just means you are meant to do something else).

Jtung

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 27, 2019 12:10 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby Jtung » Wed May 29, 2019 3:47 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Jtung wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:No, Santa Clara isn't worth it. Specialty rankings are meaningless.

But why are you selling yourself short? A 3.4-ish doesn't keep you out of good regional schools. You just need to get a decent LSAT to be competitive for admission and scholarships.


That's encouraging! What's considered a decent LSAT? SCU law isn't worth it what tier should I be aiming for?


You should be aiming for a school that will allow you to achieve your career goals at a price that you'll be able to afford paying off. For you, that means aiming for a T13 school if possible (which likely requires a 170+ LSAT with your GPA) or a well-regarded regional school for a decent scholarship. In California, you have USC and UCLA, both of which will likely require a mid-160s LSAT for admission and a high-160s/170+ for a scholarship.

You don't have any special qualifications for IP work (undergrad degrees aren't enough), so you'll need to go to a school that has the placement power to make your career goals reasonably likely after graduation.


"undergrad degrees aren't enough"? I thought as long as you have a technical undergraduate degree, you qualify for the patent bar exam. Is this not the case? Do you need a technical MS or PhD degree?

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5915
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed May 29, 2019 4:10 pm

Jtung wrote:"undergrad degrees aren't enough"? I thought as long as you have a technical undergraduate degree, you qualify for the patent bar exam. Is this not the case? Do you need a technical MS or PhD degree?


I don't mean "not enough" in the sense of literally not qualifying you to practice in an IP field. I mean that it's not going to move the needle in hiring.

For example, a student graduating from Hastings with a Ph.D in a relevant field might get a leg up in patent prosecution hiring, to the point that they wouldn't benefit significantly from going to a better school. But if that student didn't have a doctorate (or wanted to do IP litigation, not patent prosecution), they would need to place very well in their class at Hastings to have comparable outcomes to students at USC, for example.

In other words, don't look at a school's dismal job numbers and think "Oh, that won't apply to me, because I have an undergraduate degree in [patent-y field]." You should approach the school search process like any other applicant.

Marmalade

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 12:36 am

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby Marmalade » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:49 am

Jtung wrote:
"undergrad degrees aren't enough"? I thought as long as you have a technical undergraduate degree, you qualify for the patent bar exam. Is this not the case? Do you need a technical MS or PhD degree?


I am a patent agent at an SF BigLaw firm in the biosciences.

An undergraduate degree in an approved technical field is all that is required to take the patent bar. You should first check to make sure that chemical engineering is one of the approved degrees by the USPTO (category A). If not, you’ll need to make sure you have enough course work to qualify via category B or C.

However, like Cavalier said, just a BS/BA in some fields (biology and chemistry in particular) will not be enough to get a patent prosecution job. If your degree is in engineering, physics, or math, a BS is usually sufficient. If it’s in biology or chemistry, pretty much the base requirement is a PhD at this point. I’m not sure where chemical engineering falls in that spectrum. Unfortunately, a JD will not actually improve your chances of landing a prosecution job at a good firm if your degree is one of the fields that will expect a higher academic degree. For litigation, an advanced degree is generally not required, but then the law school ranking plays a much bigger role. Santa Clara will definitely not help you in that regard.

Since you’re in the South Bay, you should try applying to scientific advisor/technical specialist job postings at law firms. Wilson Sonsini always has scientific advisor postings, but I’d also look at Fenwick, Cooley, Squire Boggs, Morrison Foerster just for starters. The cool thing about patent work is that you can get a job at a law firm as an advisor/agent without having to go to law school (provided you have the academic qualification) and be sure that prosecution is what you want to do before shelling out for law school. I’d also highly recommend reaching out to anyone you know in IP law, at a law firm, or your schools career office to start networking with actual patent pros practitioners. Go on as many informational interviews with actual IP lawyers as possible to discuss the job and where you fall in terms of your academic degree.

Regarding Santa Clara specifically, it ranks that well in IP because most of the BigLaw firms in the Bay Area will only pay for part time programs for their patents agents/scientific advisors and Santa Clara is the only school in the Bay that offers a part time program. So a lot of the students who end up getting jobs in IP prosecution after graduation actually had them before and during school. It’s not the the students go there to get into IP law, it’s that they’re already in IP law and the tuition is being picked up by their employer. And I think the coursework and course offerings reflect the university’s understanding of its student population from that standpoint.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3081
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby nealric » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:09 pm

LSATWiz.com wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Jtung wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:While the LSAT isn't an IQ test, you do need to have an IQ above 100 to break a 170 and I'd venture to say many successful lawyers likely have IQ's closer to 90.


I think your IQ calibration is a bit skewed. Most professional degree holders are in the 120+ range, and the average educational attainment of someone with a 90 IQ is high school drop out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellige ... ynn_effect

A 95th percentile LSAT (high 160s) will qualify you for MENSA, which generally puts their cutoff in the low 130s IQ range.

I'm not saying there is nobody with an IQ of 90 that successfully practices law, but you'd be looking at an extreme outlier. Of course I'd caveat by saying IQ isn't fixed, and there are different tests and scales.

User avatar
HillandHollow

Bronze
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:43 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby HillandHollow » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:30 am

nealric wrote:
A 95th percentile LSAT (high 160s) will qualify you for MENSA, which generally puts their cutoff in the low 130s IQ range.


Bored, felt like jumping on this derailment to say: Mensa's "cutoff" is only in the low 130s on the Stanford-Binet (132), whereas it is a 148 on the Cattell. Their only criteria is "top 2%" on one of a handful of approved tests. Though there are a bunch of other tests they accept, I do not believe that the LSAT is one of those (I may be wrong). Because the only criteria is "top 2%" I suspect you'd need 98%ile, which is usually a 172/173, if the LSAT were being used for admission.

For what it's worth, I suspect that most people who graduate from an accredited, non-shit law school at or above median have above-average IQs. Probably so too do many of those who graduate below median.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3081
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby nealric » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:43 pm

HillandHollow wrote:
nealric wrote:
A 95th percentile LSAT (high 160s) will qualify you for MENSA, which generally puts their cutoff in the low 130s IQ range.


Bored, felt like jumping on this derailment to say: Mensa's "cutoff" is only in the low 130s on the Stanford-Binet (132), whereas it is a 148 on the Cattell. Their only criteria is "top 2%" on one of a handful of approved tests. Though there are a bunch of other tests they accept, I do not believe that the LSAT is one of those (I may be wrong). Because the only criteria is "top 2%" I suspect you'd need 98%ile, which is usually a 172/173, if the LSAT were being used for admission.

For what it's worth, I suspect that most people who graduate from an accredited, non-shit law school at or above median have above-average IQs. Probably so too do many of those who graduate below median.


They take 95th for LSAT:

https://www.us.mensa.org/join/testscore ... st-scores/

User avatar
HillandHollow

Bronze
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:43 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby HillandHollow » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:17 pm

nealric wrote:
They take 95th for LSAT:

https://www.us.mensa.org/join/testscore ... st-scores/


Oh cool! Thanks for the info, am corrected. I thought you were just being hyperbolic at first.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3081
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby nealric » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:25 am

HillandHollow wrote:
nealric wrote:
They take 95th for LSAT:

https://www.us.mensa.org/join/testscore ... st-scores/


Oh cool! Thanks for the info, am corrected. I thought you were just being hyperbolic at first.


Yeah, they seem to mostly require 98th percentile for tests administered to the general population, but people taking the LSAT aren't a general cross section of the population. Not that I would take MENSA as the be-all end all for comparisons with IQ- they seem to go out of their way to make membership relatively accessible to the extent possible without totally diluting the brand.

Sorry for the total threadjack- I should know better as a moderator... but I think the key question has been answered many times here: don't pay attention to specialty rankings whatsoever except perhaps as a tiebreaker between similarly ranked schools. Marmalade seems to have a pretty good explanation for why Santa Clara is ranked high for IP law, and why that shouldn't matter to a prospective student who isn't already employed as a patent agent.

User avatar
LSATWiz.com

Partner
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:37 pm

Re: Bottom Ranked Overall. Top Ranked IP. Should I go?

Postby LSATWiz.com » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:36 am

nealric wrote:
HillandHollow wrote:
nealric wrote:
They take 95th for LSAT:

https://www.us.mensa.org/join/testscore ... st-scores/


Oh cool! Thanks for the info, am corrected. I thought you were just being hyperbolic at first.


Yeah, they seem to mostly require 98th percentile for tests administered to the general population, but people taking the LSAT aren't a general cross section of the population. Not that I would take MENSA as the be-all end all for comparisons with IQ- they seem to go out of their way to make membership relatively accessible to the extent possible without totally diluting the brand.

Sorry for the total threadjack- I should know better as a moderator... but I think the key question has been answered many times here: don't pay attention to specialty rankings whatsoever except perhaps as a tiebreaker between similarly ranked schools. Marmalade seems to have a pretty good explanation for why Santa Clara is ranked high for IP law, and why that shouldn't matter to a prospective student who isn't already employed as a patent agent.

I may have exaggerated a bit. My point was only that not everyone is capable of eclipsing a 170+, but that there is a raw baseline IQ necessary to being successful in law school and in practice, but that there is quickly a point of diminishing returns. That being said, I have tutored plenty of people who eclipsed a 160 who I'd be shocked if they had an above 100 IQ. I'd be curious about when the professional degree to IQ correlation studies are from because if 100 is average and about half of the millennials have college degrees unless there's a 1:1 correlation between college degrees and having above average intelligence, many college grads are below average intelligence.

Regardless, I didn't mean to derail the thread. Santa Clara is a bad school and the modern economy is an imperfect proxy for the economy in 3 years from now. Few would be surprised if we regressed to 2012 levels. Even in this economy, Santa Clara still has crappy placement.



Return to “Choosing a Law School?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 21 guests