change career: PhD scientist to patent law

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:00 am

I am in my late 20s with a PhD in biotech/pharm, and have done 3 years of postdoc with the hope of finding a professorship. My plan and interest changed. i wonder what's the best way to address this career change in my PS. I have never worked on IP, just think my background in science makes sense for me to practice law. i know a few PhD persons practicing IP law, so i know it's doable to change career. suggestions? appreciated

User avatar
bluepenguin
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:33 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby bluepenguin » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:31 am

The best way to do it is to explain what drew you to the law and what makes you think it's a good idea to go to law school and become a lawyer. Do you have a good answer for that?

User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:54 am

Kill the LSAT, have a good undergrad GPA, and the PS won't matter at all unless you literally tell them to go screw themselves.

User avatar
deadpoetnsp
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby deadpoetnsp » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:23 am

Lawquacious wrote:Kill the LSAT, have a good undergrad GPA, and the PS won't matter at all unless you literally tell them to go screw themselves.


This. Keep in mind that your grad GPA will matter no more than a sparrow's tears. Admissions and scholarships will boil down to LSAT and undergrad GPA. The PhD will, at best, be a soft.

Also, keep in mind that though law school classes will be in general easier than science/engineering classes, getting a good grade on law school exams is much much more difficult because of the forced curve. And your law school grades will matter in finding jobs. A lot. Don't believe people who tell you that a science/IP background guarantees jobs. It. Does. Not. The only thing that guarantees jobs is being in the top 10% of the class. At OCI, people without science/grad degrees consistently beat science/grad people with lower law school grades.

This is not intended to discourage you. This is intended to tell you that study the heck out of the LSAT, get the highest possible score you can, and get into the highest ranked law school you can. And then keep running and get the best possible law school grades you can.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:20 pm

I am OP, thank you all for your reply and suggestions. I've taken LSAT in December and am anxiously waiting for the score. My undergrad GPA is okay. I am only hoping to get 168 or higher in the LSAT. I have a few publications in reputable journals, I think this will show to the adcom that my career change is not due to failure in doing science (???)

For IP laws, does the school ranking matter a lot? I've heard that an advanced degree in science helps fresh JD's find IP jobs. I also got advice from a practicing IP lawyer (graduated from a T14) that if she were to choose again, she would choose a 2nd-tier school with a full ride. She also said school ranking does not make much difference 10 years after you get your JD. I guess the main difference is when you fresh out of law school and try to find your first IP job (?).

User avatar
deadpoetnsp
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby deadpoetnsp » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am OP, thank you all for your reply and suggestions. I've taken LSAT in December and am anxiously waiting for the score. My undergrad GPA is okay. I am only hoping to get 168 or higher in the LSAT. I have a few publications in reputable journals, I think this will show to the adcom that my career change is not due to failure in doing science (???)

For IP laws, does the school ranking matter a lot? I've heard that an advanced degree in science helps fresh JD's find IP jobs. I also got advice from a practicing IP lawyer (graduated from a T14) that if she were to choose again, she would choose a 2nd-tier school with a full ride. She also said school ranking does not make much difference 10 years after you get your JD. I guess the main difference is when you fresh out of law school and try to find your first IP job (?).


An advanced degree helps in that many IP employers won't even look at your resume unless you have a science undergrad degree, and for biotech/life sciences an advanced degree is required. A 168 or above should get you a good scholarship at around T20-T25. But based on the current economic climate and the failure of the legal profession to bounce back, having a recognizable law school name helps in getting a job. Having a T14 resume helps better in getting your foot in the door (someone may at least be willing to look at your resume). The non T-14s largely have a regional reputation. For instance, most of OCI employers at my school this year were from around the midwest, where my school is. (Even the T14s except for T3 are regional to an extent).

So, if you can afford it and if you get into a T14, do that. But if for some reason you prefer financial security and if you get a full ride or close to one at T50-T25, you can choose the latter. But keep in mind that if employment does not bounce back by 2014-2015 (when you will have OCI) and if you fail to get good law school grades, you may regret going to a T25 when you could have gone to a T14.

All the best with your cycle.

User avatar
spleenworship
Posts: 4421
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:08 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby spleenworship » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am OP, thank you all for your reply and suggestions. I've taken LSAT in December and am anxiously waiting for the score. My undergrad GPA is okay. I am only hoping to get 168 or higher in the LSAT. I have a few publications in reputable journals, I think this will show to the adcom that my career change is not due to failure in doing science (???)

For IP laws, does the school ranking matter a lot? I've heard that an advanced degree in science helps fresh JD's find IP jobs. I also got advice from a practicing IP lawyer (graduated from a T14) that if she were to choose again, she would choose a 2nd-tier school with a full ride. She also said school ranking does not make much difference 10 years after you get your JD. I guess the main difference is when you fresh out of law school and try to find your first IP job (?).


T6 with full ride>T6 with half tuition scholly>T14 with full ride>T14 with half tuition scholly>T6>T25 with full ride>T14>T25 with half tuition scholly>T50 with full tuition scholly>T25>T50 with full tuition scholly or a Strong regional with full tuition scholly>T50 or Strong regional with half tuition scholly>NOT GOING TO LAW SCHOOL AT ALL>Any other school and scholarship combination.

Seriously, get into the best school with the best scholarship you can. Then use IP to get jobs.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:04 pm

spleenworship wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am OP, thank you all for your reply and suggestions. I've taken LSAT in December and am anxiously waiting for the score. My undergrad GPA is okay. I am only hoping to get 168 or higher in the LSAT. I have a few publications in reputable journals, I think this will show to the adcom that my career change is not due to failure in doing science (???)

For IP laws, does the school ranking matter a lot? I've heard that an advanced degree in science helps fresh JD's find IP jobs. I also got advice from a practicing IP lawyer (graduated from a T14) that if she were to choose again, she would choose a 2nd-tier school with a full ride. She also said school ranking does not make much difference 10 years after you get your JD. I guess the main difference is when you fresh out of law school and try to find your first IP job (?).


T6 with full ride>T6 with half tuition scholly>T14 with full ride>T14 with half tuition scholly>T6>T25 with full ride>T14>T25 with half tuition scholly>T50 with full tuition scholly>T25>T50 with full tuition scholly or a Strong regional with full tuition scholly>T50 or Strong regional with half tuition scholly>NOT GOING TO LAW SCHOOL AT ALL>Any other school and scholarship combination.

Seriously, get into the best school with the best scholarship you can. Then use IP to get jobs.


Thank you so much for the chain of comparison. I love it :)

User avatar
ScottRiqui
Posts: 3640
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:09 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:16 am

deadpoetnsp wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:Kill the LSAT, have a good undergrad GPA, and the PS won't matter at all unless you literally tell them to go screw themselves.


This. Keep in mind that your grad GPA will matter no more than a sparrow's tears. Admissions and scholarships will boil down to LSAT and undergrad GPA. The PhD will, at best, be a soft.


I know that "LSAT/uGPA uber alles" is the unofficial TLS motto regarding admissions, but I don't think there's enough statistical evidence to predict whether or not non-traditional applicants will "outperform their numbers", especially when you're talking about things like a decade or more of good work experience or advanced degrees.

Of course, you need to maximize your chances in the areas where you still can, like your LSAT score. But I suspect that some of the LSAT/GPA "floors" aren't as hard as some people would have you believe.

User avatar
spleenworship
Posts: 4421
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:08 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby spleenworship » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:22 am

ScottRiqui wrote:
deadpoetnsp wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:Kill the LSAT, have a good undergrad GPA, and the PS won't matter at all unless you literally tell them to go screw themselves.


This. Keep in mind that your grad GPA will matter no more than a sparrow's tears. Admissions and scholarships will boil down to LSAT and undergrad GPA. The PhD will, at best, be a soft.


I know that "LSAT/uGPA uber alles" is the unofficial TLS motto regarding admissions, but I don't think there's enough statistical evidence to predict whether or not non-traditional applicants will "outperform their numbers", especially when you're talking about things like a decade or more of good work experience or advanced degrees.

Of course, you need to maximize your chances in the areas where you still can, like your LSAT score. But I suspect that some of the LSAT/GPA "floors" aren't as hard as some people would have you believe.



I agree with this to a large degree. I think it is especially true for splitters. Adcomms seem to like and respect PhD holders. If you have one of the two major factors high (ie high LSAT or high GPA) PhD holders seem to do better than other splitters.

User avatar
yeast master
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby yeast master » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:53 am

I'm a 3L bio PhD. I chose a T-50 with a full scholarship over T14 with 1/3 scholarship. It has worked out really well for me. I had a lot of success on the job market and landed exactly where I wanted to.

It is a little bit of a risk to go to a lower ranked school, but even in this job market it seems that electrical engineers and biology PhD's outperform their grades and school rank. All the 2L and 3L EE's and bio PhD's at my school have high paying jobs lined up, and several of them are not top 10%.

To be sure, the safest bet for getting a job is to go to the highest ranked school you can, but I'm not sure it's worth the added cost for bio PhD's. I would seriously consider going to a T50 for free if possible.

BryanD-Bfusion
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:27 am

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby BryanD-Bfusion » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:43 am

Hey Yeast Master (HA...bio nerd indeed. That or you like beer. or bread. )

So, I'm a PhD (Biophysics) who instead of doing law school, took and passed the patent bar exam. This qualifies you to be a registered Patent Agent (not attorney, as I don't have a Law degree). If you are still going the law degree route, i'd highly recommend you sit for the exam.

You'd qualify (as far as I can tell) to sit and take the exam. Basically, 2 months of your time, and you'd have a whole new arena of employability open before you.

If it helps, when I went through the process of studying, I used a LOT of free material online. Most of the resources are scattered, disorganized, and you have to spend a lot of time plowing through it all to make sense of it all. (although, seeing that I had 5 months of unemployment, i had a LOT of time to do this)

What I started to do was tutor and help others as I was studying, which led me to organize all the material, summarize, make notes, etc. All those resources are now online:

SPAM

Basically, there is a ton of free material to help people. And if you need more help, there is a paid portion (I had to try and recoup some costs for the website somehow!) to have access to exam databases, question databases, frequency charts of when questions appeared on exams, personalized study monitoring and feedback, summaries, etc. Everything that I (and a LOT of others who were taking the exam at the same time I was) wanted in a website to study. a lot of the feedback and reviews of my materials ended up being posted over at mypatentbar.com

Hope it helps you out....and, please feel free to shoot me an email if I can be of any help, or as you are looking for jobs, employment, reach out!

Agent
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:03 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby Agent » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:03 pm

+1 to the below quotes (for bio phds):

yeast master wrote:I would seriously consider going to a T50 for free if possible.


Lawquacious wrote:Kill the LSAT, have a good undergrad GPA, and the PS won't matter at all unless you literally tell them to go screw themselves.

aresdude
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby aresdude » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:33 pm

----------
Last edited by aresdude on Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
skw
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:12 pm

Re: change career: PhD scientist to patent law

Postby skw » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:04 pm

aresdude wrote:I would watch the Myriad genetics case very carefully if I were you =p

I fail to see how the Supremes' holding in Myriad matters much to a bio PhD's patent law prospects. Even if SCOTUS holds genes are not patentable subject matter, this does not eliminate the need for patent prosecution of bio/genetic patents. Other technologies based on genetics abound.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.