thanks for the input!

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violinst
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby violinst » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:45 am

quickquestionthanks wrote:The only credited advice here is from DF (surprisingly). Go work as an engineer for 3-5 years, save up money, let the legal market pick up. Another thing to consider is demographics.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/educa ... =1&_r=2&hp

So do the math. In addition to the poor job market, this explains why law school admissions is so cutthroat. Wait five years and your 173 and work experience will get you further.


Somehow I always feel bad about using saved-up money to pay for inflated tuition. Since OP is likely to be very competitive, a lower income may help him get some substantial aid, in addition to merit-based scholarships.

I don't think that the GPA/LSAT means will be coming down. Waiting for five years for that purpose alone could be a waste of time, especially given OP's solid (timeless:) competitiveness. I don't know how old OP is, but age could also be a concern.

But sure, if you really want to try science, work as an engineer first. It could be more satisfying than you imagine it to be.

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby quickquestionthanks » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:18 am

It can't keep going up forever. But law school admissions aside, think about the hiring factor. Big increase in marketability as a former engineer from a top law school. Means he can go to T-14 with a scholarship instead of T-6 and still get hired for big patent law. And I wouldn't pay for tuition with savings either, but having a nice nest egg for law school would be nice.

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violinst
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby violinst » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:27 am

quickquestionthanks wrote:It can't keep going up forever. But law school admissions aside, think about the hiring factor. Big increase in marketability as a former engineer from a top law school. Means he can go to T-14 with a scholarship instead of T-6 and still get hired for big patent law. And I wouldn't pay for tuition with savings either, but having a nice nest egg for law school would be nice.


I think that the means will stay where they are for the foreseeable future. OP is going to have a MS degree. I don't know how much work experience is going to add to that already solid science background (it surely will add something). One has to report savings and investments, and that could be problematic.

There is no bad choice here. But, when in doubt, be bold.

rundoxierun
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby rundoxierun » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:53 am

NewsFlash: Very few people that know what high-payed lawyers do actually desperately long to be one. 95% of them are in it for the money. I recently met with a managing partner (Vandy law grad) for a successful mid-size law firm in town (he makes 500k+/yr.) and the guy told me he was perfectly happy with his job as long as it paid the bills and put food on the table for his 7 kids. He said he would happily dig ditches if it payed him more than law. Trust me, plenty of ppl pursue a career just for the money.

lakerfanimal
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby lakerfanimal » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:06 am

It doesn't sound like money's your only motivating factor because you say you might get bored by doing engineering. But like others have suggested I think you should try out the engineer deal for a couple of years, and then go to law school. That way you'll have saved up money, and you might be able to interact with patent attorneys more to see if you'd actually like doing that. WIth respect to the LSAT you could take that soon still since your score is good for 3 years. Good luck!

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englawyer
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby englawyer » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:38 am

tkgrrett wrote:NewsFlash: Very few people that know what high-payed lawyers do actually desperately long to be one. 95% of them are in it for the money. I recently met with a managing partner (Vandy law grad) for a successful mid-size law firm in town (he makes 500k+/yr.) and the guy told me he was perfectly happy with his job as long as it paid the bills and put food on the table for his 7 kids. He said he would happily dig ditches if it payed him more than law. Trust me, plenty of ppl pursue a career just for the money.


exactly. i hate to be a downer but who do you think will be the happiest of these three cases:

A) wants to make good but not great money. start at 160, go up from there. not searching for work/life balance, at least in 20's/early 30's. does not mind pushing paper all day.

B) dreams of being a fantastic trial lawyer. wants to sway the jury, make millions for clients. wants to hang out with people like Alan Shore and Denny Crane post-trial.

C) wants to save the world by working for international human rights organizations. can't wait to be on the cover of Time magazine for their outstanding efforts in Uganda.

based on realistic outcomes post-LS, who will be the happiest? my money is on A :). if you go to the right school and have the right background, good money is a strong motivator for law school.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby pleasetryagain » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:40 am

Kohinoor wrote:America is the only place that raises its kids to seek fulfillment in jobs. Enjoy biglaw homie.


thats why we is tha best.

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MC Southstar
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby MC Southstar » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:41 am

I totally hate the engineering lifestyle.

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HazelEyes
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby HazelEyes » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:43 am

Jerkovsky wrote:I have recently started thinking very seriously about going to law school. I am right now finishing an MS in EE and have a good job lined up for July. Everything is jolly, except that engineers have a dreaded glass ceiling in their salaries. Unless you start your own company or join start-ups you are basically limited to making under $150k (give or take) for the rest of your career. But I have zero desire to become involved in such endeavors and feel more comfortable working in larger companies. This is why I have grown interested in becoming a patent lawyer.

Pro:
I would probably have a shot at the T14 (scored 173 on a diagnostic LSAT at one of those free Kaplan events + 3.5 GPA + solid softs)
I feel my skills may be better aligned with a career in patents than as an engineer (I am great at quickly familiarizing myself with new subjects and am a good reader/writer, but am not very creative and don't have the attention span necessary to work on a single project for many many months)
I am taking the introduction to intellectual property class at my school's law school and am loving the material
I can't see myself being happy as a 50 year old engineer

Con:
My main motivator is still the money.
My image of patent prosecution may be very distorted (I know it's tedious work at times, but I also imagine it involves getting to learn about new technologies while interacting with clients)

I am looking for a career that enables me to stay connected with the research sector of the technology industry and interact regularly with clients. From a monetary perspective, I am hoping to be able to get into the $200k+ range over the course of my career without having to take on the risks and stress associated with working in a startup (A 50% chance at getting a job in big law that requires ~60 hrs/wk may seem to be exactly the same, but trust me, it's nothing compared to working 80 hrs/wk at a start up with a 10% chance of surviving the year).

When I first started thinking about applying to law school, it seemed like the golden solution that will lead to nothing but joy and happiness, but after parsing through this forum I realize that my view may be overly optimistic. I will definitely take a year off before even applying, but want to be pretty set on my decision before I leave school so I can get letters of recommendation before my profs forget about me.

So what are your thoughts? I appreciate the input!


I so want to hate you! 173 on a diagnositc. FML. At least you can get a full scholly...

AustinOrgans
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby AustinOrgans » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:51 am

This is directed to your question about client interaction:

I work at a patent firm as an administrative assistant. The only attorneys I ever see interacting directly with clients are the partners. They get the new clientele and they do the talking. Every once in a while a senior associate will sit down with an inventor to go over the initial disclosure, but after that, you're pretty much just haggling with an examiner at the PTO in D.C. Most of the associates here say they enjoy it, though. The money's good, and they are exposed to a breadth of technologies. And we're just a medium-sized firm in CT.

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Bronte
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby Bronte » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:17 am

OP, I would work for a few years, as other posters have suggested. This will put some distance between you and possibly the worst legal market in history. It will also give you a chance to get a feel for engineering, save up some money, and pad your resume.

Jerkovsky
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby Jerkovsky » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:44 pm

Thanks a lot for the input everybody. I will definitely heed the advice to take some time off before law school (I am 22 and in no real hurry), and I am just glad that this doesn't seem to be something that may bother future employers and may even improve my employment prospects. I was under the impression that law school is something you need to go to early (based on the fact that everybody I know who went there did so straight out of undergrad), but that seems to be completely false.

itsmytime10
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby itsmytime10 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:05 pm

Dude, go to Law School...I have been doing engineering for about 4 years now in a very big firm and trust me you will get BORED. I also have a MS degree and at the moment i am sitting at work just counting down the days. I do make good $$$$. I sometimes wonder how people are able to do engineering for 10+ years. I am a programmer and i sit behind a PC all day doing the same thing over and over again. With Law every case is different and more challenging and you if you are passionate about it you will definitely love it. There is nothing wrong with having money as a motivator. Don't let anyone lie to you, 80% of lawyers are in it for the money.

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englawyer
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby englawyer » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:34 pm

Jerkovsky wrote:Thanks a lot for the input everybody. I will definitely heed the advice to take some time off before law school (I am 22 and in no real hurry), and I am just glad that this doesn't seem to be something that may bother future employers and may even improve my employment prospects. I was under the impression that law school is something you need to go to early (based on the fact that everybody I know who went there did so straight out of undergrad), but that seems to be completely false.


yes, very false. a few years of even unrelated work experience is a nice plus for the job hunt. also, the median age of entry is ~ 24 at many of the top schools.

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T14_Scholly
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby T14_Scholly » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:18 pm

itsmytime10 wrote:With Law every case is different and more challenging and you if you are passionate about it you will definitely love it.


Take it from this random internet poster!

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T14_Scholly
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby T14_Scholly » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:19 pm

englawyer wrote:go to law school. if money is your motivator, and you are sure about that, you will not be happy in engineering as you have preemptively seen. patent law seems like a good middle ground...


GREAT ADVICE, MAN!

hsprophet
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Re: contemplating law school for the wrong reasons?

Postby hsprophet » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:26 am

When I was in undergrad getting my chemical engineering degree, I knew I didn't have a passion for it. I liked it, sure, but I knew I would eventually want more out of my career. So I pursued business. I got my ChemE degree, minored in business, and then got an MBA. Since then I have been working as a process engineer for six years.

Even though I didn't have a passion for engineering while in school, I actually have really loved my job. I know that ChemE is very different than EE; the actual work has little to do with what you do in school. With EE, ME, and Civil, the work is more aligned with the design-type academic curriculum.

I didn't become interested in law until about a year ago. The more I looked into it and talked to attorneys about their work, I really started to like it. Even outside of technical law, like intellectual property, there is a lot of logic involved that an engineering mindset is geared towards. My interests are mainly in property and corporate/business civil litigation. Pursuing law is mainly because it greatly interests me, and to a very small degree out of boredom with my job and the lack of career future outside of engineering or potentially engineering management.

My advice is to not do law for the money. I'm not at all; I often forget that there is a real possibility that I will make a lot more money than I do now or ever will as an engineer. As for having a passion, I'd say that you may develop the passion in your job as I did. If you really, really want to pursue law because you love it, go ahead and do it. If you are unsure, then get a job as an engineer and set a plan to go to law school in a few years. Live cheaply and bank as much cash as possible. Keep in mind, however, that going back to school is tough. You get comfortable with the lifestyle of having income; you might not want to give up the possibility of having a nice car, nice house, and nice things. That's why I recommend saving and not spending. Additionally, with a car payment, house, maybe even a spouse and children, you might get yourself in a situation where it's near impossible to go back to school for family or financial reasons.

The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to work as an engineer for a couple years, but plan on law school. You can always change the plan later. The work experience will be helpful in your career, and it will give you time to figure out what you really want to do.




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