PhD Student looking at law

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wkentkovac
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PhD Student looking at law

Postby wkentkovac » Tue May 01, 2012 5:00 pm

Hey,

Academic Background:
BS Microbiology (Research)
BA Theatre Arts (Acting & Technical)
Minor: Biochemistry, Mathematics, & Applied Physics
GPA: 2.35

Current PhD Student
Plant Biology / Systems Biology
GPA: 3.78

I am a PhD student currently in Plant Biology/Systems Biology and I want to go to law school. I am very interested in Patent Law (specifically in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Patents, Patent Litigation, and Patent Prep).

I am posting because I am looking for advice and on how the application process for law school will account my undergraduate verses graduate GPA as well as what I can do during the next 2 years to prepare myself for the application process. My undergraduate GPA was a 2.35 and my graduate GPA is now a 3.78. Would these be considered equally? Averaged? My graduate courses added into my undergraduate course work? I looked around online and have found little help for those who will have a PhD when applying to law school.

I have taken a practice LSAT through my university and scored a 160 without going through a prep course.

Beyond going through the prep course and taking the LSAT, what else should I do to make myself more marketable to law schools and patent programs? My PhD work will produce a few process and tool patents as I complete my work, will this help? Should I become more involved in the actual patenting processes here? Also, when should I actually take the LSAT, is it better or worse to take it sooner (in the next year) or wait until I am closer to my application date? Also, hopefully there are some patent lawyers looking over this question, would it behoove me to finish the PhD or drop to a Master's and apply sooner? Will this help or hinder me in the process, will having the dual PhD make me more marketable?

Thank you for taking the time to look over my questions and I look forward to your responses.

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Doritos
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Doritos » Tue May 01, 2012 5:01 pm

How did you get into a PhD program with a 2.35 GPA?

wkentkovac
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby wkentkovac » Tue May 01, 2012 5:06 pm

I had several papers that I published as an undergraduate in Biochemistry, Chemistry, & Microbiology as well as presenting at a few Photosynthesis conferences. From there, with good letters of recommendation I was able to get in as well as get a tuition waived and a research stipend.

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NR3C1
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby NR3C1 » Tue May 01, 2012 5:17 pm

The GPA of 2.35 sinks you. That kills any chances of scholarships (even with a really high LSAT), and without scholarships, law school is not worth it at all.

Sorry. My advice is: forget about law school and move on with your life.

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realhero
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby realhero » Tue May 01, 2012 5:20 pm

Doritos wrote:How did you get into a PhD program with a 2.35 GPA?


+1

I ask not to ridicule, but am genuinely curious and inspired. Go you.

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Doritos
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Doritos » Tue May 01, 2012 5:27 pm

wkentkovac wrote:I had several papers that I published as an undergraduate in Biochemistry, Chemistry, & Microbiology as well as presenting at a few Photosynthesis conferences. From there, with good letters of recommendation I was able to get in as well as get a tuition waived and a research stipend.


Stick with the PhD. You won't get into a decent law school and it sounds like you are rockin' it in this field so stick with that. Law school would be a poor choice methinks.

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boredatwork
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby boredatwork » Tue May 01, 2012 5:27 pm

NR3C1 wrote:The GPA of 2.35 sinks you. That kills any chances of scholarships (even with a really high LSAT), and without scholarships, law school is not worth it at all.

Sorry. My advice is: forget about law school and move on with your life.

ITT bad advice
WUSTL gave someone 30k 2.6/170
84K 2.99/ 170
and I am going to go ahead and guess neither of them had advanced science degrees nor were they published authors.

frost
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby frost » Tue May 01, 2012 5:29 pm

NR3C1 wrote:The GPA of 2.35 sinks you. That kills any chances of scholarships (even with a really high LSAT), and without scholarships, law school is not worth it at all.

Sorry. My advice is: forget about law school and move on with your life.


This is way too pessimistic. Yes, the 2.35 is weak, but having a Ph.D. with your GPA and potentially having a good LSAT score may warrant your ugrad GPA to be more or less overlooked. If you do well on your LSATs (170+), I think you have a great chance not only at getting admitted but also getting scholarships. Plus, I'm assuming that you will have pretty good recommendations having worked with your professors for years on different projects. There is no question that the PhD is much more marketable for both law schools and employers than a Masters, so I would suggest that you get the PhD and not drop down.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue May 01, 2012 5:48 pm

Doritos wrote:
wkentkovac wrote:I had several papers that I published as an undergraduate in Biochemistry, Chemistry, & Microbiology as well as presenting at a few Photosynthesis conferences. From there, with good letters of recommendation I was able to get in as well as get a tuition waived and a research stipend.


Stick with the PhD. You won't get into a decent law school and it sounds like you are rockin' it in this field so stick with that. Law school would be a poor choice methinks.

I agree with this.

You're not getting into anywhere worth attending with a 2.35. Unfortunately, your graduate GPA doesn't matter.

The highest you could possibly do is Northwestern, GULC, or WUSTL, but you would need a 175+, and you wouldn't get any scholarship money. Maybe a little from WUSTL.

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180asBreath
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby 180asBreath » Tue May 01, 2012 5:54 pm

wkentkovac wrote:I had several papers that I published as an undergraduate in Biochemistry, Chemistry, & Microbiology as well as presenting at a few Photosynthesis conferences. From there, with good letters of recommendation I was able to get in as well as get a tuition waived and a research stipend.


Man, it's that easy to publish in those fields? Crazy.

My only advice is that you are not unique or special, at least in the eyes of law schools, because of your graduate training.

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Veyron
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Veyron » Tue May 01, 2012 5:59 pm

Your undergraduate GPA will matter vastly more than your graduate GPA. You really need to score in the low to mid 170s or so on the LSAT for law school to make sense. If you can get in somewhere like NU or get a significant amount of money for a T1 school where you want to practice it may be worth it for you.

lawyerinwaiting
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby lawyerinwaiting » Tue May 01, 2012 6:02 pm

dude, go for it. i would recommend taking a prep class to make sure that you do the absolute best that you could possibly do. Something that these naysayers seem to forget is that NO, and i repeat NO law school has a cutoff gpa...because they understand that people arent numbers, they are stories.... and it sounds like you have a great one.... I got into IU-Bloomington with a $20,000 scholarship and got waitlisted to some of the best schools in the country (NYU, Emory, Minn....) and my gpa is not quite a 3.0 but with a great story. If i wouldve listened to all the advice I got from people on here, I wouldve just gave up on my dream, but i didnt, so here i stand...

SLim1124
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby SLim1124 » Tue May 01, 2012 6:08 pm

Unlike everyone else on this thread, I'd say go. You'd be a splitter with a low GPA and a high LSAT. These people do still get into decent schools. Plus, you would be a couple years out of UG. Doesn't mean they will consider your UG GPA any less, but if you write a good addendum you can still have a shot. IP is hot right now so schools may see you as a way to get their employment figures up - if aven just a litte.

I'm in a similar situation. Bio background, but I only have a master's (biopharmaceutical). I want to do biotech/pharm patents. Mediocre numbers (3.34, 158) and schools took a chance on me. I'm still waitlisted at Fordham. When I visited I asked the admissions councilor why they waitlisted me when I would normally be an auto-reject. He said that they were impressed that I took hard courses at a good college so they gave me a few decimals on my GPA.

pm me if you have any other questions/concerns. It's not the end of the world, as TLS and 2012 preppers will have you think...

wkentkovac
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby wkentkovac » Tue May 01, 2012 6:29 pm

Thank you all insofar, it is good to have the reality check up front. Couple of things, publishing in the fields that I have is no easy task, its why I got into the program I did. I know a lot of you have said to stick to my field and I do like my work but I have really loved law for a long time but I didn't think I had a chance, until I discovered my love for patent law. I am willing to pay if I need to. My hope was that my background would play a part in the process, but that seems like a naive notion?

smart phone edits
Last edited by wkentkovac on Tue May 01, 2012 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Doritos
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Doritos » Tue May 01, 2012 6:31 pm

SLim1124 wrote:Unlike everyone else on this thread, I'd say go. You'd be a splitter with a low GPA and a high LSAT. These people do still get into decent schools. Plus, you would be a couple years out of UG. Doesn't mean they will consider your UG GPA any less, but if you write a good addendum you can still have a shot. IP is hot right now so schools may see you as a way to get their employment figures up - if aven just a litte.

I'm in a similar situation. Bio background, but I only have a master's (biopharmaceutical). I want to do biotech/pharm patents. Mediocre numbers (3.34, 158) and schools took a chance on me. I'm still waitlisted at Fordham. When I visited I asked the admissions councilor why they waitlisted me when I would normally be an auto-reject. He said that they were impressed that I took hard courses at a good college so they gave me a few decimals on my GPA.

pm me if you have any other questions/concerns. It's not the end of the world, as TLS and 2012 preppers will have you think...


A 3.34 is much different than a 2.35. Plus, OP is in a PhD program in a real field and presumably is rockin' it pretty hard to get in with a 2.35 in the first place. Why not stick with a field that you have demonstrated success in? OP, do research on the state of the legal field right now. Also check out lawschooltransparency.com and see that a lot of schools fudge (to put it nicely) their employment numbers. If you are doing impressive things in another field why in the hell do you want to take the law school gamble?

There is talk of people on here with better numbers than you getting wait listed at schools like Fordham and getting into IU-Bloomington. This should not fill you with hope. Real talk bro.

wkentkovac
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby wkentkovac » Tue May 01, 2012 6:32 pm

also, what is the consensus on michigan state's law program? Their patent program seems good?

Incubateus
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Incubateus » Tue May 01, 2012 6:56 pm

0L talking here, but I think one of things people haven't brought up is that IP law seems to be one of the only fields that is not T14-centric. Not that a degree from a better ranked school won't help, but it seems that a phd in a hard science is enough to get you a very good job. Few people (compared to the rest of the workforce) have those combos. Anecdotally, I know two lawyers who do IP (one with a masters in mech. Eng. and the other with a BS in physics and geotechnical eng.) who both went to the shittiest school in the country -- yep, you guessed, Cooley -- and they both have jobs at biglaw law firms. Again, I'm a 0L, but those are my observations so far.

And from what I know about MSU, go for it. I think it's a well-known school throughout the country, that is easy enough to get into even with your gpa, and will probably throw you some good money if you nail down an lsat in the mid to upper 160s.

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Veyron
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Veyron » Tue May 01, 2012 8:35 pm

0L talking here, but I think one of things people haven't brought up is that IP law seems to be one of the only fields that is not T14-centric. Not that a degree from a better ranked school won't help, but it seems that a phd in a hard science is enough to get you a very good job. Few people (compared to the rest of the workforce) have those combos. Anecdotally, I know two lawyers who do IP (one with a masters in mech. Eng. and the other with a BS in physics and geotechnical eng.) who both went to the shittiest school in the country -- yep, you guessed, Cooley -- and they both have jobs at biglaw law firms. Again, I'm a 0L, but those are my observations so far.

And from what I know about MSU, go for it. I think it's a well-known school throughout the country, that is easy enough to get into even with your gpa, and will probably throw you some good money if you nail down an lsat in the mid to upper 160s.\


FTFY

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bernaldiaz
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby bernaldiaz » Tue May 01, 2012 8:37 pm

wkentkovac wrote:Thank you all insofar, it is good to have the reality check up front. Couple of things, publishing in the fields that I have is no easy task, its why I got into the program I did. I know a lot of you have said to stick to my field and I do like my work but I have really loved law for a long time but I didn't think I had a chance, until I discovered my love for patent law. I am willing to pay if I need to. My hope was that my background would play a part in the process, but that seems like a naive notion?

smart phone edits


Lol I love it when people horribly misuse words.

wkentkovac
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby wkentkovac » Tue May 01, 2012 8:48 pm

thank you, i didn't see that, gotta love the swype on the smart phone

collegebum1989
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby collegebum1989 » Tue May 01, 2012 9:17 pm

In terms of probability, your GPA decreases your chances at a tier 1 school. It isn't impossible, but if it is still possible, it's improbable. But just because something isnt probable, doesn't mean you should completely give up on even applying. You should have the comfort of knowing that atleast you're obtaining a doctorate in a science which you clearly excel in.

Take the LSATs, create an in intriguing application and just apply to realistic schools. Worst comes to worst, you may not be admitted to a school of your preference, but you have the option of continuing in your field. And you will have the comfort of knowing you explored your options and followed through with applying (as opposed to regretting years later of not even trying).

Be realistic. One guy mentioned people he knew at biglaw firms with a law degree from horrible schools; that's not realistic. Maybe these people are exceptions, or maybe they have other circumstances which make them different. Focus on yourself and your desires and not what others tell you. An online forum is just to get random opinions; the credibility of the claims within some of these posts are questionable.

Just apply, and after/if you get acceptances, then weigh the decisions for and against pursuing law school. Best of luck!

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crEEp
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby crEEp » Tue May 01, 2012 10:22 pm

Don't listen to anyone on here who doesn't have a science/tech background when it comes to these things. The patent market is ENTIRELY different because of the USPTO's unique requirements for attorney/agent registration. But, there's a slight catch when it comes to degrees in the hard sciences: you generally need more than a bachelor's degree to be useful. So my advice to you is to finish the PhD and then apply to law school. Do the best you can on the LSAT and shoot for a school in the top 100--take the best offer, don't worry about the name. I traveled down a path not too dissimilar than your own, and honestly the most frustrating aspect of law school was the general antipathy toward (and disdain for) science/engineering...a 2.35 is NOT the same across all majors.

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realhero
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby realhero » Wed May 02, 2012 5:02 pm

Ph.D is impressive and I'm still surprised to hear that it doesn't matter at all/minimally. If we were to break down importance of UG GPA vs. MA/Ph.D performance, can anyone give percentages?

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Veyron
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Veyron » Wed May 02, 2012 5:22 pm

realhero wrote:Ph.D is impressive and I'm still surprised to hear that it doesn't matter at all/minimally. If we were to break down importance of UG GPA vs. MA/Ph.D performance, can anyone give percentages?


97%/3%. The reason being, only UGPA counts towards a school's ranking.

However, the fact that you completed (or are about to complete) the PHD will count for something regardless of your performance in the program. It could actually be a make or break thing at a school like NU that requires work experience if you manage to blow the LSAT out of the water. In fact, I can see it mattering anywhere you apply where your LSAT is significantly in excess of the school's median.

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realhero
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby realhero » Wed May 02, 2012 6:00 pm

Veyron wrote:
realhero wrote:Ph.D is impressive and I'm still surprised to hear that it doesn't matter at all/minimally. If we were to break down importance of UG GPA vs. MA/Ph.D performance, can anyone give percentages?


97%/3%. The reason being, only UGPA counts towards a school's ranking.

However, the fact that you completed (or are about to complete) the PHD will count for something regardless of your performance in the program. It could actually be a make or break thing at a school like NU that requires work experience if you manage to blow the LSAT out of the water. In fact, I can see it mattering anywhere you apply where your LSAT is significantly in excess of the school's median.


Very helpful. Cheers.




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