PhD Student looking at law

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AspiringAcademic
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby AspiringAcademic » Wed May 02, 2012 6:15 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?

The importance of Ph.Ds is disputed. My own experience suggests that they can be very helpful (see my LSN page). Some past threads:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=118780
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=162249

I have absolutely no idea what they'd make of someone who has a Ph.D. in a hard science with publications and a GPA that low.

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realhero
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby realhero » Wed May 02, 2012 6:29 pm

AspiringAcademic 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?

The importance of Ph.Ds is disputed. My own experience suggests that they can be very helpful (see my LSN page). Some past threads:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=118780
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=162249

I have absolutely no idea what they'd make of someone who has a Ph.D. in a hard science with publications and a GPA that low.


Interesting. Everyone always goes back and forth on this, I never know what to think. It seems like Ph.Ds are softer than should be fair though, given you did work your ass off for 5-7 years. I imagine they're more of an adcom boost if you tell them you want to go into IP patents.

nathan001
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby nathan001 » Wed May 02, 2012 7:42 pm

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

Sadly, I have to agree with this. It is USNWR crap that adcom care about.

As a scientist, a PhD is certainly harder to earn that a BS history. Why they don't consider it important ..........rankings........and they don't understand its importance in the patent law field.

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TheWeeIceMon
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby TheWeeIceMon » Wed May 02, 2012 9:03 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.


I'm guessing a secondary reason for discounting grad gpa could be the belief that many programs tend to inflate grades?

flcath
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby flcath » Wed May 02, 2012 9:08 pm

TheWeeIceMon wrote:
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.


I'm guessing a secondary reason for discounting grad gpa could be the belief that many programs tend to inflate grades?

They're typically inflated as a matter of course.

You know how a 2.0 is the minimum GPA to stay off academic probation (and ultimately, to stay in school) at most UGs? That's typically a 3.0 for grad programs.

Edit: Btw, my experience is with hard science grad programs. This might not apply to humanities stuff . . . I just found out last year that humanities types often go into debt for their grad degrees. Lol.

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banjo
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby banjo » Wed May 02, 2012 10:52 pm

A PhD might be a bigger boost at schools actively trying to increase their representation in academia (NYU, for example). It will also obviously help at schools where academics participate in admissions decisions (Yale). This is just speculation based on what I know of the academic world, though.

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Veyron
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Veyron » Wed May 02, 2012 11:33 pm

banjo wrote:A PhD might be a bigger boost at schools actively trying to increase their representation in academia (NYU, for example). It will also obviously help at schools where academics participate in admissions decisions (Yale). This is just speculation based on what I know of the academic world, though.


Real talk: OP ain't getting into NYU or Yale or really any school with a high enough ranking to be trying to boost its representation in academia (except for NU - though they would seem to give a rat's ass about academia).

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180asBreath
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby 180asBreath » Thu May 03, 2012 12:18 pm

AspiringAcademic 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?

The importance of Ph.Ds is disputed. My own experience suggests that they can be very helpful (see my LSN page). Some past threads:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 9&t=118780
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 9&t=162249

I have absolutely no idea what they'd make of someone who has a Ph.D. in a hard science with publications and a GPA that low.


Other than scholarships, in what way does your own experience suggest that your PhD was "very helpful"?

wkentkovac
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby wkentkovac » Thu May 03, 2012 4:12 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice so far. To give you a background I am in a top 10 plant science program and top 25 systems biology program (yes it is a dual PhD). I understand the need for high rankings for certain types of law (litigation, etc) but what does the school rankings do for those who are interested in Intellectual Property/Patent Law? Would it adversely affect my career if I were to attend a school not in the top 100?

For those people who say I should stick with my program, I would love to continue the work that I do, however there is a catch. Right now I play the part of integrator/consultant across several different projects/labs/fields and I love it; however there are not tenure track faculty type positions that cater to this type of heavy interdisciplinary mindset (which is unfortunate but it is the current state of most sciences). I could do consulting for academia and private sector labs but I am not interested in answering/helping to answer research questions for other people. This is why IP/PL is interesting because I feel that my background would put me in a good position to understand and advise on the biological/chemical/mathematical/computer topics that are relevant to Biotechnology, Pharmacology, Agriculture, etc.

Thank you all again for commenting.

SunshineMagic
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby SunshineMagic » Thu May 03, 2012 4:25 pm

wkentkovac wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice so far. To give you a background I am in a top 10 plant science program and top 25 systems biology program (yes it is a dual PhD). I understand the need for high rankings for certain types of law (litigation, etc) but what does the school rankings do for those who are interested in Intellectual Property/Patent Law? Would it adversely affect my career if I were to attend a school not in the top 100?

For those people who say I should stick with my program, I would love to continue the work that I do, however there is a catch. Right now I play the part of integrator/consultant across several different projects/labs/fields and I love it; however there are not tenure track faculty type positions that cater to this type of heavy interdisciplinary mindset (which is unfortunate but it is the current state of most sciences). I could do consulting for academia and private sector labs but I am not interested in answering/helping to answer research questions for other people. This is why IP/PL is interesting because I feel that my background would put me in a good position to understand and advise on the biological/chemical/mathematical/computer topics that are relevant to Biotechnology, Pharmacology, Agriculture, etc.

Thank you all again for commenting.


I would do a top MBA go into like big pharma management or like syngenta/monsanto
This way biglaw would be your bitch

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Doritos
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby Doritos » Thu May 03, 2012 5:10 pm

SunshineMagic wrote:
wkentkovac wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice so far. To give you a background I am in a top 10 plant science program and top 25 systems biology program (yes it is a dual PhD). I understand the need for high rankings for certain types of law (litigation, etc) but what does the school rankings do for those who are interested in Intellectual Property/Patent Law? Would it adversely affect my career if I were to attend a school not in the top 100?

For those people who say I should stick with my program, I would love to continue the work that I do, however there is a catch. Right now I play the part of integrator/consultant across several different projects/labs/fields and I love it; however there are not tenure track faculty type positions that cater to this type of heavy interdisciplinary mindset (which is unfortunate but it is the current state of most sciences). I could do consulting for academia and private sector labs but I am not interested in answering/helping to answer research questions for other people. This is why IP/PL is interesting because I feel that my background would put me in a good position to understand and advise on the biological/chemical/mathematical/computer topics that are relevant to Biotechnology, Pharmacology, Agriculture, etc.

Thank you all again for commenting.


I would do a top MBA go into like big pharma management or like syngenta/monsanto
This way biglaw would be your bitch


This may be decent advice. Since you are in such a unique position due to your particular story it is going to be hard to predict what happens with you. You may get into a baller MBA program but only an OK law school. If you are dead set on doing something like this then I would said apply BROADLY to see what you get. IP is its own animal so the TLS hivemind may only have limited insight into it....

wkentkovac
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby wkentkovac » Fri May 04, 2012 11:18 am

Thank you all again.

I am meeting with the director of the IP and Patent program at my university to discuss what if any options I have in these matters. I am compiling a list of questions about admission etc to him, however are there any other questions I should be asking during my meeting with him? I will be focusing our discussions on admission and the how my background may be useful to both an IP/Patent program as well as to future career pursuits.

Also, I will begin to investigate the MBA idea and see how that would workout with my background. I do not know anything about business at this moment, though I will look into it late next week after I have meet with a local Patent firm here in now and the admissions and directors of the Law program here.

I will continue to post what I find out here as well as progress and the general 'story' as I figure this out.

AspiringAcademic
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby AspiringAcademic » Sun May 06, 2012 3:44 pm

180asBreath wrote:
AspiringAcademic 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?

The importance of Ph.Ds is disputed. My own experience suggests that they can be very helpful (see my LSN page). Some past threads:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=118780
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=162249

I have absolutely no idea what they'd make of someone who has a Ph.D. in a hard science with publications and a GPA that low.


Other than scholarships, in what way does your own experience suggest that your PhD was "very helpful"?

Well, there's something of a limited range issue given my prospects based on numbers alone but:
1.) Compared to other splitters with 3.6-.7 GPAs, I heard back either sooner, more positively, or both. Run a search looking at 174ish or plus LSATs and 3.6-3.75 GPAs (my GPA is about the middle of that range).
2.) One could argue that my GPA and LSAT were enough to get me in everywhere I ultimately did except Stanford, but scholarships are rather important and I outperformed my numbers there.

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wiseowl
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby wiseowl » Mon May 07, 2012 3:20 pm

A few things. (my credentials, so you'll listen: PhD bio, graduating T14 3L, going to V100 patent firm)

1.) You absolutely must finish your Ph.D.

You probably don't want to hear this, but it's true. If you were in mechanical/electrical engineering, maybe not...and your physics background might help a little, but the overall pretty hard and fast rule is that biotech patent work generally requires a Ph.D. at this point. I am sure others will chime in and say that this isn't true, that they know people with just bio bachelors that do patents, "look, heres a partner with only a B.S.", etc. You want to gamble away a quarter million bucks on that working out for you? Be my guest. I know for a fact that I would not have the job I have now without "Dr." in front of my name, period, and my UG GPA was much, much higher.

2.) You must KILL the LSAT.

I mean slaughter it. I mean 174 and up. Your GPA is a HUGE burden on your application right now. The only way to get a school to care about you is to dangle a very, very high test score in front of them. You have some things going for you: 1)You've made a 160 cold. I made a 165 cold and made it into the 170s with minimal additional prep. If you take a full on prep course and devote yourself to it, you've got a good shot. 2)Fewer people are taking the LSAT now than anytime in the last 4-5 years. It may well be easier for you to make a higher curved score than it was back then.

3.) You must plan your career very carefully.

It is important for IP people to have much more of a "plan" for their careers than other students in order to take full advantage. You need to be thinking about what city you want to practice in. In all honesty, the correct answer to that is probably going to be one of NY, DC, Boston, and San Diego. There is IP work in Chicago and in the Bay Area as well but those markets are extremely competitive. If, for some reason, you fall short on the LSAT and cannot be convinced to stay away from law school (which you should), the next option is to go to the best school you can get into in one of those cities and immediately start hustling your ass off from the first day you step on campus. Go to local bar meetings. Go out to lunch with partners in local firms, or associates, particularly if you went to their school. There are numerous other threads here about how to hustle.

You may also want to consider getting the patent bar out of the way relatively early as well. That will show firms at OCI or at patent fairs that you are a serious candidate. I'll be honest - plant bio is a niche in this field from what I have seen, and a pretty small one. Biotech work is in a lull right now while Congress and the courts figure out gene patents, biosimilars, genomics, etc.

Let me know if you need more info or ideas.

flcath
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby flcath » Thu May 10, 2012 4:16 pm

wiseowl wrote:A few things. (my credentials, so you'll listen: PhD bio, graduating T14 3L, going to V100 patent firm)

1.) You absolutely must finish your Ph.D.

You probably don't want to hear this, but it's true. If you were in mechanical/electrical engineering, maybe not...and your physics background might help a little, but the overall pretty hard and fast rule is that biotech patent work generally requires a Ph.D. at this point. I am sure others will chime in and say that this isn't true, that they know people with just bio bachelors that do patents, "look, heres a partner with only a B.S.", etc. You want to gamble away a quarter million bucks on that working out for you? Be my guest. I know for a fact that I would not have the job I have now without "Dr." in front of my name, period, and my UG GPA was much, much higher.

2.) You must KILL the LSAT.

I mean slaughter it. I mean 174 and up. Your GPA is a HUGE burden on your application right now. The only way to get a school to care about you is to dangle a very, very high test score in front of them. You have some things going for you: 1)You've made a 160 cold. I made a 165 cold and made it into the 170s with minimal additional prep. If you take a full on prep course and devote yourself to it, you've got a good shot. 2)Fewer people are taking the LSAT now than anytime in the last 4-5 years. It may well be easier for you to make a higher curved score than it was back then.

3.) You must plan your career very carefully.

It is important for IP people to have much more of a "plan" for their careers than other students in order to take full advantage. You need to be thinking about what city you want to practice in. In all honesty, the correct answer to that is probably going to be one of NY, DC, Boston, and San Diego. There is IP work in Chicago and in the Bay Area as well but those markets are extremely competitive. If, for some reason, you fall short on the LSAT and cannot be convinced to stay away from law school (which you should), the next option is to go to the best school you can get into in one of those cities and immediately start hustling your ass off from the first day you step on campus. Go to local bar meetings. Go out to lunch with partners in local firms, or associates, particularly if you went to their school. There are numerous other threads here about how to hustle.

You may also want to consider getting the patent bar out of the way relatively early as well. That will show firms at OCI or at patent fairs that you are a serious candidate. I'll be honest - plant bio is a niche in this field from what I have seen, and a pretty small one. Biotech work is in a lull right now while Congress and the courts figure out gene patents, biosimilars, genomics, etc.

Let me know if you need more info or ideas.

This is *great* advice.

#2 is specific to the OP's situation, but #1 and #3 should be mandatory reading for any non-CE/EE person who wants IP.

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DocHawkeye
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby DocHawkeye » Thu May 10, 2012 6:12 pm

Veyron wrote:Your undergraduate GPA will matter vastly more than your graduate GPA.


This is only partially true in that YOUR GRADUATE GPA WILL NOT MATTER AT ALL. Nither will having a PhD. Trust me - I have one. I applied to the law school at the university that granted my PhD, slightly below their numbers but hoping that their policy of favoring in-state residents (I was one before the PhD program) and the graduate work would sway in my favor. It did not. I performed exactly how I should have based on my undergrad gpa and LSAT across my whole cycle. Good luck.

wkentkovac
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby wkentkovac » Sat May 12, 2012 10:11 am

Alright, so an update is in order.

After having spoken with several patent attorneys, one of the lawyers (in the patent division) of one of our private sector funding sources (international company), and the director of patent law at my local university I have started to see a plan of action.

1. Kill the LSAT. If I want to attend the law school at my local university I need at least a 170 or greater for them to begin justifying the low GPA vs high LSAT question. This alone will not guarantee admittance, but it will help. Past admittance, the 170+ will most likely allow them to give me a partial/full tuition waiver (based on the LSAT, PhD, etc).

2. Working with my advisor and in discussion with the EE department on my campus, I will most likely be able to also eek out a Master's in EE while I finish my dual PhD. This is only possible because my work now is highly EE oriented and will be sufficient for the research aspect of the MS, though I will have to complete the course work (though they may abbreviate it in light of my dual PhD and already completed work in instrument design and development). This means a lot more work in the short run and many here may think it to be ridiculous to pursue this much education for a Patent Law degree, but as I have said above, it is what I would want to do and I will do what I can to put myself into the best position to pursue this. If all else fails, a dual biology PhD and engineering MS will allow me to pursue a different (instrument design) career path than what I am on now.

3. Research. I will be working with the some of the law professors in their various research pursuits and to this end, a few publications with my name in the author line will appeal to a different type of prestige some law schools are pursuing. This will be especially applicable to schools how have an academic focus and may open doors to higher level institutions who are working in the same research field but may not have as active research based programs currently.

4. Sit and kill the Patent Bar before I start the application process (not sure how this will help, but all interviewed parties have suggested strongly to do this).

So, I basically have my next 2 years planned out and have the attention of two law programs that are willing to watch my progress over the next two years and during that time assess whether the work I am doing will be sufficient to disregard my incoming UGPA. I am very excited to pursue this career path and will continue to update the thread as things progress.

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sunynp
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Re: PhD Student looking at law

Postby sunynp » Sat May 12, 2012 10:23 am

wkentkovac wrote:Alright, so an update is in order.

After having spoken with several patent attorneys, one of the lawyers (in the patent division) of one of our private sector funding sources (international company), and the director of patent law at my local university I have started to see a plan of action.

1. Kill the LSAT. If I want to attend the law school at my local university I need at least a 170 or greater for them to begin justifying the low GPA vs high LSAT question. This alone will not guarantee admittance, but it will help. Past admittance, the 170+ will most likely allow them to give me a partial/full tuition waiver (based on the LSAT, PhD, etc).

2. Working with my advisor and in discussion with the EE department on my campus, I will most likely be able to also eek out a Master's in EE while I finish my dual PhD. This is only possible because my work now is highly EE oriented and will be sufficient for the research aspect of the MS, though I will have to complete the course work (though they may abbreviate it in light of my dual PhD and already completed work in instrument design and development). This means a lot more work in the short run and many here may think it to be ridiculous to pursue this much education for a Patent Law degree, but as I have said above, it is what I would want to do and I will do what I can to put myself into the best position to pursue this. If all else fails, a dual biology PhD and engineering MS will allow me to pursue a different (instrument design) career path than what I am on now.

3. Research. I will be working with the some of the law professors in their various research pursuits and to this end, a few publications with my name in the author line will appeal to a different type of prestige some law schools are pursuing. This will be especially applicable to schools how have an academic focus and may open doors to higher level institutions who are working in the same research field but may not have as active research based programs currently.

4. Sit and kill the Patent Bar before I start the application process (not sure how this will help, but all interviewed parties have suggested strongly to do this).

So, I basically have my next 2 years planned out and have the attention of two law programs that are willing to watch my progress over the next two years and during that time assess whether the work I am doing will be sufficient to disregard my incoming UGPA. I am very excited to pursue this career path and will continue to update the thread as things progress.

This plan sounds so intense that I am wondering if you can accomplish it all. Do you really want law? You should focus on the LSAT and see where you are after you take the exam.




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