Engineer Interested in IP Law

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Bully
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Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby Bully » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:23 pm

Does having my Mechanical Engineering degree and 3 years of experience at a major aerospace company give me any sort of advantage in applying to law schools?
I'm interested solely in a law career involving intellectual property.

Does admission still come down to GPA and LSAT? Strange to me that admissions would look at an engineering degree+experience the same as a a recent business/philosophy graduate.

For IP law, is going to the highest ranked university the best way to go even if I get a scholarship from slightly lower ranked schools?
i.e. Sticker for Stanford vs. 50% for Berkeley

I plan on taking the LSAT this June. Thanks!

EDIT: I'm not sure what my LSAC GPA is yet, but I believe it will be around 3.85

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Dr. Review
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby Dr. Review » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:30 pm

Engineering background isn't really worth much for law school admissions, but the job market is noticeably better for most hard-IP people, so what school you go to CAN matter less in SOME situations. Obviously if you go to a small regional school, it's going to be difficult to get a job somewhere outside of that region, but the career outcomes seem to be quite a bit better at top regional schools for hard-IP focused people than for others.

There is a bit more flexibility in what school can produce a good outcome, but it is a case by case basis that changes for each person.

Stanford vs Berkley may not change your likelihood of finding meaningful employment markedly as an IP person all else being equal, but the quality of job options, and the ability to move outside a given region is still better in the T14 than all else.

The benefit of being IP is that if you have upper T14 numbers, you can take the $$$ at lower T14 without worrying too much about the rammifications.

It's also worth mentioning that a STEM GPA is more or less the same as any other GPA for law school admissions, and at BEST it is a very weak soft. The fact of the matter is, law schools report a Basket Weaving GPA the same as they do a STEM GPA, so while the rigor of the program matters, it just doesn't help them to take the lower GPA candidate.

Bully
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby Bully » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:42 pm

Bedsole wrote:Engineering background isn't really worth much for law school admissions, but the job market is noticeably better for most hard-IP people, so what school you go to CAN matter less in SOME situations. Obviously if you go to a small regional school, it's going to be difficult to get a job somewhere outside of that region, but the career outcomes seem to be quite a bit better at top regional schools for hard-IP focused people than for others.

There is a bit more flexibility in what school can produce a good outcome, but it is a case by case basis that changes for each person.

Stanford vs Berkley may not change your likelihood of finding meaningful employment markedly as an IP person all else being equal, but the quality of job options, and the ability to move outside a given region is still better in the T14 than all else.

The benefit of being IP is that if you have upper T14 numbers, you can take the $$$ at lower T14 without worrying too much about the rammifications.

It's also worth mentioning that a STEM GPA is more or less the same as any other GPA for law school admissions, and at BEST it is a very weak soft. The fact of the matter is, law schools report a Basket Weaving GPA the same as they do a STEM GPA, so while the rigor of the program matters, it just doesn't help them to take the lower GPA candidate.


Hmm interesting. As you mentioned, I guess the real advantage for me is my interest in IP as it opens up school options. When I first started considering a career in IP Law, I figured if I didn't get into a T14, it would not be worth leaving my current job for law school. However, you make it sound like even going to UCLA or USC wouldn't really hurt my job opportunities for IP in California.

Still stinks that my engineering has no greater significance to them, but I would not trade my engineering education for any other.
Last edited by Bully on Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dr. Review
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby Dr. Review » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:44 pm

Bully wrote:Hmm interesting. As you mentioned, I guess the real advantage for me is my interest in IP as it opens up school options. When I first started considering a career in IP Law, I figured if I didn't get into a T14, it would not be worth leaving my current job for law school. However, you make it sound like even going to UCLA or USC wouldn't really hurt my job opportunities for IP in California.

Well, I can't really speak to those schools specifically, as I am from the other coast, but someone here may have some insight.

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midwest17
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby midwest17 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:49 am

Bully wrote:Strange to me that admissions would look at an engineering degree+experience the same as a a recent business/philosophy graduate.


I'm continually amused when this particular brand of arrogance pops up.

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Vincent
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby Vincent » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:41 am

Bully wrote:
Bedsole wrote:Engineering background isn't really worth much for law school admissions, but the job market is noticeably better for most hard-IP people, so what school you go to CAN matter less in SOME situations. Obviously if you go to a small regional school, it's going to be difficult to get a job somewhere outside of that region, but the career outcomes seem to be quite a bit better at top regional schools for hard-IP focused people than for others.

There is a bit more flexibility in what school can produce a good outcome, but it is a case by case basis that changes for each person.

Stanford vs Berkley may not change your likelihood of finding meaningful employment markedly as an IP person all else being equal, but the quality of job options, and the ability to move outside a given region is still better in the T14 than all else.

The benefit of being IP is that if you have upper T14 numbers, you can take the $$$ at lower T14 without worrying too much about the rammifications.

It's also worth mentioning that a STEM GPA is more or less the same as any other GPA for law school admissions, and at BEST it is a very weak soft. The fact of the matter is, law schools report a Basket Weaving GPA the same as they do a STEM GPA, so while the rigor of the program matters, it just doesn't help them to take the lower GPA candidate.


Hmm interesting. As you mentioned, I guess the real advantage for me is my interest in IP as it opens up school options. When I first started considering a career in IP Law, I figured if I didn't get into a T14, it would not be worth leaving my current job for law school. However, you make it sound like even going to UCLA or USC wouldn't really hurt my job opportunities for IP in California.

Still stinks that my engineering has no greater significance to them, but I would not trade my engineering education for any other.


As a STEM person myself, I'm going to avoid the whole STEM vs. business majors debate.

I will say, though, that no, you really shouldn't be going to USC or UCLA unless they're throwing $$$ at you, IP background or not. You might have a leg-up on employment coming out compared to some of your would-be classmates, but given the heights (aerospace engineering) from which you're starting from, the risk of striking out entirely isn't worth it. Take out the 2.1% that UCLA Law hires back, and Berkeley places nearly 16% better. Or to put it another way, for every 6-7 graduating students, one more of them is in an unfortunate position at UCLA vs. Berkeley. The difference is even more stark if you compare UCLA to Stanford; not to mention that I think it's safe to assume the quality of jobs is higher coming out of the two Norcal schools.

Also, why do you want to leave your current career?

Bully
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby Bully » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:08 pm

midwest17 wrote:
Bully wrote:Strange to me that admissions would look at an engineering degree+experience the same as a a recent business/philosophy graduate.


I'm continually amused when this particular brand of arrogance pops up.


Arrogant because they really do see a difference? Or arrogant because you don't believe an engineering degree to be any more rigorous than a business degree? No offense intended. I just read through the comments from Dean Tom on the Berkeley page and it looks like they weigh admissions on 1/3 LSAT score, 1/3 GPA (which considers rigor of major, EA's, work), and 1/3 subjective factors (PS, LOR). That's why is was strange to me Bedsole was insinuating that admissions don't see 'Basket Weaving' GPA differently than a STEM GPA...

Vincent-
Thanks for that bit of insight about school choices. I'll definitely be looking into schools more once I actually take the LSAT. I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself and I definitely do not want to underestimate the difficulty of the test. I understand your advice about the risk of leaving my current field. The nice thing is that I don't have to commit to the anything until I get some offers. I'm hoping by then I'll have a better understanding of the IP field and opportunities available.

As far as leaving my current career, I think it would be very cool to learn about the latest and greatest and be able to represent a company defending their patent (or vice versa).
Last edited by Bully on Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TigerDude
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby TigerDude » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:56 pm

midwest17 wrote:
Bully wrote:Strange to me that admissions would look at an engineering degree+experience the same as a a recent business/philosophy graduate.


I'm continually amused when this particular brand of arrogance pops up.
I'm continually amused that business majors think their major was as hard as an engineering one.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:01 am

Bully wrote:
midwest17 wrote:
Bully wrote:Strange to me that admissions would look at an engineering degree+experience the same as a a recent business/philosophy graduate.


I'm continually amused when this particular brand of arrogance pops up.


Arrogant because they really do see a difference? Or arrogant because you don't believe an engineering degree to be any more rigorous than a business degree?

Arrogant because STEM majors so often assume that doing well in a STEM program/having STEM WE will translate to success in law school and as a lawyer, when in fact, law is more like philosophy and econ than like mechanical engineering. Remember, the purpose of evaluating an applicant's undergrad record is to predict the applicant's success in law school and beyond.

P.S. Pretty sure you want to be lumping together philosophy and econ, not philosophy and business. Undergrad business programs are usually practically-minded, pretty much the opposite of philosophy.

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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby 20141023 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:21 am

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Last edited by 20141023 on Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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midwest17
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby midwest17 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:00 pm

Bully wrote:
midwest17 wrote:
Bully wrote:Strange to me that admissions would look at an engineering degree+experience the same as a a recent business/philosophy graduate.


I'm continually amused when this particular brand of arrogance pops up.


Arrogant because they really do see a difference? Or arrogant because you don't believe an engineering degree to be any more rigorous than a business degree? No offense intended. I just read through the comments from Dean Tom on the Berkeley page and it looks like they weigh admissions on 1/3 LSAT score, 1/3 GPA (which considers rigor of major, EA's, work), and 1/3 subjective factors (PS, LOR). That's why is was strange to me Bedsole was insinuating that admissions don't see 'Basket Weaving' GPA differently than a STEM GPA...


I know A-level engineering majors who would have gotten Cs in philosophy classes. I know smart STEM people who thought certain business classes were the hardest things they did in undergrad. Everyone has different skill sets, and the idea that you can compare rigor across such widely disparate fields is laughable. Also, this:

iamgeorgebush wrote:Arrogant because STEM majors so often assume that doing well in a STEM program/having STEM WE will translate to success in law school and as a lawyer, when in fact, law is more like philosophy and econ than like mechanical engineering. Remember, the purpose of evaluating an applicant's undergrad record is to predict the applicant's success in law school and beyond.


The skills that are required to get good grades in engineering are not the skills that are required to succeed in law school. Many people from engineering backgrounds do well in law school, but they're still different skills.

At the end of the day, it's mostly GPA and LSAT, because that's what the rankings are based on. An engineering background will be a positive soft factor, because they're relatively uncommon. Work experience is always a positive soft factor. But neither of those things are the kind of amazing softs that will let you significantly outperform your numbers. Admission committees aren't going to say "well, he's got a crap GPA. But it's in engineering, so he'll probably still do better than all these dumb philosophy and business majors we've got running around the law school."

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drawstring
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby drawstring » Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:01 pm

I know A-level engineering majors who would have gotten Cs in philosophy classes. I know smart STEM people who thought certain business classes were the hardest things they did in undergrad. Everyone has different skill sets, and the idea that you can compare rigor across such widely disparate fields is laughable. Also, this:


I know of plenty of cases where top STEM students have struggled in philosophy/business/political science/history/English classes. The STEM >>>>>> anything else attitude is totally unjustified, and I find it particularly irritating when people with horrible STEM GPAs act as if they would've pulled a 4.0 if they were in any other type of major.

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teampeeta
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby teampeeta » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:56 pm

Debates about STEM vs. social science/ humanities majors aside, I think the 3.85 in engineering is impressive, especially if it came from a good school or a nationally accredited program (ABET). At a lot of schools, engineering GPAs tend to be lower, so the fact that you could pull off 3.8+ is probably going to stand you in good stead. Ditto the work experience as long as you can connect it to your desire to study law.

I do think STEM should be considered more rigorous than some majors, especially ones that aren't academic (Music, Art, Theater, Communications, etc.). I would also argue that Engineering is significantly more difficult than most majors in the social sciences/ humanities (Psychology, American Studies, Business, etc.). So in that sense having a high GPA should be a bigger feather in your cap as an STEM major than having a high GPA in one of the aforementioned fields, even if the skills that were required to get that GPA aren't necessarily the same as skills that predict success in law school.

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midwest17
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby midwest17 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:16 pm

teampeeta wrote:Debates about STEM vs. social science/ humanities majors aside, I think the 3.85 in engineering is impressive, especially if it came from a good school or a nationally accredited program (ABET). At a lot of schools, engineering GPAs tend to be lower, so the fact that you could pull off 3.8+ is probably going to stand you in good stead. Ditto the work experience as long as you can connect it to your desire to study law.

I do think STEM should be considered more rigorous than some majors, especially ones that aren't academic (Music, Art, Theater, Communications, etc.). I would also argue that Engineering is significantly more difficult than most majors in the social sciences/ humanities (Psychology, American Studies, Business, etc.). So in that sense having a high GPA should be a bigger feather in your cap as an STEM major than having a high GPA in one of the aforementioned fields, even if the skills that were required to get that GPA aren't necessarily the same as skills that predict success in law school.


This is silly. Most STEM majors (some multitalented people aside) couldn't make it through a music program.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby iamgeorgebush » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:00 pm

midwest17 wrote:
teampeeta wrote:Debates about STEM vs. social science/ humanities majors aside, I think the 3.85 in engineering is impressive, especially if it came from a good school or a nationally accredited program (ABET). At a lot of schools, engineering GPAs tend to be lower, so the fact that you could pull off 3.8+ is probably going to stand you in good stead. Ditto the work experience as long as you can connect it to your desire to study law.

I do think STEM should be considered more rigorous than some majors, especially ones that aren't academic (Music, Art, Theater, Communications, etc.). I would also argue that Engineering is significantly more difficult than most majors in the social sciences/ humanities (Psychology, American Studies, Business, etc.). So in that sense having a high GPA should be a bigger feather in your cap as an STEM major than having a high GPA in one of the aforementioned fields, even if the skills that were required to get that GPA aren't necessarily the same as skills that predict success in law school.


This is silly. Most STEM majors (some multitalented people aside) couldn't make it through a music program.

Real talk. The math major in my freshman acting class definitely had the lowest grade in the class. Also, my lowest grade in college was in an art history course.

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BaberhamLincoln
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby BaberhamLincoln » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:24 pm

It's a good thing you all want to be lawyers, since you seem to have a penchant for arguing. :lol:

to the OP -- I hear you. I am in the same boat as an engineer who has a good career but doesn't want to settle for good, wants to settle for great, and do what I've always wanted: IP/Patent Law.

Good luck!

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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby Bully » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:28 pm

leigh912198972 wrote:It's a good thing you all want to be lawyers, since you seem to have a penchant for arguing. :lol:

to the OP -- I hear you. I am in the same boat as an engineer who has a good career but doesn't want to settle for good, wants to settle for great, and do what I've always wanted: IP/Patent Law.

Good luck!


Thanks! Good luck to you as well.

I just have to say, looking back through this thread the anecdotes and apparent frustration shown by a few of you have been entertaining. :)

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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby ScottRiqui » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:36 pm

midwest17 wrote:
teampeeta wrote:Debates about STEM vs. social science/ humanities majors aside, I think the 3.85 in engineering is impressive, especially if it came from a good school or a nationally accredited program (ABET). At a lot of schools, engineering GPAs tend to be lower, so the fact that you could pull off 3.8+ is probably going to stand you in good stead. Ditto the work experience as long as you can connect it to your desire to study law.

I do think STEM should be considered more rigorous than some majors, especially ones that aren't academic (Music, Art, Theater, Communications, etc.). I would also argue that Engineering is significantly more difficult than most majors in the social sciences/ humanities (Psychology, American Studies, Business, etc.). So in that sense having a high GPA should be a bigger feather in your cap as an STEM major than having a high GPA in one of the aforementioned fields, even if the skills that were required to get that GPA aren't necessarily the same as skills that predict success in law school.


This is silly. Most STEM majors (some multitalented people aside) couldn't make it through a music program.


Old-ish post, but I gotta agree with this. I think that with enough willpower and determination, most people could "slog through" a STEM degree; I have degrees in engineering and physics, and I still don't consider myself to be particularly "good at math". But I would be completely lost in a music or other performing arts program; mechanical brute force only gets you so far there.

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dnptan
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby dnptan » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:41 pm

Bully wrote:Does admission still come down to GPA and LSAT? Strange to me that admissions would look at an engineering degree+experience the same as a a recent business/philosophy graduate.


The only thing from this statement that will give you a boost is your in-built superiority complex. :D

Real talk:

You don't have to be a patent LAWYER to enter the patents game. As a STEM, you can get certified as a patent AGENT.

Stanford > Berkeley for IP law. So I would go with Stanford.

Sticker at H/Y vs Berkeley at 50%, that would be a toss-up. If all you want to do is IP law, and you're absolutely certain, then go to Berkeley. Especially if you're going to stay in CA.

---

and ScottRiqui, I totally agree with you. I have degrees in Eng and Biology and I still need my smartphone to calculate tip :D

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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby zaetoroftheprotoss » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:09 pm

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Last edited by zaetoroftheprotoss on Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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patogordo
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby patogordo » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:17 pm

no school is "better for IP" than any other.

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dnptan
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby dnptan » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:31 pm

patogordo wrote:no school is "better for IP" than any other.


IP is such a small, yet rapidly growing field. A lot of schools have programs dedicated to it, but the truth is it's too volatile (and thus open to new ideas and directions) for any school to claim "expertise" in teaching it.

However, depending on the IP, there are some schools which are notable better. If not for aptitude, at least for geography.

Take for instance, Silicon Valley. The cradle of innovation, so to speak. So many companies are born, bred, and die in such a concentrated area, so it tends to require the most intelligent and flexible IP lawyers to give them advice. The schools closest? Stanford and Berkeley.

Since laws in CA apply to Silicon Valley, the other big law schools which attract talent also have "a slice of the pie" so to speak: UC schools come to mind.

Another hotbed of innovation is Boston, MA. It's the Silicon Valley of medical technology. What big name schools are in the area? Harvard, and to a lesser extent, Yale.

Lastly, there's NYC, but more for entertainment than patents. Columbia and NYU say hi.

Coincidence that HYSC(sorry chicago)N is in the area of greatest innovation? Maybe not. These powerhouse schools also have other top programs which breed innovation. This bleeds into the surrounding cities as startups and consulting firms. Where else would these would-be entrepreneurs get their legal advice but from their own school's legal department?

Lastly, where would that game-changing inventor from MIT or CalTech go for legal advice? As great as Duke or UVA are, Harvard/Stanford and Boalt are just around the corner.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:35 pm

Techies going into law used to be rare. Now it's not. I know at least four people at my firm with EE/CS masters and UG degrees from top 5 engineering programs and T6 law school degrees (with good grades), and my firm has a relatively small IP group. Places like Irell are filled with these types. You probably still have somewhat of an advantage to a PoliSci dork, but it's definitely not what it used to be.

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Re: Engineer Interested in IP Law

Postby Bully » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:39 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Techies going into law used to be rare. Now it's not. I know at least four people at my firm with EE/CS masters and UG degrees from top 5 engineering programs and T6 law school degrees (with good grades), and my firm has a relatively small IP group. Places like Irell are filled with these types. You probably still have somewhat of an advantage to a PoliSci dork, but it's definitely not what it used to be.


Interesting. I wonder if other Biglaw firms are similar. Never really entertained going to anything below the T14 even if it is for IP.

Seems like if it's not as rare for 'techies' to go into law, I would want to go to the highest ranked school I can get into in order to have an advantage over the competition on job prospects.




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