Engineer with Ph.D considering law

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LemonSoda

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Engineer with Ph.D considering law

Postby LemonSoda » Tue May 28, 2019 6:03 pm

Hi,

I've been considering a possibility of going to law school, and wanted to seek some advice from those who perhaps saw people in similar situations. Law school tuition is quite expensive, and if I were to go to law school, I'll probably only consider schools that offer full scholarships. I wanted to know what are my chances of getting a full ride, and if I were to choose a full ride from a regional / lesser known school outside of T50 (purely for scholarship), would that be a wise choice? My goal is to join a big law as an IP litigator (or prosecutor.. haven't really decided yet).

To provide a little bit of background about myself, I graduated from T10 undergraduate with slightly higher than 3.6 GPA. I then got my Ph.D in electrical engineering from another T10 university in my field. I've been working at one of the big companies in my field for the past few years.

I have never taken LSAT yet. My GRE score was in 99th percentile for both verbal and math, but I hear LSAT is an entirely different exam, so I'll have to do a bit of grinding. Any insight on what kind of LSAT score I would need with my background would also be appreciated.

Some of my family members work at big law, but none of them come from engineering background nor have a Ph.D. I am wondering how important is the name of the law school if I wanted to practice IP. I'd rather choose full-ride over prestige if a possibility of getting joining a patent litigation team at a big law is still likely. I'd love to hear about what your thoughts are based on your personal experience or people around you. Thanks.

dabigchina

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Re: Engineer with Ph.D considering law

Postby dabigchina » Tue May 28, 2019 7:24 pm

>My goal is to join a big law as an IP litigator (or prosecutor.. haven't really decided yet).

Why?

How much money do you currently make?

What are your current hours like?

Do you have Spouse/Kids?

Even with a full ride, you are giving up at least 250k of income while you wait to graduate.

miskellyjohnson

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Re: Engineer with Ph.D considering law

Postby miskellyjohnson » Tue May 28, 2019 7:34 pm

Go get a job right now as a technical specialist for a big law firm. There are tech specs positions for both litigation and prosecution, though more for prosecution. With an EE PhD from a top 10 school, you should have a job at a big law firm by the end of the week. Do it for a year, see if you like it, and what you like about it (it will give you a much better idea of whether you want to do prosecution or litigation, and whether or not you think it is the right career path for you). You should make about $100K or so your first year, with a bump if you pass patent bar. When you interview, talk to firms about sponsoring law school, which is fairly common *(sponsoring part time night school is fairly common, sponsoring day school is less common but some firms do). Then in a year you decide if you like the work or not, you have better recs if you do like it, and maybe your school will be paid for.

LemonSoda

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Re: Engineer with Ph.D considering law

Postby LemonSoda » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:42 pm

@dabigchina

I make about $150k+ right now. No kids. Wife is also working. Base salary will probably jump up every 3-4 years by about $20k.
Hours are pretty flexible. 8-5 or 9-6 when it's slow but when deadlines are here, it becomes similar to big law.
The opportunity cost of going to law school is indeed huge. 3 years of not working means giving up more like 500k+ pre-tax income for me. Financially speaking, it'd only make sense if I aim to go to big-law and stay there for a very very long time.

@miskellyjohnson

That's a great idea. Thanks for the advice. Do a lot of firms pay for 3 years of law school (I assume under the condition of returning to the firm and working X amount of years)?

dabigchina

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Re: Engineer with Ph.D considering law

Postby dabigchina » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:54 pm

LemonSoda wrote:@dabigchina

I make about $150k+ right now. No kids. Wife is also working. Base salary will probably jump up every 3-4 years by about $20k.
Hours are pretty flexible. 8-5 or 9-6 when it's slow but when deadlines are here, it becomes similar to big law.
The opportunity cost of going to law school is indeed huge. 3 years of not working means giving up more like 500k+ pre-tax income for me. Financially speaking, it'd only make sense if I aim to go to big-law and stay there for a very very long time.

@miskellyjohnson

That's a great idea. Thanks for the advice. Do a lot of firms pay for 3 years of law school (I assume under the condition of returning to the firm and working X amount of years)?

Even if you stayed in biglaw for a very long time, you'd be hard pressed to make up 500k+ of pre-tax income, given time value of money.

Honestly, your current gig is something that a lot of 3-4 year associates would salivate over. The numbers just don't compute for me.

As for the patent agent idea. It's a good idea. Just think about whether u can jump back into something like your current gig if you don't wind up liking it.

Also, why the heck do you want to be a lawyer? Additional prestige? Are you burned out at your current job? Can you take a sabbatical? I gave up a pretty promising prior career to go to law school for the above reasons and I can tell you, law school won't solve anything.

Npret

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Re: Engineer with Ph.D considering law

Postby Npret » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:59 pm

^^^
Also, why would you want big law hours 24/7 for years?
You will be putting yourself in a very bad position if you turn out to not like big law. My view is biglaw is not sustainable for most people so to assume you will stay for a long time in a job you’ve never even tried before seems unreasonable.

dabigchina

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Re: Engineer with Ph.D considering law

Postby dabigchina » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:05 pm

Npret wrote:^^^
Also, why would you want big law hours 24/7 for years?
You will be putting yourself in a very bad position if you turn out to not like big law. My view is biglaw is not sustainable for most people so to assume you will stay for a long time in a job you’ve never even tried before seems unreasonable.

I think a fallacy that a lot of 0Ls with work experience fall into is thinking that because they work a lot sometimes, their job is just as hard is biglaw and thus they should just be a biglawyer. I get it. I had the same mistaken belief.

OP: for most people biglaw sucks 100% of the time. Some people might love it, but they are in the small minority. The money is obviously great, but the nature of the work itself is draining. I wouldn't do it.



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