Pre-Law School Employment Opportunities (Eng undergrad)

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Pre-Law School Employment Opportunities (Eng undergrad)

Postby AeroKid » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:40 pm

This may be a reach, but I am a soon-to-be engineering graduate inquiring about potential job opportunities/career paths for a person with my background.

I will be graduating from a T15 engineering university with my BS in aerospace in May. My GPA is admittedly not exceptional, but with a 3.25-3.3 I am well above the average for my graduating aero class. I have excellent internship experiences internationally and domestically, one of which with a reputable T150 fortune 500 company. I am also an accomplished technical communicator; I am in the process of expanding to publication a previous technical paper I co-authored with University faculty and independently presented at an important industry conference a couple years ago. I even have some course work in engineering law & finance (contract, tort, intellectual property).

At any rate, the purpose of this post is not to laud myself but to inquire about what career path might be ideal for a person like me. I just wanted to make clear that, while I have no industry experience beyond what I did during the four years I was an undergrad, I am not entirely a newb. That being said, I have heard that because of how much a niche profession patent law can be, there may be additional requirements (or recommendations) that patent lawyers almost certainly must fulfill before even enrolling in law school.

I suppose, then, my inquiry is three fold. In responding to these questions, please keep in mind that the rigors of undergraduate engineering have kept me from preparing for the LSAT until about a month ago. Thus, I am testing in June and would prefer to enroll at a law school in Fall 2014 (the earliest point in which I can). If you have any relevant experience in or knowledge about the area of patent law, please include it with your response:

1 (and most importantly) - Do you know of any opportunities for engineering students like myself (possibly as legal assistants, paralegals, etc.) to work immediately upon graduation but before enrollment in law school? I am aware of the USPTO and am applying accordingly, but I want to purue other options as well. Please keep in mind that although I am an engineering student and would love to specialize in patent law, I am open to and may even prefer working in multiple other areas as well.

2 - I have been accepted to a progressive degree plan at my University to complete my MSAE. Keeping in mind that money definitely IS an object, how important would it be that I obtain this degree? Although the progressive degree requires <20 units and can be completed in 1-2 semester, private school tuition is tough for me, and I already have a small amount of student loans from my undergraduate studies. My engineering law professor encouraged me to skip the master's program (in fact, he advised to go straight to law school), but other lawyers have advised me otherwise. I'm waiting for a response from someone who has a concrete answer on this.

3 - Do I absolutely need more technical work experience? I would definitely prefer to finish law school by the time I am 28 or so; right now, I am 22, and I will be 23 by Fall of 2014. I would also prefer to avoid any more technical work. It isn't that I am not well equipped to do so; I won't go on about my experience as an undergrad but sufficed to say it is superior to most of my undergrad engineering peers. Rather, I am driven to pursue law NOW and would prefer to do so.

Phew. If anyone made it to the end of this post, I really appreciate your time! As I said, I feel as though I am in a unique position and I am a bit lost as to where I need to go from here. While I see my background as an asset, it may also be a hindrance in that I don't feel like my career path is well defined and thus I'm a bit behind on what my opportunities are.. and that's okay! I suppose I am just looking for a little direction.

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Re: Pre-Law School Employment Opportunities (Eng undergrad)

Postby kryptix » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:20 pm

Before this gets locked for being in the wrong forum I'll respond a bit.

If you really are set on being a patent lawyer, take the patent bar, if you get a job as a patent agent at a biglaw firm they will likely actually put you through part time law school if you are in good standing.

The masters I think actually will help you get into law school. I have an engineering background but the prosecution boutiques did not like that I only had a Bachelors even though I had 6 years of work experience. That's up to you though. Litigation shops didn't care nearly as much and were much more skills than credentials centric (prosecution shops felt almost like academia interviews).

People I know with substantive work experience did significantly better at OCI so again, good luck (but its by no means required, it just serves to help distinguish you if your not 4.0 EIC LR etc).

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Re: Pre-Law School Employment Opportunities (Eng undergrad)

Postby bk1 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:29 pm

Read the forum rules posted at the top of each forum before posting.

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