If you were me, would you pursue a law career?

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Re: If you were me, would you pursue a law career?

Postby Hybrid180 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1. I average around 40-50 hours a week, depending on the state of current projects I'm assigned to.

2. I'm in California, these software engineering jobs are everywhere here, whether in Nor Cal or So Cal. Software Engineers are so highly sought after, all you need is a CS degree, a breath, and some reasonable intelligence.


how old are you; quality of college/graduate degree/work ex? i am not sure if it's fair to say that software engineer jobs are everywhere. i work in CA in the same profession and make a little more than you, but i don't think companies want to hire just about anyone with a CS degree. it is however true that if you are younger the standards are a bit lower. it's easier to get a job in engineering as a young person but the career progression flats out quickly.

I am the OP, I suppose it was kind of pointless to post anon since I really only have one other post on the forum.

Anyways, to answer your question, I have a Bachelors CS degree from a Cal State and five years of industry experience before I went to law school. Pretty much as soon as I posted my resume, I was getting calls from recruiters, and it continued even after I got a job. I remember one recruiter offered me $500 just to refer someone to him after I told him I already took a job. Ironically, the job I eventually took was through a direct application to the company I'm at now. But seriously, if you are anywhere near Santa Monica, CA, Sunnyvale, CA, SF, or Irvine, CA you're golden if you have a CS degree. Have you tried putting your resume out there? You might be surprised at what kind of response you get.

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Re: If you were me, would you pursue a law career?

Postby Hybrid180 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I can't seem to shake the feeling that I'm missing out by not using my law degree and finding a law job. I dunno, perhaps I'll eventually springboard into in house directly from my engineering position.

OP, are you currently at a very large company or a very small company? Larger tech companies are more likely to have IP departments where there are, if not actual patent agents, at least people who are responsible for IP portfolio management, working with company inventors, developing IP licensing strategies, etc. who are or used to be engineers. My impression (as a former software engineer) is that this is more of a business role than legal, and that it's more JD-advantage than JD-required, but that this is probably the easiest legal-ish in-house position to get into from engineering.

As another idea - if you're pretty happy with your software job but you feel like you're wasting your JD, why not use your law degree for good? Hook up with your local county bar association and do pro bono on the weekends. Your JD and bar admission uniquely qualify you for volunteer positions that most other people can't take, even if they want to. I'm sure you can find something local that (1) gives you training; (2) provides malpractice insurance; (3) lets you practice the law while helping people who need help. Help neglected kids find stable homes, help domestic violence victims, help tenants avoid eviction, help the elderly avoid abuse, etc. Or help small business owners, help starving artists, help employees who are getting screwed, help people write wills, help immigrants with paperwork - whatever causes appeal to you. Hell, in your position, maybe you even have the luxury to cut back on your hours at work, doing part-time engineering while parenting and volunteering. Something to consider.

I must admit, I think this is a pretty decent idea, and thank you for it. I remember trying to apply for volunteer positions at the AG's office and the legal services group Public Counsel and getting no response. Is the law industry really so saturated that it is competitive for law graduates to secure even volunteer positions? But now that I know I passed the bar, I might give this another shot; even if just for the satisfaction that my degree hasn't gone completely to waste.

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Re: If you were me, would you pursue a law career?

Postby Hybrid180 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:25 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Sure, I guess HLS or SLS would be worth it. I'm pretty sure the number of people who get full rides to T14s is extremely low, however, so that wouldn't be a meaningful consideration for the vast majority of prospective law students.

In any event, having read the OP, I find it quite sad that he/she is asking this question NOW after having wasted a significant percentage of his life preparing for and being in law school. What a huge fucking waste of time. Life is short. Don't waste three years of it at a T2.

It is sad. Since my offer out of law school was rescinded, there's not a day that goes by that I don't regret my decision to go to law school. I have former co-workers, that I was on a similar career trajectory as, before I went to law school, who are now making significantly more than me now and managing a team of software engineers. I spoke with one of them the other day and he was telling me that since he has a team, so he can just pass off the work he's not interested in to the people on his team and just work on the stuff that really interests him. I thought, "wow, that's cool." and I might be in a similar position had I not gone to law school.

At least as I was waiting for my bar results I rationalized my predicament with the fact that I might not have passed the bar anyway. But now that I've found out I passed, it has really hit home and I could have done something with my law degree. At least I'm fortunate enough to have an awesome wife that provides financial stability that most other law grads do not. But the reality looks like I've lost three years of my life and spent a lot of money, not to mention the lost opportunity costs, for a degree that is just sitting there.

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Re: If you were me, would you pursue a law career?

Postby redtalun » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:22 am


First, I encourage you to think long and hard about why you originally quit your software engineering job in the first place. Was it an unsustainable career path? Is it something you can imagine yourself doing 20 years from now? Do you think your skills will still be relevant in the next decade when the Next Big Thing arrives?
Second, is becoming a patent attorney a realistic career goal? Do you want to work in big law or a boutique long term, or transition in-house asaply? Staying in big law sounds like a bad idea given that you have already stated that you need to take care of the kids and household, and that you ::probably:: don't need the money that badly.

Finally, have you considered looking for work as a patent engineer? These are generally positions for cs majors that have an expertise in a field and are interested in patent prosecution related matters. Here's a smorgasbord of openings: https://www.linkedin.com/job/patent-engineer-jobs/

Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions. I was also a software engineer that left behind a six-figure salary to pursue law school.

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Re: If you were me, would you pursue a law career?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:52 am

If I were you, I'd stick with the software engineering job. Now that doesn't mean that you can't use your license (congratulations for passing the bar by the way) - probably you, your wife, or your children will need a lawyer (hopefully for something good), you can teach business law at a university, help NGOs, etc.

You know what - why don't you try being a lawyer - do some pro-bono work, see if you like it. You'll help the community and get a taste of what you might end up doing for a long time. Working 50 hours a week is much different than 70+. If you pursue the legal profession IP law would be ideal for you. My biggest concern is your family. Your wife insists that one of you should take care of the household, so why risk ruining the family harmony? I'm worried about your kids - my own parents weren't around much when I was growing up because both of them worked a lot. I hated it. I wish they spent more time with me and my sister. Remember, money is not the most important thing, especially in your case.

If I were you, I'd continue with the current job, take care of the house, spend more time with the kids and wife, maybe do some legal work on the side, and enjoy life.

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