IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

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chraruce
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IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:15 pm

Dear all,

Even though I am a 0L, I have been accepted and currently plan to attend American University (part-time) and my question is directly related to law employment, that's why I chose to post in this forum.
I really want to know how to maximize my chances at obtaining an IP law job at a good-paying law firm. Of course, my chances may be very slim coming from American Univ. and I'll appreciate that guidance as well (if this is the case, I may decide to reapply to law schools).
I have a 2.61 undergraduate GPA. I took classes in a few undergraduate schools: University of Florida, Harvard Extension School, and MIT. My MIT gpa is horrendous at a 3.3/5.0 (please note the scale as this is out of 5.0 and not 4.0... go figure why MIT does this). Factoring in my very good grades from UF and Harvard Extension, I raised my ugpa to 2.61./4.0 (this is how the LSAC calculated my gpa into the 4.0 scale).
My undergraduate major was electrical engineering and computer science (one major; this was not a double major). I am considering to join the USPTO as a patent examiner for my in-school job since I would join the evening program at American U.
Given this situation, does it even make sense to try to get a job in IP law? It is my understanding that ugpa and the undergraduate school are just as important for IP employment as is the law school from which the candidate is applying. So with this in mind, would my chances be a little better with a few years of USPTO experience under my belt? Does it even matter? Am I doomed if I study at American University or is there some hope?
If there is some hope, how can I maximize my chances at obtaining a gig in IP law? I would like to practice in a private law firm and, to me, it doesn't matter what size the firm is, as long as it pays more than $100,000 per year.
Thanks.

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chraruce
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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:19 pm

Also, I hear that being a URM has almost no bearing in law employment. However, since it made a huge difference in the law application process, I should add that I am a Mexican American.
Thanks.

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chraruce
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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:25 pm

.

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splitsplat
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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby splitsplat » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:30 pm

chraruce wrote:Interesting that this got moved... isn't this clearly an employment question?
I think someone just saw "0L" and automatically moved it without really reading/thinking about the question, huh?

Oh the irony.

0Ls, read this first:

If you're a 0L wanting advice from current law students and graduates, we've set up a new forum just for you, which you can find here: viewforum.php?f=4

It's called "Ask a Law Student / Graduate", and it's a place for 0Ls to ask current law students questions without disturbing the "Students and Graduates" forums. Post all your questions there, including about things like classes, grades, transferring, employment, etc. Please do not continue posting your questions here in the Students and Graduates forums, as doing so might get you banned and/or your thread locked.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby Black-Blue » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:35 pm

What exactly is your undergrad degree-granting institution. If it's MIT, then low GPA doesn't matter. If it's UF, then low GPA does matter.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby NinerFan » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:37 pm

Black-Blue wrote:What exactly is your undergrad degree-granting institution. If it's MIT, then low GPA doesn't matter. If it's UF, then low GPA does matter.

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chraruce
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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:37 pm

splitsplat wrote:
chraruce wrote:Interesting that this got moved... isn't this clearly an employment question?
I think someone just saw "0L" and automatically moved it without really reading/thinking about the question, huh?

Oh the irony.

0Ls, read this first:

If you're a 0L wanting advice from current law students and graduates, we've set up a new forum just for you, which you can find here: viewforum.php?f=4

It's called "Ask a Law Student / Graduate", and it's a place for 0Ls to ask current law students questions without disturbing the "Students and Graduates" forums. Post all your questions there, including about things like classes, grades, transferring, employment, etc. Please do not continue posting your questions here in the Students and Graduates forums, as doing so might get you banned and/or your thread locked.


Please focus on the main question. I read what you quoted.
The way I see it, being already enrolled and registered at a school makes me a "student", don't you think so too? I consider myself a 0L because I have not yet started my education, but I would also consider myself a student already.
At any rate, I am looking for advice not just from law students but also from anybody who might have any advice for me. Therefore, I really think that what you quoted does not apply to this post.
At any rate, let's focus on the main question.
Last edited by chraruce on Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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chraruce
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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:38 pm

My degree-granting institution is MIT. Thank you very much for your opinion, black-blue

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NinerFan
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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby NinerFan » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:46 pm

Well, if MIT I would think your chances of getting an IP Law job are much better than the typical kid. But, others better versed in IP can probably tell you more. The rule of thumb I've always heard is 3.0+ in science is generally needed, but the MIT boost might make up for it.

Just never put your UG GPA on your resume or provide it unless asked for during your 1L 2L etc job search. Chances are they'll ask for a UG transcript, though.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:49 pm

Here is the problem: no patent prosecution shop will touch you with those grades, unless they care way more about MIT than I imagine they do. I went a top 5 EE school, got a 2.8 and every firm who saw my UGPA dinged me immediately. But patent litigation firms never even asked for my UGPA. If you kick ass, you could be working at Covington. But if you don't kill law school you might graduate jobless.

If were you (and basically I was) I'd try to get into Georgetown Part Time. It'll give you a lot more placing power at the patent lit firms that would actually hire. If you got into MIT, you must have killed the SAT/ACT, you should be able to get a 170 and get into Georgetown.

OR get patent agent experience. I'd go there instead of USPTO. I think with patent agent experience, you will be a lot better of. The problem is you might not be able to get it.

I don't really know what happens to someone at America with EE, but I suspect they aren't IP SECURE if they have such terrible UG grades.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:53 pm

Yeah, I have applied to a lot of Technical Specialist / Patent Agent positions (IP-related) and they ALWAYS ask for transcripts. So I have always gotten dinged by the law firms.
I am honestly concerned that coming out of American U. with good grades, but with a low gpa from MIT (2.X), I may not be able to get that IP gig.
Thanks for the post Desert Fox. Does this mean that you made it into a patent litigation firm? If so, what law school did you end up going to and more or less what was your position in your graduating class?
Last edited by chraruce on Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby rayiner » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:54 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Here is the problem: no patent prosecution shop will touch you with those grades, unless they care way more about MIT than I imagine they do. I went a top 5 EE school, got a 2.8 and every firm who saw my UGPA dinged me immediately. But patent litigation firms never even asked for my UGPA. If you kick ass, you could be working at Covington. But if you don't kill law school you might graduate jobless.

If were you (and basically I was) I'd try to get into Georgetown Part Time. It'll give you a lot more placing power at the patent lit firms that would actually hire. If you got into MIT, you must have killed the SAT/ACT, you should be able to get a 170 and get into Georgetown.

OR get patent agent experience. I'd go there instead of USPTO. I think with patent agent experience, you will be a lot better of. The problem is you might not be able to get it.

I don't really know what happens to someone at America with EE, but I suspect they aren't IP SECURE if they have such terrible UG grades.


My UGPA was around yours. I had an interview with a patent boutique that was going great (the interviewer straight up said "you're our top candidate so far") until near the end when the interviewer flipped to my transcript to see what classes I took and the blood literally ran out of his face.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:19 am

These posts are great. Rayiner and Desert Fox have given me exceptional insight. The possibilities are actually a little better than I expected, especially because of the patent litigation side of things.
You have given me quite a bit to think about and I may forego the opportunity at American U. in order to retake the LSAT and try to get into a top 20 school at least.
I may actually go to American U. anyway and prove that I can perform in the top 10% of American U. and transfer to something better.
It seems to me that patent prosecution is basically a closed door for me (due to low UGPA) but patent litigation could be wide open depending on law school performance.
If you have further advice, please keep it coming.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:21 am

chraruce wrote:These posts are great. Rayiner and Desert Fox have given me exceptional insight. The possibilities are actually a little better than I expected, especially because of the patent litigation side of things.
You have given me quite a bit to think about and I may forego the opportunity at American U. in order to retake the LSAT and try to get into a top 20 school at least.
I may actually go to American U. anyway and prove that I can perform in the top 10% of American U. and transfer to something better.
It seems to me that patent prosecution is basically a closed door for me (due to low UGPA) but patent litigation could be wide open depending on law school performance.
If you have further advice, please keep it coming.


Prove it by getting a 175, then doing top 10% at a t14. Instead of doing top 10% at a American. Transferring doesn't help because for OCI you are basically treated like you were still at your old school.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby Black-Blue » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:39 am

I think your GPA is too low for a big prosecution boutique or biglaw patent prosecution (which actually does exist). But I think you might be ok for a small prosecution boutique.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby LockBox » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:09 pm

So if the OP isn't banking on going into patent prosecution, is it still advisable to sit for the patent bar? Is it necessary/required for patent litigation?

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby sky7 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:13 pm

The answer: become a patent examiner. It's a lot less stressful than firm life as a patent agent. When you graduate (and see if you can transfer to GW), apply to firms.

For the record, I'm a EE/CS, with a lower UGPA than the OP, had no experience, and I'm magically at a top patent boutique doing prosecution.

I think you'll be fine. But I'd still go the Examiner route. It's invaluable experience.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby LockBox » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:49 pm

sky7 wrote:The answer: become a patent examiner. It's a lot less stressful than firm life as a patent agent. When you graduate (and see if you can transfer to GW), apply to firms.

For the record, I'm a EE/CS, with a lower UGPA than the OP, had no experience, and I'm magically at a top patent boutique doing prosecution.

I think you'll be fine. But I'd still go the Examiner route. It's invaluable experience.


Did this have anything to do with your performance in law school?

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby Emu Flu » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:14 pm

Some firms care, some don't. Degrees, GPAs, etc. don't really tell you directly whether someone has the skills or abilities for patent prosecution. It's a much more skills-based than knowledge-based type of position. Most people are intelligent enough to do the work, but can't stand it. Lots of people in this field want to jump in front of a bus.

I have what appears to be a horrendous undergraduate GPA (well under 3.0, but graduation with honors in the college of engineering was like a 3.1 or something ridiculous) and I worked at one of the largest patent prosecution boutiques. I do have an MSEE and several years of work experience, but some of the other SAs with just BS degrees also had very low GPAs.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby sky7 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:59 am

LockBox wrote:
sky7 wrote:The answer: become a patent examiner. It's a lot less stressful than firm life as a patent agent. When you graduate (and see if you can transfer to GW), apply to firms.

For the record, I'm a EE/CS, with a lower UGPA than the OP, had no experience, and I'm magically at a top patent boutique doing prosecution.

I think you'll be fine. But I'd still go the Examiner route. It's invaluable experience.


Did this have anything to do with your performance in law school?


No. I am decidedly mediocre at law school exams. I should note that I had offers at more than one top patent boutique in DC.

Emu Flu wrote:Some firms care, some don't. Degrees, GPAs, etc. don't really tell you directly whether someone has the skills or abilities for patent prosecution. It's a much more skills-based than knowledge-based type of position. Most people are intelligent enough to do the work, but can't stand it. Lots of people in this field want to jump in front of a bus.

I have what appears to be a horrendous undergraduate GPA (well under 3.0, but graduation with honors in the college of engineering was like a 3.1 or something ridiculous) and I worked at one of the largest patent prosecution boutiques. I do have an MSEE and several years of work experience, but some of the other SAs with just BS degrees also had very low GPAs.


Very odd you should say that. The one thing that drew me to patent prosecution (I knew nothing about it before law school) was that the people who did it didn't seem to hate their lives as much as other lawyers working long hours. I think it's fun because you're constantly working on new cases, with different technology, as opposed to spending months working on the same thing.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:37 pm

Great responses so far.
To Sky7. What school did you go to? It may make a big difference whether you went to GULC or GW vs American University.

Edited after doing a little bit of research:

Ok, I looked at your previous posts and it looks like you are/were a GW student. I think that could explain the top-boutique access that you had. I also think I may be in for a tougher time coming out of AU. Transferring could be a good choice.
Now I'm just waiting for the USPTO to get back to me about an examiner position (had an interview with them one week ago) and if they hire me then I'll have some nice choices to make with USPTO + American on one side and USPTO + retake LSAT + reapply on the other on the other (also, I could still get into some other slightly better law schools than AU during this cycle but, realistically, nothing significantly better).

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby sky7 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:56 pm

chraruce wrote:Great responses so far.
To Sky7. What school did you go to? It may make a big difference whether you went to GULC or GW vs American University.

Edited after doing a little bit of research:

Ok, I looked at your previous posts and it looks like you are/were a GW student. I think that could explain the top-boutique access that you had. I also think I may be in for a tougher time coming out of AU. Transferring could be a good choice.
Now I'm just waiting for the USPTO to get back to me about an examiner position (had an interview with them one week ago) and if they hire me then I'll have some nice choices to make with USPTO + American on one side and USPTO + retake LSAT + reapply on the other on the other (also, I could still get into some other slightly better law schools than AU during this cycle but, realistically, nothing significantly better).


A couple things:

1. It is my strong impression that being an Examiner gives you an edge in applying to GW. GW likes being a BOSS in the IP field. As such, I think they look preferably on people working in the field because they are people likely to have jobs lined up (either as Examiners or as patent attorneys with the firms they worked at during law school), and they are guaranteed to continue the GW IP network. Also - make sure to apply to GW for the evening program, vice the day program. With your background, if you don't become an Examiner, at least become a patent agent somewhere (Fish, Finnigan, etc). It's very good money, and they may pay for law school.
2. It's certainly true that GW IP places ridiculously well. I'm kind of the worst case scenario. I had poor undergrad grades, had no experience in patent law, had mediocre law school grades, and I still had multiple offers. I mean, yeah. GW is pretty IPSECURE.
3. The one thing that I had going for me is that over the summer I sucked it up and passed the patent bar.
4. Here's my final word. You're an MIT grad. You have the opportunity to go to one of the best IP schools in the country (in fact, there's a multitude of MIT grads at GW, so you'd be in good company), that has an incredible reputation for IP. On the east coast, GW is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to IP prestige. I think it may be very worthwhile to wait a year, retake the LSAT, become an Examiner/Agent, and then go to GW. If you can get all 3 of those (or even lacking the Examiner/Agent job), I think you are pretty much set.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:02 pm

I just want to update my situation for anyone who might be in my "old" shoes and trying to decide whether law school is worth it.

So I got that PTO job back in 2012. I worked as a patent examiner for about a year and then went to law school. While I was a patent examiner, I reapplied to law schools. Magically, I got into Boston University School of Law -- and they gave me a pretty awesome scholarship (3/4 tuition). I am not sure if the result was due to the respect inherent to MIT in the Boston area, the USPTO experience (they probably saw my potential of boosting their employment numbers), or my URM status... or the combination of all those factors.

At any rate, I am about to graduate from BU with a GPA that is about middle of the pack - 3.3 GPA (pretty much median).
When I applied for law jobs at the end of my 1L year (summer of 2014), my law GPA was pretty much the same as now. I had a TON of interest from firms. I saw early interviews from firms, I had early offers that happened even before OCI, and I had like 12 call-backs from the Loyola Patent Law Interview Program (like an OCI dedicated to IP). I had to turn down all call-backs since I had already accepted an offer from a Vault 100 firm. I cannot remember whether any firms that saw my low UG GPA gave me a call-back, but I am sure there was at least one firm (and probably more), that saw my UG GPA and was still interested in learning more about me.

Anyways, I worked at the Vault 100 firm last summer and did well. I will be joining the IP litigation group of said firm this fall.
I will try to also get involved with patent prosecution at said firm, but we'll see what happens.

In a few words, you can overcome a low GPA. It was not easy for me and I had to cry and sweat blood. As they say, if you do the crime, you gotta do the time... however, once you get out, you can succeed.

The responses I received above were actually great inspiration and the light at the tunnel for me. Even though it's a few years since the responses, I still want to thank the positive and insightful members who made a difference in my career.

Cheers!
Last edited by chraruce on Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:06 pm

chraruce wrote:I just want to update my situation for anyone who might be in my "old" shoes and trying to decide whether law school is worth it.
So I got that PTO job back in 2012. I worked as a patent examiner for about a year and then went to law school. While I was a patent examiner, I reapplied to law schools. Magically, I got into Boston University School of Law -- and they gave me a pretty awesome scholarship (3/4 tuition). I am not sure if the result was due to the respect inherent to MIT in the Boston area, the USPTO experience (they probably saw my potential of boosting their employment numbers), or my URM status... or the combination of all those factors.
At any rate, I am about to graduate from BU with a GPA that is about middle of the pack - 3.3 GPA (pretty much median).
When I applied for law jobs at the end of my 1L year (summer of 2014), my law GPA was pretty much the same as now. I had a TON of interest from firms. I saw early interviews from firms, I had early offers that happened even before OCI, and I had like 12 call-backs from the Loyola Patent Law Interview Program (like an OCI dedicated to IP). I had to turn down all call-backs since I had already accepted an offer from a Vault 100 firm. I cannot remember whether any firms that saw my low UG GPA gave me a call-back, but I am sure there was at least one firm (and probably more), that saw my UG GPA and was still interested in learning more about me.
Anyways, I worked at the Vault 100 firm last summer and did well. I will be joining the IP litigation group of said firm this fall.
I will try to also get involved with patent prosecution at said firm, but we'll see what happens.

In a few words, you can overcome a low GPA. It was not easy for me and I had to cry and sweat blood. As they say, if you do the crime, you gotta do the time... however, once you get out, you can succeed.

The responses I received above were actually great inspiration and the light at the tunnel for me. Even though it's a few years since the responses, I still want to thank the positive and insightful responses for making a difference in my career.

Cheers!


I admire what you've done, and give you all the props in the world. But this may be the worst time in human history to be going into patent lit with an EE/CS background.

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Re: IP Law with low UGPA from MIT and J.D. from American?

Postby chraruce » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:19 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
I admire what you've done, and give you all the props in the world. But this may be the worst time in human history to be going into patent lit with an EE/CS background.


I'd like to hear more about this. What makes it so bad?
Last edited by chraruce on Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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