Engineers in Law School?

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BallHog
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 4:20 am

Engineers in Law School?

Postby BallHog » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:38 pm

Hey guys,

I am looking for fellow engineering majors that ended up going to law school. How much of a shift was it for you guys? Do you feel comfortable with it? What advice would you give me? (Mech. Eng graduating in 2013... looking to go to law school)

Thank you!

LockBox
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:05 pm

Re: Engineers in Law School?

Postby LockBox » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:18 pm

This is relevant to my interests

clintone88
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:10 am

Re: Engineers in Law School?

Postby clintone88 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:56 pm

My advice would be for a mechanical engineer to just become an engineer and not do law school. Patent work for MEs is not super high in demand, and you'll have a more enjoyable life as an engineer. School is not bad, tests are kind of like those in engineering, without the numbers. It's more work than undergrad, but mind-numbing, tedious work, not mildly stimulating like engineering is. People are bigger d-bags than they were in engineering since jobs are considerably more scarce and for some reason law just attracts the gunner type. Writing was a challenge for me at first since I hadn't done any non-technical writing in years, but it isn't horrible. Overall, it sucks and I often think about what I could be doing if I had a $65k job instead of going into debt, even though I'll only be about $70k total after all 3 years. I'm still glad I'm doing it though, despite all the negative things I just said. Engineering just wasn't for me, and I have a 1L SA which makes me not fret as much about the future as I once did.

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BallHog
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Re: Engineers in Law School?

Postby BallHog » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:54 pm

clintone88 wrote:My advice would be for a mechanical engineer to just become an engineer and not do law school. Patent work for MEs is not super high in demand, and you'll have a more enjoyable life as an engineer. School is not bad, tests are kind of like those in engineering, without the numbers. It's more work than undergrad, but mind-numbing, tedious work, not mildly stimulating like engineering is. People are bigger d-bags than they were in engineering since jobs are considerably more scarce and for some reason law just attracts the gunner type. Writing was a challenge for me at first since I hadn't done any non-technical writing in years, but it isn't horrible. Overall, it sucks and I often think about what I could be doing if I had a $65k job instead of going into debt, even though I'll only be about $70k total after all 3 years. I'm still glad I'm doing it though, despite all the negative things I just said. Engineering just wasn't for me, and I have a 1L SA which makes me not fret as much about the future as I once did.


$65k job vs. $150k+ job. That is why people go into law from engineering. It's hard to graduate an engineer if you never enjoyed it, but the reality is I want to make more money. If my grades are high enough in law 1L I will try and see my prospects in Biglaw instead of patent work, but that is the back up plan if I can't maintain my grades where I want.

ME2JD
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Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:51 pm

Re: Engineers in Law School?

Postby ME2JD » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:01 pm

Currently attending an evening law program while working my engineering job during the day. My highlight of the day is going to law school, because the crap I'm doing at work is mind numbing, I can't wait to leave my job. However, some people are doing it for the money but I'm not. I made ~140k last yr as a consultant doing engineering work but cant bare it. Hopefully the grass is greener on the other side and there is only one way to find out, I'll be back to update you in a few yrs and let you know what is better. I highly recommend that you hold onto your engineering gig, if law school doesnt work you, you can always abandon ship. The first couple months of school might be rough, cause all you're doing is reading and not knowing if you really "know" the material. Read your casebook along with some good supplements and you'll feel confident with the material.

Writing wasnt an issue for me, even though it took alot of time, it was pretty simple to get a hang of after a while. People say that legal writing is similar to tech writing, I definitely agree.

Any patent attorneys here like to dip in and compare their patent jobs vs engineering gig?

anonmyuos
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:33 am

Re: Engineers in Law School?

Postby anonmyuos » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:54 am

My first advice is to try your hand at engineering for a while first. I know this isn't what you want to hear, so you probably won't follow the advice, but it's solid advice, even if you are sure you want to go to law school. The reason is that work experience is REALLY great to have, especially in the field of law\engineering.

First - you build contacts; some colleague of yours you work with could end up being a crucial client down the road.

Second, you get to know the industry a little bit; this is invaluable experience to bring to the table as a young lawyer.

Third, and probably most importantly, you mature. You find out if the law is actually something you want to do, or not. You find out how you handle yourself in a work environment. You know nothing coming right out of undergrad. Absolutely nothing. And while I highly recommend working for even for people w/o engineering degrees, I can somewhat understand when they immediately go to law school because two years of working at a job they found based on their PoliSci degree isn't really that different in the end. Not so with engineering. So seriously - considering getting a job, even if for only two years.

Beyond that, after you decide that this advice doesn't apply to you, bone up on critical reading and writing skills. It's the major area that is critical for law and not at all taught to get a MechE degree. Read lots of books - and if you don't enjoy reading lots of books already, you're probably in the wrong line of work. Then try to think about how you would organize what you just read into a coherent and short essay. Or write a quick response.

The thing engineers have an advantage on is discarding the extraneous BS to get to the real issue. This is your crucial advantage. The thing engineers often fail at is communicating their understanding or failing to notice nuance. Work on seeing why one answer is not right, and why multiple answers might be right. Engineers often have a better time understanding a ruling that is "unfair" in one particular situation but fair overall, but get mad at rulings that are "fair" but cause the bright line rule to become muddled. So get used to that.

But, above all, go get a real job. If you still want to be a lawyer in a few years, go for it then. But wait until you make sure.

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rayiner
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Re: Engineers in Law School?

Postby rayiner » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:56 am

anonmyuos wrote:My first advice is to try your hand at engineering for a while first. I know this isn't what you want to hear, so you probably won't follow the advice, but it's solid advice, even if you are sure you want to go to law school. The reason is that work experience is REALLY great to have, especially in the field of law\engineering.

First - you build contacts; some colleague of yours you work with could end up being a crucial client down the road.

Second, you get to know the industry a little bit; this is invaluable experience to bring to the table as a young lawyer.

Third, and probably most importantly, you mature. You find out if the law is actually something you want to do, or not. You find out how you handle yourself in a work environment. You know nothing coming right out of undergrad. Absolutely nothing. And while I highly recommend working for even for people w/o engineering degrees, I can somewhat understand when they immediately go to law school because two years of working at a job they found based on their PoliSci degree isn't really that different in the end. Not so with engineering. So seriously - considering getting a job, even if for only two years.

Beyond that, after you decide that this advice doesn't apply to you, bone up on critical reading and writing skills. It's the major area that is critical for law and not at all taught to get a MechE degree. Read lots of books - and if you don't enjoy reading lots of books already, you're probably in the wrong line of work. Then try to think about how you would organize what you just read into a coherent and short essay. Or write a quick response.

The thing engineers have an advantage on is discarding the extraneous BS to get to the real issue. This is your crucial advantage. The thing engineers often fail at is communicating their understanding or failing to notice nuance. Work on seeing why one answer is not right, and why multiple answers might be right. Engineers often have a better time understanding a ruling that is "unfair" in one particular situation but fair overall, but get mad at rulings that are "fair" but cause the bright line rule to become muddled. So get used to that.

But, above all, go get a real job. If you still want to be a lawyer in a few years, go for it then. But wait until you make sure.


Truth.

datastrm
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:17 pm

Re: Engineers in Law School?

Postby datastrm » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:26 am

anonmyuos wrote:My first advice is to try your hand at engineering for a while first. I know this isn't what you want to hear, so you probably won't follow the advice, but it's solid advice, even if you are sure you want to go to law school. The reason is that work experience is REALLY great to have, especially in the field of law\engineering.

First - you build contacts; some colleague of yours you work with could end up being a crucial client down the road.

Second, you get to know the industry a little bit; this is invaluable experience to bring to the table as a young lawyer.

Third, and probably most importantly, you mature. You find out if the law is actually something you want to do, or not. You find out how you handle yourself in a work environment. You know nothing coming right out of undergrad. Absolutely nothing. And while I highly recommend working for even for people w/o engineering degrees, I can somewhat understand when they immediately go to law school because two years of working at a job they found based on their PoliSci degree isn't really that different in the end. Not so with engineering. So seriously - considering getting a job, even if for only two years.

Beyond that, after you decide that this advice doesn't apply to you, bone up on critical reading and writing skills. It's the major area that is critical for law and not at all taught to get a MechE degree. Read lots of books - and if you don't enjoy reading lots of books already, you're probably in the wrong line of work. Then try to think about how you would organize what you just read into a coherent and short essay. Or write a quick response.

The thing engineers have an advantage on is discarding the extraneous BS to get to the real issue. This is your crucial advantage. The thing engineers often fail at is communicating their understanding or failing to notice nuance. Work on seeing why one answer is not right, and why multiple answers might be right. Engineers often have a better time understanding a ruling that is "unfair" in one particular situation but fair overall, but get mad at rulings that are "fair" but cause the bright line rule to become muddled. So get used to that.

But, above all, go get a real job. If you still want to be a lawyer in a few years, go for it then. But wait until you make sure.


I totally agree, especially the third one. I tried a few different things before going to law school. If you like engineering/technology, and are not so sure whether law is for you, you should try to pass the patent bar and find a job as a patent agent/technical expert. The work is probably the closest you can get related to engineering in the legal world. But many law firms these days prefer their patent agents have a few yrs of industry experience or a phd degree. And if you are really good at what you do, some law firms will even sponsor you to go to law school.

Law school is a big commitment, many people got into law school but ended up hating it and had no way out (too much debt). If you are a quick thinker, fast reader and writer, law school could be for you.




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