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MS in chemistry before law school

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:54 pm
by chemistrytolaw
Hey Everyone,

I'm currently a graduate student at a top ranked university for a Ph. D in chemistry. I'm just over a year in and I'm at a point where I could end with a Master's degree instead of the full Ph. D. I have quickly realized that the academic research life is not for me, but I have gotten very interested in Patent Law. I've started practicing for the LSAT in the last couple weeks and I'm consistently scoring in the 170's. With a 3.4 uGPA and a 3.9 grad GPA (I know this doesn't matter much), do you think it's worth it to end at the Master's degree and apply to law school or should I spend another 3 years to finish out the Ph. D and apply afterwards? Thanks for any advice!

Re: MS in chemistry before law school

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:12 pm
by IPmaybe
(1) you're in a 4-year PhD chemistry program?

(2) No. If you don't enjoy the work the PhD will just not be worth it. The only time it would actually matter would be if you wanted to do patent prosecution, but even then some places will allow you to do the work with an M.S. (But generally in life sciences they look for a PhD).

(3) I would warn you to be careful about switching to law because you aren't enjoying science. As you probably know, being interested in patent law and actually practicing as a lawyer are very different things (from someone who is still in school but who followed a similar track). Definitely look into it as a career, try to connect with actual practicing lawyers in the area (alumni of your UG or Grad).

(4) If you can, I'd suggest trying to be a patent agent or scientific specialist at a firm first. It will be more challenging with only a M.S., and you may not want to do patent prosecution as a career, but it's a great way to get into a law firm and see what it means to practice law.

(5) Do you just not like the academic nature of the work? If so, maybe explore industry opportunities. I honestly don't know what the demand is for M.S. is right now, but that's another way to really think about what you want to do.

Just because you can get into a good law school with a high LSAT doesn't necessarily mean you should go. Just take your time with the decision.

Re: MS in chemistry before law school

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:08 pm
by chemistrytolaw
Thanks for the response! On the first point, I meant that I'd have 3ish years left after getting the Master's degree, which would be in like 4 or 5 months. I actually really enjoy the research part of being a grad student, but I don't enjoy the bench work and crazy long work weeks for almost no pay. Unfortunately almost all the chemistry jobs at the B.S. and M.S. levels are exclusively bench work. I was thinking being a patent attorney could be a good way to bridge the gap in what I enjoy about science.