Considering Law School

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brainman
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Considering Law School

Postby brainman » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:00 am

Hey all,

I am a currently a college sophomore, and have recently been considering the idea of becoming a lawyer. For a while (since high school), I had been considering a career in medicine, but over time I have found myself becoming less interested in the practice of medicine itself, and more interested in working as a lawyer in cases that involve science and/or medicine (malpractice and the like).

My question is, if I decide to pursue law, would I be a viable applicant? I have always been a science student through and through, so I'm not sure if my academic background is suitable for a law school applicant. Here is my academic info:

Neuroscience Major (I've taken mostly all science and math classes since starting college)
GPA: 3.82

Would I be an appropriate law school applicant? Also, I still do love the sciences and was wondering if there is a particular niche in law that I might not know about that would be good for me? I imagine lawyers with strong science backgrounds have a place somewhere.

Please give me any thoughts you may have! Thanks for reading!!!

Tommy
Last edited by brainman on Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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phillywc
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby phillywc » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:06 am

As an FYI, I'd cut out most of that with an edit. Just give us your GPA and Major. It's annoying and can only publicly out you.

Anyways your major can only really help you. Law schools really only look at GPA, LSAT, and extraordinary softs.

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Balthy
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby Balthy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:08 am

brainman wrote: I was so excited about Cooley before finding TLS. Thanks guys!



The search function would have saved you the trouble of writing this up. A science background with a good GPA, if anything, might help you get into law school. It certainly won't hurt. Keep up those grades and kill the LSAT. Some additional common TLS wisdom: 95% of law schools are not worth attending. To answer your last question, maybe look into patent law (you're required to have a science or engineering background to practice it).


Edited for brevity only.
Last edited by Balthy on Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

brainman
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby brainman » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:12 am

Hey phillywc...I took your advice.

What are "softs"---does that just mean extracurriculars?

And also, 95% are not worth attending??? Maybe I could use a decent description from someone about how law schools are...having been a former premed, I'm used to things working a bit differently (such as the idea that if you get into any american med school, that's all you need, as well as the fact that extracurriculars are critical for getting into them).

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phillywc
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby phillywc » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:19 am

brainman wrote:Hey phillywc...I took your advice.

What are "softs"---does that just mean extracurriculars?

And also, 95% are not worth attending??? Maybe I could use a decent description from someone about how law schools are...having been a former premed, I'm used to things working a bit differently (such as the idea that if you get into any american med school, that's all you need).

If you can keep up your GPA (with that major it may be tough, but work hard) and get a great LSAT score, you are looking at the best schools in the country, with money. But he's right. Most law schools outside the top 14 are no worth it without significant money, the legal market is just too saturated with too many grads from these subpar schools.

I recommend taking a look at http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/


Superdingle, you should edit out your quote of him.


Edit: I forgot to mention: IP Law is probably what you are looking for.
Last edited by phillywc on Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Balthy
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby Balthy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:27 am

And the LSAT, though hard, is extremely learnable. So don't let any of this discourage you if law school is really what you want.

brainman
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby brainman » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:31 am

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the LSAT is not a content-based test right? Because I know the MCAT is like taking chem, physics, bio, and orgo final exams all in 1 torturous event lol....so yeah does the LSAT require me to take any particular classes?

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phillywc
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby phillywc » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:33 am

brainman wrote:Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the LSAT is not a content-based test right? Because I know the MCAT is like taking chem, physics, bio, and orgo final exams all in 1 torturous event lol....so yeah does the LSAT require me to take any particular classes?

Yep.

There is a free Prep Test on LSAC's website. If you are seriously interested, sit down and take the thing (time yourself) and see how you do. LSAC also provides about 10 questions with detailed explanations for each of the 3 sections, you might want to look over that first.

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cahwc12
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby cahwc12 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:36 am

Being a sophomore, what classes have you actually taken? Have you taken organic chemistry or anything yet? Given your background and your interests, I definitely think you should stick with some major that fulfills all pre-med coursework (in case you change your mind in a year or two). One major that sticks out as something you would probably be very interested in is biomedical engineering (it could be called something different at your school, biomedical mathematics, biomathematics, biostatistics, biochemical engineering, etc). It's a major that will be very math and science intensive, and translates well into medical school and just getting a job with your bachelor's.

If you work through this major and decide that law school is for you, it's one of the few majors that will set you up nicely for IP law with just a bachelor's. If you want to go down this path, you should aim for summer internships starting this summer working in industry, and then aim to leverage those into a full-time job at graduation (you may want to pass the FE exam beforehand, depending on your intended job). Spend 1-2 years working full time in industry, find out what you like, and study for the LSAT (3-6 months) and then the patent bar (3 months). After you've done all this, you can look into going to law school. (You may consider holding off on the patent bar until the summer before you start law school, but you should get it out of the way before it regardless.)

Schools that should be on your radar are Stanford > Berkeley >> NYU >>> George Washington. Do whatever you can to make A's and learn how to do it now because it will only help you later (in future coursework and in law school admissions). You want that GPA as high as possible. I also think you should peruse the intelproplaw and just read all the relevant threads in the last year or so to build up some background information.

You are smart to come here so early in your UG, but know that this decision to attend law school is probably still at least 3-4 years away, and you may change your mind in the meantime. It doesn't mean you shouldn't start planning for it now, but you should be mindful of the myriad factors that go into it along the way.

Good luck and study hard.

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h_jane_w
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby h_jane_w » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:55 am

We can't help you without an LSAT.
Hard IP on medical patents. A lot of the lawyers I work with got their B.S. in chemistry, bio, etc. Then their masters and/or PHD in medicine or chem. THEN law school, then they work here. Our firm defends companies that make knock offs of popular medicines. It's very lucrative. :)

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dnptan
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby dnptan » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:17 am

Hi Brainman,

As the others have posted, your major does not matter to apply for law school, but as a fellow STEM major, I have to say that it matters to YOU. First off, it will be harder to compete with GPAs of other majors (no offense to others) such as Philosophy/English, of which a large chunk of the law apps come from. From that standpoint, you are at a disadvantage.

One (unverified) perk to being STEM is that some schools, like Stanford and UC Berkeley, are rumored to give a boost to science guys (or at least engineers). Considering intellectual property is one of the few fields of law that are actually growing, I suspect many schools will follow suit.

Another perk is diversity: not many STEMs opt to go to law school, mostly because med school and tech jobs are more available to science grads, thus more lucrative. Another possible reason (no offense) is the notoriety of STEM majors' writing skills, which tend to be less developed than our liberal arts peers.

But the benefit of your science major will come AFTER law school. For instance, to be a patent attorney you are REQUIRED to have a science major - that's an entire field of law most law school applicants will not be able to enter.

With all this in mind though, really really think about whether law school is for you. If you want to do it for the money, maybe not. Like a poster said 95% aren't worth going to. You really want to be in the top 14 to get a shot at making 100k+/year. There is a higher demand for doctors than lawyers, and the schools aren't as important (that is, the difference between the salary of a Harvard med grad and a Duke med grad is marginal, whereas the difference between a Harvard law grad and Duke law grad can be up to 60k/yr).

Hopefully this helps. Feel free to PM me for my stats/questions/how I did this "cycle" (in case you aren't familiar: this year's round of applications). FYI I graduated with degrees in Biology and Biomedical Engineering, with your exact GPA.

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Balthy
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby Balthy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:31 pm

dnptan wrote:First off, it will be harder to compete with GPAs of other majors (no offense to others) such as Philosophy/English, of which a large chunk of the law apps come from. From that standpoint, you are at a disadvantage.


What do you mean by this? Do you mean at a disadvantage when it comes to admissions? I think that's incorrect. If you mean at a disadvantage on the LSAT or when it comes to making the grades in law school, maybe a bit (simply due to the average phil grad having more reading/writing experience).

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dnptan
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby dnptan » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:06 pm

superdingle2000 wrote:
What do you mean by this? Do you mean at a disadvantage when it comes to admissions? I think that's incorrect. If you mean at a disadvantage on the LSAT or when it comes to making the grades in law school, maybe a bit (simply due to the average phil grad having more reading/writing experience).


Yeah I meant the major yields, on average, lower GPAs - hence the (no offense) quip. Thanks for clarifying though.

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cahwc12
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby cahwc12 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:33 am

dnptan wrote:
superdingle2000 wrote:
What do you mean by this? Do you mean at a disadvantage when it comes to admissions? I think that's incorrect. If you mean at a disadvantage on the LSAT or when it comes to making the grades in law school, maybe a bit (simply due to the average phil grad having more reading/writing experience).


Yeah I meant the major yields, on average, lower GPAs - hence the (no offense) quip. Thanks for clarifying though.


A higher GPA in Political Science or English is better for law school, but it's not good for much else. A slightly lower GPA in a STEM major allows you to actually get a job if you decide against law school, and if you can actually keep your GPA up, you're at an advantage in both law school admissions and at OCI if you did something like EE. If you choose the easy road now, you're only hurting yourself in the long run. The optimum solution for those concerned about law school and their UGPA is to pick a challenging major in something of interest and that gives you alternative career paths, and just develop a better work ethic so that you'll get the same or better grades. If you're truly passionate about English rhetoric or just really like taking classes on international government, you can always double major or get a dual degree, and almost any combination of two majors can be completed in the traditional four years.

As to OP's concern, I've never taken a neuroscience course, but I'm sure it's a challenging major relative to the breadth of fluff out there, and he's doing quite well with a 3.82. In terms of law school bonus though, a neuroscience degree is unlikely to yield all that much advantage, while bioE would be very useful and in the same vein as OP's interests.

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CFprez
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby CFprez » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:50 pm

phillywc wrote:As an FYI, I'd cut out most of that with an edit. Just give us your GPA and Major. It's annoying and can only publicly out you.

Anyways your major can only really help you. Law schools really only look at GPA, LSAT, and extraordinary softs.


I am too lazy to use the search function, but how important is it to stay anonymous on TLS? Like are there adcomms with nothing better to do with their days than lurk around and play detective on their applicants? I get it if you are a total tool, but for the majority, does it really matter?

*edit
Sorry for the threadjacking, I am moving this question to a different post.

Docreviewsux
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby Docreviewsux » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:32 am

brainman wrote:Hey all,

I am a currently a college sophomore, and have recently been considering the idea of becoming a lawyer. For a while (since high school), I had been considering a career in medicine, but over time I have found myself becoming less interested in the practice of medicine itself, and more interested in working as a lawyer in cases that involve science and/or medicine (malpractice and the like).

My question is, if I decide to pursue law, would I be a viable applicant? I have always been a science student through and through, so I'm not sure if my academic background is suitable for a law school applicant. Here is my academic info:

Neuroscience Major (I've taken mostly all science and math classes since starting college)
GPA: 3.82

Would I be an appropriate law school applicant? Also, I still do love the sciences and was wondering if there is a particular niche in law that I might not know about that would be good for me? I imagine lawyers with strong science backgrounds have a place somewhere.

Please give me any thoughts you may have! Thanks for reading!!!

Tommy


I have a stem degree. Patent doc review is booming. By all means go to law school. I'll save you a seat at the next review.

Agent
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby Agent » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:17 pm

Without wading through this entire thread, I'll just point out that OP—with only a bachelor's in neuroscience—had better kill it with either networking or law school. The latter path will require a strong outcome that takes into account both law school selection and performance in law school. Otherwise, OP will have very rough sledding ahead. I won't look at this thread again, so PM me if you want to talk about it.

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TheBiggerMediocre
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby TheBiggerMediocre » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:24 pm

are you kidding me?

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J-e-L-L-o
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:42 am

dnptan wrote: For instance, to be a patent attorney you are REQUIRED to have a science major


That's not true. For patent prosecution you are required to have a science or engineering major background. For patent litigation it is not required.

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pacifica
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Re: Considering Law School

Postby pacifica » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:19 pm

tl;dr

law schools love scientists; I feel VERY qualified to make that statement




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