A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

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lunasol
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby lunasol » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:34 pm

This is getting funnier. Thanks guys. I enjoy the heated discussion and it is for sure different from other forum I was been to.

I might have a distorted view about law school. But working as an intern with Intel and sitting in the clean room trying to be zen master on one of those Japanese high tech toolsets can literally smoke my brain out. Plus I am more a people person than typical nerdy PhD engineers at the company. It will take forever to get promoted to higher management and the hierarchy corporate america just give me a suffocating feeling.

There are no engineering/high tech jobs in Hong Kong/Beijing/Shanghai, even they do, chances are you will get paid a quarter of what you get paid here. My parents just moved back to China not long ago and I heard from my friends that American Lawyers are in huge demand in Greater China market and will get paid 25% more than US market. So getting closer to parents and also taking advantage of my bilingual skills seem very attractive to me.

I feel I tend to see negatives of things that I know like being an engineer for high tech firms. Maybe the same thing for people on this forum talking about not going to law school. Well, if I can nail LSAT, I will apply and give my best shot otherwise I will just chill and try to enjoy my day.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:18 am

lunasol wrote:Plus I am more a people person than typical nerdy PhD engineers at the company


see e.g., http://abovethelaw.com/2013/03/unhappie ... e-a-guess/

it seems you have already made up your mind. get a 170 or above (preferably 172) and write a good personal statement.

NYstate
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby NYstate » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:18 am

So what is your real reason for wanting to go to law school? To be near your parents?

You are not being very clear.

Do you understand the high degree of career instability in law?
How will hiring in china be- you have to get a job with a US firm that will send you there or you can get a job directly with a Chinese firm?

Are you wealthy? Are you a US citizen- because you need to be if you want federal loans to pay for school.

NYstate
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby NYstate » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:24 am

lunasol wrote:This is getting funnier. Thanks guys. I enjoy the heated discussion and it is for sure different from other forum I was been to.

I might have a distorted view about law school. But working as an intern with Intel and sitting in the clean room trying to be zen master on one of those Japanese high tech toolsets can literally smoke my brain out. Plus I am more a people person than typical nerdy PhD engineers at the company. It will take forever to get promoted to higher management and the hierarchy corporate america just give me a suffocating feeling.

There are no engineering/high tech jobs in Hong Kong/Beijing/Shanghai, even they do, chances are you will get paid a quarter of what you get paid here. My parents just moved back to China not long ago and I heard from my friends that American Lawyers are in huge demand in Greater China market and will get paid 25% more than US market. So getting closer to parents and also taking advantage of my bilingual skills seem very attractive to me.

I feel I tend to see negatives of things that I know like being an engineer for high tech firms. Maybe the same thing for people on this forum talking about not going to law school. Well, if I can nail LSAT, I will apply and give my best shot otherwise I will just chill and try to enjoy my day.

No this isn't the same thing as you knowing what you don't like. My feeling is that law is not going to give you what you want- it is very hierarchical. The chances of making it to the top is small. If you work in-house, it is hierarchical just like the company you work for now.

Do you think law will be easier? Is it the money? How many hours do you work now.

Btw- I find it impossible to believe that there are no engineering jobs in the entire country of China. They seem to make things that require engineers.

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MT Cicero
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby MT Cicero » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:04 am

Edited
Last edited by MT Cicero on Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MT Cicero
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby MT Cicero » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:23 am

Edited
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IAFG
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby IAFG » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:37 am

Dr. Dre wrote:who cares what his dreams are. Not going to law school is in his best interest, regardless if he knows this or not.

The majority of engineers-turned-lawyers I know are very happy with their decision.

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skw
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby skw » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:46 am

It sounds like you know what you want, so I say go for it. You are only 28 and could be out by 32. I didn't even start LS until 34. I was in a successful career making bank. I wanted a change and I am glad I chose to go to LS and pursue what I want to do. As a side note, I took and passed the patent bar before starting LS, but have since decided to go into M&A.

As for the LSAT, I don't think you'll have trouble. Just study diligently and you'll be fine. I would hesitate to listen to K-JDs with the "just don't go" advice. Frankly, they have (for the most part) zero real world experience and nothing to differentiate them except for grades. Since everyone can't get top grades, many K-JDs flounder because they can't get that big law job they think they deserve. Assuming you continue to perform as you have in the past (which seems quite likely -- anyone who can rock a 3.6 in a PhD in engineering is certainly capable), your employment experience and degree will set you up for a great job. Just do well on the LSAT, get into a good school, then enjoy your career. LS is only a bad idea if you don't know what the real world is like and don't have a plan besides K-JD with good grades to get big law. I'd also submit that with your background, if you KNOW the market you want, you might consider a lower T1 where you can get a full ride. I went to a lower T1 (since I'm settled in a 2' market), and I'll be graduating LS debt free (and presumably with a job, assuming my 2L SA firm continues their 100% offer rate). Good luck to you.

lunasol
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby lunasol » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:03 pm

Thanks Guys for support and advice on my path.

I am currently a green card holder and taking loan is not a problem (I can choose to become an US citizen anytime if I want), going to Asian market is just an edge that I hope I possess and take advantage of but not necessary a must go. China does have a lot of manufacturing jobs but not high tech R&D positions. Companies like Intel/Boeing certainly can't deploy their most advanced tech research and development to China so chances for me to have a decent job equivalent to here in private sector is almost none, not to mention the boring and robotic nature of work. To be fair that being a tech engineer in high tech industry can be very unstable when you are 40+ since the fast evolution of everything. A fresh grad will take half of your pay and deliver faster than you are capable of. That is also why law practice is sound and ideal.

I am not running away from something I am not happy with but I see problems of being an engineer and I am doing trial and errors to find something better. I am doing that for many reasons such as closer to parents, having higher earning potential, living in centers of big cities where actions are going on, keeping trying different things before I sell myself for settlement.

I admit that the fact that my ex-wife used me monetarily and left me and took away my everything pushed me to think about my life over and over again. I cared others way too much and gave up my dreams, my parents for her. But you never know when shit hits the fan and what others are after in their mind, others can give up on you but you cant give up on yourself. You got to keep trying, thriving and protecting yourself regardless where you are. My personal tragedy cost my trust in people and my confidence in myself. I was the happiest man on earth a few months ago but now I am a man who almost committed suicide. Only God knows if law school is the heaven or hell for me, but I shall give it a best shot because I need this it rebuild my confidence, my trust, my relationship with parents and my life regardless of the outcome. I apologize if I sound pessimistic but I did not mean it that way on this forum.

People also asked me why I do not get into business. Well, I helped founded two tech start-up companies, thru the experience, I can say that unless you have endless cash to burn or an ass-kicking patent that kills 95% other counterparts, chance to succeed in doing business on my own is very slim. I thought about going into management consulting very seriously, but since I do not possess any banking and M&A background, exit strategy for me is not very promising given that more than 80% exit within 3-4 years.

Overall, my gut feeling tells me I need to give it a best shot and see what I get and at the same time pouring everything I can into my current/future jobs. I learned life the hard way and it made me process information and make decision the way it is today. But thanks for all of your advice and support, it means a lot to me. For those who said not to go to law school, your rationals make sense as well. I really want to pursue the LS route and now just collect as much information as possible before I fully commit to it (I still have a PhD thesis to wrap up in 2 months, an ugly divorce to finalize soon).

09042014
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby 09042014 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:29 pm

1) You realize you'll have do real work eventually right? I would think long and hard about if you are just trying to stay in school longer. Because someone racking up 2 terminal degrees often have that sort of thinking.

2) Patent law in Asia isn't really a realistic career plan. All the litigation someone witha JD would do, is based in the United States. And I don't think anyone prosecutes patents in Asia for the USPTO. There is probably some sort of patent system in China, but I assume you'd need a Chinese degree.

3) Law is boring, don't go into thinking it will be some high paying wonderland.

4) With your engineering credentials your earnings will be pretty high. I'd honestly wait a couple years 2-3 to see if you end up liking your job and your career path.

5) If you do go to law school, you should probably go for free. Patent firms will love your engineering credentials and will probably still be after you even if you went to a lesser school. So I'd aim for a full ride scholarship.

run26.2
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby run26.2 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:16 pm

OP, I completely understand what you have said about solving the same problems over and over again. I left behind running my own small software company to pursue a law degree for essentially the same reason. I recently graduated from Penn Law and now I am working in IP. I am reasonably happy with my job, although I have not been in it long enough to definitively say if it was the right choice. Certainly it has presented new and interesting challenges, and I think it will open many doors in the future. I would be happy to talk about my experiences in biglaw and how being an older applicant affected admissions if you're interested.

Either way, best of luck to you!

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Dr. Dre
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby Dr. Dre » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:35 pm

IAFG wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:who cares what his dreams are. Not going to law school is in his best interest, regardless if he knows this or not.

The majority of engineers-turned-lawyers I know are very happy with their decision.



So 3 out of the 5 are happy ?

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IAFG
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby IAFG » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:37 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:
IAFG wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:who cares what his dreams are. Not going to law school is in his best interest, regardless if he knows this or not.

The majority of engineers-turned-lawyers I know are very happy with their decision.



So 3 out of the 5 are happy ?

I don't think I know any who regret it, but might know one. Out of 20 or so?

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Dr. Dre
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby Dr. Dre » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:38 pm

IAFG wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:
IAFG wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:who cares what his dreams are. Not going to law school is in his best interest, regardless if he knows this or not.

The majority of engineers-turned-lawyers I know are very happy with their decision.



So 3 out of the 5 are happy ?

I don't think I know any who regret it, but might know one. Out of 20 or so?


your anecdote is problematic

Danteshek
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby Danteshek » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:41 pm

Grow the fuck up and use your PhD. Law school is NOT the answer to your problems.

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IAFG
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby IAFG » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:42 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:
your anecdote is problematic

Your advice is shitty. There is a lot about being a lawyer that is better than being an engineer. Add the IP-secure aspect of recruiting, it makes a lot of sense for engineers who have an interest.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby Dr. Dre » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:45 pm

OP, are there any tenure-track positions for your field? If I were you, I'd be looking into those small private universities that have engineering programs. Go to one in a nice small town, raise a family, be debt free, and once your kids are old enough — they can attend where you work for free.

Sounds better than being an atty.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby Dr. Dre » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:47 pm

IAFG wrote:Your advice is shitty.



The legal market sucks. OP will get a PhD in a market that is flourishing. My advice is sound.

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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby 005618502 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:52 pm

lunasol wrote:My story might be long and I know this is a detour already. But I am really determined to do it.

I will graduate from UPenn with a PhD in Chemical Engineering this summer (GPA: 3.6, my school uses GPA to kick PhDs into MS, so that was actually decent in my school). I had many offers from all top firms for my major. But I decided to work for Apple and enjoy a 9-5 ish job with my family that I started two year ago. I became interested in practicing Patent Law after a few IP course in business school. But I sacrificed my dream for my family due to the grueling hours and pressure to be a partner. But my ex-wife betrayed me and left a couple months ago. My ex-wife destroyed my marriage and also torched my confidence completely. Now instead of feeling sad and sorry for myself, I want to motivate myself and to pursue what I always wanted. But first I hope I can get a fair estimate of my odds into a top law school and later to a top law firm from this forum.

Some more info about my background: I graduated from UMichigan with a BS in Chemical Engineering (GPA: 3.92). I worked for Kraft Foods (undergrad), Exxon(grad), Intel(grad) as summer interns in the past. My PhD research is on renewable energy. I served as the president for graduate school student government for one year. Also I took a mini MBA program for engineers/scientists with Wharton Business School while I was working on my PhD. I had many IP business strategy courses and helped to found two start-up tech companies.

I plan to join Apple this Sep, take LSAT either in OCT or DEC, submit applications in JAN. If I happen to get into the TOP Law Schools, I will give my two week notice. If not, I will reapply next year until I get in. My top choices are: Berkeley, Stanford, HLS, UPenn, Columbia, Yale.

I know it is a detour for me to go to law school at this age after what I have done, but I can't reverse time and recover the sunken cost. I just hope this law school thing can turn my life around and help me get out of my own shadow.

My questions are:
1. Do I stand a good chance to get into those schools?
2. Given full time working, do I have a good chance to score high in LSAT?
3. Will my only one year full time working with Apple and my all over the place experience hurt my application?

Thanks.


Damn bro, sorry to hear. On the plus side, its definitely her loss! My advice is work 2-3years before law school. Then decide. If you want to do IP I think that the 2-3 years in actual practice w/ engineering will be a big benefit to employers.

Your GPA is great, you get a 170+ on the LSAT and you can definitely get into those schools. Just based on my experience, those with 2-3 years of work experience kick everyones ass at OCI.

Good luck

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Clearly
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby Clearly » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:13 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:
IAFG wrote:Your advice is shitty.



The legal market sucks. OP will get a PhD in a market that is flourishing. My advice is sound.

I've always had mixed opinions of your posts...Half the time it's bordering on troll, and the other half it's providing useful meaningful advice you're repeating from other sources. You have to realize when your experience isn't up to date with your rhetoric though. You haven't taken the LSAT yet, yet you tell literally every poster not to go to law school, while you are preparing to go. Lost opportunity cost is one thing, but you having a worse GPA in a worse field doesn't make you a better candidate on opportunity cost grounds, it makes you an objectively worse candidate. Law school isn't reserved for humanities students from bottom schools. He has work experience that would make an IP gig practically a given from a T14, which he would get $$ at if he wrecks the LSAT. The reason we tell people not to go to law school is because the job market sucks, and the cost is too high. If he hits a 171+ he could easily get a full ride to a lower T14, and with his resume and background easily pick up an IP gig. The cost isn't too high, and the job market for a bilingual, top T14, STEM background, Grad experience, work experienced IP candidate is NOT bad. Now tell me again, if this guy wants to practice law what exactly makes you better qualified then him? That he could get a job he hates in engineering, while you can not? Theres a difference between opportunity costs, and having options. Having options doesn't automatically mean opportunity cost isn't worth the cost of law school, Especially when those very options are what qualifies him for IP work, and the cost could mitigated by scholarships. There is only one recommendation for this guy; See how you do on the LSAT and try to figure out if this is something you want to pursue.


I too am a 0L, I feel comfortable advising people on the LSAT because I've been through it, and I feel comfortable telling people which schools I believe are a better option for them because I've researched the hell out of placement data and costs. I DO not stretch my experience as a 0L to tell people how to get jobs, or that they shouldn't do exactly what I'm doing (applying to law school), especially if they are objectively better candidates then me. Also, this isn't a call out thread, so lets not shit this up. I like 80% of the shit you post, but this is an exception.

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Tekrul
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby Tekrul » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:16 pm

You offer good insight of the career trajectory that your field of engineering will result in. Technology is changing and newer grads will have more relevant education. Law school can be a great option for you if your employment/usefulness was drying up. However, you know that your expertise is not obsolete yet, and as you are getting your Ph.D now, it probably has been updated in a significant way.

You are making quite a jump from Ph.D to J.D. that I can't quite understand. You are literally just finishing your advanced studies in another field in which you have a job. Make sure this isn't a knee-jerk reaction to the other things you have going on in your life.

Anyway, I think you should do these things if you are still set on law school.

1) Study hard for the LSAT and take it when you have a score you are delighted (not just content) with. Then, let some time pass as you apply for schools, let things settle down in your life, make sure your desire for law school isn't an irrational desire for drastic life change.

2) Educate yourself on http://www.lstscorereports.com/
Look at this site, its schools, its breakdowns. You're smart, you know what percentages are, you need to see these numbers.

3) Learn the Asian market you want to work in. The term 'Asian market' has no meaning other than it represents an idealistic, imaginary, and far-away goal. You need to look seriously at the state of the market, the opportunities there, and what kind of school/specialization you'd need to break into that community. Can you name the firm you want to work at and the practice they centralize in? Can you name any firm there? Any in-demand area of practice there? Will you need an LL.M.? What schools do they recruit from?

4) Learn more about what work as a lawyer is like. You mention that engineering is repetitive and boring. Being a lawyer and an engineer are similar in that they are professions. Learned professions of singular expertise usually in a specialized field (electrical, chemical vs. M&A, criminal defense). They will be alike in many ways and repetitiveness is not excluded.

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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby somewhatwayward » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:25 pm

First, I am very sorry to hear about what happened to you, but I don't think you should make any decisions right now. I would honestly counsel against even prepping for the LSAT because that will make you start to get too committed to the idea of attending law school while you are in an emotional state. The reason I don't think you should make a decision now is the overly emotional state you are in, which is coming through strongly in your posts. After something like this happens to you, you have this strong drive to change something, to transform yourself, to cleanse yourself of the old life. That strong urge, though, doesn't mean that whatever change you make is actually right for you. I would give it a long time, like a year, and then come back to whether you want to do this. If you do, law school will still be there. You have a great uGPA and doubtlessly have the capacity to get a high LSAT score.

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IAFG
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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby IAFG » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:39 am

Dr. Dre wrote:
IAFG wrote:Your advice is shitty.



The legal market sucks. OP will get a PhD in a market that is flourishing. My advice is sound.

Advising a guy with a tech background shouldn't go into law because the legal market sucks is like advising an American guy not to go to med school because the NHS sucks.

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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby PRgradBYU » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:24 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:First, I am very sorry to hear about what happened to you, but I don't think you should make any decisions right now. I would honestly counsel against even prepping for the LSAT because that will make you start to get too committed to the idea of attending law school while you are in an emotional state. The reason I don't think you should make a decision now is the overly emotional state you are in, which is coming through strongly in your posts. After something like this happens to you, you have this strong drive to change something, to transform yourself, to cleanse yourself of the old life. That strong urge, though, doesn't mean that whatever change you make is actually right for you. I would give it a long time, like a year, and then come back to whether you want to do this. If you do, law school will still be there. You have a great uGPA and doubtlessly have the capacity to get a high LSAT score.


TITCR. Law school isn't going anywhere; if I were in OP's shoes and had a professional degree in a viable, flourishing field, you better believe I wouldn't be wasting three years of my life in law school. You don't want to take the LSAT and--assuming you do very well, which I believe you're more than capable of--subsequently go to law school impetuously. Take some time to mull everything over. You're a smart guy.

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Re: A 28 year old engineer determined to go to law school

Postby cali_student » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:39 pm

Do you know what kind of law you want to practice if you make the switch from engineering to law? The two obvious choices are patent prosecution and patent litigation, but they're very different in actual practice and quality of life. Patent prosecution won't be very social, but the projects are discrete and you accomplish objectives much faster than in a lot of engineering or patent lit duties. That lends itself to some variety in the work which you said you want.

Maybe you should reach out to attorneys who changed from engineering to law and get their personal opinions on what the differences are, what their job satisfaction is, what school you should go to etc. In Silicon Valley a lot of engineers keep their full time jobs and go to SCU for part time because it lets you finance law school with your day job and maintain your engineering/patent agent experience for 4 years. That's another good option, possibly even for just one semester so you can see if law school is even right for you without sacrificing a good job at Apple. You sound like a smart guy who could use your high LSAT score and high 1L law school grades to transfer to a better ranked law school for full time if you want to.

As for reaching out to attorneys, if you're working in a tech company right now there are likely some in-house attorneys you could talk to. Another option for you could be to talk to attorneys in a local bar association. Perhaps you'd like to talk to people from APABA (Asian Pacific American Bar Association) if you have ties to China and want advice on how to leverage that.

Good luck!




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