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Am I a good fit for Law School/Patent Law - Another Engineer

fifa190fifa190 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
Hello all,

I was hoping to get some feedback on my prospects for attending law school for the purpose of becoming a patent attorney - specifically, I'd love to work on prosecuting mechanical patent applications.

To give some background on me, I am currently a junior at a top ten engineering school in the midwest, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I have done a few technical internships in engineering and liked the work, but recently have felt that the day to day and career trajectory of a patent attorney would be a better fit for me.

As far as undergraduate GPA, I am sitting at a 3.45 and could only realistically move .1 in either direction before applying to law school. This is above average for the program I am in, which is quite competitive in terms of grades and admissions. I know law schools do not care much about major choice when considering GPA. Also in the few outcomes I have been able to find online of aspiring patent attorneys, the candidates/attorneys managed much higher GPA's than mine at tough engineering schools.

In terms of LSAT score, I have only just taken my first diagnostic test on which I received a 157. I am taking a blueprint class, and am confident I will be able to move into the low 160's due to my horrendous performance on the logic games section. I managed to move my ACT score from a 27 to a 33, so I am hopeful I can do the same for this test with preparation.

My GPA would seem to effectively bar me from admission to T20 schools regardless of LSAT performance. I would be shooting for a lower ranked school (50-100).

I should also mention that I have landed a solid internship for the coming summer prosecuting patents at a well-respected firm. I should have a much better idea of my ability to enter the field after this internship - at that point though, I would already be well into law school application prep.

My biggest worry is that in attending a lower ranked school without a whole lot of technical engineering experience, I would be unable to land a job in patent law, which would leave me with a bunch of debt and if I'm lucky, the same 70k job I could get next year. Does anyone know where I could go to find some more outcomes of successful patent attornies who went straight from undergrad? Do you see any holes in my plan? Should I go work in industry for a few years? Am I a good fit at all?

Replies to: Am I a good fit for Law School/Patent Law - Another Engineer

  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer Registered User Posts: 705 Member
    Your university should have somewhere in its administrative mix, a pre-law advisor. My engineering school (WPI) had advisors to assist in transitioning graduating engineering majors to law school. These advisors should have a history of their placement in law schools. If not Harvard or Yale, perhaps Boston College. My niece did very well by that route but her degree was from MIT. She now works for a prestigious law firm and reported that her biology background from MIT did more for her in landing the job than did the BC Law School. A "top ten" engineering school may pull better than you think, but you need data from your university placement office. Somebody there may be holding some helpful cards. :bz
  • coolguy40coolguy40 Registered User Posts: 1,856 Senior Member
    edited January 2018
    I think you'll be OK. Law schools take a more holistic approach to their selection criteria. A candidate with a 3.5 engineering degree would very likely be considered over a 3.8 sociology. The key is the LSAT. If you can study like heck and ace it, you have a really good shot at a top school. I think Baylor could be a good school to shoot for. I have a cousin who graduated from there and got a really good job as a patent lawyer out of school. He had over 200k in debt and was still able to buy a big house and a Ford Explorer. The bar passing rate in in the 80% range. Also, top grades at a tier 2 school are worth as much as a good grades at a top school.
  • fifa190fifa190 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    @retiredfarmer @coolguy40 Thank you very much for the input and advice! I looked into it and my school has a set of full-time staff dedicated to prelaw advising. Also it’s pretty easy to tell from my comment history that I attend UIUC engineering - a solid notch below MIT but still consistently top 10 in US News & World.
  • SlippinJimmySlippinJimmy Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Law schools take a more holistic approach to their selection criteria. A candidate with a 3.5 engineering degree would very likely be considered over a 3.8 sociology.

    I'm not so sure about this. Law school admissions officers want to boost their US News rankings. Admitting students below their GPA median (and especially below the 25th percentile) will drag down their ranking, regardless of major or undergrad school. I do think they are a bit more holistic than just straight numbers — but I would be cautious about assuming a 3.5 engineering major is preferable to a 3.8 sociology major. That's just not the incentive that the admissions officers have.

    That said, OP isn't in bad shape. My first LSAT diagnostic was 158, and I managed to get a 170 on the actual test. The logic games in particular seem impossible until you actually start studying how to do them. So I think you can probably shoot higher than just low 160s. If you're below a school's 25th percentile on GPA, then you probably want to aim to be above the 75th percentile on LSAT.

    Your engineering background will be especially helpful when you're looking for a job. There's always a high demand for patent lawyers who actually have a technical degree and usually a pretty low supply of students with that background. So even if you end up going to a school ranked outside of the T14, you can probably have some more confidence than the average student of landing a high-paying job.
This discussion has been closed.