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Healthcare or Patent Law?

the_police909the_police909 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited July 2007 in Law School
Hi guys! For the longest time I thought that I was going to be a dentist or doctor when I got older, but recently, I've been considering doing law because people say that I am able to articulate myself well when I'm passionate about what I'm debating about something. I know law isn't all just argue argue argue like some people think, but can anyone tell me which speciality in the title (hc or patent law) will better suit these interests of mine:

-I like to debate (not argue, but discuss things in an organized manner)
-I like science, especially in subjects like biology, o-chem, and anatomy (which is why I wanted to be a doctor).

I also was wondering which profession offers better pay in general and hours (hours being more important btw). I know it varies by region, so lets say that I'd like to live either on the west coast (not really cali though because its too expensive to live there for the most part), mid atlantic (ie north carolina, DC, virginia, etc.) or in the midwest (mostly either near detroit, chicago, or other big city).

thanks a lot.
Post edited by the_police909 on

Replies to: Healthcare or Patent Law?

  • Blaze991Blaze991 Registered User Posts: 634 Member
    Most lawyers say that having an affinity/aptitude for debate is a poor reason to choose law as a profession. In most cases, the ability to read and write well seem to be more important skills for a lawyer than being good at debate.

    And if you like science, then perhaps try patent law. Outside of that, I don't think that law requires any substantial knowledge of science.
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,439 Senior Member
    Patent lawyers either litigate, prosecute patents or do a mix of both. If you want reasonable hours, as a general rule, stay away from litigation. Most patent lawyers have at least their undergraduate degrees in science and many have masters and PHDs. Healthcare lawyers can do deals or litigate or a mix so same thing applies with regard to litigation. There is very little that relates to biology, chemistry or anatomy in healthcare law. You may be thinking of medical malpractice, which is all litigation and not typically considered part of a traditional healthcare practice. There is very little classic debate in the practice of law except among members of the same firm in trying to decide how to handle a particular matter. The debate takes place on paper most of the time.
  • the_police909the_police909 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    well the fact that its on paper is actually better for me because although I am able to come up with good ideas for countering arguments, I don't have that intimidation factor that many lawyers seem to have (ie through tone/body language) that helps them win sometimes, so thats actually good. And although I'm not the best writer grammatically, again, I can get good ideas, and fixing grammar is something doable, while not getting good ideas takes longer and may not always be "curable".

    But I would be pretty set on patent law (because it has a great salary, livable hours (I think they work around 60 per week right?), and the science part), but I'm afraid that the work will be tedious, so can anyone tell me a bit more about what this type of work entails? At least working as a malpractice lawyer I know that I'd like to defend/prosecute doctors. Afterall, one of the things that dissuaded me from medicine was because of all these patients making ridiculous claims of doctors trying to kill them, and so I'd like to maybe help defend innocent doctors, but if it doesn't fit my interests as well as I'd hope, then there's no use in chasing it. So what can you tell me about work as a patent lawyer?
  • sefagosefago Registered User Posts: 1,731 Senior Member
    @ OP

    Are you sure you did not fail organic chemistry. I heard organic chemistry is usually called the lawyer-maker amongst premed students. Just kidding. ;)

    Patent law is more lucrative than medical malpractice law but as the other posters said you need an undergrad degree in the sciences. Also most patent lawyers I have seen have very advanced graduate degrees. I think patent law is in hot demand in various regions. One of the best patent law firms is in virginia though I belive california would be a very good place to practise patent law.
  • the_police909the_police909 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    lol dude I'm in high school LOL!!!!

    And I do love sciences, so I wouldn't mind doing an advanced degree in the sciences. I was thinking about either doing doing EE or Biomedical engineering depending on whether I want to work with electronics or go into the biotech industry, so I was wondering, even though both fields will be in great demand, which one do you think will have greater stability? Also, since engineering is tough as a major, won't law schools hate having a low GPA even if I get a high LSAT?

    btw, about cali, I would love to live there, but as I said, the cost of living is extraordinary, so thats whats turning me off, but I have plenty of time to decide where I want to live.
  • the_police909the_police909 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    btw, in case it matters, I am aiming to get into stanford (first choice), UCLA, michigan, USC, or Duke for law school, so will any of those places look down upon me if I cant get a high gpa in an engineering class?
  • sefagosefago Registered User Posts: 1,731 Senior Member
    Most patent lawyers I know have degrees in electrical engineering- I don't know the reason why though. However since biotechnology is supposedly growing biomedical engineering could be useful.

    You're still in high school? Then why are you asking questions about law school when you have not yet started college?

    Well since you asked very sensible questions I would give you answers based on my limited knowledge(I am going to be a sophomore in college though I am still 17). I would advise you to first start college and select the major you prefer. You might like biomedical engineering and dislike electrical engineering and vice versa. You might also dislike both of them and have to select another major. I don't think what type of science major you get would affect you area of speciality in patent law. However, you must have read in newspapers and magazines that the coming age is the gene age and so biotechnology is probably going to be explosive. From what I have read, patent lawyers are in really really high demand now regardless of speciality.


    Concerning GPA, if you know you can't get a good GPA in engineering don't major in it. Agreed some allowances are made but they are very little. A 3.4 ( which is equivalent to a 3.7 or 3.8 in poli science) in engineering cannot in any circumstance get you into the top 5 law schools. Except you get something like 175+ in your LSATs. There are numerous questions about science majors vs non science majors on law school discussion forums and the general consensus is if you cannot get at least a 3.6 in your major don't waste your time on it.

    As I said my opinion is based on what I have read and not on personal experience.btw I am a biochemistry major. By the way Stanford loves engineering and math majors but it still requires a high GPA. Don't select law schools until you're in your junior year in college.
  • the_police909the_police909 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    OK, so essentially I'll still have to do well in those classes in order to get into a good school. But does prestige of law school matter that much for patent law? I mean I know that I shouldn't accept a TFT over YLS, but is it necessary to go to a T14 to do well in patent law? I'm also looking at other southern schools that aren't as hard to get into as UCLA and such like ASU, but will schools like that still get me a decent job?

    I know law school is a while away, but its actually not THAT far off either. True, I need to first decide a major and all, but think about it. I'm already applying for colleges in 2 months, and then in another 2-3 years I'll be looking at all this anyways. On top of that, I need to make sure that since law school is my goal, and stanford is my dream school that I'm doing what's possible to accomplish that feat. If that means taking more "fluff" classes to inflate my GPA, and attending a less prestigious college that I'm more likely to be at the top in than a top college I'll have a harder time being the best at, then that also affects my college search/decision RIGHT NOW, although I might be a bit too far ahead in the game admittedly (but come on, how many people don't dream about going to HYS anyway, even if it may remain a dream in the end :().

    But besides my question about prestige, does patent law still involve prosecution and defense, or do they really just file paperwork all day long (okay thats generalizing, but you know what I mean)?
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,439 Senior Member
    Prestige of law school matters less in patent law. The firms I work with are more impressed with the undergraduate and graduate degrees in patent law.
  • dadofsamdadofsam Registered User Posts: 1,635 Senior Member
    High school is too early to start thinking about law school, least of all which field of law you might want to go into. First choose a major in college that you will like and do well in. In college you will become exposed to a lot of subjects, careers and possibilities that up to now you haven't heard of. There's a good chance that you will decide to go into something else entirely.

    Come back to this board, if you're still interested at that time, after you've had a couple of years of college.

    Meanwhile, have a good time.
  • the_police909the_police909 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    what do you mean by the UG and grad degrees in law cartera45? Do you mean they care more about how difficult your tech degree is than the prestige of the school? Also, is a masters/PHD degree required to do patent law?
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,439 Senior Member
    Yes, for patent law, the firms will often put more emphasis on where the technical degree was obtained rather than the law degree. An advanced degree is not required for patent law but you will find many of the attorneys at the most prominent patent firms have them. That is perhaps more likely with biochem/chem work than engineering.
  • california_love8california_love8 Registered User Posts: 1,097 Senior Member
    hey, I'm not THAT into patent law, but am still considering it behind business, so would going to a school like Michigan, University of Washington, USC, etc., schools that are not super prestigious (excluding Umich) for undergrad be good enough since they are very strong in elecrtical engineering (I believe all of them are T20 at least right?), or would they still prefer someone who got their tech degree from Harvard, since Harvard is amazing, but not necessarily the best in engineering?

    EDIT: And then, since going to undergrad oos will be expensive, could I go to whatever law school gives me the best aid even if it isn't YLS and still get an average job (at the very least)? I won't be going to a TFT, but something like maybe T40 instead of a T20 (if I do law of course though)
  • california_love8california_love8 Registered User Posts: 1,097 Senior Member
    lets bump that last question...
This discussion has been closed.