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Science going into law school? - Page 2

post #16 of 60
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Originally Posted by JChance View Post
I'm a B.S. Chemistry and B.A. Molecular Biology graduating soon with 2 years of experience working in a Chem lab. I have tried pre-pharm, pre-med, pre-dental and research, but found that they are all not for me. I think law is right for me, but dont have much experience in it nor community service/leadership. I want to take a few years off before applying to law school, what kind of jobs should you suggest me looking into? I've been checking out Regulatory Affairs, Public Policy and Campaigning work and am not sure if I am on the right track... Please advice!
Don't bother if your concern is improving your chances of admission. Whatever benefit you'll gain with some schools is marginal at best. If you just want to get a sense of what it's like to work in a law firm and spend time around lawyers doing the law-talking thing, that's a different story.
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Originally Posted by facebookdigg123 View Post
intern at a law office or something. .
No. Not unless you're itching to improve your photocopying skills.
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Originally Posted by harvey_birdman View Post
Do you have any idea what kind of law you want to work in? What is it about lawyering that is attractive to you?
What the hell are you asking questions like that for? That's crazy talk. Don't confuse the poor kid with common sense questions.
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Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
I have a bunch of friends who are intellectual property lawyers, they have backgrounds in science before law school. good money, less stress.
This. Having specialized knowledge of this sort actually gives you more options as a lawyer than people (like me) with the sorts not-especially-useful liberal arts backgrounds that are traditionally considered "pre-law" (mostly, I think, that when we finish undergrad and realize we have few marketable skills, we think "what the hell, might as well try law school". (Kidding, sort of.)
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Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
most people go to law school with no law experience.
Yep. Although there are also plenty with some practical (by which I don't necessarily mean law-related) work experience as well.
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Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post
OP, I'm in law school with an engineering undergrad, so I was in your place not long ago. Read the post below. Read it again and again and again. Most people think law admissions are like other admissions programs where various factors add in to the decision. In law they do only to the tune of about the 5% below. It's all undergrad GPA and LSAT. It is this way because there are SO MANY APPLICANTS that they are weeded very mechanically. Experience is a very, very minor part unless your experience is so astronomically, incredibly special -- which yours will not be. This is not an MBA. It's all undergrad GPA and LSAT. Please don't forget this. Also, do you have any idea where in law you might want to use your background. And if you are serious, go get an LSAT logic games book and start practicing now -- yes, you should practice the whole two years until you apply. You really should. I was good at them, and even though I nailed the rest of the LSAT, and I mean nailed it, I did poorly on the logic games and wound up with only a 98th percentile score. In LSAT terms, 98% is good, but not great. Get that book. Start practicing now. Really. ~ H
Listen to Huntsman we he talks. Unlike most of us, he doesn't spout off unless he actually knows what he's talking about. (Don't think less of him for it, he can't help it. It's some sort of character defect. And his encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails is sufficient compensation to make him worth putting up with.) Plus, he has direct and current experience charting the course you're considering, with at least a superficially similar background. How go the studies, H?
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Originally Posted by ConcernedParent View Post
How much does the prestige of your undergrad factor in? I'm sure it is a criteria, but probably not half way as much as I think it does. I'm assuming if that's the case, those that went to no name schools with stellar GPAs are standardized by LSAT score (most of them probably didn't do so hot) and thus the importance of prestige of undergrad diminishes.
My sense -- totally anecdotal, so I'm sure there are better sources of information -- is that the extent to which it matters is roughly proportionate to the perceived prestige of the law school. Most "top tier" law schools have lots of folks with strong GPA's. On the margin, a 3.8 from Harvard is going to look better than a 3.8 from Central Bodunk State. But I think most schools make an effort to have at least some diversity of background among their students, so being from a smaller or less "prestigious" school isn't necessarily going to disqualify you. At my law school there were folks from schools I'd never heard of, and I certainly knew folks who did well at more highly-regarded schools that didn't get in.
post #17 of 60
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Originally Posted by lawyerdad View Post
At my law school there were folks from schools I'd never heard of, and I certainly knew folks who did well at more highly-regarded schools that didn't get in.
Fact. "School prestige" doesn't really amount to a hill of beans. They aren't admitting a school, they are admitting a person.
post #18 of 60
The only tip I'll give is don't bother going to law school in the US unless its T-20 (maybe you can stretch it a bit further), but after that you really are rolling the dice no matter how well you do in law school (and, you might be very average, at which point you'll be glad to be at a T-14). It's been a blood-bath for lawyers in the US. Many people have been laid off in the last three years. Plus there is an huge excess of graduates every year. Last thing you want after graduation is a $150,000 piece of paper and no job. As for whether to do it or not, it sounds like you've thought it through, so I think sometimes you just have to take the dive so to speak, but make sure you take a safe dive.
post #19 of 60
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Originally Posted by dagman1 View Post
The only tip I'll give is don't bother going to law school in the US unless its T-20 (maybe you can stretch it a bit further), but after that you really are rolling the dice no matter how well you do in law school (and, you might be very average, at which point you'll be glad to be at a T-14).


Whether this is sound advice or not depends entirely on his reasons for wanting to go to law school and his expectations. If his hope/expectation is to put in his his three years of school and then be handed a job as an associate at an established firm making $XXX,XXX, this is a sound analysis. If not, then maybe not. Believe it or not, that's not the only path followed by law school graduates.
post #20 of 60
i know you dont need any experience when applying to law schools. i was just suggesting something because he asked about things he could do
post #21 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyquik View Post
Fact.

"School prestige" doesn't really amount to a hill of beans. They aren't admitting a school, they are admitting a person.

This is not correct if you assume that by "prestige" you mean "presumed rigor." Decent (3.5+) at Ivy or top liberal arts or even top state schools (UC-Berkely, UMich, UTexas) will generally crush a 4.0 at podunk school. And, this makes perfect sense if you recognize that grades are generally an indication of your performance VERSUS other students -- that is, since the admissions standards are higher at top schools a student at a top school is competing against better qualified students.
post #22 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawyerdad View Post
Whether this is sound advice or not depends entirely on his reasons for wanting to go to law school and his expectations. If his hope/expectation is to put in his his three years of school and then be handed a job as an associate at an established firm making $XXX,XXX, this is a sound analysis. If not, then maybe not. Believe it or not, that's not the only path followed by law school graduates.

This is absolutely correct. It is only by understanding the personal rationale and expectations that you can determine whether law school (and which law school) is a good value proposition.
post #23 of 60
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Originally Posted by deaddog View Post
This is not correct if you assume that by "prestige" you mean "presumed rigor." Decent (3.5+) at Ivy or top liberal arts or even top state schools (UC-Berkely, UMich, UTexas) will generally crush a 4.0 at podunk school. And, this makes perfect sense if you recognize that grades are generally an indication of your performance VERSUS other students -- that is, since the admissions standards are higher at top schools a student at a top school is competing against better qualified students.


This is incorrect. 4.0 at a terrible school is better than a 3.9 at an Ivy, it is vastly superior to a 3.5 at an Ivy for law admissions purposes. Although it is a little more complicated than that (3.9 at an Ivy is probably better than 4.0 if they are both above the 75th percentile of the school for example).

They largely don't discriminate against schools since they are all competing for the best students to raise their USNEWS ranking which depends on the gpa and lsat numbers. Prestige of undergrad is not included.

The reason you see more elite degrees at good law schools is because they tend to do much better than terrible schools on the lsat (Harvard has a median of like 165, compared with the overall median of 150). And with an increased likelihood to want to continue education.
post #24 of 60
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Originally Posted by Mal View Post
This is incorrect. 4.0 at a terrible school is better than a 3.9 at an Ivy, it is vastly superior to a 3.5 at an Ivy for law admissions purposes. Although it is a little more complicated than that (3.9 at an Ivy is probably better than 4.0 if they are both above the 75th percentile of the school for example).

They largely don't discriminate against schools since they are all competing for the best students to raise their USNEWS ranking which depends on the gpa and lsat numbers. Prestige of undergrad is not included.

The reason you see more elite degrees at good law schools is because they tend to do much better than terrible schools on the lsat (Harvard has a median of like 165, compared with the overall median of 150). And with an increased likelihood to want to continue education.

If you assume that the only thing admissions considers is USNWR rankings, this makes sense. But that is likely not true for T-14 schools. And, I can assure you based on personal experience and discussions with deans of admissions at certain T-14 schools that they strongly consider rigor of undergrad in their decisions.
post #25 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by deaddog View Post
This is not correct if you assume that by "prestige" you mean "presumed rigor." Decent (3.5+) at Ivy or top liberal arts or even top state schools (UC-Berkely, UMich, UTexas) will generally crush a 4.0 at podunk school. And, this makes perfect sense if you recognize that grades are generally an indication of your performance VERSUS other students -- that is, since the admissions standards are higher at top schools a student at a top school is competing against better qualified students.

No, it won't. A 3.3 171 LSAT from Columbia isn't getting in over a 3.8 173 from No Name State. The prestige of a UG may be used as a tiebreaker between similar applicants but a 3.3 at an Ivy doesn't trump a 4.0 at a middling UG.

There is no more numbers based admissions than law school, period. It's all numbers.
post #26 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by deaddog View Post
If you assume that the only thing admissions considers is USNWR rankings, this makes sense. But that is likely not true for T-14 schools. And, I can assure you based on personal experience and discussions with deans of admissions at certain T-14 schools that they strongly consider rigor of undergrad in their decisions.
They say that, but they don't mean it. They also say that admissions are "hollistic" but they aren't.
post #27 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington View Post
They say that, but they don't mean it. They also say that admissions are "hollistic" but they aren't.

Since neither of us can be 100% certain in all circumstances, I suggest that we just leave it with a warning to prospective law students that admission to a top-ranked law school and lucrative employment as a lawyer are both far more difficult to achieve than they were a generation ago.
post #28 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by deaddog View Post
Since neither of us can be 100% certain in all circumstances, I suggest that we just leave it with a warning to prospective law students that admission to a top-ranked law school and lucrative employment as a lawyer are both far more difficult to achieve than they were a generation ago.

Yes, yes, God yes.
post #29 of 60
If you're interested in utilizing your undergrad education at all, I'd suggest Patent Office -> Law school. That seems to be a fairly common path for someone of your background.
post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai View Post
Hard science is a great preparation for law school. There are many areas of the law where an understanding of science is important (environmental, patent, many areas of products liability, health, etc.) Provided you also have decent writing skills, I would rate a hard science as the best of all undergrad tracks for a legal career. As for what to do in the time before you apply for law school, the best preparation would be working in a patent department, or just doing scientific research somewhere.
With a science degree, you have have more job flexibility than an attorney without such a degree in the field of IP. To practice before the U.S. Patent Office as a registered patent attorney, one must generally have a science degree from biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, or an engineering discipline, or the course work and pass an engineering exam.
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