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Law Schools - Where and Why? - Page 28

post #406 of 418

I was an undergrad math + political science major who initially wanted to head to law school. Ended up doing graduate school in statistics while many of my friends went to law school. Most of them seem to hate what they do and their salaries aren't that great given how expensive their JD cost. I'm definitely glad I chose not to go down the law school route. Plus, if you're background is in math or science, there are just so many interesting and complex problems waiting to be solved, and people will pay you good amounts of $$ to bring your skill set to a variety of industries. There are just more opportunities. 

 

The one thing I never get is people who have backgrounds in engineering, physics, math, etc, and then go to law school. Seriously, you'd be much better off pursuing any work with you academic training than a law degree.

post #407 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by amathew View Post

I was an undergrad math + political science major who initially wanted to head to law school. Ended up doing graduate school in statistics while many of my friends went to law school. Most of them seem to hate what they do and their salaries aren't that great given how expensive their JD cost. I'm definitely glad I chose not to go down the law school route. Plus, if you're background is in math or science, there are just so many interesting and complex problems waiting to be solved, and people will pay you good amounts of $$ to bring your skill set to a variety of industries. There are just more opportunities. 

The one thing I never get is people who have backgrounds in engineering, physics, math, etc, and then go to law school. Seriously, you'd be much better off pursuing any work with you academic training than a law degree.

As somebody with a CS degree who decided to go to law school, I think it just depends on what you're interested in: programming and legal work can be interesting in different ways.

I also think that so long as you're comfortable accumulating tonnes of debt, law school can sometimes be a better financial proposition in the long run and a more secure job (it's non-outsourcable because of regulations, and the learning curve is much longer than in programming).

You also get to wear suits a lot more often.
post #408 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by amathew View Post

The one thing I never get is people who have backgrounds in engineering, physics, math, etc, and then go to law school. Seriously, you'd be much better off pursuing any work with you academic training than a law degree.

 

Oh, that's not necessarily true. I'm a MechE, and if I had stayed in Eng, I would be more than likely looking at an engineering management role 10 years out of school, at like $120k (maybe). Then there is a small pool of technical people who ascend the ladder toward CTO positions, but that is a very small pool. If you are part of the 10% of incoming law school applicants with technical backgrounds sufficient to be allowed to practice before the USPTO (a huge barrier to entry), then you can (reasonably) be looking at a starting salary of $125k in patent law. The work/life balance is a problem, admittedly, unless you find a way to work that out. But partner at a decent firm and you are sitting very decent in terms of cash flow. You will work very hard for it, though.

 

~ H

post #409 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

Oh, that's not necessarily true. I'm a MechE, and if I had stayed in Eng, I would be more than likely looking at an engineering management role 10 years out of school, at like $120k (maybe). Then there is a small pool of technical people who ascend the ladder toward CTO positions, but that is a very small pool. If you are part of the 10% of incoming law school applicants with technical backgrounds sufficient to be allowed to practice before the USPTO (a huge barrier to entry), then you can (reasonably) be looking at a starting salary of $125k in patent law. The work/life balance is a problem, admittedly, unless you find a way to work that out. But partner at a decent firm and you are sitting very decent in terms of cash flow. You will work very hard for it, though.

~ H

Patent law seems like it would be unbelievably boring to me. I'm not a lawyer but I have worked on filing a few patents. It might just take a certain type of brain.
post #410 of 418

Well, if all you do is patent prosecution work day in and day out, it might get pretty numbing. But there is a lot of interesting stuff going on on the patent side.
 

post #411 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by amathew View Post


The one thing I never get is people who have backgrounds in engineering, physics, math, etc, and then go to law school. Seriously, you'd be much better off pursuing any work with you academic training than a law degree.

technical degrees are almost a requirement now for "hard" IP positions... and they are QUITE lucrative... I think there are certainly productive applications that could put a technical degree to work in more closely related industries, but IP in medical, communications, hardware tech etc is practically limitless... just saying.
post #412 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

Well, if all you do is patent prosecution work day in and day out, it might get pretty numbing. But there is a lot of interesting stuff going on on the patent side.

 

Huntsman is right.
There's a lot more to patent law than just filing patents and doing patent prosecution all day long.

Licensing, litigation, mergers/aquisitions, and corporate law all have areas that intersect with patent law. This is the path I followed, and I found it to be very intellectually stimulating and even fun. You get to see and be involved in the development of some cutting edge stuff if you play it right.
post #413 of 418
yeah patent lit is huge and only going to get bigger as tech becomes more and more intricate and intertwined
post #414 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomkoreandude View Post

yeah patent lit is huge and only going to get bigger as tech becomes more and more intricate and intertwined

The wealthiest lawyers (and some of the wealthiest people in the world) are patent litigators.
post #415 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by randomkoreandude View Post

yeah patent lit is huge and only going to get bigger as tech becomes more and more intricate and intertwined

The wealthiest lawyers (and some of the wealthiest people in the world) are patent litigators.


Being close enough to the details of some of these cases now to know the types of hours billed and the rates makes that very, very, very easy to believe. Hard work, though, and really up and down in terms of the hours commitment. But it does often seem like really fun work that marrys technical argument with the theatrics of argument for the finder of fact.

post #416 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai View Post


The wealthiest lawyers (and some of the wealthiest people in the world) are patent litigators.

 

w3rd. You can be like that Desmarais guy and defend against patent suits until you have enough money to buy a book of patents, start your own law firm and start trolling.

post #417 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by godofcoffee View Post

As somebody with a CS degree who decided to go to law school, I think it just depends on what you're interested in: programming and legal work can be interesting in different ways.
I also think that so long as you're comfortable accumulating tonnes of debt, law school can sometimes be a better financial proposition in the long run and a more secure job (it's non-outsourcable because of regulations, and the learning curve is much longer than in programming).
You also get to wear suits a lot more often.

While this is currently the case I do not believe it will be so for very long. I practice a lot in criminal defense and I already see the effects that video-conferencing can have on court proceedings. Everything except for trial so far can be conducted via video conference and I've seen defendants at prisons be conferenced in, as well as attorneys in other areas of the state be conferenced in for many court appearances. It is even more so in other fields. Depositions can be taken by video conference. Documents can be prepared at a distance and emailed in, with many courts now opening up to electronic filing. Again, aside from actual trial work I do not see any other aspect of the legal practice that cannot be done at a distance.

It's true that many jurisdictions require a practicing attorney have an office in the jurisdiction, but that doesn't mean the lawyer has to actually work in that office. He or she can maintain it as a satellite office staffed with just a secretary.

I foresee not long in the future (10 years or so) that a lot of legal work will be outsourced. If customer service can be outsourced to India there's no reason attorneys can't either. Have the foreign worker go to Thomas Cooley School of Law, which will no doubt begin to offer a distance learning option, then have them pass the bar in Wisconsin or Iowa and transfer in to other states. It will be a process, but I don't see things improving for the attorney occupation in the near future.

Until fully realistic holograms are on the market I suspect trial work will still exist for domestic lawyers; but anything that can be done without setting foot in court will be. People want cheaper legal services and it's just a matter of time until we outsource every job in the whole country.
post #418 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddych View Post

w3rd. You can be like that Desmarais guy and defend against patent suits until you have enough money to buy a book of patents, start your own law firm and start trolling.

I know him. He was in my department at at a firm (Kirkland) and continued to do work for my company and others I knew when I went in-house. A good guy and a good lawyer. I haven't seen him since he went over to the troll side.
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