3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

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dragomaser

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3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby dragomaser » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:25 pm

Hey all, I'm a Biochem major planning on graduating Spring of 2020. GPA is at a 3.2 right now, hoping to boost it up to a 3.3 by the regular decision deadline.

I don't have great softs, eg mock trial for four years, worked in an ALS lab for a year, and volunteered around 150 hours in a hospital. I'm partially concerned that law schools are going to be turned off by these "med school softs", and I'm planning on addressing it in my personal statement to make it clear I'm not just applying to law school as a med school backup. I'm trying to get a job at a local law firm for the summer/next year but beyond that I don't really have any other work experience.

I'm aiming for UC Irvine right now so I can do a dual degree program for a masters in pharmacology, with the intention of practicing pharmaceutical IP law in that area in the future.

Idk if it matters that much, but I'm Chinese (born in the US), and money isn't a huge issue as I have a full ride for undergrad and my parents have some money set aside, but I'll likely be needing a decent amount of loans for law school if I don't get any scholarships.

As such, I'm wondering about my chances for UC Irvine and any of the top 20s, and what I could do to help boost my application. Thanks!

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby The Lsat Airbender » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:41 pm

Your stats have you well-positioned for a T20 offer but I don't think dual-degree is the way to go. You'd be much, much better-served getting a master's (better yet a PhD/PharmD) and then going to law school normally. Even in patent law, where science background counts for a lot, it's essential from a career standpoint to really nail law school.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby dragomaser » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:14 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:Your stats have you well-positioned for a T20 offer but I don't think dual-degree is the way to go. You'd be much, much better-served getting a master's (better yet a PhD/PharmD) and then going to law school normally. Even in patent law, where science background counts for a lot, it's essential from a career standpoint to really nail law school.


Thanks for the advice! Although the current plan is to go into patent law, I'm also not opposed to biglaw, especially if I get into a good school for biglaw. Given my numbers, what are the best schools for biglaw placement that I have a reasonable chance of getting into? I've heard Northwestern is traditionally big on splitters, but I'm not sure about other schools.

Also, I'm not sure how much experience you might have with this, but do you think my "med school" softs are worth including at all? From what my college advisor has told me, apparently it might raise some questions from admissions as to why I'm not applying for med school instead. I can definitely answer that question, but I'm not sure how much they add to my application besides just raising those questions.

Thanks!

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby QContinuum » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:47 pm

I think your softs are fine. Mock trial especially is a classic pre-law "soft" and I don't think is particularly associated with being pre-med. I mean, it's mock trial.

I'm not sure why you're pursuing a Master's in Pharmacology. The biochem B.S. is plenty for patent litigation, IP transactions, and non-IP healthcare/regulatory law. It's not enough for patent prosecution, but the M.S. wouldn't help either - you'd need a Ph.D. for that, and IMO it's absolutely not worth it to get a Ph.D. for the sole purpose of doing patent prosecution. You'll likely spend 5 years doing the Ph.D. (and 6-7 years isn't uncommon), and I guarantee you'll burn out long before you make it through if you're only getting the Ph.D. so you can do patent prosecution. This is not to mention the additional three years of law school you'll face post-Ph.D.

The best route for you is to apply broadly across the T20. WUSTL may very well prove to be your best choice. Best of luck!
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dragomaser

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby dragomaser » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:40 am

Ah, I wasn't aware that getting just a masters wouldn't be enough for patent prosecution. From what I'd read, to take the patent bar you only need a bachelor's in a technical subject, with a higher level degree being helpful to get higher level jobs ie advertising a lawyer with a PhD in a relevant field is more appealing than advertising a lawyer with just a BS.

In terms of boosting my application, I've been consistently testing in the 172-175 range, and I'm considering retaking the LSAT in July to see if I can boost my score up to around a 175. Is that necessarily worth it?

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby QContinuum » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:33 am

dragomaser wrote:Ah, I wasn't aware that getting just a masters wouldn't be enough for patent prosecution. From what I'd read, to take the patent bar you only need a bachelor's in a technical subject, with a higher level degree being helpful to get higher level jobs ie advertising a lawyer with a PhD in a relevant field is more appealing than advertising a lawyer with just a BS.

In terms of boosting my application, I've been consistently testing in the 172-175 range, and I'm considering retaking the LSAT in July to see if I can boost my score up to around a 175. Is that necessarily worth it?

Yes, boosting your LSAT can only help improve your chances for $. It may also give you a shot at Michigan.
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And if you don't end up doing better (e.g., you get a second 172, or even get a 169 or 170), that won't hurt your chances at all. Schools only care about your highest LSAT.

Patent bar eligibility is necessary but not sufficient for prosecution hiring at good firms.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby Dads707 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:04 am

2.7/170 here. Check my profile for 2016 cycle info.

I went down the patent law hiring path during 1L summer. Patent eligibility can get a foot in the door, but unless you're an engineer (especially EE or CS, specifically), you're going to have some work to do to get a job with just a BS. Some folks were able to, but they had to work for it, not just grades, but networking and such.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby stativus » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:22 pm

3.7/170 at an upper t14 right now going for patent law with just a b.s. in bio. I didn't have great grades or anything. I went straight through. it's really not impossible.

albanach

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby albanach » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:18 pm

Rather than subsidize law school tuition, It'd probably be a better financial investment for your parents to fund you taking a year's leave of absence to enroll in community college. Get as many 4.0 hours as possible before graduating from your engineering degree.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:30 pm

stativus wrote:3.7/170 at an upper t14 right now going for patent law with just a b.s. in bio. I didn't have great grades or anything. I went straight through. it's really not impossible.

I'm confused... what do you think people said was "impossible"?

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby Kiwilaw » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:20 am

QContinuum wrote:
stativus wrote:3.7/170 at an upper t14 right now going for patent law with just a b.s. in bio. I didn't have great grades or anything. I went straight through. it's really not impossible.

I'm confused... what do you think people said was "impossible"?


It's pretty obvious to me they are talking about getting into patent law. Saying it's not impossible is just an intentional understatement; it doesn't mean anyone called it impossible. He is saying it's not as hard as people are making it out to be.

QContinuum

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby QContinuum » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:04 pm

Kiwilaw wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
stativus wrote:3.7/170 at an upper t14 right now going for patent law with just a b.s. in bio. I didn't have great grades or anything. I went straight through. it's really not impossible.

I'm confused... what do you think people said was "impossible"?


It's pretty obvious to me they are talking about getting into patent law. Saying it's not impossible is just an intentional understatement; it doesn't mean anyone called it impossible. He is saying it's not as hard as people are making it out to be.

No one ever said it would be hard for OP to secure an IP lit/trans position from an upper T14, which is the nonexistent claim stativus seems to be rebutting.

The two claims that were made were, 1) (My earlier post) The (lack of) utility of doing a Master's. The Bachelor's is already enough for everything except prosecution, and the Master's still won't be enough for prosecution. So the Master's doesn't really add value. And 2) (Dads707's post) the ease (or lack thereof) of landing IP-related BigLaw work from a T20 law school.

Take all this together and this is why folks ITT have been advocating for OP to attend a higher-ranked school and/or a lower-ranked school with more $. No one suggested that OP would struggle from an upper T14.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby dragomaser » Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:06 pm

Thanks for all the discussion! Just as a follow-up, considering that IP placement might not be as solid w/ my undergrad degree, I'm thinking that I'm going to apply broadly across the T20, with an emphasis on T14s to keep open the possibility of biglaw.

Seeing as my GPA<25 but LSAT≥75 for most T14s, how should I be prioritizing my applications? Based on what I've read here and on mylsn.info, I'm thinking of applying to Penn during ED 1 and if I'm rejected, going for UVA ED. If not UVA, then I'll be looking at WUSTL, Texas, or GULC for RD

Is there maybe a different school I should be prioritizing for my first ED application instead of Penn that might place better and that I have a realistic chance of getting into? Also, does anyone have any experience with applying ED to different schools with different deadlines and can speak to how it might affect my chances/will be seen in a bad light by adcomms?

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby stativus » Sun May 19, 2019 3:53 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Kiwilaw wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
stativus wrote:3.7/170 at an upper t14 right now going for patent law with just a b.s. in bio. I didn't have great grades or anything. I went straight through. it's really not impossible.

I'm confused... what do you think people said was "impossible"?


It's pretty obvious to me they are talking about getting into patent law. Saying it's not impossible is just an intentional understatement; it doesn't mean anyone called it impossible. He is saying it's not as hard as people are making it out to be.

No one ever said it would be hard for OP to secure an IP lit/trans position from an upper T14, which is the nonexistent claim stativus seems to be rebutting.

The two claims that were made were, 1) (My earlier post) The (lack of) utility of doing a Master's. The Bachelor's is already enough for everything except prosecution, and the Master's still won't be enough for prosecution. So the Master's doesn't really add value. And 2) (Dads707's post) the ease (or lack thereof) of landing IP-related BigLaw work from a T20 law school.

Take all this together and this is why folks ITT have been advocating for OP to attend a higher-ranked school and/or a lower-ranked school with more $. No one suggested that OP would struggle from an upper T14.

this is an old post by now but I wanted to clarify that by patent law I specifically meant patent prosecution. I am going for patent prosecution with just a b.s. in bio, so I am disputing the statement that a master's isn't enough. I did some prosecution-related work my 1L summer and I'm returning for my 2L summer. I will be taking the patent bar in my 3L year and using that after I graduate.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby QContinuum » Sun May 19, 2019 6:21 pm

stativus wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
Kiwilaw wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
stativus wrote:3.7/170 at an upper t14 right now going for patent law with just a b.s. in bio. I didn't have great grades or anything. I went straight through. it's really not impossible.

I'm confused... what do you think people said was "impossible"?


It's pretty obvious to me they are talking about getting into patent law. Saying it's not impossible is just an intentional understatement; it doesn't mean anyone called it impossible. He is saying it's not as hard as people are making it out to be.

No one ever said it would be hard for OP to secure an IP lit/trans position from an upper T14, which is the nonexistent claim stativus seems to be rebutting.

The two claims that were made were, 1) (My earlier post) The (lack of) utility of doing a Master's. The Bachelor's is already enough for everything except prosecution, and the Master's still won't be enough for prosecution. So the Master's doesn't really add value. And 2) (Dads707's post) the ease (or lack thereof) of landing IP-related BigLaw work from a T20 law school.

Take all this together and this is why folks ITT have been advocating for OP to attend a higher-ranked school and/or a lower-ranked school with more $. No one suggested that OP would struggle from an upper T14.

this is an old post by now but I wanted to clarify that by patent law I specifically meant patent prosecution. I am going for patent prosecution with just a b.s. in bio, so I am disputing the statement that a master's isn't enough. I did some prosecution-related work my 1L summer and I'm returning for my 2L summer. I will be taking the patent bar in my 3L year and using that after I graduate.

Very unusual and definitely the exception. Top-tier prosecution practices want and expect Ph.D.s for their life sciences prosecutors. If forced to choose between taking someone with a Ph.D. but a non-T14 J.D., or a T14 J.D. with just a life sciences B.S., they'd almost always take the Ph.D.

There may be a bit of wiggle room with some firms that don't really separate out their prosecution group, and a T14 student might be able to apply to such an "integrated" group to do transactional work and/or litigation, and then network and slide in to the prosecution group over the summer. But again, not the norm, and even if doable I wouldn't really recommend that anyone follow that path as their lack of advanced degree will hold them back down the road if/when they want to lateral or go in-house. There are still prosecution partners who made it back when you could do life sciences prosecution without a Ph.D., but there aren't really any new prosecution juniors like that anymore.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby Vosem » Tue May 21, 2019 10:22 pm

I had stats very similar to yours (3.1/173), with one year of very unimpressive work experience. I was accepted with a free ride to WUSTL but did not get in to any school better than that (though I was wait-listed at many schools -- Penn, Michigan, UVA, Northwestern, UT, UCLA, Vandy -- and accepted at a variety of T1s mostly in the 20s, though my only free rides were from WUSTL and UMN).

Unless you are a URM, you should expect something similar.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby albanach » Tue May 21, 2019 11:05 pm

Vosem wrote:I had stats very similar to yours (3.1/173), with one year of very unimpressive work experience. I was accepted with a free ride to WUSTL but did not get in to any school better than that (though I was wait-listed at many schools -- Penn, Michigan, UVA, Northwestern, UT, UCLA, Vandy -- and accepted at a variety of T1s mostly in the 20s, though my only free rides were from WUSTL and UMN).

Unless you are a URM, you should expect something similar.


While it's still going to be tough, MyLSN shows that a GPA increase into the 3.2's has a meaningful impact.

Did you do anything to boost your chances, e.g. ED to UVA? How late in the cycle did you apply?

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby Vosem » Wed May 22, 2019 1:18 am

albanach wrote:
Vosem wrote:I had stats very similar to yours (3.1/173), with one year of very unimpressive work experience. I was accepted with a free ride to WUSTL but did not get in to any school better than that (though I was wait-listed at many schools -- Penn, Michigan, UVA, Northwestern, UT, UCLA, Vandy -- and accepted at a variety of T1s mostly in the 20s, though my only free rides were from WUSTL and UMN).

Unless you are a URM, you should expect something similar.


While it's still going to be tough, MyLSN shows that a GPA increase into the 3.2's has a meaningful impact.

Did you do anything to boost your chances, e.g. ED to UVA? How late in the cycle did you apply?

I sent out my applications in early December, and apart from crushing the LSAT not really. I read TLS advice extensively and I did know that ED to UVA would greatly improve my chances of breaking into the T14, but I wasn't really comfortable with committing to UVA in the (seemingly likely) event of not receiving any sort of scholarship.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby albanach » Wed May 22, 2019 4:38 pm

Vosem wrote:I sent out my applications in early December, and apart from crushing the LSAT not really. I read TLS advice extensively and I did know that ED to UVA would greatly improve my chances of breaking into the T14, but I wasn't really comfortable with committing to UVA in the (seemingly likely) event of not receiving any sort of scholarship.


Thanks. That's really useful additional information for any similarly situated applicants. I completely understand your reasoning - and a free ride from a school like WUSTL is a great outcome for any extreme splitter.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby Socratease » Thu May 23, 2019 3:32 pm

3.0x/172 here, headed to MVP in the fall. ED'd and got ~60k in need-based aid. A few years distance from my severely downward-trending GPA. No great softs, although I am a first-gen college graduate. A lot of people would still say ~60k isn't enough of a discount to warrant attending a T14, but idk, I think it's a great outcome for me. If you're an extreme splitter and are certain you'll qualify for need-based aid, EDing can make a bit more sense. It's still risky though--I'm still staring down a mountain of debt and, who knows, I might've gotten a similar outcome if I RD'd.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby stativus » Sun May 26, 2019 4:53 pm

QContinuum wrote:
stativus wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
Kiwilaw wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
stativus wrote:3.7/170 at an upper t14 right now going for patent law with just a b.s. in bio. I didn't have great grades or anything. I went straight through. it's really not impossible.

I'm confused... what do you think people said was "impossible"?


It's pretty obvious to me they are talking about getting into patent law. Saying it's not impossible is just an intentional understatement; it doesn't mean anyone called it impossible. He is saying it's not as hard as people are making it out to be.

No one ever said it would be hard for OP to secure an IP lit/trans position from an upper T14, which is the nonexistent claim stativus seems to be rebutting.

The two claims that were made were, 1) (My earlier post) The (lack of) utility of doing a Master's. The Bachelor's is already enough for everything except prosecution, and the Master's still won't be enough for prosecution. So the Master's doesn't really add value. And 2) (Dads707's post) the ease (or lack thereof) of landing IP-related BigLaw work from a T20 law school.

Take all this together and this is why folks ITT have been advocating for OP to attend a higher-ranked school and/or a lower-ranked school with more $. No one suggested that OP would struggle from an upper T14.

this is an old post by now but I wanted to clarify that by patent law I specifically meant patent prosecution. I am going for patent prosecution with just a b.s. in bio, so I am disputing the statement that a master's isn't enough. I did some prosecution-related work my 1L summer and I'm returning for my 2L summer. I will be taking the patent bar in my 3L year and using that after I graduate.

Very unusual and definitely the exception. Top-tier prosecution practices want and expect Ph.D.s for their life sciences prosecutors. If forced to choose between taking someone with a Ph.D. but a non-T14 J.D., or a T14 J.D. with just a life sciences B.S., they'd almost always take the Ph.D.

There may be a bit of wiggle room with some firms that don't really separate out their prosecution group, and a T14 student might be able to apply to such an "integrated" group to do transactional work and/or litigation, and then network and slide in to the prosecution group over the summer. But again, not the norm, and even if doable I wouldn't really recommend that anyone follow that path as their lack of advanced degree will hold them back down the road if/when they want to lateral or go in-house. There are still prosecution partners who made it back when you could do life sciences prosecution without a Ph.D., but there aren't really any new prosecution juniors like that anymore.

Yes, I agree that it's comparatively unusual, but that's why I specified that I didn't have great grades and I didn't have any prior work experience when I applied to my firm. I honestly don't think I had anything going for me other than the name value of my school. I wanted to show op that it's not a pipe dream. I also don't know exactly what you mean by 'top-tier' prosecution practices, but mine at least paid market value (it's a boutique), and there were a few other attorneys there that only had a BS in biology.

At the end of the day though, you're right--this isn't the safest method. Having better credentials is obviously more effective, but that's true in any field. OP can't change the past, so all I wanted to do was let op know that they had options.

Edit: it's definitely true that they'd take a bio PhD over me any day, but how many bio PhDs are there really going to be? At my law school, there wasn't a single one.

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Re: 3.2 GPA/172 LSAT; Chances at T20?

Postby LSATWiz.com » Mon May 27, 2019 11:29 am

A former tutor of ours had well under a 3.0 and a 176, and snagged a # of t-14's with money. It's possible. Splitter cycles can be unpredictable, because the basic notion of a splitter is you (1) have a number below the median and (2) a number above the median. An LSAT of a 172+ tends to be more rare than a GPA of a 3.85+ (talking about t-14 medians) so it's therefore more valuable.

This all means that a 2.7/175 and 3.0/175 both have the same impact on a school's medians so schools can theoretically pick the candidate they find more impressive/likable notwithstanding one clearly having better numbers than the other. I'd focus on getting your apps in good order. I'm not sure a 3.3 vs. a 3.2 will make a difference for admissions beyond showing you have had an upward trend. I do think this is the rare situation where good application materials are probably more valuable than .1 or so in GPA. I've heard good things about Spivey (no affiliation) if you're looking to use someone, but you can probably do this stuff on your own.



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