Law School and Engineering
by Guest Student | August 2, 2018
Today’s blog features Brian Kulp, a 2017 B.S. Chemical Engineering Ohio State graduate. Brian is currently a J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School.
What sparked your interest in applying to law school?
Although nobody I knew had practiced law, my family had always been sufficiently connected to the legal world. First, entrenched in the pharmaceutical industry, my parents dealt indirectly with intellectual property and regulatory issues. Second, my grandpa frequently served as an expert witness for litigation regarding the paper industry, aiding the jury in cases which cut across a broad swath of legal topics. However, the ultimate spark came from two places—my internships and my reading. Through internships with Prosoft Clinical and ExxonMobil, I realized that wherever my projects went, a legal problem would confront or constrain me. Consequently, I began to read anything I could get my hands on about the law and was instantly hooked.
You currently work as a Summer Associate with Morrison & Foerster LLP. Can you share what a typical day looks like as a Summer Associate?
Summer Associates have the unique luxury of working on assignments normally given to regular associates without the normal pressures of working as one, and so possess the ability to both learn deliberately and make an impact from the beginning. Working in the patent group this summer, a typical day comprises three things: (i) drafting recommendations to our clients (i.e. Apple) for how to respond to the US Patent and Trademark Office and facilitate the patent procurement process, (ii) working on argumentative tasks such as writing briefs to be submitted to appellate courts reviewing a device’s patentability, and (iii) attending one of the fantastic events the firm puts on for the Summer Associates in the evening.
Law school applications involve a lot of time and effort. Do you have any tips for the application process?
Your application requires, inter alia, your GPA, LSAT (or GRE) score, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation.
- GPA – this is an important part of the application that you are luckily already (hopefully) taking seriously!
- LSAT – the LSAT is not to be taken lightly, but it is a highly learnable test. There are so many resources out there. In the interest of brevity, I’d recommend the PowerScore Bibles and Official LSAT Practice Tests, and then look to blogs and forums to see what else may work for you.
- Personal Statement – it is just that—a personal statement. Talk about what is important to you in a way that hopefully conveys your interest in law school and why you are a unique candidate. Once you are finished a draft, find someone who has been through the process or who is a great writer who may be able to help you edit it.
- Letters of Recommendation – get to know your professors well by going to office hours, performing well in their classes in particular, and remaining in touch even when you are not taking a class with them.
- Early applications – Law schools use rolling admissions and so the earlier you apply, the better your chances are.
What advice would you offer to engineering students who are considering law school?
Step onto campus with an open mind. At graduation, you receive a general J.D. as opposed to a specialized major as in undergrad, so explore your options. I would have never predicted how fascinating I could find the law, how intrigued I would be by appellate litigation, or how many friends I would make with such a breadth of interests.
Additional information about law school and engineering is available in the Resource Library of Handshake. Engineering students interested in pre-law for engineers at Ohio State are encouraged to contact Pre-Law Advisor, Barry Tolchin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
"If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already." – Abraham Lincoln