Being an engineer at a law school is not as easy as one might think. Engineers generally have math and science skills that are very different than the legal field.
Being in law school, engineers may feel overwhelmed by the amount of workload and classwork they need to complete. Engineers with less experience may not be able to keep up with the text material if they do not understand it.
However, it is possible to learn how to adjust as they go along. They will have the chance to find out what topics will be easier for them and work on those first while trying not to fall behind in other subjects.
Here I’ll talk about the five most important things engineers need to know before going to law school.
Things Should Engineers Need to Know Before Going to Law School
There are many engineers who would like to go to law school and become a lawyer. If you do decide on this path, it is recommended to learn the basics of contract law so they can help clients understand whose side you take when developing their contracts.
To be able to work with clients in all aspects of technology and business law, it is important to know about patent law and copyright law.
Also, civil cases will involve a lot of the engineering process steps, so knowing more about these topics can help you understand what is happening in courtrooms across America.
1. Understand the legal system
Engineers are only required one year of law classes to become engineers, so they aren’t familiar with the legal system and how it works.
Law school students have three years’ worth of material to cover, including the course of their first-year contract, which is a difficult class.
Engineers may have to read several cases while at law school, making it hard to really understand what the case is about and/or why they are reading the case.
It will help engineers learn more about the legal system before attending law school or take a course on it to get detailed information.
2. More research and reading
Law students spend most of their time doing research along with readings from textbooks rather than writing papers like engineering students do.
In order to carry heavier law school-friendly backpacks, they should choose bigger backpacks before coming.
Engineering students generally write essays based on textbook material.
Still, at a law school, there will be lots of complex concepts that engineers need to understand by themselves instead of relying upon the textbook which makes reading important for understanding texts.
3. Learn how to write a thesis paper
Law schools expect all students to write thesis papers in the form of a lawsuit. Although engineers may use computer software such as AutoCAD or SolidWorks to draw, they are not really trained on how to write a good essay for formal writing.
Engineers will need to understand how to format their research papers before going on with their thesis, especially if they don’t want to look like amateurs.
They should ask upperclassmen about the proper way to formatting and structuring an academic law school paper.
4. Study hard
It’s harder than engineering! According to Princeton Review, students must work even harder at law school than in engineering programs, so it will be very difficult without enough preparation.
Engineers are used to working a lot, so they can handle the amount of work in law school. But they need to focus on understanding the information rather than just memorizing what is written in their textbook.
Engineers should read more cases and look for legal articles, especially if their background does not have a lot of experience with this type of research.
5. Studying in the library
Law students are required to study and research a lot more than engineers when they are in their 2L year. So you need to carry all the essentials especially you never want to leave behind any must have items for law school.
Upperclassmen know that this can be overwhelming, but it does get better as they continue on with law school.
So my advice is never to give up and keep going! Good luck everyone!
Why engineers should consider law school?
If you are an engineer, then you already have a hard-working and smart background. All law schools look for is someone who can prep well before attending law school.
It’s important that engineers know how to write a paper specifically in the legal sense, which means not only learning how to cite your sources but becomes an issue of using terms correctly, telling a story with facts and reasoning it out from there, knowing what nuances need to be conveyed (and what ones don’t matter), etc.
I’m sure many more things apply as well but this is my honest summary of my 1L year at Harvard Law School (my thoughts are based on the first-hand experience).
If you already understand engineering and its concepts really well and convey them well, then law school shouldn’t be as hard for you.
Also, unlike engineering, which rewards one’s ability to solve problems and make good arguments, they reward people who can memorize lots of information really fast so it will be important for engineers to focus on remembering so many things.
Can you work as both an engineer and a lawyer simultaneously?
The answer is a maybe. For example, you can work in the patent field which tries to reduce “patent wars” between different companies.
Many patents are being contested and sides are being taken that could eventually lead to lawsuits – this is what lawyers specialize in!
Sometimes if both parties cannot come up with a solution for themselves by talking it over, then lawyers will need to step in and settle the case.
It’s important to be very convincing when presenting facts that support one’s claim. Having solid evidence and strong reasoning skills is necessary for engineers who decide to go into business law or other fields.
Some people may think that because of my background, I would automatically recommend going to law school because of its high salary potential after graduation but I don’t think that way.
I’m not telling people to go there because of the money – at least, not just for the money – but rather because it’s a really rewarding career path if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
Law school is difficult, but this is true for all careers (and grad schools). It will take hard work and dedication on your part, but then again aren’t those qualities necessary for any job?
There are many reasons why engineers should consider law school but not everyone has the same goal in mind so it’s up to you to decide if a career in law is right for you.
I would like to end this article by saying, “Good luck!” and “Don’t give up!”.
So what do you think?
Mandy is a veteran blogger who has been writing about outdoor fashion and gear for over ten years. She’s constantly on the lookout for new products to share with readers, and she rarely turns down an opportunity to check out what’s new in this growing field. Mandy loves being outdoors as much as possible, which is why she spends her free time sharing tips and tricks with other active people looking to improve their lifestyle.