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   High School Student Interested in Patent Law
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   Author  Topic: High School Student Interested in Patent Law  (Read 1108 times)
whiterabbit
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High School Student Interested in Patent Law
« on: Jul 1st, 2005, 9:57am »
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As I enter my senior year in high school I have started wondering what I want to do with my life.  Law has always piqued my interest (albeit from over-glamorized  television shows like Law and Order and novels by John Grisham) and after reasearching a bit, patent law looks like the place to be.  I have a few questions, though, and after glancing through the forums for a bit I didn't see any threads with the answers, so I figured I'd start a new topic.
 
First of all, from what I've gleaned, patent lawyers and attorneys mostly get their BS in Engineering and then move on to law school for their patent degree.  I know I'm fully capable of doing such, but I was wondering if getting my BS in any other field would fatten my wallet all that more.  I know that it shouldn't be about the money (or so they tell you), but I don't know what my passion is right now, however I do know money opens a lot of doors later in life for such an epiphany.  That being the case, what would you guys recommend getting my degree in before patent law to be the cream of the crop?
 
Second, I'm fairly sure that I'm going to go ahead and go to a state school to get my undergraduate degree, however, should I go to a state school to study patent law or should I enroll in a much more expensive private college?  I don't mind going extremely in debt by going to a private school if it's going to enable me to get the best job available.  So I guess my question really is, do firms pay a lot of attention to where you go to school or should I not worry about it?
 
Last but not least, and I apologize in advance for my question because I'm sure it's been addressed on these forums several times, how's the job market once you pass the bar?  I perused the USPTO roster and it looked to me like there are several attorneys in my state alone (Colorado), so I was curious as to the competition for actually being hired by a firm.  Any help here is the icing on the cake, as this is almost a decade away and the job market is probably going to change quite a bit.
 
Any answers or comments are greatly appreciated and thank you for your time.
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melwrc
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Re: High School Student Interested in Patent Law
« Reply #1 on: Jul 1st, 2005, 4:38pm »
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Go to a good school for engineering or heavy science.  Ranking does matter for getting into a good law school and for getting a law job later.  Electrical, Software, and Mechanical are safe bets.  Biotech often requires a phd to get a good job.  Some of the pure science majors have a similar problem.
 
Then go to as high of a ranked law school as you can manage.  Public or private isn't what's important.  Rank is.  I'm not necessarily saying that ranking means the education is truly better, it just makes finding a job easier.
 
Colorado has a very light IP market.  The Boston area, NY, DC, So. Cal, Bay Area, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and Austin are the big IP areas that I am aware of.  Seattle and Atlanta also have good mkts.  Basically, really big cities are where the IP work is.  No matter what the mkt, getting an IP job is very competitve, which is why I emphasize school rankings.  Also, your grades will have a big effect, especially if you go straight from your BS to your JD without getting technical work experience in between.  IP is getting more competitive as more and more people realize that other legal areas are saturated and there is good money to be made in the field.
 
No one on this board will be able to predict what the IP market will be like in 8 years, so I suggest reassessing your decision throughout your undergrad career.  If you get a mainstream BS, you will have alternatives to a legal career if you change your mind or it looks like IP law is cooling off.
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guest
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Re: High School Student Interested in Patent Law
« Reply #2 on: Jul 1st, 2005, 7:02pm »
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Get through college first.
 
You're way too young to be even thinking about this.
 
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Jonathan
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Re: High School Student Interested in Patent Law
« Reply #3 on: Jul 1st, 2005, 8:06pm »
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on Jul 1st, 2005, 7:02pm, guest wrote:
Get through college first.
 
You're way too young to be even thinking about this.
 

 
 
That's ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with having well-defined career goals. Even better so that the OP has a clear direction so early in life.
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PiP
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Re: High School Student Interested in Patent Law
« Reply #4 on: Jul 4th, 2005, 8:06pm »
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Be aware that you might develop different interests in college...
 
That said, go to the highest name college you can get into.  Ivy League, NESCAC, big name school that have law programs...places like this.  Take just enough classes to get your major done (preferably some sort of engineering) but use ALL of your free time for fluff classes and having fun, because that is what college is all about.  I say this because you are so ahead of the game at this point that it is easy to say, "Oh, I could use some knowledge from this or that hard class..." and there goes college fun!  Forget that attitude and just make sure you have high enough grades (3.6+).  
 
Keep an eye out for law schools who accept you after junior year if you are really into this IP law thing.  To do this, prepare for and take LSATs after sophomore year.  One less year in college is less tution money wasted and one more year of making money.  Think of skipping that last year as a potential $200k turnaround considering tuition money not spent and 1st year salary as an attorney.  I wish I'd done it!
 
Spend your 1st summer out of HS having fun, but do IP law related summer internships so that you can have something to talk about in your essays and have something to back yourself up experience-wise when you get to law school.  In addition, this work may get your foot in the door for summer associateships during law school and a job when you graduate with your JD.  You could even end up getting them to pay for your law schooling if you work there after college and are willing to do night law school (only available at some law schools.)  Like melwrc said, Colorado is not a hotbed for IP law.  Set yourself up on one of the coasts...that is best.  
 
Yeah, so in the real world money is absolutely critical.  People just don't mention it.
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