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   2 paths - IP (Law) or MBA?
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   Author  Topic: 2 paths - IP (Law) or MBA?  (Read 5025 times)
Drew83
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Re: 2 paths - IP (Law) or MBA?
« Reply #20 on: Apr 25th, 2006, 7:33pm »
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Thanks for the advice.  I have spoken to a couple of IP attorney's, however, not so much with people in the sales/marketing field.  I must say that I got a much better vibe from speaking with the attorney's then I do reading forums like this....  
 
I am assuming that you are a practicing attorney.  I understand that you dont "have " to work the crazy hours, however, isnt it a trade off with salary?
 
And then once you become partner (assuming that you stay with the firm), it seems that you would need to be there (at the firm) ALL the time....which relates back to the crazy hours.
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guest
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Re: 2 paths - IP (Law) or MBA?
« Reply #21 on: Apr 27th, 2006, 3:48pm »
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I am assuming that you are a practicing attorney.
 
yeah, I'm a praticing attorney.  
 
 
I must say that I got a much better vibe from speaking with the attorney's then I do reading forums like this....  
 
That's because the attorneys know what they're talking about  Wink
 
 
I understand that you dont "have " to work the crazy hours, however, isnt it a trade off with salary?
 
Yes and no.  For example, compare a 1st year attorney in a small firm making 100k, but only working 40 hours a week, with an attorney at a big firm making 120-130K, but working 70-80 hours.  That's a difference of 30-40 hours a week for 20-30K pre-tax.  Now consider taxes, you have to pay 50% or so tax on that 20-30K, so it's relly 10-15K.  Is that worth an extra 30-40 hours per week?  
 
There are somedrawbacks (or pluses depending on your personality) of working at a small firm.  First, you have to produce and be flexable.  They're not going to put up with screw ups and poorly wriitten applications.  The screw ups cost the partner time and money.  Also, clients come and go, so you have to be able to deal with different technologies.  Second, big firm jobs look better on a resume, but they limit you on the technologies you've worked on.  From what I've heard (I was lucky enough never to work at one), big firms pigeon hole people that aren't on a partner track.  I've got an aquantance who worked on different aspects of the same technology for 5 years.  Can you imagine!!?! 70 hours a week, working on the same thing.  Maybe they let you do a little litigation (i.e., going threw a bunch of files and highlighting privlage) or an opinion letter here and there, but it strikes me as pretty boaring.
 
 
 
And then once you become partner (assuming that you stay with the firm), it seems that you would need to be there (at the firm) ALL the time....which relates back to the crazy hours.  
 
Assuming you want to make partner at a big firm.  There are other options available.  If you can make partner you're also competent enough to get a corporate in-house position.  Doesn't pay as much, but so what, it's reasonable hours.  You might as well have time to enjoy the porshe or the time share at the hamptons.  Or if you decide you don't like working that much, you can  find a roommate, legal temp for 3 months or so, and spend the other 9 months lounging around a beach in India, partying in St. Petersburg, or backpacking around South America.  Just don't go to Japan or Western Europe (they're too expensive).
 
Besides, if you want to make the REAL money in patent law (or any law for that matter), you've got to generate your own clients.  You're not going to be able to do that working 80 hours a week in a big firm.  You've got to be out networking (e.g., conventions, engenering societies, science societies, country clubs, etc.).  Considering that writing and filing an application costs 10-15K, if you can do 20 or so a year from home, you've made about as much as a partner in a firm would make.  And fiiling applications is only one aspect of patent law.  Also, if you're an associate or partner and you're working for a firm, but generate your own clinents, you can take a percentage of the profit from that work.  You can also do whatever you feel like with regard to showing up in the office, since you could leave with the clients.
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Isaac
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Re: 2 paths - IP (Law) or MBA?
« Reply #22 on: Apr 28th, 2006, 1:16am »
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on Apr 27th, 2006, 3:48pm, guest wrote:
Yes and no.  For example, compare a 1st year attorney in a small firm making 100k, but only working 40 hours a week, with an attorney at a big firm making 120-130K, but working 70-80 hours.  That's a difference of 30-40 hours a week for 20-30K pre-tax.  Now consider taxes, you have to pay 50% or so tax on that 20-30K, so it's relly 10-15K.  Is that worth an extra 30-40 hours per week?  

 
I think this math is a bit questionable.   Someone working 80 hours a week at a big firm is likely earning a fairly sizable bonus. Quote:
  
 
 I've got an aquantance who worked on different aspects of the same technology for 5 years.  Can you imagine!!?! 70 hours a week, working on the same thing.  Maybe they let you do a little litigation (i.e., going threw a bunch of files and highlighting privlage) or an opinion letter here and there, but it strikes me as pretty boaring.

 
That can happen.   It can also happen that in a small firm you are undercompensated for working just as hard as do large firm attorneys.
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Isaac
Brian Matlock
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Re: 2 paths - IP (Law) or MBA?
« Reply #23 on: Apr 28th, 2006, 11:56am »
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I will add my thoughts to this thread.  I have the dreaded trifecta you mentioned, a JD, MBA and an Engineering background(BS Chemical Engineering).  I also am a Registered Patent Agent.  I worked during days as a patent agent while I attended law school in the evening making a mid-career transition to law.  Although I am still awaiting bar results from having taken the bar exam, I am working at a small firm assisting senior partners with litigation matters.  Lot's of discovery, drafting of motions and briefs.  
 
Upon admission into the bar of my jurisdiction, I would like to focus on what my strengths will be to new clients.  Simply put, the breadth of my experience will be a strength to many clients, probably mostly small to medium size, technology oriented clients.  I think a broad background probably fits best in small to medium size law firms as a result.    
 
As to whether YOU should choose such a route, I only offer this one piece of advice.  Do what you love!  Your background might be well received at a large firm as well as a small one, especially as a litigator.   As to pay differences, I think anyone making representations about making more or less in a small firm versus a large firm is speaking in gross generalities.  Both avenues often excellent opportunities and unfortunate, frustrating circumstances as well.  Only you can be the judge of each individual situation.  
 
Ask yourself this one key question.  Do you enjoy being the subject matter expert or the generalist?  If the latter is your choice, then don't hesitate to go the JD route.  There are plenty of places, such as IP licensing for example, where a background of both the JD AND MBA would be valuable.  On the down side, probably talking five years of school minimum to complete both degrees even working in a joint program.
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Drew83
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Re: 2 paths - IP (Law) or MBA?
« Reply #24 on: May 10th, 2006, 9:13am »
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Thanks again for all your replies -- very helpful.  I've actually taken a break (month or so) from stressing over my career decisions.  
 
I'm taking things one at a time.  As already mentioned, I am currently in a GMAT prep course, soon to be ending.  We'll see what happens...
 
Questions for Brian Matlock:
 
In regards to the MBA did you feel that it helped you much?  Were you still in engineering after you got the MBA, or did you switch to the business side of things?
 
As to the answer to your question -- I would say that I would enjoy being the generalist....
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