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   Age Descrimination
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passedit
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Re: Age Descrimination
« Reply #10 on: Sep 29th, 2006, 11:09am »
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on Sep 28th, 2006, 4:39pm, Depressed_EE wrote:
Is the issue of age descrimination in law firms (Big, Medium, Small) as bad as it is in Commercial EE ?
 
I mean, is it the case that regardless of ages, a lawyer with more experience will always be valued more than a lawyer with less experience ?
 

 
One more thing: I don't know the source of your woes but you really should get off the depression kick. Unless you've shown an actually "they told me I was too old" story, then you can't use your potential experience as a patent agent to reflect your prior "life" as an engineer.  
 
In general, I found that aerospace wasn't where it's at and they "flog" their engineers until they reach 45-50 and then put them out to pasture in favor of some 30 soemthing Masters candidate who will work at the same or lesser amount of money. It's an eye opening experience to hear about that stuff. I'm now in my mid 40's and have accepted that type of stuff as reality and have chosen to lateral over to a law/patent career.  
 
At least my chances are better in this field to get a job than as an engineer. Good luck!  
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smgsmc
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Posts: 269
Re: Age Descrimination
« Reply #11 on: Sep 29th, 2006, 12:24pm »
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on Sep 29th, 2006, 9:50am, Wiscagent wrote:
I donít know if I am typical of ďolderĒ individuals getting into the patent field, but Iíll share my experience for whatever itís worth. †I have a B.S. in chemistry. †I worked in various product development and research roles for more than twenty five years, accruing a number of patents (as an inventor).  
 
At that time I took a lateral move to a patent facilitator role (i.e. patent liaison, patent engineer). †I enjoyed the work and I also recognized that having stronger patent-related skills would be advantageous for my career. †I studied, took and passed the patent bar exam. †I continued in my role as a patent facilitator and also did limited preparation and prosecution of patent applications.
 
A few months ago I was informed that my services were no longer needed. †So at age 54 I started looking for a new job. †It was quickly apparent to me that I had a better chance of getting a job as a patent agent rather than going back into the lab. †To Isaacís point, I didnít reinvent myself Ė I leveraged my experience. †Iím glad to report that I will start my new job as a patent searcher / patent agent next week.
 
Iím sure that my age counted against me to some extent, also I have limited experience doing regular patent agent work; but that was balanced with having more than 31 years of experience as a scientist, having been granted 22 US patents, and having a practical understanding of business aspects of intellectual property.
 
Potential employers may consider new graduates (lawyer, PhD, BS, etc.) who are otherwise inexperienced as being interchangeable. †But a few decades after graduation, the more experienced job applicant needs to have some distinctive characteristics to make them stand out from the crowd.

 
 
Actually, your example proves my point.  You didn't step out of the engineering world cold into the patent agent world.  You were already working as a "patent facilitator,"  that is you did have IP/patent experience, even if not specifically as a patent agent.  I've talked to a number of people who made the transition from experienced (older) engineer to patent agent.  In each instance, they went through an intermediate phase such as yours...that is, they worked in some form of IP, tech marketing, whatever, first.  My original plan was to transfer from engineering to IP (not necessarily as a patent agent, but as a tech writer/tech specialist/tech market support. ) Unlike you, however, I was declared redundant before I made the move.  Additionally, that whole IP group got declared redundant shortly thereafter.   I haven't seen anyone on this board yet (I may have missed it), who has written, "I'm 54.  Got my PhD in Physics.  Worked for 23 yrs in telcom.  Lasted through 10+ rounds of layoffs.  Planned to break the cycle of layoffs by transitioning to IP.  Corporate law programs demolished years ago.  Layoffs caught up with me before I could make the move.  No brother-in-law who's a patent attorney.  No girlfriend who's a CEO of a hi-tech startup requiring in-house engineer to work with outside patent attorney firm.  Landed a great job after I passed patent exam."
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Depressed_EE
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Re: Age Descrimination
« Reply #12 on: Sep 29th, 2006, 8:39pm »
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I'm 28 doing my EE masters, will be done Just short of 29 which is more than 5 years older than most EE masters. So I think I got excuses to be depressed.
 
My question can really be summed as...
 
At what age range, does a Lawyer with 20+ yrs of experience become a prime candidate as a layoff fodder, in favor of a 25ish new law grad (no experience, BUT high GPA and|or Name School), or another lesser experienced lawyer BUT still in his prime ?
 
Isaac or anyone else knowledgable in this subject, please be brutally honest.
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Agent_X
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Posts: 30
Re: Age Descrimination
« Reply #13 on: Sep 30th, 2006, 12:31am »
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Let me preface this by saying I am a 27 year old 2nd year law student.
 
IMO 25 year old new law grads are pretty useless in firms
 
I'm under the impression that it takes a few years of on the job experience for a lawyer to become profitable for the firm that trains him.
 
In patent prosecution specifically the learning curve is approximately 2 years.
 
I am also finding that firms are more receptive to students who have some experience working and demonstrate maturity.  My peers who came straight from undergrad are having completely different interviewing experiences than I am.
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smgsmc
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Posts: 269
Re: Age Descrimination
« Reply #14 on: Sep 30th, 2006, 7:02am »
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While it is important to plan for the future, I believe that it's premature for an engineer in his late 20's/early 30ís to be preoccupied with age discrimination.  (a) Even if you get laid off after 10 yrs, youíll be 40 and still have plenty of time to change careers.  If youíre 54, however, there are fewer options (I know, I know... there are people on this board who have done it). (b) People starting out on engineering careers can learn from the experiences of my generation who advanced in their careers almost solely on their technical skills and then got caught up in massive industry meltdowns (I know, I know...general work experience, teamwork, dealing with bosses from hell can count a lot).  I serve as a mentor in a program for undergrads and grads in science and engineering.  I advise them to take business, language, and writing courses in addition to technical courses.  Gives them an edge, more flexibility, more options in the future.  No one ever gave me that advice. (c) One major financial incentive (besides lower pay for new kids on the block) for corporations to ditch older employees is rapidly disappearing:  defined pension plans.   I wonít go into details here.  But corporations can sneak around age-discrimination suits and ditch older employees who are on the verge of accruing significant (whatever that means these days) pension benefits (costs  $$$ for the corporation).  That wonít be an issue for an engineer now in his late 20ís/early 30ís.
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