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Becoming a Patent Agent/Lawyer
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   Going into college next year...steer me
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   Author  Topic: Going into college next year...steer me  (Read 2503 times)
bjr
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Re: Going into college next year...steer me
« Reply #10 on: Dec 11th, 2006, 2:52pm »
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If it's feasible, I would suggest enrolling in Penn's electrical engineering program.  Landing that first patent law job might be more difficult with a general engineering degree from a liberal arts college.
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Needadvice
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Re: Going into college next year...steer me
« Reply #11 on: Dec 11th, 2006, 7:16pm »
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on Dec 11th, 2006, 2:52pm, bjr wrote:
If it's feasible, I would suggest enrolling in Penn's electrical engineering program.  Landing that first patent law job might be more difficult with a general engineering degree from a liberal arts college.
I considerred penn but ti seems half my school is applying there and I really dont want to go through the hassle, especially when im not sure how much id like it there.  
 
I really want to go to Swarthmore. Is it going to be a huge impediment? I figure that if I do well at swarthmore, I can go to a top law school. Assuming I do well at a top law school, if I pass the patent bar will finding a job really be tough because i only have a degree in general engineering with an ee concentration  
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wblaw
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Re: Going into college next year...steer me
« Reply #12 on: Dec 12th, 2006, 8:25pm »
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To answer you original question, probably the best double majors would be either a foreign language (like Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, German), or something were you will do a lot of writing.  This advice applies even if you don't end up going the patent attorney route: adding a foreign language, or improving your communication and writing skills is a big plus in my view.  Many engineers are terrible writers, and it can slow down your career.
 
It seems unusual that someone in high school would want to be a patent attorney.  I think the road for most patent attorneys starts by becoming disgruntled engineers first.  Which means if you are planning on getting an engineering degree, you should be willing to practice for about five years.  You'll learn what it's really like, and be able to communicate with practicing engineers.
 
As far as going to Swarthmore, just realize that you're taking the road less traveled.  If you're thinking of double-majoring in liberal arts, you might consider an Ivy, or an engineering school with other strong departments instead (if you can get into Swarthmore, you can probably get into an Ivy).  The bigger engineering departments are going to have more resources (bigger better lab equipment, clean rooms, etc.), more specialized programs and faculty, but you'll still get lots of faculty contact (all the lectures and recitations in my department were taught by professors).  And, people hiring you will have gone to your school, or know someone that has, and have a better idea of what your program is about.
 
That said, I can see why you might choose to go to Swarthmore, and it's not going to kill your career - Steve Jobs went to a Reed, for example, but it's going to be a bit harder.  Remember that you're seven years out at the earliest from practicing law - a lot can change.  (I know I wanted to go for a Ph.D., and I am soooooo glad I didn't)  You might also look at majoring in physics as an alternative - there are quite a few patent attorneys with physics degrees because they tend to have excellent independent analytical skills.
 
Good Luck.
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