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John D
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online JD degree?
« on: Apr 7th, 2007, 6:03pm »
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I'm a patent agent with PhD working for a big company.
I like my job and the salary is ok but it seems to be difficult to get a promotion or move to a more demanding position inside the company because of the lack of law degree. Our in-house patent lawyers are not involved in litigation or in any court room action. Instead, outside attorneys take care of that so in-house patent counsels are just supervising and picking external attorneys, participating patent licensing, drafting etc.
 
So, I would like to get a law degree while working but I have absolutelely no desire to go to (evening) law school (too stressful and too much time away from my family and kids). Instead, I have been thinking about online JD degree. This would give me more freedom and better quality of life during the law school. These are extremely important for me and my family. I know that online law schools are not ABA accredited but I know some online degrees allow you to take the state bar so you would be eligible to practise law, at least in California. I know ABA accredited law school would give me an option to do non-patent work and litigation and non-CA law work in the future, but I have no desire for that. My goal is to stay with the current company, either in the US or overseas.
 
What do you think about online JD degrees that make you eligible for CA state bar? Are they considered as a joke or decent schools by the IP community?
 
What does it actually mean if you are admitted to CA bar and work for a big company with many offices outside CA? Say, if you are based in Georgia (or other state outside CA) and admitted to patent bar and CA bar, can you do inhouse patent licensing ? Does it depend where you live, work or if you do the actual work while visiting company's CA office?
 
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plex
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Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 7th, 2007, 7:18pm »
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Getting a non-accredited degree would limit you to California, and that is it. You cannot practice in any other state. Even in California I would imagine most other companies would not hire you once they found out, because of your extreme lack of mobility, at least in any capacity beyond a patent agent.
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biopico
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Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 7th, 2007, 7:55pm »
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I used to study the law online but then stopped.  I am debating to resume my study of law online unless I move to DC to attend evening law school.  I am spending some of my time to conceive inventive projects, which is challenging.  I don't even have time to think about promotion and such yet.  If I have time to challenge more, maybe that is when I resume my study of law.
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forest
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Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #3 on: Apr 7th, 2007, 7:59pm »
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I agree w/ Plex. I don't think that it's the greatest idea. First, as you've acknowledged, the online degree will give you minimal mobility. Second, there's no guarantee that you'll remain at the company you're currently at forever. You could leave voluntarily someday or be terminated. You never know... If that were t o happen, then all the work you put in to get the online degree might be for nothing, as a degree from a non-accredited school won't go far in getting you employment. Of course, you could be hired as a patent agent based on your quals, but it seems you want more than that. Finally, I think the online degree might be viewed in much lesser light than degrees from accredited schools. Not only by members of the legal community, but also clients. This wouldn't likely affect you if you stayed at a company and worked in-house, but would definitely would if you wanted to enter a firm.
 
 
I think the one thing you should do is talk to your superiors at your company and see what they think. Make sure that they'll even recognize the online degree, etc...
 
Best of luck.
« Last Edit: Apr 7th, 2007, 8:00pm by forest » IP Logged

"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it." ~Albert Einstein
John D
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Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #4 on: Apr 7th, 2007, 8:22pm »
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Thanks for the comments. I intend to remain with the company (or leave the country - I'm a legal resident) so I would have no problems with minimal mobility. Lack of respect for the degree would be a problem, though.
 
Do you think I would be eligible to do patent licensing, contracts or other "laywer things" within the company (if admitted to CA bar) but living outside CA?
 
I wouldn't interact with the clients (since I would work within the company - both in the US and internationally).
 
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