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Posts: 59
Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #15 on: Apr 9th, 2007, 7:47am »
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on Apr 8th, 2007, 9:31pm, John D wrote:
thanks for the great feedback.
So what I understand now, passing CA bar (and patent bar) would allow you to call yourself a Patent Attorney in the US (even outside CA).  
I'm still a bit confused about what one would be eligible to do as an in-house Patent Attorney outside CA. Is it so that in-house patent attorney (online JD+CA bar) can do patent licensing, contracts, and negotiating deals for the company? What about giving legal advise about patent infringiment (as an in-house counsel)?
Can anybody do that in-house (in other words, can our janitor draft contracts for the company, assuming the company is fine with it?)
I understand that representing external clients (like when working for a law firm) is strictly limited to CA. I would not have any problems with that. On the other hand, in CA you would be eligible to do everything (just like ABA-accredited attorney) even though good (law) firms would probably not hire you.
I'm also a bit unclear about the respect for the online JD degree but if it makes you eligible to state bar, it cannot be totally useless.
In anycase, online JD study looks much more convenient (less stress, more freedom and time with the family). I would hate to spend every evening at school and stress about that. I found this comment from markus in some other thread similar to what I think about law school:
I would hope that online school is much less stressful.

I wouldn't be scared off by that quote. It sounds to me like he just couldn't hack it and is trying to bring others down.
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"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it." ~Albert Einstein
Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #16 on: Apr 9th, 2007, 5:12pm »
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California allows anyone to take the state bar as long as they have studied law for a certain number of hours.  Your study can be through any school, ABA approved or not or you can study under a currently licensed California attorney.  This is why the bar passage rate is so low in California.  If you look at the ABA approved passage rate, it is significantly higher than the overall pass rate.  The top 100 ABA ranked schools in California have pass rates around 70%.  The lower ranked schools are improving their pass rates by offering bar review courses as part of their curriculum.  If you do not go to an ABA approved school, you have to take the first year exam after your first year of law school before you are allowed to sit for the bar exam.  Most state bar exams consist of two parts, the multistate bar exam (covers the general law in the US) and the state bar exam (covers the general law in the state).  California is extra special because they have two days of state testing, where as most states only have one day of state testing.  
As for working in-house, three out of four of the attorneys at the company I work at have out of state licenses.  Because patent law falls under federal jurisdiction, you can practice patent law anywhere in the US after you pass the California bar exam.  However, many law firms want their attorney's to be licensed in the state they are practicing in, mainly because they do not want their attorney's to be limited in what they can and cannot do.
While distance learning sounds attractive, in reality, it is incredibly demanding, possibly even more so than going to a university.  Law school is based on the Socratic method, so a lot of what you learn comes from other people's interpretation of the cases.  I always find it interesting in class on what other students find important, often times it is very different from what I thought was important.  This is something that you will not get with distance learning.  Also, there is a ridiculous amount of reading, two to three case books that are 700-800 pages and yes you will be reading every page.  Going to class, knowing that you may be called on forces you to keep up with the reading.  With distance learning it would be really easy to fall behind.  Lastly, to succeed in law school, it has to be your number one or number two priority.  If you are working, that means your family comes after law school.  I've met several people at school that are making it work, but their spouses are fully supporting their decision and are understanding that sacrifices have to be made.
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John D
Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #17 on: Apr 9th, 2007, 8:07pm »
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thanks guest1 for the comments.  
you can practice patent law anywhere in the US after you pass the California bar exam.

Can they draft contracts and do patent licensing out of CA, as inhouse counsels?  
knowing that you may be called on forces you to keep up with the reading.

This is one of the reasons why I'm not going to evening school. I enjoy reading a lot, but I'm introvert and I get very stressed out for waiting to get called. I know that does not sound very lawyery, but I'd not be going to be a court room lawyer, in any case. I would seek online JD degree only for inhouse purposes and to educate me in general.
I'm relative confident that I can manage distant learning and study alone and pass the bar exam. This is the kind of challenge I have always salivated.  
Anyway, I will think about this for a few months whether this makes sense for me.
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Posts: 6
Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #18 on: Apr 10th, 2007, 8:05am »
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There have always been a few states that allow one to 'read for the bar', that is to either apprentice under a licensed lawyer, or be sponsored and engage in self study. California has taken this further and has a state program that will license trade schools, including certain JD programs. I believe in Alaska one can simply send in a notice that they are reading for the law and are sponsored by a licensed lawyer. Perhaps there are a few other states that still allow this. In the early 20th century this was a very common means to become a lawyer. Law school was an option, but not a prerequisite in all states.  
On line study seems like an interation on the very well established history of "reading for the bar" and may work to allow one the prerequiste to sit for the bar. I would not expect that it would be easy, however, with this unorthodox training path, to readily find a starting position in a larger well established legal practice, be it a firm or a corporation, immediately after passing the bar. I expect one would have to work their way up through a small firm, avail themselves to the random hiring standards and low relative pay of public sector employment or go solo and after a few years parlay their actual legal experience and proven ability in court or before the USPTO into a lateral transfer into a higher paying situation.
Remember that the vast majority of ones "employment competition" went to ABA accredited law programs, have a built in network of alumni, and tend to be the only choice from the pool of 1st and second year applicants by the already established partners and General Counsel who almost without exception took the same path to becoming a lawyer.  
PS: Abe Lincoln read for the law and did not attend law school. If you have enough talent and drive you can achive remarkable things against tough odds. I hope that anyone who really wants to provide meaningful services to others as a lawyer finds a means to do it. I have been a lawyer for 25 years. It is, at its core, a profession that permits the individual to earn a decent living through doing social good.
« Last Edit: Apr 10th, 2007, 8:11am by LEX » IP Logged
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Posts: 843
Re: online JD degree?
« Reply #19 on: Apr 10th, 2007, 8:41am »
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I believe that in New York State a person can attend law school for one  year, then apprentice with an attorney for some period; and that qualifies the individual to take the bar exam.
I doubt that option is used very much at all, compared to the usual attend, graduate law school, then take the bar exam.
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Richard Tanzer
Patent Agent
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