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(Message started by: chekvrosky on Apr 18th, 2006, 4:21pm)

Title: lawyer or agent?
Post by chekvrosky on Apr 18th, 2006, 4:21pm
hello all,

I recently got an admission from a law school.
(ranked around 80th overall)  (preferred not to name it)
sorry

My GPA and LSAT was not too spectacular to get into top schools, but i got a BS degree from cal tech.(which makes me feel little bit better about myself)

I've been hearing everyone talking about going to top law schools, and i am now little concerned about not going to top school.  if i go to the law school ranked so low, is it waste of time or is it still worth of doing it.?

so i should go to the law school, or just forget about it and pursue the career as a patent agent ?

what do you guyz think ???



:P

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by ben101 on Apr 18th, 2006, 7:05pm
Just a fair warning...being in the top 10-15% of your law school class is MUCH easier said than done; especially coming from a technical background.  You have to remember that you are going to be competing head to head with English majors who probably wrote more papers in one semester than you did in your entire college career.  

From my understating, the competition for As in lower ranked schools is incredibly fierce (law school classes are based on STRICT curves, so there is only so many As). A lot of the students in these schools are hoping to transfer to higher ranked schools..all of which require being in the top 10-15% of the class. I can personally tell you that even coming from a decently ranked school, the competition in getting a job is fierce.  You ALWAYS want to go to the highest ranked school possible (unless you are in the top 10% of your class).  

All of that being said...if the city that your law school is located in has a decent market for patent law.. i would go ahead and do it.  There are always alumni in the city's firms that think the world of their old school (no matter how good it is) and will hire these people.

Hope this helps

BEN

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by p@tent.guy on Apr 19th, 2006, 8:58pm
First question: what was your major?

Biotech (and chemical to some extent) has very different technical expectations (PhD/MS) on their attorneys vs. someone with a Physics, EE or ME major (BS, BSEE).

It has been my understanding that excelling in your first year of law school could allow the ability to transfer to a better school later. The typical red flag with scientists is their communication skills - an obvious core competency of law.

Easing that fear may be all you need to get over the hump. Another factor in your favor is that while Law school rankings do not consider where the undergrads went to school - fundamentally it is GPA/LSAT - schools are not ranked based on their transfer students scores.

The money long term will be there in IP law as a lawyer far more than an agent - however, in terms of a corporation, a lawyer is a support staff role.

Being an agent may allow you to work with technology more, obtain patents yourself, and have a more direct contribution to profit and loss. To some extent it is less of the billable hour pressure of a law firm and may also allow you the flexibility to grow in more directions.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by Eliz on Apr 26th, 2006, 8:52pm

on 04/18/06 at 19:05:10, ben101 wrote:
Just a fair warning...being in the top 10-15% of your law school class is MUCH easier said than done; especially coming from a technical background. You have to remember that you are going to be competing head to head with English majors who probably wrote more papers in one semester than you did in your entire college career.

From my understating, the competition for As in lower ranked schools is incredibly fierce (law school classes are based on STRICT curves, so there is only so many As). A lot of the students in these schools are hoping to transfer to higher ranked schools..all of which require being in the top 10-15% of the class. I can personally tell you that even coming from a decently ranked school, the competition in getting a job is fierce. You ALWAYS want to go to the highest ranked school possible (unless you are in the top 10% of your class).

All of that being said...if the city that your law school is located in has a decent market for patent law.. i would go ahead and do it. There are always alumni in the city's firms that think the world of their old school (no matter how good it is) and will hire these people.

Hope this helps

BEN


This is all true.   At my school, the curve is such that in a 1L class, no more than 10% of the class can get As (this includes A-, A, and A+).  It helps me to think of it in actual numbers--i.e. only 2 people max in a class of 20 can get As.  Also, the profs must make the average work out to a B- (2.7 or so).  There is pretty fierce competition for those As.  If you go, be prepared to work your butt off as a 1L.      

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by chekcv on Apr 26th, 2006, 10:56pm
my major is Electrical engineering

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by chekcv on Apr 26th, 2006, 11:01pm
sorry for the late reply P@tent.Guy
my major is EE


so its hard to make A's but easy to make B's right?
im trying to be optimistic here...

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by Isaac on Apr 27th, 2006, 12:54am

on 04/26/06 at 23:01:01, chekcv wrote:
sorry for the late reply P@tent.Guy
my major is EE


so its hard to make A's but easy to make B's right?
im trying to be optimistic here...


I think you are missing the point.  At schools with a higher curve, the typical student graduates with a  high gpa.   A student getting Bs in a school with a low cureve will graduate with a low 3. gpa *and* a mediocre class rank.    If you are attending a lower ranked school you want a good class rank and to graduate with honors if possible.

I'm not sure that the generalization that all lower ranked schools have stiff curves is true, but certainly some lower ranked schools do this because they want to weed out poor students who are at risk for not passing the bar.

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by guest on Apr 27th, 2006, 3:01pm
Go to law school.  It sounds like you got into a decent one.  People have problems when they get a degree from 3rd and 4th tier schools (altough from what I've seen they generally find a job sooner or later). A law degree opens up a lot of different possibilites for work after you hold down a job for 3-4 years.  If you don't like patent work, you can change to a different practice area with a law degree.  

Don't believe all this doom and gloom you here from people about not being able to find a job.  Generally, the people that can't hold down a job have personality issues (e.g., they think know more than the partner, harass female staff, screw things up around the office, etc.), which keeps getting them fired.  Moreover, the amount of people doing the hiring is smaller than they think, so after they've screwed up about 3 jobs, word has gotten around.  They also screw up interviews, cover letter, resumies, networking events, etc.  Another catagory of lawyers who have problems finding work are the ones that majored in art, philosophy, or have some other non-practical BA degree.

With regard to patent law, I agree with the guy's post above who said a lot depends on whether or not you can communicate.  It never ceased to amaze me that people with Ph.D's and MS's in addition to a J.D., were incapable of following simple directions, couldn't write a basic buisness letter (much less a patent app.), and couldn't understand simple points.  It makes you wonder what the heck is going on in academia.  A lot of the CS guys have major problems communicating, especially the ones that are foreign born (and in some cases 1st generation immagrants).  This stems from problems with the language (something very important in law), and cultural problems, which manifest themselves when it comes to relating to other employees and clients.

Another factor to consider is in what subject you have the BS.  CS and EE are hot right now.  Computer Engenering is pretty good to.  Some of the other areas aren't as hot.  However, I've met plenty of attornies with a BS in biology or chemical engenering who are working in the patent field.  Maybe it's harder to find a job and you can't jump around as much, but it's definatly possible.

Oh yeah, one other thing, take the patent bar and pass it before law school or during your second year.  It makes it easier to find a job, and you're going to have to pass it sooner or later anyway.

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by advice on Sep 8th, 2006, 9:53am
just make sure you really want to be a lawyer, and don't ignore the cost of law school.  borrowing money now is a lot different than paying it back later.

if you have a chance to go to a pretty decent school with a free ride, I'd suggest that.  No matter where you go, it helps to do well.  and while you may be competing with english majors, at the end of the day, you want a job doing patent work, and you will have something they don't -- a technical degree.  it doesn't matter if they have better grades than you if you're not competing for the same job at the end of the day.

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by Justin on Sep 8th, 2006, 10:41am
Just a little info that may help you out.

I had a 154 lsat score, excellent grades in undergrad receiving my BSME.  I was accepted into a tier 2 school, late 70s ranking.

I did my first year and made all Bs and 2 B+s.  I was then able to transfer into a tier 1 school (high 40s).

So my collective GPA was a bit over a 3.0 at my first year school and I was able to transfer in.

Now I will warn you that there is definately some correlation between your legal skills and the LSAT.  I was a good student at the tier 2 school, now at the tier 1, I am mostly average.

My advice for anyone considering transferring is to have damn good reasons for transferring and keep up those grades.

Me, I had a job with an IP firm the spring of my first year, had a wife that was employed in the city where I wanted to transfer and all of my family lived in those areas.  

All of those considerations were likely crucial in transferring in.

Also keep in mind that some schools will create seats for transfer students when none are available.  It depends from school to school though.

Title: Re: lawyer or agent?
Post by IP Attorney at USPTO on Sep 8th, 2006, 4:53pm
Hi,
I am seeking some guidance regarding career prospects of a patent attorney with PTO experience.
I have substantial scientific experience in Organic/Biochem area.  I recently graduated from a lawschool with ranking in the 50-60.  I have already passed the patent bar and I am reasonably confident that I will pass the NJ bar.  Currently, I am looking for a position and I have an offer from the PTO to start as an examiner.  If I take the position at PTO I will have to leave in no more than four years.  My questions are;
1.  Would the PTO experience help or hurt in 3-4 years?
2.  Would it preclude me from getting a litigation position?
3.  What are large and mid-size firms' view of PTO expereince?
4.  Will I be able to start at a second year or third year level at a firm with the PTO experience?

Thanks for your input.



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