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   Author  Topic: BME and BIoinformatics career questions  (Read 1097 times)
Will
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BME and BIoinformatics career questions
« on: Apr 15th, 2004, 5:28pm »
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I recently sent this post to Ted, a poster in this forum, who has posted a little on this topic himself.  I thought I would post it to see if anyone else had an opinion or advice.
 
A little backgroud:  I'm a 24 year old 1L at Hofstra law and am concurrently enrolled at New Jersey Institute of Technology in their MS-computational molecular biology program (summers).  I also have a MBA from Utexas.
 
1.  I'd like to work at law firm or in-house concentrating almost entirely on licensing and commercialization of research.  I'd also be posed to do biotech/bioinformatics venture capital, start-up, valuation etc...  Do you think I will be able to find a position in a firm like this?  It's not quite patent prosecution but not quite corporate securities.  
 
2. Do you think the firms care if I have a MS in comp bio or do I need a Phd?  
 
3. I also have an opportunity to do a dual degree at NJIT with the comp bio, an MS in BME.  It wouldn't take me any longer, would just be more student loans.  Do law firms care if I have both of these backgrounds?   I would focus on coursework that could put me in  a nice intersection of proteomics and drug delivery mechanisms, in addition to DNA computing, human-machine interfacing and personalized medicince.
 
4. Is there anyway I could go directly in-house out of law school?  I've heard it's possible for patent attorneys, I know its almost impossible for anyone else.
 
Ideally, I'd like to practice law for about 4-5 years and then move into biotech VC or biotech start-ups as a businessman.  
 
Are there positions in boutique firms that do this kind of hybrid licensing patent/corporate securities work?  How do I approach firms that will want me to do patent prosecution/litigation only?  I would certainly take the Patent bar if I had to, but I don't plan on practicing law my entire life and don't want to focus on patent prosecution if I don't have to, although I certainly could if I needed to in order to expand into other areas.  
 
Let me know if you have any opinion on any of this.  Or anything else you think I might need to think about.
 
Thanks in advance.  I can't get much qualified  advice since this is a pretty specialized career track.  
 
-Will
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harris
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Re: BME and BIoinformatics career questions
« Reply #1 on: Apr 15th, 2004, 9:10pm »
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Hi Will,
  I suggest you post this on the career discussion forum at bio.com.
  http://www.bio.com/careercenter
  I'm sure you'll get a lot of information and useful advice.Wish you the best.
Harris
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JimIvey
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Re: BME and BIoinformatics career questions
« Reply #2 on: Apr 16th, 2004, 9:19am »
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Hi Will,
 
1. Re licensing practices.  Yes, there are positions in which the attorney focuses primarily on licensing.
 
2. MS vs. PhD.  Firms will care, but it's not exactly clear how much.  I recently met a biotech attorney at an evening forum and I asked her how much PhDs matter.  She says it helps, but she also works with people with only a bachelors.  I guess once someone gives you a chance, it's all about whether you can get the work done.  I believe the PhD will help, but I can't say whether it will help enough to justify the time and expense and effort to get the PhD.
 
3.  Like higher degress (see 2. above), additional degrees will always help.  The question is "how much?" and whether it's enough to justify the costs (time, money, effort) to get the additional degree.  I can't say whether it will help that much.
 
4.  Even patent practice is difficult to start inhouse rather than in private practice (firm/solo).  I suspect licensing is even more difficult to start inhouse vs. in a firm.  
 
Your ideal practice is relatively common here in the Silicon Valley.  It's been a while since I loitered around Palo Alto Square, but Cooley Godward used to have a reputation for focusing on biotech and for having an emphasis in licensing moreso than prosecution.  As a licensing attorney in the Silicon Valley, you meet many principals in startups and many VCs.  As you build these relationships over the years, you learn of various opportunities in various roles in startups and VC groups.  
 
So, in short, the type of practice you want exists, and I can say for certain that it exists here in the Silicon Valley.  I understand there are other geographical regions of startup activity, but I can't say much about the legal culture in those places.  Perhaps others here can say something about that.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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Will
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Re: BME and BIoinformatics career questions
« Reply #3 on: Apr 19th, 2004, 6:12pm »
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Thanks for all your help guys.  Jim I really appreciate you taking the time to come up with an answer for me.  If there is anything I can do for you let me know.  
 
-will
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