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   What are the nation's top IP firms?
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   Author  Topic: What are the nation's top IP firms?  (Read 16810 times)
Mike Robinson
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What are the nation's top IP firms?
« on: Apr 6th, 2004, 3:18pm »
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You know how Vault publishes the list of the top 100 firms in the country with names like Wachtell, Cravath, Sullivan and Cromwell, Skadden Arps, Kirkland and Ellis, etc always at the top of the pack?
 
Well, an aspiring IP lawyer isn't going to have much interest in working at a wall street law firm like Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, and Katz, or a major DC litigation practice like Williams and Connolly.
 
So, is there a similar "official list" of the best intellectual property law firms in the country and a place where you can find data on them like annual profits, partner salaries, etc? As well as data that law students might be interested in such as associate starting salaries and associate/partner ratio, etc?
 
What are the best firms and the ones that are hardest to get hired at? (You know, where you have to be on law review from a top 10 school before they'll even look at you)
 
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JimIvey
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Re: What are the nation's top IP firms?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 6th, 2004, 4:24pm »
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I saw a list like that recently in IP Today.  However, the list was based primarily on the number of applications filed.  I can't imagine that number ever being part of a formula to determine the "best" IP firm.  In addition, the list was limited to firms who voluntarily reported their number of filings.  I'm not on the list because I didn't know about it in time to sign up.  I still haven't signed up because I'm not sure it's useful.
 
However, I'd be curious to see any list that anyone else knows about.
 
For what it's worth, I've had the opportunity to review work done by a dozen or so bigger firms in draft form, so I've had some insight into the quality of work done at these firms.  There's very little correlation between quality of work and size of firm.  There's even relatively little correlation between reputation for quality of work and actual quality of work (for those cases in which I've had information regarding both).  And, I can safely say that there's little, if any, correlation between quality and price.
 
And, it's quite difficult to assess quality in a truly comprehensive manner.  There are far too many variables and, in many cases, the quality of a patent goes untested (very few patents are ever asserted in litigation).
 
Regards.
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Re: What are the nation's top IP firms?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 7th, 2004, 5:22pm »
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I would agree with JimIvey's comments, but for what it is worth The IP Today listing (patents) is available online at:
 
http://www.iptoday.com/toprank2003.pdf
 
Being a current law student (2L) intrested in patent firms, I have gone through the list. I was very suprised to see some firms epecially farther down on the list that I could not google the name of and get their website.
 
I would also suggest using NalpDirectory --http://www.nalpdirectory.com
 
NALPDirectory usually only has "large" firms, but some patent boutique firms like Banner and Witcoff are listed there. NALPDirectory has data like associate starting salaries and information about the firms.  Firms must be paid to be listed so not all firms are listed. You can search the employer database by practice area and therefore come up with firms that do patent and intellectual property law. Be careful though as firms may do some copyright or trademark matters and therefore include intellectual property among their practice areas.
 
I would further suggest you get the list of employers (and supplied employer information) that attend either Loyola Patent Interview Program or (less desirably) the AIPLA Job Fair. The list of employers, although lacking some of the small firms, is a pretty complete list of patent employers.  
 
As for naming certain firms that are the hardest to get hired at ... I have my ideas of who they are but I would prefer not to name names publicly on the forum.
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JimIvey
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Re: What are the nation's top IP firms?
« Reply #3 on: Apr 7th, 2004, 8:26pm »
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One more thought did cross my mind.  If you want the best firm as in best to work for (as opposed to most prestigious or best in terms of quality of work), one thing you can look at is the percentage of each class that eventually makes partner.  In my class at my old firm, it was 0%.  That suggests very high attrition and probably less than cozy working conditions.
 
I don't know if that information is in a readily searchable database anywhere, but something along those lines was in the info packets firms used to distribute to us in law school during interview week.
 
For what it's worth, you can do all the research you want and pick very well, but your actual experiences at any given firm will be based largely on luck.  This is particularly true in patent practice in a bigger firm.  Things change.  Good firms turn bad.  Bad firms improve.  Firms merge and split.  My old firm doesn't exist any more.  My next firm doesn't exist yet.
 
Good luck!
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Re: What are the nation's top IP firms?
« Reply #4 on: Dec 13th, 2004, 12:41pm »
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Are there certain jurisdictions that are "more friendly" and conducive to foreign-(i.e. Canadian)-lawyers? My understanding is that NY / Mass. / Calif are closest in terms of similar/parallel laws with Ontario, and their respective state bar exams are easier to pass as a result, but on the flip side, it also appears that these states are more receptive to migrating Ontario lawyers.  
 
However, this list points out -- and rightly so -- that top patent boutiques/firms don't necessarily exist in these 3 states, but my application still hasn't panned out. Any suggestions or pointers?
 
Care,
SJY
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