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   Am I a biologist or an attorney?
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   Author  Topic: Am I a biologist or an attorney?  (Read 1586 times)
Alicia
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Am I a biologist or an attorney?
« on: Dec 12th, 2003, 3:47pm »
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Hi Patent law Forum.
 
I am 2L at a 3rd tier law school, highly ranked in teaching ability but low on everything else. The school was not my first choice but I am here now. My grades are moderate at the 50% mark. I have a master's degree in molecular biology and 8 publications from academia as well as biotech.   I struggle everyday with my decision to come to law school. Fundamentally, I am a biologist but I wanted more.
Now, after having an interview at Townsend and Townsend and Crew and being considered at Sterne Kessler to no avail I am very concerned.  I am president of the IP association at my law school and have found ways to bring IP attorneys to the campus for seminars.  With all the research I have done I feel as though the future is very mirky.  It seems that the patent attorneys in the biotech field are top of their class, law review and moot court competitors.  Can anyone tell me the best way to be noticed? It seems as though I won't be able to get my foot in the door without having  better grades.  Maybe I should not be in law school b/c I love biology more than the law.  Am I fighting an uphill battle?
 
If anyone out there has experienced a similar cycle or turn of events and has any good insight I would love to hear it.  
 
Thanks.
 
Alicia
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JimIvey
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Re: Am I a biologist or an attorney?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 16th, 2003, 12:01pm »
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I can sympathize somewhat despite my different background.  I came out of my second summer job without an offer for full-time employment upon graduation.  It was in a contracting economy which is worse that this economy (in my opinion).  Since the economy was contracting (slowing down, whatever), more offers than expected had been accepted at all the law firms.  Getting a job was particularly hard.
 
First, there are many more firms than those two.  Second, I still perceive the biotech market to be a high demand market.  So, don't stop after two firms.  
 
In addition, don't overlook going inhouse at a major biotech company.  Some of the conventional wisdom of inhouse positions (e.g., don't hire new grads -- only experienced attorneys) goes out the window when the technology at issue has a relatively low number of competent people.
 
I hear what you're saying about the people who do well in biotech.  They're rather impressive people -- top of the class of everything, almost Predidential or Supreme Court material.  That doesn't mean there aren't jobs for the rest of us.
 
Do you have friends in law school who have landed jobs in the area you want to practice?  If so, call them up and take them to lunch.  Ask for a perspective, ideas.  Try to go to biotech IP related forums in your region (see, e.g. www.workit.com).  Those are made for networking.  Talk to attorneys who have taken the path you want and ask for their perspectives and ideas.
 
Good luck!
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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M. Arthur Auslander
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Re: Am I a biologist or an attorney?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 23rd, 2003, 9:05am »
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Dear Alicia,
Follow your heart and let the chips fall where they may. If you don't know what you are, who else does?
 
M. Arthur Auslander  
Auslander & Thomas-Intellectual Property Law Since 1909
3008 Johnson Ave., New York, NY 10463
7185430266, aus@auslander.com
ELAINE's Workshop®
E arly L egal A dvice I s N ot E xpensive™
Reality Check®
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Janey Honor
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Re: Am I a biologist or an attorney?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 23rd, 2003, 2:41pm »
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Hi Alicia,
I am working as an attorney at a well-respected law firm in biotech. I only have a bachelor's degree, but I put
my time in at the USPTO as an Examiner which made me incredibly valuable after a couple of years. I literally have firms fighting over me, which, believe me, is nice. Trust me on a couple of things: 1) once you have worked as a patent attorney for a couple of years no one cares about your academic background or law school, they want the experience. So if you have to take a job at a 2nd rate firm or don't make the big bucks, make that sacrifice for a couple of years. The payoff is huge, and you can transfer to "big law" and make "big bucks" after that. 2) Consider the USPTO. You'll get great experience, great benefits, and although the pay isn't great, the hours are (compared to a law firm, especially, trust me on this one...)
Well best of luck to you! I am sure it will all work out.
Janey
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