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   Have Ph.D...law school or Agent first?
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   Author  Topic: Have Ph.D...law school or Agent first?  (Read 6661 times)
PJM
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Have Ph.D...law school or Agent first?
« on: Dec 16th, 2004, 8:27pm »
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I'll soon be graduating with a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Whereas I fully intend to go to law school en route to a career in patent law, it seems that many in my position wish first to work as a patent agent, perhaps hoping to get their employer to help pay for law school. If I am fairly certain that I'll eventually want to earn a JD, is there a point in first spending 2 or more years on the scientific advisor/patent agent track?
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Patent_Type
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Re: Have Ph.D...law school or Agent first?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 17th, 2004, 7:09am »
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No firm is going to pay for you to go to school full-time.  If you work as an agent for a few years and then quit to go to a full-time law program, you're on your own.
 
You should apply to law schools that have evening law programs, and then look for tech spec/agent positions at firms in the area.  Such programs are most common in DC, Boston, San Francisco.
 
This way, you are getting all too-critical prosecution experience while you are in school.  No need to work as an agent for 2 years before you start law school.  The only drawbacks are that:
 
1)  You are in school for 4 years instead of 3
2)  You won't see your (insert here: family or social life) very much for 4 years
3)  Patent prosecution all day long.  (Do you even know what patent drafting and prosecution is like?)
 
The benefits:
 
1)  When you graduate, you will have more prosecution experience than just about any other newly-minted JD, and jobs will be much easier to find.    (there are quite a few unemployed PhD/JD biotech people right now).  Your firm will no doubt offer you a position, and in all likelyhood, you will be starting as a 3rd or 4th year associate in terms of pay, based on your experience.
2)  Bringing home a full-time salary while you are in school.  Plus most firms have a full tuition benefit. (read: no student loans)
 
You really should pick up the phone or email an attorney or two who has gone the route that you are talking about.  They will be happy to comment on their experiences, and might even have a few leads about how to get a job as a tech/spec.  It's not as easy as you think.
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Intrigue
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Re: Have Ph.D...law school or Agent first?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 2nd, 2005, 6:36pm »
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on Dec 17th, 2004, 7:09am, Patent_Type wrote:
(there are quite a few unemployed PhD/JD biotech people right now).

 
Are you suggesting that the field has a glut of biotech people?  I ask only b/c I am a molecular biologist with aspirations of becoming a patent agent, but I am unsure about prospects for someone with my background.  
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IP_Scoobie
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Re: Have Ph.D...law school or Agent first?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 3rd, 2005, 6:58pm »
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Are you suggesting that the field has a glut of biotech people?  
 
YES--those w/ PhD's or MS w/ several years of industry  experience are having trouble finding jobs. Of course job prospects vary slightly with area of the country and which law school you went/go to....
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wetinnow
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Re: Have Ph.D...law school or Agent first?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 20th, 2005, 8:48pm »
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No firm is going to pay for you to go to school full-time.  If you work as an agent for a few years and then quit to go to a full-time law program, you're on your own.
 
 
 
Actually, some firms in Boston will pay for patent agents to go to law school full time. That is because the market is very competitive with the likes of Harvard JDs interested in IP. In order to keep up, some of these firms have started allowing their tech specs and patent agents to go to school during the day and work drastically reduced hours. This phenomenon is also causing some other firms that didn't do this before to adopt the day-school policy to remain competitive.
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