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   Career Change from EE to Patent Lawyer?
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   Author  Topic: Career Change from EE to Patent Lawyer?  (Read 62954 times)
Drew83
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Posts: 38
Re: Career Change from EE to Patent Lawyer?
« Reply #30 on: Jun 13th, 2006, 7:43pm »
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I'm sure that several people go to law school just to make the "big bucks."  I've been warned "Do not go to law school for money" and I agree.  
 
Considering the 3 years lost salary, and the debt of law school (all contributing to lost opportunity costs), I would think that getting an MBA is the way to go if you want to make the "big bucks."  One alternative is to work for 2-3 years and save up for law school.  That way you rule out the law school debt.
 
I'm in a similar situation, however, with an ME degree.  After working in engineering for about a year, I've realized that it's not so fun.  I'm looking at my other options -- MBA or JD.  The key thing is that I am looking at what career I would enjoy, rather than what pays more.  Of course salary is a factor, however, I dont think it should be the ONLY factor, at least not for me.
 
I find Patent law interesting and it may be something I would enjoy.  However, I need to decide if my interest is great enough to lose 3 years of salary, law school debt, with the result being a job with long hours (not to forget, the horror of 1L).
 
I'm sure if you take the hourly rate from the salary of an engineer w/MBA and multiply that hourly rate by the actual hours worked by a patent attorney, it will probably be the same or more than the yearly salary of an attorney (not partner of course).  
 
"A Patent Lawyer" brings up a very good point about using those extra hours worked opening up a business or doing consulting work.    Does anyone have any comments about this?  On average, do patent attorneys have time to do side work -- i.e. opening up a business, consulting, investing, etc...
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JAYC
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Re: Career Change from EE to Patent Lawyer?
« Reply #31 on: Jun 14th, 2006, 1:07pm »
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I also have tackled the issue of an MBA vs. JD.  I am an EE as well, starting law school this fall, and have worked 2 years as an EE.  I work at a large defense company right now, and quite honestly the work that managers do here is downright boring.  Salary wise they will top out at about 130k, but they are busy setting up schedules and working on timecards instead of using their minds.  
 
The reasons why I chose a JD instead of an MBA is not because of the money aspect, but because the education and analytical skills developed while in law school is unlike anything you can get with an MBA and is more useful in my opinion.  It will be possible to apply those skills to law AND business.  While having an MBA you will only be useful in business.  Lawyers run the world, not MBAs.  Lawyers understand how the world works more so than MBAs.  That skill and knowledge is worth the law school tuition.  What you do with those lawyer skills after school is up to you, but you can still start your own business or you can work full time as a lawyer.
 
Big bucks can be earned with an MBA or a JD, it just depends on how you will use your skills to make those big bucks.  Work as a lawyer, start your own business, or i'm sure many many other ways that I don't see right now.  
 
I have a few MBAs in my family who are earning "big bucks", but trust me, they are working near 60 hours a week right now.  
 
I agree that engineering is pretty boring, unless you have a Phd and are doing cutting edge research.
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alexcd
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Posts: 1
Re: Career Change from EE to Patent Lawyer?
« Reply #32 on: Jun 19th, 2006, 9:17am »
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I am a 24yr old BSEE grad making a measly $60k around the Boston area.  $130k in just a few yaers sounds pretty good from my standpoint.  I am pretty smart and may be able to get into a good school, maybe Harvard.  I'm not an incredibly fast writer since the majority of my papers have been lab write-ups.  A $30k raise (up to 90k) sounds pretty good.  I would make my money back in 5 years max.
 
Here are my questions
 
1) What is a typical day for a patent lawer?
 
2) What responsibilities are there for a beginner with a law degree?
 
3)  Would it be better to become a patent agent and take night classes to become a lawyer or take the necessary years off to complete the JD at once?
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JustSurfing
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Re: Career Change from EE to Patent Lawyer?
« Reply #33 on: Jun 25th, 2006, 11:01pm »
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I am EE with a MSEE and have 10 years experience.  I have tried doing the consulting or business on the side route and believe me it's not worth it.  You have to sacrifice an ungodly amount in terms of capital investment and time.  It also requires some market savvy and who likes cold calling?  Looking back, I wish I would have invested the time and money into law school instead.  I find law interesting because it takes all the technical knowledge that I have accumulated to a new level.   I am that same fork in the road as a lot you other guys, and am seriously considering law at this point.
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john di
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Re: Career Change from EE to Patent Lawyer?
« Reply #34 on: Jul 3rd, 2006, 12:37pm »
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on Jun 25th, 2006, 11:01pm, JustSurfing wrote:
I am EE with a MSEE and have 10 years experience.  I have tried doing the consulting or business on the side route and believe me it's not worth it.  You have to sacrifice an ungodly amount in terms of capital investment and time.  It also requires some market savvy and who likes cold calling?  Looking back, I wish I would have invested the time and money into law school instead.  I find law interesting because it takes all the technical knowledge that I have accumulated to a new level.   I am that same fork in the road as a lot you other guys, and am seriously considering law at this point.  

 
The thing about consulting is, you have to have decades of experience.  We use Experts in our cases which range from $400-$700 an hour.  It's possibly one of the best gigs if you can get it.  No overhead, so you keep all the money.
 
As for myself, I'm very happy that I went to law school instead of practicing as a EE.  I believe i wouldn't have liked EE at all.  I work a firm specializing in litigation and I've been out of law school for 2 years.  This year, with bonuses I stand to make about $170-180k.
 
However, if you go to law school, it's ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL that you go to a top tier law school.  I went to a top 15 school but wish I went to a top 5.  
It also makes this conversation easier when people ask you "what law school you went to"
you responding "so and so law school" and them replying with.
"oh that's a good school" or
"oh, why did you decide to go there"
and always having to justify that your school was good in some area.
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