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   What is the best route at a career in patent lit
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   Author  Topic: What is the best route at a career in patent lit  (Read 6096 times)
ACD
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What is the best route at a career in patent lit
« on: Jul 5th, 2005, 3:58pm »
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I am a senior Electrical and Computer Engineer who would be graduating with a BS in May 2006.  Ever since my sophomore year I have been looking into careers in intellectual property (preferably patent litigation).  Ever since the summer of 2003 (and every consecutive summer including this one) I have been working as an intern in a well-known computer company (one of the fortune 20 companies on the Forbes list <not giving out its name since this hint may be easy to grasp> ).  I need to make the right decisions quickly because before this summer ends I would be offered a full time position as an engineer but my real aspirations are to become a patent litigation attorney.  Looking through this forum at the various questions being asked and its corresponding postings (some of which seemed to be very argumentative) am I inclined to ask some questions of my own.  The following are some queries I have and would like professional opinions on:
 
1.  I would be graduating with from an Ivy League University with an engineering degree.  Within the past 3 semesters my GPA fell from a 3.7 to a 3.2 (largely to do with the fact that I have a 1 year old son whom I need to provide for).  I am contemplating on whether I should forfeit my May 2006 graduation and take an extra year and get a dual degree in the Liberal Arts field to get my GPA up to about a 3.5 or 3.6 so that I would have a competitive advantage in the top law schools.
 
2.  On the same issue as stated in question 1, would getting a higher engineering degree like a Master of Engineering serve me better at getting into these top schools.  
 
3.  Right after graduation (undergrad), should I proceed and take the patent bar exam to become a patent agent or would going directly to law school become a better option? The reason why I ask this question is because if I decide to turn down my offer from this engineering company, what other alternatives would I have to provide me income while I am in law school?
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IPLVER
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Re: What is the best route at a career in patent l
« Reply #1 on: Jul 5th, 2005, 4:51pm »
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ACD having an undergraduate degree from an Ivy league school is certainly quite the feather in your cap.  I would say that especially if you are an EE, going for  Master's degree would not add that much.  For patent litigation you do not even need a technical background but it certainly helps.  
 
If you want to support yourself while going to law school try finding a technical specialist/law clerk program.
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ACD
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Re: What is the best route at a career in patent l
« Reply #2 on: Jul 6th, 2005, 9:34am »
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Thanks IPLVER, so is it worth the while for me to obtain the dual degree in Liberal Arts field and get my grades back up?
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PiP
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Re: What is the best route at a career in patent l
« Reply #3 on: Jul 6th, 2005, 12:42pm »
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I think that it is not worth it to continue undergraduate study.  Your 3.2 is good enough, I think, as long as you do at least okay on the LSAT.  You can always mention that you have a child and have a difficult major in one of the top schools in the country and that should be enough to get you in to law school.  Staying in school will cost you big time (- 1 year tuition, - 1 year salary, for example.)  You can't ignore that amount of lost money.
 
Working with a large company gives you at least some advantages in going to law school. You should discreetly speak with the attorneys at your company to make the initial connections.  Often they have some connections to law schools in the area.  Also, see if your company will pay for schooling.  I got a job offer from a large pharma company and spoke with their HR and they offered to pay for law schooling, no problem!  Also, if you do law school part time you can have slightly relaxed admissions standards, in most cases.  I know you didn't ask about night school but it seems like a nice option to consider.
 
It is important to find a way to get some experience in law before you have to get out there as an attorney.  Maybe you can get into this company and try to move laterally into the legal department?  It's often really difficult to get your foot in the door of a large company, but relatively easy to move around once you are in.
 
I would say that the financial aid packages normally give you enough cash to live on.  In Philly, it's around $10k per semester for living expenses.  I know it's not that much, but it's just enough in the case that you go full time to law school and still have to provide for your child.
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ACD
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Re: What is the best route at a career in patent l
« Reply #4 on: Jul 6th, 2005, 1:25pm »
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PiP (IPLVER as well) I admire your intelligible response and you provide some thoughtful suggestions.  I have never really phased out night schooling and the possibility still lingers as one of my options.  
Since we are on this discussion, I would like to know if during my senior year I should study and take the patent bar exam before I graduate to became a patent agent.  Is this option more feasible than the possibility that I can work for this company as an engineer?
The real issue here is that even though I respect the field of engineering and adore its qualities, I realized early in my career that engineering is not entirely my satisfaction.  I figured that starting early at what I always wanted to do would give me a more competitive edge than if I stay in engineering and then move into patent litigation (correct me if this perception may be incorrect).  I know patent litigation is a very competitive arena, a competitiveness in which I am not afraid to embark, and I am willing to give what it takes to be successful.  I prefer to attend law school in NYC since I would most likely want to work for a firm in the NYC area (or the tri-state district).  
Could any of you give more insight on this?
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