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   When to apply for technical specialist jobs?
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   Author  Topic: When to apply for technical specialist jobs?  (Read 2020 times)
jsmith54
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When to apply for technical specialist jobs?
« on: Dec 10th, 2007, 1:46pm »
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I'm trying to figure out when to apply at law firms as a technical specialist.  I am going to graduate with a Master's in Biotechnology this spring, and I'd ideally like to start work this summer.
 
All of the firms seem to recruit attorneys way ahead of graduation, but what about lowly tech specialists?  Should I be waiting or applying right now?
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BotchedExperiment
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Re: When to apply for technical specialist jobs?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 11th, 2007, 6:21pm »
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Apply early and often.  What I found is that 95% percent of firms in the (intermountain/rocky mountain west) have a strick, "we don't hire patent agents/tech specialists who are NOT in law school."
 
Because of this fact, I had to apply EVERYWHERE several times.  
 
Eventually, I got an "in" by doing two things: 1) sit in on law school patent classes (call instructor ahead of time to get permission) AND be the best student in the class.  2) SCHMOOZE, schmooze, schmooze, with the students (many of whome have relationships with firms) and the instructors.
 
It took me about 6 months to work into a position, where I'm doing work on a contract bases (read self-employed).  Part of that time was doing searches, etc. for free for a firm.
« Last Edit: Dec 11th, 2007, 6:23pm by BotchedExperiment » IP Logged

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jsmith54
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Re: When to apply for technical specialist jobs?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 12th, 2007, 9:31am »
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Wow.  I've already taken a patent law class taught by practicing patent attorney.  I guess I could ask him for referrals, but I'll be moving to San Francisco and he's based in Chicago, so I'm thinking he may not have West Coast contacts.
 
I'm a little confused as to why a firm would expect me to be in law school, when I was hoping to one that would at least help fund law school.  It sounds like that I might be in for a hard sales process.
 
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Re: When to apply for technical specialist jobs?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 12th, 2007, 11:09am »
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I'm just giving you my experience in talking in person several times with 15 patent law firms in the rocky mountain west.
 
Around here, they don't hire tech specialists, and they don't hire agents.  And they for sure don't help with law school expenses.
 
I understand that on the east and west coasts, this situation is different.  Your original post lacked any reference to geography, so I was just giving you my experience.
 
A guy in my PhD program passed the patent bar while still in grad school, and then applied out in California.  He got a job as an agent, with an agreement to fund law school, after about 3 months.  
 
It is my opinion that you can never start looking too early, since if you find a firm/company/position you're really excited about, it is possible to start working for them on a contract basis via email etc, before you actually move out.
 
Good luck.
 
P.S. Unsolicited advice for someone getting into law from an academic/basic research background:
 
I was surprised at how slowly hiring decisions are made at law firms and big pharma companies.  The wheels turn very slowly in these big companies compared to a lab.
 
Compared to academic laboratories, law firms are reticent to train people.  This is because the firm as a whole is all about making money and therefore the attorneys have to make money on each project, and also because the attorneys themselves are billing between 225 and 400 dollars per hour, so their time is expensive.  If you take 30 minutes of their time, it was a 150 dollar conversation.  Further, since attorneys and agents typically have a billable hour quota, every minute they spend talking to/training you is an extra minute they have to work to meet their quota.
 
Good luck, I'm sure you'll find a great job in the warm California sun.
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