Intellectual Property Forums (

(Message started by: john jackson on Aug 31st, 2005, 3:02am)

Title: Patent Law Employment Future
Post by john jackson on Aug 31st, 2005, 3:02am
I just graduated last Spring with a BSEE and I am going to work this next year most likely as a software or hardware tester.  My plan is to attend law school starting fall 2006 to become a patent attorney.  

I am almost positive I will get into Seattle U but my goal is the University of Washington.  Obviously UW would be the better school for job prospects four years from now, but I want to work in the Seattle/Portland area so Seattle U might be the only other school I consider.  

First off, is this a mistake to choose a school like Seattle U that has mainly a regional reputation?  Does anybody have any kind of an outlook for the next 5 years as far as the job market for patent attorneys in the Northwest?  I donít want to pay for three years of school and then not find a job when I get out.

Additionally, I will only have an internship in the telecom industry plus this next year as engineering work experience.  Will this hurt my job prospects as a patent attorney?

Any advice or information you could give would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Title: Re: Patent Law Employment Future
Post by Isaac Clark on Aug 31st, 2005, 12:11pm
This is just one persons opinion of course.

As you are aware UW has a significantly stronger national reputation.  U of Seattle may be okay if you are not planning or are forced to leave the region, but that may be difficult to predict.  When I attended law school in NC, I had no intention of leaving the area, but I'm not working in the DC area.

Before choosing the regional school, size up the reputation in the area for yourself.  See who hires those grads and talk to some alum if possible.  

I won't speculate on the job market of 2009.  I will point out that the market for patent attorneys changed significantly for the worse during my time in law school  although it is recovering.

Don't sweat having a short length of time in the tech industry.   While I think experience is helpful in doing the job, I don't see a lot of evidence that long periods of experience are attractive to hirers.

Title: Re: Patent Law Employment Future
Post by john j. on Aug 31st, 2005, 1:02pm
Thank you for the reply.  I will definetly do my best to get in touch with alum before making any decision, and perhaps before even applying.

Title: Re: Patent Law Employment Future
Post by polar on Oct 15th, 2005, 3:06am
hellow,please tell me some best us ip agent firm,thank you! ;D

Title: Re: Patent Law Employment Future
Post by indy611 on Jul 11th, 2006, 8:06pm
I have a bs in physics and am planning to go to the University of Baltimore law school in the fall.  I live in the Baltimore area and took an engineering job before I knew that I had gotten into UB.  I still want to be involved with science and become a lawyer but I am increasingly worried that I will not be able to find a good job right out of school or that I will have to move to some other part of the country.  So I'm having second thoughts on my career plan and am considering staying in engineering to play it safe.  I believe that I would like patent law better though and I'm trying to ease my conscience about employment and earning potential since i will be significantly in debt after graduation.  any thoughts?  I appreciate any advice that anyone might have.  thank you in advance.

Title: Re: Patent Law Employment Future
Post by Portland Patent Lawyer on Jul 11th, 2006, 9:03pm
Definitely do some research.  Like Isaac said, the job market is not nearly as good as what it was before the bubble.

This will take a little time, but I would suggest doing the following ... go to this page and do a search for "Portland" (or "Seattle")

This will bring up all the registered patent attorneys practicing in Portland.  For each attorney, go to their firm's web site and see what their background is.  Try to find a Seattle U graduate with a BSEE (and no MS) who graduated on or after 2002.  Once you find one, give them a call and ask them how tough it was to get a job.  Also, check to see if their last name is the same as one of the partners at the firm.

Alternatively, you can go to this page and find all the firms practicing intellectual property law in Portland.

Then you can go through the attorney profiles at each firm until you find one with a background similar to yours.

You can also find salaries for the firms which pay the best here:

My impression of the northwest patent law market is that it is tight and is likely to stay tight.  I think you either need an MS, a top-50 law school, or really good grades (top 15%) at a lower-ranked school to get a job right out of law school.  Even at a lower-ranked school, it takes a lot of work to achieve that high of a ranking.

If you go to Seattle U and aren't able to finish in the top 10% or 15%, then you will likely face a tough job search.  Your only option may be to go to a better market (like California) for a couple of years to get experience and then lateralling back to the Northwest.  If you do poorly in law school (say bottom 40%), you may not be able to get a job in patent law at all even if you expand your search to include every intellectual property law firm in the country.  

Just take a look at the profiles of the associates at Klarquist Sparkman, one of the largest IP boutiques in Portland, to get an idea of the credentials you will need.  You will see a lot of top-50 law schools, a lot of "cum laude" graduates, and a lot of advanced degrees.

Definitely, definitely do your research now before you spend a lot of money on law school.   You can make good money in patent law, but you need the right set of credentials to get in the door.

One more thing, you may notice that the partners typically do not have the same stellar credentials as the associates.  This is a reflection of how much more competitive the patent law job market is today as compared to 10 to 20 years ago.

In all sincerity, good luck with whatever you choose to do.

Title: Re: Patent Law Employment Future
Post by guest on Jul 15th, 2006, 3:43pm
Go to law school.

The market isn't that tight at least around major cities (I'm in NYC).  I know people with just a BS in non-EE and CS majors and they found a job.  The market is even better for EE and CS.

You might need stellar credentials if you want to work at a big firm, but who wants to work 70 hours a week anyway.

Also, the market is centered around big cites and development areas (e.g., NYC, Palo Alto, and the development triangle), so the market might be relly difficult outside those areas.

Title: Re: Patent Law Employment Future
Post by john j on Jul 18th, 2006, 1:24pm
So I am going to attend Seattle U for law school.  I worked this last year as a contractor doing Software testing and am ready to go back to school (very bored with work and very ready to return).

I'm ready to work I disagree off and hope for the best.  I did not get into the University of Washington, but I got a pretty damn good scholarship at Seattle U (as long as i keep my grades up---even more of an incentive i guess).  

Obvioiusly an intership after my first or second year will boost my chances of a job out of law school so I will try as hard as i can to get one.  I am positive that if I get an internship i will be well-liked by the firm and do good work.  I hope this will turn into a job.  I guess I'm taking a little bit more of a chance in attending a lower ranked school, but hey, maybe I'll help boost their rankings, j/k.  

Any more advice or is there anybody out there who wants to interview me for an intership for next summer?  Portland Patent Lawyer--I am positive I'd make a great attorney and employee so keep me in mind if your firm wants a first year intern :).  And thanks for all those useful links.  I'm researching as I type and am finding some comforting info.

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