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(Message started by: bobloblaw on Mar 22nd, 2007, 6:10pm)

Title: Career Advice
Post by bobloblaw on Mar 22nd, 2007, 6:10pm
My first post on this forum.  There seems to be a lot of knowledgeable people here and I really needed some advice.

I have a bachelors in chemical engineering and a jd from a tier 2 school.  I took and passed the patent agent exam.  While I don't have any relevant work experience, I have taken every single ip course available and then some.  

I graduated right in the middle of my class and was having a hard time finding a permanent position.  I took a contract position at a big law firm doing doc review but after a month I was assigned primarily trademark work.  I am now in a staff position handling trademark work that a paralegal could do.  

I really want to eventually become a patent prosecutor and litigator, but it seems that there aren't many places that are willing to hire someone with no experience or a EE.

Lately I've been thinking about what I should do and have come up with a few courses of action.  I'm still only 27, so time isn't an issue and I've grown accustomed to living in genteel poverty.

1.  Stick it out as a big law staff attorney.  Hopefully they'll throw some patent work my way and I'll be able to gain some experience.  At best I'd be able to maybe move into an associate position (very unlikely) or be blackballed as a staff attorney for the rest of my law career.

2. IP LLM program.  I don't know what sort of program I would be able to get into with my background, but I'd like to be in the DC area.

3. Go back for an electrical engineering bachelor degree.  I've noticed a couple of people on this forum going this route.  It'd probably take me 2-3 years to finish.  

I know that everyone's situation is unique, but I would welcome any advice.  

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by plex on Mar 22nd, 2007, 6:25pm
Chemical engineering isn't a totally useless degree, you may not need to get more education, but, I think at your age, you should be targeting opportunities to get that key experience in patent drafting.

You are in a law firm, however, big law firm are notorious for sticking people into mostly litigation or copyright work. You should be able too know from looking at others at the firm whether there is a strong opportunity there for doing prosecution work.

You mentioned you were IN DC? You might really want to pickup a year or two of patent examiner experience, that will, without a doubt open some doors to prosecution work. There are rumors, I haven't been able to confirm this first hand, that some firms are prejudiced against anyone who stays there longer than that. They are hiring and will be until 2011 a lot of PE's. It is supposedly a fairly rigorous amount of work, the first 8 months involve a lot courses they have you take at their academy.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by bjr on Mar 23rd, 2007, 1:24pm
Why not look for a job at another firm?  I wouldn't suggest embarking on another degree - your credentials appear adequate.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by biopico on Mar 23rd, 2007, 8:51pm

on 03/22/07 at 18:10:15, bobloblaw wrote:
My first post on this forum.  There seems to be a lot of knowledgeable people here and I really needed some advice.

1.  Stick it out as a big law staff attorney.  Hopefully they'll throw some patent work my way and I'll be able to gain some experience.  At best I'd be able to maybe move into an associate position (very unlikely) or be blackballed as a staff attorney for the rest of my law career.

I know that everyone's situation is unique, but I would welcome any advice.  


You just began to dig a hole.  Let's continue digging a bigger hole for about a year or so and see how things develop.  Knowing a bit of everything isn't bad thing at all and rather it will help you to become more qualified in your legal profession.  Even if you are doing what paralegal can do.  It would be your training period.



Title: Attorney with English as a second language
Post by ESL on Mar 23rd, 2007, 10:01pm
I  have done my Masters in Computer Science and now planning to become an IP attorney. English is my secod language . However, I have been living here for more than six years and completed my graduate program from US. I would really appreciate if someone can give me any advice for  being an  IP attorney with ESL. Is it really a career which I should not pursue?

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by scottp on Apr 13th, 2007, 6:31pm
If you are worried that your ability to speak English might be a problem, then it probably will be.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by bobloblaw on Jun 20th, 2007, 7:35pm
It's been a few months since I originally posted, and I just thought I'd update my situation.  

I am still at the same job, doing the same thing, but I've decided that I'm going to try to move to DC.   (I was living in the Southeast.)  I've been putting in a ton of hours under contract at my current firm (billed 200+ last month), but I realize that I am getting nowhere fast doing this.  

I'm gunning for a position with the PTO.  I applied online and will hopefully hear from them soon.  Wish me luck gentlemen and a really late "thanks for the advice."

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by aaa on Jun 20th, 2007, 10:06pm
Why don't you try to become inhouse counsel to a chemical company like Dupont?

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by bobloblaw on Jun 21st, 2007, 10:27pm

on 06/20/07 at 22:06:13, aaa wrote:
Why don't you try to become inhouse counsel to a chemical company like Dupont?



If only it were that easy...

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by kn98 on Jul 31st, 2007, 4:15pm
Why not try going back to being a chem e?
I am currently a cheme and I was planning on finishing working for a year before starting law school.

Any advice?  I didn't think it was that hard to get into IP.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by bobloblaw on Jul 31st, 2007, 6:24pm

on 07/31/07 at 16:15:02, kn98 wrote:
Why not try going back to being a chem e?
I am currently a cheme and I was planning on finishing working for a year before starting law school.

Any advice?  I didn't think it was that hard to get into IP.



I am seriously thinking about going back to this route.  At this point, nothing seems like it's going to happen for me in the law.  I have tried not to be negative, but it's so hard when nothing I have tried seems to have worked.

I think what killed me was average grades at a T2.  Also, people tend to lump chem e/JDs in with chemistry/biochemistry/JDs (many of whome have PhDs as well).  There's one big time chem e/JD at my firm, but he's more into litigation than actual prosecution.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by SoCalAttny on Jul 31st, 2007, 10:25pm
Is it hard to get into IP?

It is always a function of demand. Look at the filing rates for your area of education. Assess the trend and make a guess as to the future demand.

If your area is hot then it will be easier than if your area was stagnant.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by kn98 on Aug 1st, 2007, 10:56pm
Please keep me posted on your situation.
I am still debating on how to go about my future career.
Law interest me a lot, but financially I can't invest that much into law school if I am not going to see any benefits from it.

I hope everything works out well.  I thought a ChemE degree would have done a lot better.  Putting basic chem in the same sentence as ChemE is sad.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by ptfrmnew on Aug 2nd, 2007, 12:29pm

on 03/22/07 at 18:25:20, plex wrote:
You might really want to pickup a year or two of patent examiner experience, that will, without a doubt open some doors to prosecution work. There are rumors, I haven't been able to confirm this first hand, that some firms are prejudiced against anyone who stays there longer than that.



Have you/anyone ever heard of someone not getting a job offer from an IP law firm because they worked at the patent office for more than 2 years?  This seems a little absurd.  Any reasoning behind this?



Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by Isaac on Aug 2nd, 2007, 1:39pm

on 08/02/07 at 12:29:51, ptfrmnew wrote:
Have you/anyone ever heard of someone not getting a job offer from an IP law firm because they worked at the patent office for more than 2 years? This seems a little absurd. Any reasoning behind this?


I've never heard that first hand.  I work with several attorney/agents that were examiners for the better part of 5 years.

But that said, it did seem to me that beyond about two years, the amount of relevant experience gained per year by examining decreases and firms might not be willing to give you full seniority credit for your time at the PTO.  That might be a particularly galling prospect for someone who was an attorney before joining the PTO.


Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by bobloblaw on Aug 2nd, 2007, 5:49pm

on 08/01/07 at 22:56:25, kn98 wrote:
Please keep me posted on your situation.
I am still debating on how to go about my future career.
Law interest me a lot, but financially I can't invest that much into law school if I am not going to see any benefits from it.

I hope everything works out well.  I thought a ChemE degree would have done a lot better.  Putting basic chem in the same sentence as ChemE is sad.


Most definitely will.  I don't think going to law school is/was necessarily bad choice... I just wish I was better informed about the risks involved and how you can game law school.  (Didn't strike me until I was halfway through, and by then it was too late.)  It was my fault for not "looking before I leaped" and I have no one to blame but myself.

At any rate, even though I'm not sure how I am going to do it, I will get out of this hole I've dug myself into.  

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by bobloblaw on Aug 2nd, 2007, 9:57pm
By the way, I am still looking for some good advice if anybody has any...

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by maskedSONY on Aug 15th, 2007, 9:33pm
Here's a wild thought for you.

Since you have a CE degree and a law degree, you might be of some value to a life science consulting firm, or another type of consulting firm that does work with another industry.

Some of these consulting firms are a total pain to find.  They are not easily found on google, but if you search the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe you are bound to come across them.

Another place for you to look is on the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society website (google it)  Some law firms have put up jobs there looking for people with legal backgrounds, but they are more interested in regulatory skills.  Hell, with your IP background, maybe there's a way to make things fit.  

Thats what I could think of.  Good luck.  

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by Kiki on Aug 17th, 2007, 1:17am
Hi,

I may sound really naive when I say this, but can't you pursue other areas of law? Can't you go into family law or taxation law? Or maybe even start your own practice?


I've always thought that if one can't find a job in any firm, one can simply setup a home office and go from there. Is that not feasible? Your only cost is rent, which you pay anyways, and your malpractice insurance. Sure, it'll be hard to attract business. But thats true for any kind of business. You offer good service and you advertise and slowly you go from there.

Again, do I sound totally naive? What's the catch here?

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by bobloblaw on Aug 17th, 2007, 7:23pm

on 08/17/07 at 01:17:55, Kiki wrote:
stuff



Not with student loans to repay.  I know of a few classmates who went the solo path, but they were either independently wealthy or deferred their loans.  Everything also really competitive since the market's really saturated with JDs.  

I'm making decent money doing what I'm doing now, but I'd rather be doing something else.  I'm trying to pay off my private loans as quickly as possible so that more options are available to me.

Also, maskedSONY, I never thought about some of the things you recommended.  I'll definitely have to check up on some of the things you posted.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by Chloe Anderson on Aug 22nd, 2007, 8:36pm
Patent attorneys are flooding the market due to lower attrition rates, more law schools with IP programs, and Bachelor of Science students not finding jobs, so law schools are flooded with technical folks.  Also, some law schools offer a degree in IP for engineers.  

The PTO website states 8339 active agents and 26315 active attorneys.  Considering there was 415,551 applications filed in 2006 and the number of agents and attorneys, it is a flooded market place.    
 
Law firms do not want to train newbies, which is a loss for the firm and corporations only want to hire experienced attorneys.   Find a patent attorney job with a small law firm, or volunteer if needed.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by Drive by Poster on Aug 23rd, 2007, 3:31pm
There are patent attorneys everywhere.  They are a flood of human bodies clogging our streets and cities.

In fact, I stopped at a traffic light in the city this morning and one tried to squeegee my windshield.

Then, I gave another one 5 bucks this afternoon.  He was standing outside the Holy Infant Soup Kitchen looking for handouts.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by patent_type on Sep 1st, 2007, 11:19am
Consider relocating to a smaller market.  Fewer folks want to live in the smaller markets, so the competition is less.  Of course, there are fewer jobs in the smaller markets, too   ;D  

Also try smaller patent prosecution boutiques.  These can be a good start or a good cradle-to-grave alternative.

Look hard for an alternative job while doing the contract stuff.  Doing the contract attorney thing is not a career path (as you know).

Don't go back to engineering (unless you want to be an engineer) or do the EE thing (unless you want to work with EE patent stuff).  A ChemE can do chem, mechanical, materials (think semiconductor materials, for example), maybe some bio stuff, etc.  Sell yourself as a jack-of-all-technologies and able to help in myriad technologies (especially helpful if selling yourself to a small shop).

And, of course, follow the advice given on the Greedy IP board.  ;)

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by kn98 on Nov 26th, 2007, 10:56pm
Just wondering what ever happened?

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by kdcui on Dec 28th, 2007, 2:39pm
I find it funny that some people on here classify Chem E as a life science.  Chem E is definitely NOT a life science. Think process engineering (Valves, piping, heat exchangers) with knowledge of chemical reactors, reaction engineering, and the usually heat transfer, mass transfer, and thermodynamics thrown in.

At the BS level most engineering disciplines have roughly the same background.

Title: Re: Career Advice
Post by plex on Dec 29th, 2007, 6:25pm
Actually engineering backgrounds can be drastically different depending on the discipline, at my school, only the first year was similar for all engineering students, the remaining 3 1/2 years were drastically different. The second year a few classes were shared and after that, none. Chemical/electrical/computer/mechanical/industrial all have completely different elective requirements, have some different core requirements and have very different graduation requirements. Also, some of them require you to specialize and some of them don't.

Honestly, how can you say they are even remotely the same?



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