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(Message started by: dp22 on Apr 5th, 2007, 7:45pm)

Title: Patent Attorney Market for Biochem
Post by dp22 on Apr 5th, 2007, 7:45pm
First, my background:
I'm a registered agent with a B.S. in Chemistry w/ emphasis in Biochem. I've spent a year working as an agent at an IP firm in Chicago.  I have experience drafting applications and general patent prosecution. I'm entering a tier-3 law school while maintaining my job at the firm.

I was wondering what the market would be like for me following graduation and what salaries I should be striving for.

Thank you in advance for any help provided.

Title: Re: Patent Attorney Market for Biochem
Post by plex on Apr 5th, 2007, 8:30pm
It depends on how much you want to work, also, with a high law school gpa, you would have more options to choose from.

Firms have a very wide range of how much they expect someone to work, the larger firms are more likely to have higher time requirements than smaller firms, they pay you for the extra time you spend, but not necessarily at a much higher per hour rate. From the figures I have seen thrown around, you should be looking for about 85-110k as a 1st year associate. If you want to go all out, work 85+ hours/week in a big law firm in a place like NY, you could probably get up to 140-150k, but it requires a high class ranking at graduation and  a willingness to work yourself to the bone, along with dealing with a very high amount of stress. Additionally, part of that higher pay is to make up for the very high cost of living in big city areas.

Title: Re: Patent Attorney Market for Biochem
Post by Isaac on Apr 6th, 2007, 7:26am
I'd suggest that the salary numbers plex quotes are slightly dated and that perhaps 10-15% should be added to them.   I'd also suggest that the 85 hours per week figure is a bit high on the high side, although certainly some patent litigation associates put in spurts of hours that high typically followed by some down time.   I would also point out that associates who end up putting in huge number of hours typically also draw huge bonuses.

However, the remarks about needing to do well in law school are pretty much dead on.   Additionally, having a BS while working in a fied in which many practitioners have a PhD may put an additional premium on doing well in law school.  OTOH, the typical associate doesn't have anything like the experience dp22 will have at graduation.

The stress level for people earning large dollars at large firms is high and the hours are long, but I believe the hours/week numbers I see thrown around on blogs are consistently exaggerated, particularly with respect to associates doing only or primarily prosecution.

At any rate, a new patent associate should expect to work very hard learning the craft while attempting to be somewhat productive during the first year or two (or three).    The associate may find the hours during that learning period to be slightly less at a "low stress" firm, but that wasn't my personal experience at a small firm.    A more experienced associate can more readily make lifestyle/salary tradeoffs than can a brand new associate.

Title: Re: Patent Attorney Market for Biochem
Post by dp22 on Apr 6th, 2007, 10:29am
Thank you for your responses.

I know law school GPA will heavily influence my job availability and my potential of transferring to a top school.  That's obviously my main priority.

It is true that I do not have an M.S. or Ph.D. in my technical field.  Also, chemical engineering is much bigger in Chicago than the chem/biochem art.

However, I'll have 4 years of solid IP experience before graduation from law school. I know it mostly comes down to grades and the prestige of the law school but I'm hoping that my work experience will play a large part (because of less training) in landing a job at a big firm or corporation.

Can anyone confirm this? Thank you again for any help provided.

Title: Re: Patent Attorney Market for Biochem
Post by forest on Apr 6th, 2007, 10:43am
Won't the firm you're currently working for be willing to take you on.

Title: Re: Patent Attorney Market for Biochem
Post by dp22 on Apr 6th, 2007, 11:20am
The firm that I'm working for gives me excess chemical engineering work but it is not looking to hire any new associates.  I suppose, by the time I graduate, they might offer me a position; however, nothing is for certain.

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