Intellectual Property Forums (http://www.intelproplaw.com/Forum/Forum.cgi)

(Message started by: Kiki on Aug 15th, 2007, 4:02pm)

Title: Curretn state of EE patent law
Post by Kiki on Aug 15th, 2007, 4:02pm
Hi,

I've heard conflicting report of the job market for patent law. Some people say it's still quite hot. Some others claim the market is flooded with unemployed patent lawyers.  

Are there any practicing lawyers who can offer some insight?  

My background: BSEE+MSEE. Undergrad GPA 3.0. 5 years of experience working in semiconductor industry. 3 years as a software engineer, 2 years as FAE.  

I'm preparing for LSAT right now. I think I only have a realistic shot at a tier 2.  

I'm debating whether to fork out the big money to pursue this "supposedly more lucrative" career?

Title: Re: Curretn state of EE patent law
Post by Guest-EE on Aug 15th, 2007, 5:00pm
Good Question,

I have a BS Electrical Eng. and am in law school right now.  From what I understand, the IP market is hot, especially for EE's, but there is a catch.  If you get into a T2 school, you have to be at least in the top quarter of your class to have a decent shot at one of these "hot" jobs.  No matter what the demand is right now for EEs, if you don't have the grades, then firms will not bother hiring you.  

Please keep in mind that top quarter is not so easily done.  I've known other engineering students, even one guy with a masters in EE, who were in the bottom half of their class after the first year.  The lack of reading/writing skills from engineering undergrad is the most likely reason.  Law school is completely different from anything an engineering grad did in the past.  You'll see history/psychology majors getting higher grades because they have done tons of reading/writing during the last four years prior to law school.  

I recommend you go for one year, see how you do, and if your grades put you at the middle or bottom half of your class, then quit and go back into engineering.  Otherwise if you continue with law school, you run the risk of your engineering degree/experience going "stale" and a lack of job opportunities once you graduate law school.  This would be a horrendous position to be in.


Title: Re: Curretn state of EE patent law
Post by bobloblaw on Aug 15th, 2007, 6:41pm

on 08/15/07 at 17:00:49, Guest-EE wrote:
Good Question,

I have a BS Electrical Eng. and am in law school right now.  From what I understand, the IP market is hot, especially for EE's, but there is a catch.  If you get into a T2 school, you have to be at least in the top quarter of your class to have a decent shot at one of these "hot" jobs.  No matter what the demand is right now for EEs, if you don't have the grades, then firms will not bother hiring you.  

Please keep in mind that top quarter is not so easily done.  I've known other engineering students, even one guy with a masters in EE, who were in the bottom half of their class after the first year.  The lack of reading/writing skills from engineering undergrad is the most likely reason.  Law school is completely different from anything an engineering grad did in the past.  You'll see history/psychology majors getting higher grades because they have done tons of reading/writing during the last four years prior to law school.  

I recommend you go for one year, see how you do, and if your grades put you at the middle or bottom half of your class, then quit and go back into engineering.  Otherwise if you continue with law school, you run the risk of your engineering degree/experience going "stale" and a lack of job opportunities once you graduate law school.  This would be a horrendous position to be in.



This advice is gold.  No matter where you go, try to get at least top quarter.  

I think if you get a great LSAT (170+), you have a great shot at T14.  If not, take a year off and spend some $$$ on LSAT tutors and prep courses.  You'll be glad you did.  (Keep in mind that taking the LSATs more than once can hurt you.  If you have a really bad feeling, cancel your score.)  

Otherwise, I wouldn't leave behind a good job for a tiny minute chance at making more money in a different field where you start from scratch.  I know quite a few engineers who now wish they had not left for law.

Title: Re: Curretn state of EE patent law
Post by SoCalAttny on Aug 15th, 2007, 10:18pm
Law school is a fair amount of reading not a whole lot of writing.

IRAC - Issue rule analysis conclusion

Engineering school is exactly this thought process. The difficulty is outlining the answer. The remainder of the effort is getting the words on the paper.

Spot the issues and you get points, logically apply the rule via analysis (more points). Most questions do not have a dead on right conclusion, just get close (more points).

Now you are in the top 25%, most non-engineers can't think like this on day one of law school.

Title: Re: Curretn state of EE patent law
Post by Kiki on Aug 16th, 2007, 2:30am
Hi all,

Thank you for your reply.

My thinking now is that if I can get an LSAT of 165+, then it probably means I can get into a decent school. And the score probably reflect that I'll be able to do reasonably well since studies have shown that LSAT is highly correlated with first year performance.

What if my goal is simply to work at medium size boutique IP firms? Would those still require finishing in the top 25% of class? Would competition to get into boutique firms be as cutthroat as getting into large law firms?



Title: Re: Curretn state of EE patent law
Post by MrSnuggles on Aug 16th, 2007, 8:28am

on 08/16/07 at 02:30:20, Kiki wrote:
Hi all,

Thank you for your reply.

My thinking now is that if I can get an LSAT of 165+, then it probably means I can get into a decent school. And the score probably reflect that I'll be able to do reasonably well since studies have shown that LSAT is highly correlated with first year performance.

What if my goal is simply to work at medium size boutique IP firms? Would those still require finishing in the top 25% of class? Would competition to get into boutique firms be as cutthroat as getting into large law firms?


First, I wouldn't put much faith in those studies.  I got a 168 on my LSAT.  I thought I did fairly well in school - individually - but then again, there were 300 other people in my class, all who scored between 158 and 172, give or take.  Because of the way many law schools are curved, the middle 50% will be a B to B- GPA.  Just because you learn and perform well in law school does not mean that you will be in the top 25% unfortunately.  On the other hand, I did pretty well in undergrad in engineering school (magna cum), had a good base of experience (7 years), and many employers in the patent prosecution field will look to that over my slightly-above-average law school record.

I'm not trying to disuade you from studying hard for the LSAT or going to law school, but I just want to provide my perspective.

The bottom line though is that a middle 50% from a top 10 school is still much better than a top 20% from a tier 4 school.  And in this respect, a high LSAT will help you most.

As to your other question, the job market is tight in many areas and that crosses every type of firm.  No matter what the firm size, every firm probably would hire a top 10% person over a bottom 25% person, just based on paper.  Also, I had many friends in the top 20% or 10% that were looking for smaller firms for their advantages (lower billing goals, more amenable for family, more client contact and other responsibilities earlier).  The big-firm money is nice, but many people pursuing patent law are second-career people.  They have families, a financial base from a previous job, and other commitments.  They are willing to forego the $30-40k difference in starting salaries compared to big firms for more time with their family.

I work at a midsize firm, about 85 attorneys.  It suits me well.  The pay is comparable to big firm and I have more control over my docket, client contact, billing rate, etc.  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like working at a huge firm.  If I ever leave here, it will probably be to go in-house or start my own gig.



As to the post about IRAC.  I found that many engineering friends in law school could understand it just fine.  The problem came in applying it.  As engineers, we're told that there is a correct solution.  As lawyers, there is no correct solution, merely alternative views.  You can take a very poor factual or legal position, and with the right construction of facts, interpretation of law, appeal to emotion (public policy argument), and other points and could "win" an argument or at least present a very persuasive reason why you should win.  Professors love this.  However, too many engineer-types saw the obvious line of analysis, applied the well-known rule, and produced the expected result.  That gets you a B.  There are at least two sides to every hypo -- visit them all in an exam answer.  The earlier you understand this, the better your law school experience will be.

Best of luck.

Title: Re: Curretn state of EE patent law
Post by Guest-EE on Aug 16th, 2007, 11:33am

on 08/16/07 at 02:30:20, Kiki wrote:
Hi all,

Thank you for your reply.

My thinking now is that if I can get an LSAT of 165+, then it probably means I can get into a decent school. And the score probably reflect that I'll be able to do reasonably well since studies have shown that LSAT is highly correlated with first year performance.

What if my goal is simply to work at medium size boutique IP firms? Would those still require finishing in the top 25% of class? Would competition to get into boutique firms be as cutthroat as getting into large law firms?


"And the score probably reflect that I'll be able to do reasonably well since studies have shown that LSAT is highly correlated with first year performance"

Given this as true, and you went to the highest ranked school you can get into, most everyone in your class will have had an LSAT score within 2-3 points of what you get.  There is a forced curve during the first year.  Somebody will be in the middle and bottom of the class - and it will not necessarily be the person that was 2-3 LSAT points lower than your score.  

Medium sized boutiques will require top quarter, BIGLAW will require better probably.  But again, if you get into a T1 school, these numbers will go down slightly.  IF you get into a top 14 law school, then you have even a much better chance.

The decision to go to law school should be analyzed through a personal risk/benefit analysis for each person.  As stated earlier - go if you really want to try it out, but don't shut the doors of your current job.  Make sure you have an alternative career plan ready if things don't work out after the first year.




Powered by YaBB 1 Gold - SP 1.3.2!
Forum software copyright 2000-2004 Yet another Bulletin Board