NJ and Fliptop Ė are you both seriously suggesting that tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in non-dischargeable debt is no big deal? Or that 3-4 years that they would put career and/or life on hold is no big deal and shouldnít be seriously considered? If itís no big deal and everyone should just go with their gut and things will turn out okay...Iím sure one or both of you would be happy to co-sign astrojudoís law school loans if he or she decides to go to law school.
Even night school is a huge risk, especially at full tuition at a place like GWU or Fordham, it would be $130,000 borrowed, but interest accrual means that the actual loan amount at graduation may be closer to $140,000 or $150,000. Even if someone can afford to pay that out-of-pocket, thatís still a lot of money for the right to sit for a bar that's not even necessary for purely patent prosecution work.
Plus, night school + job is just bearable for a single person with low stress 9-5 job, itís painful if you have a stressful job or is trying to stay married, and complete misery if you have young children. And your school performance may suffer compared to classmates who are not working or working parttime.
Astrojudo Ė youíre correct in observing that even Ph.D + experience may not be enough now. I know a few Ph.Ds with a decade or more of BigLaw IP experience who been forced out and now work as solos. I also know a few otherl BigLaw Ph.Ds who jumped back into the PTO because itís perceived as a safe harbor in this economic environment. Others are hanging in there, but stories of decreasing price per application and less total business from existing clients are common.
Take a look at these two enormous threads I linked to below to see how competitive the IP prosecution job market is becoming. Lots of Chem/Bio Ph.D + JDs are being rejected for patent examiner positions Ė those jobs used to be for stepping stones to law firm jobs. Things may change in the future, but the trendlines are not good and things are pretty grim right now. http://just-n-examiner.livejournal.com/51159.htmlhttp://www.intelproplaw.com/ip_forum/index.php/topic,1421.5310.html