Intellectual Property Law

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NJDevilsfan
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Intellectual Property Law

Postby NJDevilsfan » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:29 pm

Let me preface this question with some background information. I am a music major who is applying to go to law school (I have a high GPA and LSAT but not quite high enough for a good chance at top 14 schools). My interest is to combine my music background with a fulfilling law career. That being said, I believe that Intellectual Property Law gives me the best oppurtunity to create a "best of both worlds" scenario.

I found this website (http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... w-rankings) ranking the best programs in the country.

My question is, would it be better for me to go to a school based on their IP ranking, or based on their overall ranking? For instance, Cardozo Law School is ranked very highly in Intellectual Property Law, but lower than most other schools in the top 10.

Any information or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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tmon
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby tmon » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Go to the school that places best wherever you want to practice. Specialty rankings are pretty useless.

justinp
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby justinp » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:43 pm

tmon wrote:Go to the school that places best wherever you want to practice. Specialty rankings are pretty useless.


I know at least one smart person who didn't bother with LSAT studying because he wants to be an environmental lawyer, so he's going somewhere 'because it's number one for environmental law'... It hurts me real bad.
Last edited by justinp on Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

r6_philly
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby r6_philly » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:18 pm

If you really want to learn more about specialty rankings, contact the schools and ask them for stats on how they place in the specialty field. Also ask them to refer to some alumni that works in desirable positions in the field. See what they give you and evaluate for yourself.

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clarion
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby clarion » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:46 pm

I'm almost EXACTLY the same (music major in undergrad who wants to probably do IP law) and just to share what I've been told, the most important thing is not so much to say "I'm going where ever is ranked highest for IP," but rather to understand WHY one school may be ranked as such. For example, I spoke with a representative from Berkeley at a LS fair, and she told me that, although she finds rankings to be negligible, Berkeley is ranked #1 in IP because of its course-offerings and the fact that the field of IP law basically BEGAN there. Something I hadn't thought of, but that definitely makes it appealing. As such, if I were to get into both say, Berkeley and Virginia (both ranked 9 overall), I'd be crazy not to go to Berkeley for IP because there I'm going to have more IP-related opportunities, (classes, clinics, resources, alumni-network, etc) than at VA.

So that's my suggestion. You'll also find that some schools (like Cornell for example) offer very little in the realm of IP, and as such, going to GW which isn't T14 might be wiser than going to Cornell. You also want to consider at the end of the day, that you may get into LS and decide that IP is not really for you. For that reason, you don't want that to be the sole foundation for your decision. But I do think that if you're leaning in that direction to look into what each specific school has to offer in that area.

Additionally, what the above poster said about looking into a schools' national reach is a definite consideration. Cardozo might have great IP opportunities, but really it'll be difficult to work anywhere else other NY right out of LS with a degree from there. Trust me I've given them some thought since they offered me a full-ride, but personally I'm not sure I want to be stuck in NY. Good luck! :)

r6_philly
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby r6_philly » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:18 am

What I have found out from my job search is that what I have to offer as an IP candidate is the most important factor. As long as I go to a top school, it doesn't matter where I go. Considering that all of us go to OCI without having the opportunity to take any of the upper level IP electives, I think the importance of IP course offering is overblown.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby Elston Gunn » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:57 am

I'm an 0L, so maybe I'm misinformed, but I think you'd be crazy going into Law School planning to do non-technical IP. As I understand it, the vast vast majority of people in IP law have technical degrees and pass the patent bar. Not only are specialty rankings useless, but they're especially useless in this case, as they're 99% talking about patents etc. IP, not music/literature/art IP. Like you know how Google spent several billion dollars to essentially acquire Motorolla's patents, and thus be able to protect themselves in court? That's the kind of intellectual property law that they're talking about.

And, please, anyone who has the option, do not go to to GW over Cornell for the same money. Unless you're (real) IP secure, I guess.

r6_philly
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby r6_philly » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:46 am

Elston Gunn wrote:I'm an 0L, so maybe I'm misinformed, but I think you'd be crazy going into Law School planning to do non-technical IP. As I understand it, the vast vast majority of people in IP law have technical degrees and pass the patent bar. Not only are specialty rankings useless, but they're especially useless in this case, as they're 99% talking about patents etc. IP, not music/literature/art IP. Like you know how Google spent several billion dollars to essentially acquire Motorolla's patents, and thus be able to protect themselves in court? That's the kind of intellectual property law that they're talking about.

And, please, anyone who has the option, do not go to to GW over Cornell for the same money. Unless you're (real) IP secure, I guess.


IP litigation (like suing people for/defending against patent infringement) does not require a technical degree. Transactional work (like securing contracts and licensing agreements for patents) does not require a technical degree. The only technical degree requirement is patent prosecution (securing the patent in the first place).

Yes it helps to know the subject matter, but it's not like a software guy will only work on software patent litigation cases. You will also be working on pharma patents, machine patents, design patents, etc.

Browse through some big name firms' IP lit departments (in the areas you mentioned), you will see a lot of BAs.

Boggs
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby Boggs » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:42 am

r6_philly wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:I'm an 0L, so maybe I'm misinformed, but I think you'd be crazy going into Law School planning to do non-technical IP. As I understand it, the vast vast majority of people in IP law have technical degrees and pass the patent bar. Not only are specialty rankings useless, but they're especially useless in this case, as they're 99% talking about patents etc. IP, not music/literature/art IP. Like you know how Google spent several billion dollars to essentially acquire Motorolla's patents, and thus be able to protect themselves in court? That's the kind of intellectual property law that they're talking about.

And, please, anyone who has the option, do not go to to GW over Cornell for the same money. Unless you're (real) IP secure, I guess.


IP litigation (like suing people for/defending against patent infringement) does not require a technical degree. Transactional work (like securing contracts and licensing agreements for patents) does not require a technical degree. The only technical degree requirement is patent prosecution (securing the patent in the first place).

Yes it helps to know the subject matter, but it's not like a software guy will only work on software patent litigation cases. You will also be working on pharma patents, machine patents, design patents, etc.

Browse through some big name firms' IP lit departments (in the areas you mentioned), you will see a lot of BAs.


+1

Litigation is litigation is litigation. It's not always desirable to have a technical background for IP litigation. At that point, what matters is being able to convince a jury.

r6_philly
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby r6_philly » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:57 am

I'd add as in another thread: specialty ranking is mostly useless because most big firms hire people at OCI after first summer - meaning no student has had a chance to take advantage of the IP course offerings. Since the schools have not had a chance to train you in any way, you are going to secure jobs based on your own credentials. Going to a school with a good IP program may be enjoyable for 2L/3L years, but it isn't going to help you through normal firm hiring. So in that case, going to the better tier school makes more sense generally. Most schools offer enough upper level IP classes anyway.

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clarion
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby clarion » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:45 pm

r6_philly wrote:I'd add as in another thread: specialty ranking is mostly useless because most big firms hire people at OCI after first summer - meaning no student has had a chance to take advantage of the IP course offerings. Since the schools have not had a chance to train you in any way, you are going to secure jobs based on your own credentials. Going to a school with a good IP program may be enjoyable for 2L/3L years, but it isn't going to help you through normal firm hiring. So in that case, going to the better tier school makes more sense generally. Most schools offer enough upper level IP classes anyway.


I agree with that. But questions: based on my understanding, it would seem that getting hired at OCI after your first summer is getting increasingly more difficult to accomplish, especially if you're not at a T14(?). So, since the OP is saying that he/she MAY NOT BE ABLE to get into a T14 school, wouldn't it make more sense to try and go to a school that will better prepare him/her during the 2L and 3L years so that OP can perhaps get a job somewhere down the line?

Again, I'm really ASKING, not saying I'm correct or incorrect. OP and I are in very similar predicaments, only I, based on my cycle so far, pretty much KNOW that the only schools T14 schools I will probably get into are Gtown and Cornell, neither of which are PARTICULARLY renowned for IP, but which both rank higher overall than say, GW which I also got into. So I'm asking to further my own understanding as well.

Remember, OP's original question was re: going to Cardozo (#5 in IP) or like New Hampshire (#4) over, say, BU (#7 in IP). From what you guys are suggesting, if one got into say Notre Dame and Cardozo, then ND is the obvious choice just because it's ranked higher overall. And maybe that IS what you're saying. I'm just trying to make sure. Thanks :) (Also, to clarify, I'd vote for going to BU over Cardozo in the situation I just posed, unless the person really wanted to work in NY and got a full-ride to Cardozo).

mja330
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby mja330 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:44 pm

I am in a similar situation. I went to school for business (finance/accounting) but I have a strong background/interest in music/entertainment. My dream job would be to work as an entertainment lawyer in either NY or LA as that is the heart of the music industry. I do not think I will make any T14s. So similar to the OP, I have beeen looking for schools that are strong in IP. So far I have made Fordham (#12 for IP) and Cardozo (#5 for IP) as well as Boston College, W&M, and UC Davis (all unranked as far as IP goes). Im also on the w/l at George Washington. Since I probably wont make a top 14 I am wondering if it makes more sense to go to a school with stronger IP such as Fordham or Cardozo which also have a number of entertainment law electives and have the benefit of being located in NY. Or should I just go to the highest ranked school I get into regardless of IP rankings, location or entertainment law courses offered?

Also I heard GW focuses more on patent law and less so on copyrights/media law. Does anyone know if this is true?

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sanetruth
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby sanetruth » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:14 pm

This might be veering a little bit from the OP's original question, but I think it's worth pointing out.

The extent to which your musical background will be deemed an asset (or even interesting) to an IP-focused or just generally 'elite' firm will depend on how prestigious or significant it is. The only attorneys I know whose musical background seemed to give them any boost or came into relevance in their practice were the ones who came from a prestigious conservatory or had toured internationally or won a well known award. I think if you were just a music major at an undergrad not known for music and went straight to a non-T14, you're gonna have an uphill battle spinning that background into a legitimate reason for why you should be an IP attorney over someone from a better school or with better grades without a musical background.

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dood
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby dood » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:21 pm

mja330 wrote:Also I heard GW focuses more on patent law and less so on copyrights/media law. Does anyone know if this is true?


without question, yes. so do vast majority of big firms with decent IP practices.

timbs4339
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Re: Intellectual Property Law

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:26 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:I'm an 0L, so maybe I'm misinformed, but I think you'd be crazy going into Law School planning to do non-technical IP. As I understand it, the vast vast majority of people in IP law have technical degrees and pass the patent bar. Not only are specialty rankings useless, but they're especially useless in this case, as they're 99% talking about patents etc. IP, not music/literature/art IP. Like you know how Google spent several billion dollars to essentially acquire Motorolla's patents, and thus be able to protect themselves in court? That's the kind of intellectual property law that they're talking about.

And, please, anyone who has the option, do not go to to GW over Cornell for the same money. Unless you're (real) IP secure, I guess.


There is a well-known "IP bump" that really means a "technical degree bump." This makes it substantially easier to get hired at a firm (and broadens the range of firms) with a technical degree. However, as a poster above stated, a lot of IP work does not require a technical degree. What this work will require, however, is biglaw stats- the grades/school required to get biglaw regardless of your practice area interest. Cardozo will not give you a good chance to do that unless you are in the top 15%. A T14 will.

As far as getting hired outside of the OCI process, there are very few IP jobs that do not require a technical degree and that hire outside of the normal OCI process. Many students go to law school hoping to be an entertainment or music lawyer (right up there with our old friends constitutional law, business law, and international law). OP needs to get more details from current students and admissions to find out if there really is a hiring bump.

From the USNWR site: "Specialty rankings are based solely on nominations by legal educators at peer institutions."

What this means is that the value of these rankings as a predictor of hiring boosts are low. To put it delicately, professors and deans do not give a shit about the job placement of a school in a particular field. They care only about the scholarship and the reputation/pedigree of the professors. And the ability of quality professors in an area to get students jobs outside of OCI is rather limited, as full professors generally do not have the necessary contact with the practicing bar.




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