Patent Law in LA or Boston?

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bigox
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Patent Law in LA or Boston?

Postby bigox » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:36 pm

I'd like to hear some opinions on this...

I graduated last year with a PhD in molecular biology from a respected school and worked for a biofuel startup for half a year until it went belly-up. This winter I have been seriously considering going to law school with the intention of ultimately getting into patent law. However, my wife currently has some job offers in Los Angeles and Boston, and we will be moving later this year. I have a 3.6 GPA and expect to score a 170-173 on the LSAT, which I think gives me a decent shot at UCLA, USC, BU and BC. The LA schools are ranked higher overall (top 20 vs top 25), but I think Boston has more patent law going on. Also, BU is listed as being top10 for IP law by USNWR, for whatever that's worth. I expect that quality of life would be better in sunny LA, so all things being equal I would rather go there. However, I've spoken to a number of local patent lawyers, and they know patent lawyers in Boston but not LA, which makes me a bit nervous.

Can anyone provide insight into the relative strengths of the patent law programs at these schools?
Thanks!

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drdolittle
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Re: Patent Law in LA or Boston?

Postby drdolittle » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:23 am

bigox wrote:I've spoken to a number of local patent lawyers, and they know patent lawyers in Boston but not LA

Local as in where, and how many lawyers have you spoken with? Maybe the attorneys you've contacted simply don't have connections in LA? Law can be much more insular than academia: even very successful attorneys based in an area are often relatively ignorant of practices in other regions.

Strictly speaking, I do think Boston is probably better than LA for biotech patent law (assuming this is what you'd do w/ your PhD), with a bunch of small biotechs continually cropping up in Cambridge and all around the metro area. Plus, all the research universities there make it fertile ground for starting tech companies in general; both Harvard and MIT actively encourage start-up creation as well. When I participated in the Loyola Patent fair last year, I remember seeing a number of impressive boutique patent firms, some biotech specialists, participating from the Boston area. I don't recall seeing as many firms like that come out to PLIP from CA. Though of course San Diego and NorCal definitely have vibrant biotech industries, much more so than LA. So I think Boston's one of the better places to be for biotech patent law in the country from what I've gathered and there are a number of good law schools around there you could attend. LA is relatively worse for biotech patent law it seems, but then again SD and NorCal would be more open to you graduating from an LA-based law school.

In general, school reputation in IP doesn't matter nearly as much as overall reputation (i.e., don't let IP reputation affect your choice much unless your options include Stan/Cal). All things being equal though, a school having an IP reputation can't hurt, so in this regard BU could be a good fit given your numbers. You'll probably get in there even with an LSAT lower than the hypothetical scores you've quoted. Also, having a PhD, where you attend law school won't matter much provided it's a decent school and you do reasonably well. And the schools you've listed are all just fine given your technical background.

If I were you, I wouldn't decide this based on law school and your future law career. You'll likely be fine either way. Decide based on quality of life concerns, family ties, and your wife's career (probably in reverse order of significance). Good luck!

Emu Flu
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Re: Patent Law in LA or Boston?

Postby Emu Flu » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:19 am

Patent attorneys like suburbs :D

I think the patent attorneys down there work in Orange County rather than Los Angeles itself. In Northern California, they are concentrated in Silicon Valley rather than San Francisco.

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Blumpbeef
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Re: Patent Law in LA or Boston?

Postby Blumpbeef » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:34 am

Emu Flu wrote:Patent attorneys like suburbs :D

I think the patent attorneys down there work in Orange County rather than Los Angeles itself. In Northern California, they are concentrated in Silicon Valley rather than San Francisco.


I think this is accurate. OC and San Diego.

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Blindmelon
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Re: Patent Law in LA or Boston?

Postby Blindmelon » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:44 am

Come back with an LSAT score... try to get as high in that range as you can and hit up the big H. Otherwise, try leverage as much money as you can from BU/BC and take the cheaper one.

senhorquick
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Re: Patent Law in LA or Boston?

Postby senhorquick » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:45 am

Come back with an LSAT score bro. A lot of IP work in the LA-OC area has to do with the entertainment industry. Biotech? I would assume that Boston is better for that. If you get the score you want check out GW too and if you work hard and do better than a 174 on the LSAT aim for Boalt.

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wiseowl
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Re: Patent Law in LA or Boston?

Postby wiseowl » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:47 am

I second everything said here. Boston and OC/San Diego are the two hotbeds of biotech in the country right now. There aren't, honestly, a ton of openings in each place each year. You need to get in the best school you can.

senhorquick
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Re: Patent Law in LA or Boston?

Postby senhorquick » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:02 pm

wiseowl wrote:I second everything said here. Boston and OC/San Diego are the two hotbeds of biotech in the country right now. There aren't, honestly, a ton of openings in each place each year. You need to get in the best school you can.


What biotech companies operate out of SoCal out of curiosity?




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