abstractcircles wrote:Wow, can't believe I'm posting in this thread....
I just received my Rubenstein today, prior to today I was 100% set on going to Harvard. I have a science background and am planning to go in to patent prosecution or end up as intellectual property in-house council. I also have an interest in "transactional law" - mainly writing contracts for biotech/pharma. I plan to end up in the bay area california (haven't heard from SLS yet.....).
My primary focus is on picking the best choice for making sure I'm employed in my chosen field after law school. Yes in the short term having the Rubenstein would be amazing, but if Harvard gave me a better edge as far as securing a dream job then I may actually earn much more over the next 30 years than I would have saved with the Rubenstein.
Anyone have any advice? Facing a similar situation?
I did not go to either of these schools, but I have worked in a firm that did a lot of patent prosecution and now I work for a different firm, in the Bay Area (although I literally had no ties to the area before coming), doing patent litigation. I just wanted to share a few thoughts on your position. From what I have seen in the industry, most people doing patent prosecution come out of lower ranked schools. Lots come from GW, as an example--although in the Bay Area, there are a lot of people in all aspects of IP law from Berkeley. I don't think that people generally go to Harvard or Chicago to do patent prosecution. Not to say that you shouldn't, it's just not a super common occurrence.
At the large patent boutique where I summered, I recall one guy was from Harvard, though I'm pretty sure there were others, and I don't recall any from Chicago.
If I were in your shoes, I would to to Chicago, because I don't think Harvard is necessarily going to give you a leg up for patent prosecution. The main difference is going to be exposure to firms at OCI. Many of the renowned firms that do patent prosecution in the Bay Area will go to Harvard's OCI, but not Chicago's. All this means is that you will need to do a little more leg-work on your part.
Here's how you can do this. Do a little googling to find out which firms have these practice areas in the Bay Area. Off the top of my head, MoFo, Fish, Finnegan all have offices out here. As for tech transactions, the big players are Wilson Sonsini, Fenwick and West, Cooley, a few others. Then use the NALP Directory for each of these firms' Bay Area offices to see if they come to OCI. I did this for a few of the firms above, and most were going to Harvard, and a couple also were going to Chicago's OCI. Doing this shows that Harvard will be an easier route if you want to rely on OCI alone.
However, if you are a little more enterprising, you should still be able to garner interest from the same firms. Most, if not all of these firms will be in Chicago for the Loyola Patent Law Interview Program (PLIP). You can meet many patent firms there. A degree from either of these schools would stand out at PLIP, as most people attending will be from much lower ranked schools. Also, you should look over the bios of the attorneys on the firms' websites and look for people from the school you choose. I did this for several highly regarded firms (GP firms even), and was able to secure interviews this way. Additionally, you will probably have professors with connections at these firms, and you can turn those into interviews (I also did this).
The one thing that I didn't really have time to do while writing this response was to look at the firms' websites and try to see if there were an appreciably greater number of people from Harvard in the prosecution or transaction groups. This could change the analysis, and I would encourage you to do that. Still, I doubt you will have trouble coming from Chicago.
In sum, I think Harvard will allow you to rely on the traditional OCI route (although even there, I would be doing a lot of networking to improve my chances). However, I think that a free education from Chicago is such a good opportunity, and the school is very well regarded, so that with a little hustle, you should easily be able to get in front of employers without much trouble. Then it's up to you to seal the deal. Feel free to PM if you have any questions about the above, and good luck.