Patent Attorney Advice

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
m_ho

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:59 pm

Patent Attorney Advice

Postby m_ho » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:06 pm

I am a registered patent agent and am looking to become an attorney. Studied ChemE in college and GPA was 2.4, which is why I think I was denied by top schools. Applying to only California law schools.
So far I am as follows:

Denied: Berkeley; UCLA; USC; Davis
Waitlisted: Irvine; Hastings
Accepted: Santa Clara; Golden Gate; Southwestern

Have full ride at GG and SW, while 50% off SC. Any advice on choosing a school would be appreciated. Don't have a good understanding on how important law school ranking is for a patent attorney.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2116
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby QContinuum » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:21 pm

Are you currently working as a patent agent? If so, are you at a BigLaw firm, or a small shop? Do you have any engineering work experience?

Don't attend Golden Gate or Southwestern under any circumstances. Santa Clara might be worth considering, but only if you have past engineering WE and/or if you're working at a law firm that's willing to take you back as an associate.

m_ho

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:59 pm

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby m_ho » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:31 pm

I have been working as a R&D Engineer for the past two years, but have no patent agent experience (besides filing a provisional/ I have a few patents of my own from work).

Currently 26 yo, graduate ChemE from UCLA if that makes any difference.

Why do you say do not attend GG or SW? My dad, who thinks GG would be fine, went to GG and is a successful patent attorney. Just trying to get another perspective besides his.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2116
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby QContinuum » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:44 pm

m_ho wrote:I have been working as a R&D Engineer for the past two years, but have no patent agent experience (besides filing a provisional/ I have a few patents of my own from work).

Great, you have the work experience needed to land a patent prosecution gig. But you need to attend a decent law school to seal the deal.

m_ho wrote:Why do you say do not attend GG or SW? My dad, who thinks GG would be fine, went to GG and is a successful patent attorney. Just trying to get another perspective besides his.

The legal market has changed significantly in recent times. Decades ago, and especially pre-2008, law school ranking mattered a lot less than today.

At Golden Gate, less than 38% of the class of '17 (the most recent year for which data is publicly available) secured full-time legal work after graduating. That's less than a coin flip's chance at becoming a working lawyer. And almost half - 48% - of the 38% working as lawyers are working at the tiniest firms, with less than 10 lawyers - firms which almost certainly pay in the low five figures. Those are horrible odds.

Southwestern is similar. 43% of the class of '17 secured full-time legal work after graduating, and almost 70% of the 43% working as lawyers are working at firms with <10 lawyers.

Do not attend GGU or Southwestern. You're frankly much better off continuing to work as an engineer instead of spending three years of your life (and taking out loans for living expenses) attending GGU or Southwestern.

I also take back what I previously said about Santa Clara. I confused it with a higher-ranked UC school. Santa Clara's stats are mildly better than GGU/Southwestern but still not good enough to be worth attending. You're looking at a 56% chance of being employed as a full-time lawyer after graduation, with a quarter of the 56% being employed in firms with <10 lawyers. That's still very bad odds. You have a full 44% chance of not being employed as a full-time lawyer after investing three years of your life in law school.

I'm not going to lie to you, a 2.4 GPA is awful for law school admissions purposes unless you happen to be a URM (which I assume you're not). You aren't going to be getting into a T13 law school, or even a T20. But with enough work on the LSAT, it's still entirely possible for you to get into a T1 law school, or at least a T2 law school, where you'd have a decent shot at a good patent prosecution gig given your engineering WE.

beinghuman

Moderator
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:10 pm

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby beinghuman » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:16 am

I second the above.
With you experience, you would have a decent shot as long as you attend a decent school.
Even though odds are better for patent attorneys, your school rank will still mater a lot and I would really caution you from attending any school that is below the first tier.

m_ho wrote:I am a registered patent agent and am looking to become an attorney. Studied ChemE in college and GPA was 2.4, which is why I think I was denied by top schools. Applying to only California law schools.
So far I am as follows:

Denied: Berkeley; UCLA; USC; Davis
Waitlisted: Irvine; Hastings
Accepted: Santa Clara; Golden Gate; Southwestern

Have full ride at GG and SW, while 50% off SC. Any advice on choosing a school would be appreciated. Don't have a good understanding on how important law school ranking is for a patent attorney.

User avatar
KunAgnis

Bronze
Posts: 291
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:41 pm

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby KunAgnis » Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:44 am

QContinuum wrote:
I'm not going to lie to you, a 2.4 GPA is awful for law school admissions purposes unless you happen to be a URM (which I assume you're not). You aren't going to be getting into a T13 law school, or even a T20. But with enough work on the LSAT, it's still entirely possible for you to get into a T1 law school, or at least a T2 law school, where you'd have a decent shot at a good patent prosecution gig given your engineering WE.


I'd like to point out that I've plenty of students, myself included, get acceptance to splitter-friendly schools in the T20 with a GPA similar to OP's. Granted this seems to require really high LSAT scores, but it can be done.

m_ho

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:59 pm

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby m_ho » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:50 pm

Thank you everyone for the advice.

I am pretty firm about going to law school Fall 2019, even though I agree that ideal employment wouldn't be guaranteed. How about transferring to a better school from Santa Clara, assuming I do not get into Irvine or Hastings? Is this an unrealistic goal?

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2116
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby QContinuum » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:34 pm

m_ho wrote:Thank you everyone for the advice.

I am pretty firm about going to law school Fall 2019, even though I agree that ideal employment wouldn't be guaranteed. How about transferring to a better school from Santa Clara, assuming I do not get into Irvine or Hastings? Is this an unrealistic goal?

To be blunt, yes. It's unrealistic to count on doing well enough to transfer up from a T3 school to (at least) a T1 school. You'd need to be in something like the top 5-10% of the class, at least, and likely even higher than that - meaning you'd have a chance of failure of well over 90%.

What's the huge rush to start in fall 2019? Starting at a T3 would likely torpedo your entire future career as a patent attorney before it's even gotten off the ground.

HamlinMcgill

New
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 7:04 pm

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby HamlinMcgill » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:19 pm

I know some people from Santa Clara who have gotten biglaw patent prosecution jobs. But they generally seem to start as patent agents at firms, then go to Santa Clara's part-time program. It seems to be much easier to break into biglaw if you already have your foot in the door and then do good work and are well-liked. It's almost unheard of for anyone from Golden Gate or Southwestern to get biglaw jobs.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5891
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:37 pm

m_ho wrote:I am pretty firm about going to law school Fall 2019


Why? What's going to happen in 2020?

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2116
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Patent Attorney Advice

Postby QContinuum » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:39 pm

HamlinMcgill wrote:I know some people from Santa Clara who have gotten biglaw patent prosecution jobs. But they generally seem to start as patent agents at firms, then go to Santa Clara's part-time program. It seems to be much easier to break into biglaw if you already have your foot in the door and then do good work and are well-liked. It's almost unheard of for anyone from Golden Gate or Southwestern to get biglaw jobs.

Right, it's a totally different ballgame if you're already employed as a patent agent at a firm, and - after a year or two of working full-time - you start law school part-time (with the firm footing your tuition bill). In that case, your law school's rank doesn't matter w.r.t. your ability to return to your firm as a full-time associate after graduation - that's pretty much assured so long as you graduate and pass the bar. But even then, attending a low-ranked law school will still dog you down the road if, say, you wanted to lateral in a few years. And of course it'd pretty much foreclose the possibility of switching to a different practice area.

But OP isn't employed at a firm. I wouldn't advise anyone to take the risk of trying to break into BigLaw for the first time from Santa Clara - even for patent prosecution.



Return to “Choosing a Law School�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests