With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

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071816
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby 071816 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:40 pm

I was speaking primarily with regards to soft IP. While I realize it's a very niche practice area, my point was that the whole "you can never do IP without a technical background" mentality is simply inaccurate and an oversimplification of the matter.

Voltaire
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Voltaire » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:15 pm

TJISMYHERO wrote:
CastleRock wrote:
TJISMYHERO wrote:On another note, anyone heard good (or bad) things about Oil and Gas?

Depends on where you plan on working. Where I currently live oil and gas is by far the biggest industy and by far the most lucrative.


I'm planning on working in Houston, as I'm about to start at UH this fall, and I know oil and gas is a big deal there. I guess I am just fishing for reassurance that my plan is a good one. haha.

I'm not sure about attorney work. But a ton of oil/gas companies recruit landmen from law schools. The salary is ok, and they all pretty much recruit a few law schools in Oklahoma, Texas, and some might make the trip to Arkansas or LSU.

So you're only competition will be from maybe 5 law schools and a couple of UG programs in energy management with finance majors from the Texas/Oklahoma area thrown in. A lot of the companies I've looked into won't accept resumes from schools they don't recruit from, but some do. Starting salary is ~70k.

If you're looking for a biglaw energy job, I think it would at least be a pretty good plan B.

Zazelmaf
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Zazelmaf » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:25 pm

I would say go into what you love doing, and be the best you can be at it. Bad news is overdone because it gets people's attention and the media thrives on your fear. I agree it seems bad, but not THAT bad.

I would not do something you don't enjoy doing as much as something you know you would love, just because it may be perceived as safer.

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JoeFish
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby JoeFish » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:30 pm

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the IP stuff. I have a mathematics major with very few technical science classes, and thus can't try for patent bar (except if I travel to Michigan to take the FE, and then do patent bar, but that's a really dumb idea, I think), but I'm extremely interested in copyright and trademark law. I figure that, knowing it'll be a real niche thing to get into from a T25, I'll take a few classes in it and really devote myself if I decide it's what I know I want to do and otherwise look closely at tax/bankruptcy. I mean, this could all change when I show up for day one in a month and fall in love with one of my 1L courses or professors, but I'll figure it out as I go...

dougroberts
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby dougroberts » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:46 pm

CastleRock wrote:IP typically refers to:

Copyright;
Trademarks;
Trade Secrets; and
Patent.


IP also includes software and Internet issues (often centered on one or more of the above), and the licensing of intellectual property.

warmweatherseeker
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby warmweatherseeker » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:12 pm

Even if you didn't major in a science field, if you minored or took significant courses in the hard sciences you can still sit for the Patent Bar under the Category B established here:

--LinkRemoved-- (page 4)


I graduated in History but I did significant course work in Bio, Physics, and Chem so I could potentially sit for the patent bar if I wanted to, and I feel like I'm not the only person who is in this position.

So ultimately, even patent law is not a completely closed option (although I feel like those with the degree probably have a much greater chance of being hired).
Last edited by warmweatherseeker on Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

scammedhard
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby scammedhard » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:31 pm

warmweatherseeker wrote:So ultimately, not even patent law is not a completely closed option (although I feel like those with the degree probably have a much greater chance of being hired).

I think you have nailed it... A hard science degree might not be necessary for IP, but in the competition for jobs, why would a law firm or company hire a JD without a substantial science background when JDs with substantial science backgrounds are in ample supply? I think that people without science backgrounds are wasting their time by pursuing IP law; they are walking into a field where they are and will be at a huge competitive disadvantage.

071816
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby 071816 » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:16 pm

scammedhard wrote:
warmweatherseeker wrote:So ultimately, not even patent law is not a completely closed option (although I feel like those with the degree probably have a much greater chance of being hired).

I think you have nailed it... A hard science degree might not be necessary for IP, but in the competition for jobs, why would a law firm or company hire a JD without a substantial science background when JDs with substantial science backgrounds are in ample supply? I think that people without science backgrounds are wasting their time by pursuing IP law; they are walking into a field where they are and will be at a huge competitive disadvantage.


Aren't you just describing most law school graduates in general?

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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Lawyerhead » Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:11 am

scammedhard wrote:
warmweatherseeker wrote:So ultimately, not even patent law is not a completely closed option (although I feel like those with the degree probably have a much greater chance of being hired).

I think you have nailed it... A hard science degree might not be necessary for IP, but in the competition for jobs, why would a law firm or company hire a JD without a substantial science background when JDs with substantial science backgrounds are in ample supply? I think that people without science backgrounds are wasting their time by pursuing IP law; they are walking into a field where they are and will be at a huge competitive disadvantage.


Man, this is so not true, at least in my firm. Unless you're doing hardcore patent work, a science background will be nearly useless. I know many IP attorneys and partners without a science background. It all depends on what kind of work you want to do and the firm itself.

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Heartford
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Heartford » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:14 am

Lawyerhead wrote:
scammedhard wrote:
warmweatherseeker wrote:So ultimately, not even patent law is not a completely closed option (although I feel like those with the degree probably have a much greater chance of being hired).

I think you have nailed it... A hard science degree might not be necessary for IP, but in the competition for jobs, why would a law firm or company hire a JD without a substantial science background when JDs with substantial science backgrounds are in ample supply? I think that people without science backgrounds are wasting their time by pursuing IP law; they are walking into a field where they are and will be at a huge competitive disadvantage.


Man, this is so not true, at least in my firm. Unless you're doing hardcore patent work, a science background will be nearly useless. I know many IP attorneys and partners without a science background. It all depends on what kind of work you want to do and the firm itself.


I agree, but wanted to add:
There's a difference between the broad term Intellectual Property and the narrower field of patents. If you want to go in to patents, you are absolutely at a disadvantage without a technical undergraduate degree. This isn't just speculation- you'll see it when OCI rolls around and participating patent firms say "liberal arts need not apply. Technical degree applicants only, please."

vb007
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby vb007 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:15 am

people need to stop using "ip law" and "patent law" synonymously. patent law is a subset of ip law. patent law is the area within ip law that one would benefit from having a technical background. other areas of ip law such as copyright and trademark do not involve any technical subject matter whatsoever. thus, a firm will place no weight on one's technical background when hiring for non-technical ip positions.

ip law does not necessarily require a technical background. in some instances, a technical background has no bearing whatsoever on the legal issues at hand.

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Gamecubesupreme
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:38 am

What happens if I have a Bachelor of Science, but it's in neuroscience?

Even if I pass the patent bar, can I apply for jobs that require a technical degree?

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Heartford
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Heartford » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:41 am

vb007 wrote:people need to stop using "ip law" and "patent law" synonymously. patent law is a subset of ip law. patent law is the area within ip law that one would benefit from having a technical background. other areas of ip law such as copyright and trademark do not involve any technical subject matter whatsoever. thus, a firm will place no weight on one's technical background when hiring for non-technical ip positions.

ip law does not necessarily require a technical background. in some instances, a technical background has no bearing whatsoever on the legal issues at hand.


...except that most decent patent attorneys are also proficient at copyright and trademark. So if you're a firm looking for an IP guy, you may well be more attracted to the "total package" candidate who not only went to law school, like the other general ip applicants, but also can handle patent work because of his/her UG background... Firms hire JDs for what are essentially paralegal positions for the same reason; they're able to do the paralegal stuff And , should the need arise, they're able to do lawyer stuff.

071816
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby 071816 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:48 am

Heartford wrote:
vb007 wrote:people need to stop using "ip law" and "patent law" synonymously. patent law is a subset of ip law. patent law is the area within ip law that one would benefit from having a technical background. other areas of ip law such as copyright and trademark do not involve any technical subject matter whatsoever. thus, a firm will place no weight on one's technical background when hiring for non-technical ip positions.

ip law does not necessarily require a technical background. in some instances, a technical background has no bearing whatsoever on the legal issues at hand.


...except that most decent patent attorneys are also proficient at copyright and trademark. So if you're a firm looking for an IP guy, you may well be more attracted to the "total package" candidate who not only went to law school, like the other general ip applicants, but also can handle patent work because of his/her UG background... Firms hire JDs for what are essentially paralegal positions for the same reason; they're able to do the paralegal stuff And , should the need arise, they're able to do lawyer stuff.


Dude, it sounds like you're just completely talking out of your ass. How would you know this? Is this mere speculation or have you done your homework?

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Heartford
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Heartford » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:58 am

chimp wrote:
Dude, it sounds like you're just completely talking out of your ass. How would you know this? Is this mere speculation or have you done your homework?


I noticed firms known for IP, not just patent, expressing at OCI that they don't want applicants without technical degrees. I've contacted several of them to ask whether this restriction only applies to students with a specific interest in patent, and they said no. I also discussed it with ip attorneys at my current summer gig. Idk if any of that counts as "homework," but I was just trying to help.

Edited to add: I didn't mean to imply that applicants without tech UG backgrounds are doomed to be shut out of IP- just that, all other factors being equal, the tech applicants are at some degree of advantage even for positions not exclusively focused on patent.

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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby 071816 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:05 am

Heartford wrote:
chimp wrote:
Dude, it sounds like you're just completely talking out of your ass. How would you know this? Is this mere speculation or have you done your homework?


I noticed firms known for IP, not just patent, expressing at OCI that they don't want applicants without technical degrees. I've contacted several of them to ask whether this restriction only applies to students with a specific interest in patent, and they said no. I also discussed it with ip attorneys at my current summer gig. Idk if any of that counts as "homework," but I was just trying to help.


Thanks for the response. Interesting to know. It would be nice to see if other law students could shed some light on this issue because I've been browsing firm websites quite a bit lately and it seems as if attorneys who tend to focus on copyright and trademark work a) don't usually have technical backgrounds and b) don't usually do patent work. Obviously this varies significantly by firm, but I don't feel like what you cited is necessarily representative of IP hiring in general.

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Heartford
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Heartford » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:13 am

chimp wrote:
Heartford wrote:
chimp wrote:
Dude, it sounds like you're just completely talking out of your ass. How would you know this? Is this mere speculation or have you done your homework?


Thanks for the response. Interesting to know. It would be nice to see if other law students could shed some light on this issue because I've been browsing firm websites quite a bit lately and it seems as if attorneys who tend to focus on copyright and trademark work a) don't usually have technical backgrounds and b) don't usually do patent work. Obviously this varies significantly by firm, but I don't feel like what you cited is necessarily representative of IP hiring in general.


Feel however you want. I guess your rigorous browsing of firm websites is a weightier authority than my OCI experience, direct communication with hiring personnel, and conversations with practicing IP attorneys. Best of luck to you.

071816
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby 071816 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:20 am

Heartford wrote:
chimp wrote:
Heartford wrote:
chimp wrote:
Dude, it sounds like you're just completely talking out of your ass. How would you know this? Is this mere speculation or have you done your homework?


Thanks for the response. Interesting to know. It would be nice to see if other law students could shed some light on this issue because I've been browsing firm websites quite a bit lately and it seems as if attorneys who tend to focus on copyright and trademark work a) don't usually have technical backgrounds and b) don't usually do patent work. Obviously this varies significantly by firm, but I don't feel like what you cited is necessarily representative of IP hiring in general.


Feel however you want. I guess your rigorous browsing of firm websites is a weightier authority than my OCI experience, direct communication with hiring personnel, and conversations with practicing IP attorneys. Best of luck to you.


Bro, when did I say that this was the case? I sincerely do appreciate your insight, but I have heard so much conflicting info regarding this issue that I have become pretty frustrated. Not to mention that I have talked to a few soft IP attorneys who have worked in big law who have given me information that is inconsistent with your experience. Excuse me for being skeptical and best of luck to you too. :?

Lawyerhead
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Lawyerhead » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:25 am

Heartford wrote:
chimp wrote:
Dude, it sounds like you're just completely talking out of your ass. How would you know this? Is this mere speculation or have you done your homework?


I noticed firms known for IP, not just patent, expressing at OCI that they don't want applicants without technical degrees. I've contacted several of them to ask whether this restriction only applies to students with a specific interest in patent, and they said no. I also discussed it with ip attorneys at my current summer gig. Idk if any of that counts as "homework," but I was just trying to help.

Edited to add: I didn't mean to imply that applicants without tech UG backgrounds are doomed to be shut out of IP- just that, all other factors being equal, the tech applicants are at some degree of advantage even for positions not exclusively focused on patent.


Don't put too much stock in whatever someone tells you at OCI. Unfortunately, many of them just don't know, and I say this as I am friends with a handful of OCI partners/senior associates. Also, don't confuse what a firm "hires for" and what you are able to do once you get into the firm. Sure, if a firm has to decide between a guy who has a phd in chemistry for IP and a guy who was an English major, they are probably going to pick the phd, all else being equal. I think you were saying something similar.

I generally see IP as falling into 3 different buckets (oversimplifying things here). First you have IP litigation. You may or may not need a science background for this; it depends on who you ask. Many people will say that it's helpful if you don't because you are better able to explain things to laypeople, since you are a layperson yourself. Then you have patent rights management - helping companies manage their patent portfolios, draft patent claims, etc. You definitely need a science background for this. Then you have the rest of IP - licensing (big part), trademark prosecution, copyright, privacy issues (e.g., data breaches, PCI compliance), IT-related issues, M&A-related IP work (another big part), rights of publicity and the like. A science background is of little value here. The thing is, many firms don't do a lot of work in that third bucket, so when you say that you want to do IP, they automatically think of IP lit or patent work and say you NEED a science background. And that might very well be true for most of the type of IP work done at THAT firm. It really comes down to the firm and the amount of work they do in a particular bucket. Sometimes there's not a lot of the third bucket, and no work at all for junior associates in that bucket.

When you are interviewing at the firm, just keep these things in mind. This is something that is very, very difficult to discern just from Chambers, a firm's website, etc. You need to speak with the people in that particular department at that firm and talk to them about it. I know, starting in a few weeks, candidates will be stepping into my office for interviews and telling me they want to do IP, and this is exactly what I will tell them (and what I've told them in past years). 20 years ago, when you wanted to do IP, it really did tend to focus on patents and, perhaps, you needed a science background more often. But things have changed, and it's just no longer the case (even if partners in other practice groups don't really realize this).

vb007
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby vb007 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:27 pm

Heartford wrote:
vb007 wrote:people need to stop using "ip law" and "patent law" synonymously. patent law is a subset of ip law. patent law is the area within ip law that one would benefit from having a technical background. other areas of ip law such as copyright and trademark do not involve any technical subject matter whatsoever. thus, a firm will place no weight on one's technical background when hiring for non-technical ip positions.

ip law does not necessarily require a technical background. in some instances, a technical background has no bearing whatsoever on the legal issues at hand.


...except that most decent patent attorneys are also proficient at copyright and trademark. So if you're a firm looking for an IP guy, you may well be more attracted to the "total package" candidate who not only went to law school, like the other general ip applicants, but also can handle patent work because of his/her UG background... Firms hire JDs for what are essentially paralegal positions for the same reason; they're able to do the paralegal stuff And , should the need arise, they're able to do lawyer stuff.


this is completely untrue. i'm working at a big firm where the patent attorneys do not work on copyright/TM stuff AT ALL. and this is exactly how several other big firms operate according to attorneys i've talked to. at most, you'll split time between patent pros and patent lit. some firms don't even do that; you work solely on patent pros OR patent lit. nobody does everything. maybe you're talking about small/mid-size firms, where you find jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none attorneys. in big firms you need to specialize to justify your billing rate.

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Heartford
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby Heartford » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:33 pm

vb007 wrote:
Heartford wrote:
vb007 wrote:people need to stop using "ip law" and "patent law" synonymously. patent law is a subset of ip law. patent law is the area within ip law that one would benefit from having a technical background. other areas of ip law such as copyright and trademark do not involve any technical subject matter whatsoever. thus, a firm will place no weight on one's technical background when hiring for non-technical ip positions.

ip law does not necessarily require a technical background. in some instances, a technical background has no bearing whatsoever on the legal issues at hand.


...except that most decent patent attorneys are also proficient at copyright and trademark. So if you're a firm looking for an IP guy, you may well be more attracted to the "total package" candidate who not only went to law school, like the other general ip applicants, but also can handle patent work because of his/her UG background... Firms hire JDs for what are essentially paralegal positions for the same reason; they're able to do the paralegal stuff And , should the need arise, they're able to do lawyer stuff.


this is completely untrue. i'm working at a big firm where the patent attorneys do not work on copyright/TM stuff AT ALL. and this is exactly how several other big firms operate according to attorneys i've talked to. at most, you'll split time between patent pros and patent lit. some firms don't even do that; you work solely on patent pros OR patent lit. nobody does everything. maybe you're talking about small/mid-size firms, where you find jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none attorneys. in big firms you need to specialize to justify your billing rate.


Ok but the question is whether having a technical UG background makes you a more desirable job applicant for an IP practice area than other applicants with liberal arts degrees. Are you saying that since biglaw patent attorneys don't do anything but patent, that biglaw firms looking for entry-levels to do trademark and copyright aren't going to prefer candidates who can also do patent?

nevermind. I was just trying to share what I've learned through my experience/inquiries. I don't give enough of a shit to argue about it.

firemed
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby firemed » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:30 pm

warmweatherseeker wrote:Even if you didn't major in a science field, if you minored or took significant courses in the hard sciences you can still sit for the Patent Bar under the Category B established here:

--LinkRemoved-- (page 4)


I graduated in History but I did significant course work in Bio, Physics, and Chem so I could potentially sit for the patent bar if I wanted to, and I feel like I'm not the only person who is in this position.

So ultimately, even patent law is not a completely closed option (although I feel like those with the degree probably have a much greater chance of being hired).


I have been wondering about that. 3-4 more science courses and I could apply to take the patent bar... but it seems like it would be a waste for me to do so if I am going to be beaten out again and again by people with BSes and MSes, you know? So I am wondering if it is worth it.

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chem
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby chem » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:58 pm

firemed wrote:
warmweatherseeker wrote:Even if you didn't major in a science field, if you minored or took significant courses in the hard sciences you can still sit for the Patent Bar under the Category B established here:

--LinkRemoved-- (page 4)


I graduated in History but I did significant course work in Bio, Physics, and Chem so I could potentially sit for the patent bar if I wanted to, and I feel like I'm not the only person who is in this position.

So ultimately, even patent law is not a completely closed option (although I feel like those with the degree probably have a much greater chance of being hired).


I have been wondering about that. 3-4 more science courses and I could apply to take the patent bar... but it seems like it would be a waste for me to do so if I am going to be beaten out again and again by people with BSes and MSes, you know? So I am wondering if it is worth it.


http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=160252


http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=129609

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=128609

scammedhard
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby scammedhard » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:28 pm

Desert Fox got to the point succinctly:
You don't get a job just taking enough classes to pass the bar. You need to get a real engineering degree. Electrical, mechanical, bio, compsci, something useful.

Unless one is willing to major in an engineering or science background (with additional MS/PHD often required), pursuing Patent Law is a waste of time; and pursuing other fields of IP law probably so as well because employers prefer to hire someone that understand the underlying science.

The issue is not so much eligibility, but the ability to get a job.

071816
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Re: With all this bad news, what field of law to go into?

Postby 071816 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:32 pm

scammedhard wrote:Desert Fox got to the point succinctly:
You don't get a job just taking enough classes to pass the bar. You need to get a real engineering degree. Electrical, mechanical, bio, compsci, something useful.

Unless one is willing to major in an engineering or science background (with additional MS/PHD often required), pursuing Patent Law is a waste of time; and pursuing other fields of IP law probably so as well because employers prefer to hire someone that understand the underlying science.

The issue is not so much eligibility, but the ability to get a job.


Except the "underlying science" in copyright and trademark law is nonexistent.




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