Jrs46tj wrote:I’m thinking of heading to law school for IP law. I have a PhD & MS in Electrical Engineering, publications, a patent, and have been working in Engineering for the past few years.
I figure my family can afford it if I can do a part-time 4-year program, while still working my day job (or perhaps a new one with an IP firm).
I feel that I have mastered most of what I need to know to be successful in my career path, but I feel my work has become methodical and boring. I could continue with what I am doing, but I’m itching to get some work that will challenge me and require me to think outside the box. Reflecting back on my experience when filing my patent and work I recently performed when combating a forensic attorney I started thinking that a career in law could provide this.
With that said... am I crazy to think that law can provide the environment I’m looking for? If not, any recommendations on schools for IP law?
All insight is much appreciated!
What kind of IP job are you imagining you want? Are you hoping to work at a big firm doing patent litigation, or would rather use your PhD in prosecuting patents before the PTO? Your imagined career path will be helpful in determining whether this is even a sane decision for you. Going to law school would be a new academic pursuit, and you'd be very marketable in the patent space with your credentials, but whether or not you'd be "thinking outside the box" or challenge you in new and exciting ways remains to be seen.
If I were you, I'd look into becoming a scientific advisor or maybe a patent agent at a patent firm to see the inner workings before you dive in to law school. Work with some patent litigators, get some experience in the mechanics of patent law, and see if a legal career would excite you.
I'm probably projecting on you a little bit, but anyone who goes through to a EE PhD, works for a few years as an engineer, and is now looking for a new, exciting field because the work you're doing has become boring makes me skeptical. Not because you're not bored, but because there is a very real chance you just get restless in what you're doing and want to switch careers every couple of years because you become restless in general. Especially considering your only exposure to the career is getting one patent issued and working adverse to forensics.
This is a fine first step in doing your research into a legal career, but considering how much you've invested into your academic credentials already, I just want to warn you that taking on three or four additional years of training to enter a completely new field should be deliberate. Figure out what you imagine a legal career being in IP, meet with actual litigators and prosecutors, read the relevant anecdotes on this thread about patent work (http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=228583&hilit=Typical+Day
), and continue considering whether a complete career shift is really what you ultimately want. Don't make the shift only because it sounds exciting and new.