NYAssociate wrote: awesomepossum wrote: NYAssociate wrote:
i mean, if you're microsoft's gc, who would you rather have doing depositions on experts, reviewing technical documents etc. - an amherst english major or an mit ee?
Wait, do you seriously think an electrical engineer will understand programming code better than an an English major? The EE might have a head-start because of his facility with math, but they both will have to take lessons. That leads us back to square one.
A few programming classes are generally required for EEs. So....I think they will understand code better.
Fair enough, but now we're getting into specifics. What about bio majors? physics students? My point here is that having a science background doesn't make one an expert in "all things science," and eventually the associate will have to reach outside of his discipline to do a case. In that instance, he will surely be on the same footing as the English major.
I don't think the "outside his discipline" thing is quite right either. Take a basic engineering curriculum. You're generally required to take basic physics, math, CSCI, and chemistry. If you have an advanced degree in engineering or science, you also garner the ability to understand diverse pieces of scientific literature because so much advanced work is fairly interdisciplinary.
It's not to say engineers are better lawyers as a whole. I will freely admit that my writing is probably behind that of my English/Poly-Sci compatriots, but I'm working on it. The point rather is that for people with appropriate technical backgrounds, it's a lot easier to have them do certain pieces of patent work immediately. Things like writing claim charts is a whole heck of a lot easier with a tech background.
You have to remember that time = money for lawyers. If something takes a non-tech person way longer to accomplish a certain task, that costs somebody money. It either costs the client money, or if time has to be written off, it costs the firm money.
I also think that there's some distinction that has to be made between entry level lawyers and people who have been in the biz for a while. Partners may be awesome litigators and have taken up patent lit as an interest. They have a skill-set that's valuable. An entry non-tech person generally won't have that sort of skill-set. Therefore, it makes much more sense for firms to grab tech people over non-tech people for patent lit, all things held equal. Obviously if there's some awesome candidate who's not a tech person, that person is going to get a look. But all things held equal, it's easier for tech people with the appropriate tech background to break into patent lit. I'm 100% sure that's true.