patent litigation exit options?

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patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:31 pm

Can I do *anything* else if I do patent litigation for 3-4 years as an associate?

I'm deciding between a firm like Kirkland/Quinn and a place like Finnegan/Fish. I would love to make a decision fast, but this is my lingering doubt.

I asked this question point blank to these firms, and the K/Q guys said in-house is no problem, whereas F/F said it is a problem if all I do is litigation, but not a BIG problem. For context, I'm registered + tech bg.

Anyone who knows the deal - pipe in.

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chem
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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby chem » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:49 pm

Tagging as relevant to my interests

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:51 pm

+1 on this. I'm a biomed and also have a reg number (never used it though...nor have any other applicable WE). Worked at an IP boutique in NYC this summer (2L SA), and I'll return there next fall.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:00 pm

+1, although I am entertaining the dream of actually making partner at a Fish/Finn/Fitz boutique. Crazy I know... (is it? Do these firms rely on attrition the same way the larger ones do?)

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:+1, although I am entertaining the dream of actually making partner at a Fish/Finn/Fitz boutique. Crazy I know... (is it? Do these firms rely on attrition the same way the larger ones do?)


Why would you "not entertain a dream"- by describing it as a dream you've already stipulated as to its near-impossibility.

Entertain yourself in any legal way you want dude.

Partnership is a delicate balance that partners have to achieve. If they make nobody partner, they make the firm unattractive to recruits and lose money that way when people either don't show up or lateral out real quick. Lacking good midlevels/seniors is a big problem because then partners have to do actual work rather than the sales job most of them are actually doing. This type of firm attracts a boat load of service partners who are usually in a circle-jerk around one rainmaker. This type of firm generally involves a hyper-politicized atmosphere.

If they make too many people partner, they lose their own f'ing money. So they have to do what they do - make very very few people partner and set up the dancefloor for a competitive little flurry among the little hamsters. Law school primes these little idiots and lubes them real well to be hyper-competitive, that's no problem. Wink. Some of these firms basically exploit the stupid hamsters by calling them "partner" but not giving them equity. That's ridiculous. But the law system is so deluged with prestige that the idiot hamsters don't really get that the rug is literally being pulled under their "partner" shoes. See, e.g., Kirkland "partners"

Under either system (making nobody partner v. making too many people partner), they lose money - by hamster-attrition or division-of-pie - so they're trying to "maximize" profits just like any economic actor would by striking the right middle chord. Just crack open your microecon book, you'll get it.

Where does that leave you? That leaves you to basically buy their ideology, accept what they're doing as A-OK, and play their game by treating the firm as your religion. And even then, they'll Warren Jeffs you the whole way long and spit you out because of the structural issues I've alluded to.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby dood » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:35 pm

whats with this ^ guys rant? he mad; but i cant tell at what or who.

to OP: biggest difference is that from K/QE it MAY be easier for you to go in house as general counsel but F/F might shoehorn u to patent counsel.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:50 pm

dood wrote:whats with this ^ guys rant? he mad; but i cant tell at what or who.

to OP: biggest difference is that from K/QE it MAY be easier for you to go in house as general counsel but F/F might shoehorn u to patent counsel.


Not consistent with what I've heard. General counsel generally don't come in from litigation. Are you thinking litigation counsel in-house?
Patent prosecution/transactional experience is almost a must if you want to go in-house from a place like F/F.

I'm not sure anyone should go to a place like Kirkland if in-house is what their goal is. That makes no sense in the patent world. In-house folks are doing a ton more transactional/administrative work than they are managing litigation. Companies don't care about Vault rankings or litigation-group strength. They want utility lawyers who can basically do everything.

Big caveat: more companies (like Apple) are adding litigation counsel position in-house. Yeah, I'm sure you'll have no problem going there from Quinn or Kirkland. But that's only a market response to the increased litigation. There's not really that many spots here in big tech.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
dood wrote:whats with this ^ guys rant? he mad; but i cant tell at what or who.

to OP: biggest difference is that from K/QE it MAY be easier for you to go in house as general counsel but F/F might shoehorn u to patent counsel.


Not consistent with what I've heard. General counsel generally don't come in from litigation. Are you thinking litigation counsel in-house?
Patent prosecution/transactional experience is almost a must if you want to go in-house from a place like F/F.

I'm not sure anyone should go to a place like Kirkland if in-house is what their goal is. That makes no sense in the patent world. In-house folks are doing a ton more transactional/administrative work than they are managing litigation. Companies don't care about Vault rankings or litigation-group strength. They want utility lawyers who can basically do everything.


This is what I've seen, too. The patent lawyers at the large company that I worked for had prosecution experience. The other lawyers tended to come from fields like corporate or tax.

The lawyers also wear many hats. For example, a patent lawyer also dealt with employment issues. All the lawyers there also drafted contracts even though they did not have that experience while working at a firm.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:02 am

Why do people think that General Practice firms (e.g. Kirkland, Quinn) make it easier to go in-house than IP Boutiques (Fish, Finnegan)? I'm asking because I didn't realize there was this distinction.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Why do people think that General Practice firms (e.g. Kirkland, Quinn) make it easier to go in-house than IP Boutiques (Fish, Finnegan)? I'm asking because I didn't realize there was this distinction.

because they're drinking prestige coolaid

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:22 am

Huh. So am I getting this right, that patent lit is gonna fuck up my chances of going inhouse?

I wish more people would reply to this thread. Outside of the PLIP threads (which are more concerned with the interview cycle), there is scant little information on this forum about IP, and specifically patent law.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:Huh. So am I getting this right, that patent lit is gonna fuck up my chances of going inhouse?


Naw, bro. As others have echoed ITT, in-house laterals from lit shops can depend upon the clients you had while litigating at the firm. I worked at an IP lit boutique this summer in NYC, and based upon my conversations with attorneys there, it was not uncommon for an attorney (usually midlevels, senior associates, and partners) to get poached by their clients. Hell, when I was there, a few attorneys went in-house (you get firmwide emails when someone leaves the firm). Moreover, since many of the clients are in NJ (pharma companies, etc.), the attorneys recommended I take both NJ/NY bar before I start next fall, should I have an interest in going in-house after a stint at the firm.

I think that, unless you've got an advanced degree/tons of WE, you shouldn't think about lateralling in-house now, or even in your first few years. Again, I can't speak for the relative advantages/disadvantages of being a corporate/lit-IP attorney, but based upon my experience, it doesn't seem uncommon for lit associates to go in-house.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby erico » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:Huh. So am I getting this right, that patent lit is gonna fuck up my chances of going inhouse?

I wish more people would reply to this thread. Outside of the PLIP threads (which are more concerned with the interview cycle), there is scant little information on this forum about IP, and specifically patent law.


No, not necessarily. There are more in-house positions for transactional, though. http://www.inhouseinsider.com/

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Huh. So am I getting this right, that patent lit is gonna fuck up my chances of going inhouse?

I wish more people would reply to this thread. Outside of the PLIP threads (which are more concerned with the interview cycle), there is scant little information on this forum about IP, and specifically patent law.


Dude, there is no sure-fire answer to this. If you do patent lit for tech companies, you can def go in house to startups or apple, etc. It 100% depends on how well you network, who your clients are, and what you do in the 4-5 years you have at your firm. It's hilarious and ridiculous that people on TLS think their "exit options" are determined by a decision made in law school. Your career will be what YOU make of it. Congrats on having an offer. Now chill.

EDIT: Before someone jumps down my throat by saying only patent prosecutors get hired in-house by startups, you are WRONG. Many startups will hire bigfirm litigators who are smart enough to learn the business. These types of conventional wisdom on TLS stem completely from ignorance and the need to grasp at straws and put possibilities into strict categories because nobody on here can handle uncertainty (or reality).

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby erico » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Before someone jumps down my throat by saying only patent prosecutors get hired in-house by startups, you are WRONG. Many startups will hire bigfirm litigators who are smart enough to learn the business. These types of conventional wisdom on TLS stem completely from ignorance and the need to grasp at straws and put possibilities into strict categories because nobody on here can handle uncertainty (or reality).


Yes but there are many more prosecution than litigation in-house jobs.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:38 pm

erico wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Before someone jumps down my throat by saying only patent prosecutors get hired in-house by startups, you are WRONG. Many startups will hire bigfirm litigators who are smart enough to learn the business. These types of conventional wisdom on TLS stem completely from ignorance and the need to grasp at straws and put possibilities into strict categories because nobody on here can handle uncertainty (or reality).


Yes but there are many more prosecution than litigation in-house jobs.


Right and you will be running a recruiting firm placing litigators so clearly the aggregate trend matters to you. This logic is pointless. Working in-house should NOT be the decision calculus for picking prosecution or litigation. Pick what you want to do. They are so different. If you want to do litigation, and want to work in house, then just do it and work hard. Don't give up litigating because overall there are more prosecution jobs than litigation jobs. Sorry, just grumpy and getting fed up with TLS lack of common sense.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby erico » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
erico wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Before someone jumps down my throat by saying only patent prosecutors get hired in-house by startups, you are WRONG. Many startups will hire bigfirm litigators who are smart enough to learn the business. These types of conventional wisdom on TLS stem completely from ignorance and the need to grasp at straws and put possibilities into strict categories because nobody on here can handle uncertainty (or reality).


Yes but there are many more prosecution than litigation in-house jobs.


Right and you will be running a recruiting firm placing litigators so clearly the aggregate trend matters to you. This logic is pointless. Working in-house should NOT be the decision calculus for picking prosecution or litigation. Pick what you want to do. They are so different. If you want to do litigation, and want to work in house, then just do it and work hard. Don't give up litigating because overall there are more prosecution jobs than litigation jobs. Sorry, just grumpy and getting fed up with TLS lack of common sense.


I'm just providing what I've learned via research and my own experience interning in-house and talking to attorneys. Blast the OP if you want to vent about a lack of logic.

Also, if one goes in house after 5 yrs, they will be spending the majority of their career in house. If that's something they think they really want to do, they should prepare accordingly (and make the choices that will give them the best opportunities). You're not adding anything useful to this thread.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Dude, there is no sure-fire answer to this. If you do patent lit for tech companies, you can def go in house to startups or apple, etc. It 100% depends on how well you network, who your clients are, and what you do in the 4-5 years you have at your firm. It's hilarious and ridiculous that people on TLS think their "exit options" are determined by a decision made in law school. Your career will be what YOU make of it. Congrats on having an offer. Now chill.

EDIT: Before someone jumps down my throat by saying only patent prosecutors get hired in-house by startups, you are WRONG. Many startups will hire bigfirm litigators who are smart enough to learn the business. These types of conventional wisdom on TLS stem completely from ignorance and the need to grasp at straws and put possibilities into strict categories because nobody on here can handle uncertainty (or reality).


I've interviewed with Apple and know many people who have worked at Apple in the legal department. Most of their IP attorneys are patent prosecutors. In fact, most of their attorneys are non-litigators. They have patent prosecutors, real estate, corporate, etc. types.

I also think that most startups would not hire litigators since they're not going to be involved in a heavy volume of litigation that needs to be managed. Of course, this doesn't mean all.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Dude, there is no sure-fire answer to this. If you do patent lit for tech companies, you can def go in house to startups or apple, etc. It 100% depends on how well you network, who your clients are, and what you do in the 4-5 years you have at your firm. It's hilarious and ridiculous that people on TLS think their "exit options" are determined by a decision made in law school. Your career will be what YOU make of it. Congrats on having an offer. Now chill.

EDIT: Before someone jumps down my throat by saying only patent prosecutors get hired in-house by startups, you are WRONG. Many startups will hire bigfirm litigators who are smart enough to learn the business. These types of conventional wisdom on TLS stem completely from ignorance and the need to grasp at straws and put possibilities into strict categories because nobody on here can handle uncertainty (or reality).


I've interviewed with Apple and know many people who have worked at Apple in the legal department. Most of their IP attorneys are patent prosecutors. In fact, most of their attorneys are non-litigators. They have patent prosecutors, real estate, corporate, etc. types.

I also think that most startups would not hire litigators since they're not going to be involved in a heavy volume of litigation that needs to be managed. Of course, this doesn't mean all.


This is a fair point. Just to keep playing devil's advocate though, they also have more customer service people than product managers. Should this factor into whether somebody wants to do customer service or product management? I think litigation and transactional work are so different that law students should figure out what they would be happy doing rather than focusing on where the most exit options are.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This is a fair point. Just to keep playing devil's advocate though, they also have more customer service people than product managers. Should this factor into whether somebody wants to do customer service or product management? I think litigation and transactional work are so different that law students should figure out what they would be happy doing rather than focusing on where the most exit options are.


I agree, especially considering the difference in patent prosecution and litigation. While I think that there are more opportunities for patent prosecutors, there are still quite a lot of opportunities for litigators. I know plenty of litigators who have gone in-house. Ultimately, you'll be doing different types of activities than when you were a litigator or prosecutor (unless you work at a company like Intel or HP who do some of prosecution in-house).

I think that there are other factors affecting the opportunities beyond legal field though. For example, patent prosecutors often have work experience or graduate degrees in a particular industry. That is often a very powerful plus on a resume. Moreover, because of this, patent prosecutors tend to be older. I find that most people going in-house, especially in Silicon Valley, are older. Many companies may only have 1 patent counsel, and the person will be given a Director (of Intellectual Property) position. That is 2 steps below Vice-President and 2 steps above Manager. A typical director will be in his or her mid-30s at the very least.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:52 am

Anonymous User wrote: Moreover, because of this, patent prosecutors tend to be older. I find that most people going in-house, especially in Silicon Valley, are older. Many companies may only have 1 patent counsel, and the person will be given a Director (of Intellectual Property) position. That is 2 steps below Vice-President and 2 steps above Manager. A typical director will be in his or her mid-30s at the very least.


hmm.. interesting.
and what does it mean, good or bad?

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: Moreover, because of this, patent prosecutors tend to be older. I find that most people going in-house, especially in Silicon Valley, are older. Many companies may only have 1 patent counsel, and the person will be given a Director (of Intellectual Property) position. That is 2 steps below Vice-President and 2 steps above Manager. A typical director will be in his or her mid-30s at the very least.


hmm.. interesting.
and what does it mean, good or bad?


Because everything is either good or bad. I feel like I'm back in 1L. It was just an observation.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby erico » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:good or bad?


why don't you make an argument that it's bad? then another student can take the position that it's good.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: Moreover, because of this, patent prosecutors tend to be older. I find that most people going in-house, especially in Silicon Valley, are older. Many companies may only have 1 patent counsel, and the person will be given a Director (of Intellectual Property) position. That is 2 steps below Vice-President and 2 steps above Manager. A typical director will be in his or her mid-30s at the very least.


hmm.. interesting.
and what does it mean, good or bad?


Because everything is either good or bad. I feel like I'm back in 1L. It was just an observation.


Haha

Here's the deal: the market for IP litigators is great right now and the potential clusterfuck of litigation resulting from recent patent law reforms seems to indicate that it's going to stay that way for a while. Everyone I know who started at a prestigious IP litigation firm is doing very well, no matter what school they went to, what their grades were, or how many years they've been practicing. Some are partners at big firms making close to a million dollars a year and others are in house guys making 100-150k. But all of them are doing very well and seem to be happy with their compensation (although the people I know who are still in firms complain about the hours they work). This is all anecdotal, but I think you'll have a nice career no matter what path you decide to take if you start out doing IP lit at a prestigious firm.

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Re: patent litigation exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:46 pm

Jeesus, what do you even do with close to a million dollars a year? Have 15 kids?




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