Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:57 pm

Okay here's the deal: 2011 MVPN graduate with engineering background. Unsuccessful in 2L OCI and 3L OCI was a joke. Interested in patent law and IP law. Recently took a job as a patent examiner. Obviously not my first choice, but I am grateful to have a paying job. However, I am curious about the following:
1. Possibility of transitioning out to being a practicing lawyer at a law firm since I have already passed the bar?
2. Also considering getting IP LLM? Would this help in my efforts of transitioning from patent examiner role a year from now?

Any helpful advice / thoughts would be greatly appreciated :)

hurldes
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:32 pm

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby hurldes » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:06 am

I'm interested in this also, because I'm thinking about working at the patent office too. I have heard that firms look favorably on candidates with examiner experience because they know more about the prosecution process and how to get a patent application approved.

OP, what is your engineering degree in?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:10 am

OP here, EE major in undergrad

hurldes
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:32 pm

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby hurldes » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:19 am

I probably know less than you about this... but I would say that being a patent examiner for 1-2 years can only help your chances of getting a job with an IP firm.

But I also have a friend who did the same thing, hoping to find a job with a law firm after a couple years at the USPTO--he'll probably be at the patent office for his whole life. But he loves it there...35-40 hour work weeks, low stress, lots of paid time off, and decent pay.

target
Posts: 688
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby target » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:49 am

hurldes wrote:I probably know less than you about this... but I would say that being a patent examiner for 1-2 years can only help your chances of getting a job with an IP firm.

But I also have a friend who did the same thing, hoping to find a job with a law firm after a couple years at the USPTO--he'll probably be at the patent office for his whole life. But he loves it there...35-40 hour work weeks, low stress, lots of paid time off, and decent pay.


I also heard the same. The person I know also says s/he can often work from home, which is to me very nice. Is there different levels of examiner within the USPTO? Maybe an attorney level?

User avatar
yuzu
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:08 pm

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby yuzu » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:57 am

I've heard good things about having an examiner background for working in prosecution. I'd imagine you should have options at some point, especially as the economy improves. MVPN are good schools and your engineering GPA must have been at least decent to get in. The learning curve/training cost is much less for a former examiner, so firms ought to like that.

In terms of an IP LLM, I feel like it might help a little, but I doubt it is worth the cost. Presumably you'd do it at GWU/GMU/GULC? Talk to current LLM students there and get placement info. To me the best case to be made for the LLM is if your law school grades were bad but you showed better grades for the LLM program. Examiner experience is much more valuable than an LLM.

Out of curiosity, had you taken the patent bar at the time of 2L OCI? It can be fairly important for hiring.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:36 pm

I dunno, working 40 hrs a week for decent pay is probably a good option. Wait til you get to hotel and then live in Thailand and spend your money on hookers.

How hard was it getting that USPTO job?

Agent
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:03 pm

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Agent » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:Okay here's the deal: 2011 MVPN graduate with [electrical] engineering background. Unsuccessful in 2L OCI and 3L OCI was a joke. Interested in patent law and IP law. Recently took a job as a patent examiner. Obviously not my first choice, but I am grateful to have a paying job. However, I am curious about the following:
1. Possibility of transitioning out to being a practicing lawyer at a law firm since I have already passed the bar?
2. Also considering getting IP LLM? Would this help in my efforts of transitioning from patent examiner role a year from now?

Any helpful advice / thoughts would be greatly appreciated :)


1. Solid, assuming your law grades weren't terrible. Even if they were, you might still be fine. Also, don't let up on the networking (examiners often do).

2. Don't do it.

Agent
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:03 pm

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Agent » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:33 am

target wrote:Is there different levels of examiner within the USPTO? Maybe an attorney level?


There are different GS levels for examiners. An increasing number of examiners have JDs, but I believe that all have a science/engineering undergrad degree (or higher).

Many examiners are actually registered patent attorneys (passed state & patent bars), but these things generally don't factor into your entry level or your ceiling as an examiner. They will factor into your options if you hope to move from examining into some other work at the PTO.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:34 pm

Agent wrote:
target wrote:Is there different levels of examiner within the USPTO? Maybe an attorney level?


There are different GS levels for examiners. An increasing number of examiners have JDs, but I believe that all have a science/engineering undergrad degree (or higher).

Many examiners are actually registered patent attorneys (passed state & patent bars), but these things generally don't factor into your entry level or your ceiling as an examiner. They will factor into your options if you hope to move from examining into some other work at the PTO.


So with a tech degree and 2 years WE, and then a JD, would I end up at the same pay grade going in as an examiner as I would have before law school?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:45 pm

i'm actually externing during my 1L summer right now at the PTO, and I think our trainer told you start at a higher GS if you have a masters or PhD, but not a JD. Is this true?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Okay here's the deal: 2011 MVPN graduate with engineering background. Unsuccessful in 2L OCI and 3L OCI was a joke. Interested in patent law and IP law. Recently took a job as a patent examiner. Obviously not my first choice, but I am grateful to have a paying job. However, I am curious about the following:
1. Possibility of transitioning out to being a practicing lawyer at a law firm since I have already passed the bar?
2. Also considering getting IP LLM? Would this help in my efforts of transitioning from patent examiner role a year from now?

Any helpful advice / thoughts would be greatly appreciated :)


T14 + EE....how did you strike out? GPA?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:00 pm

This makes me nervous. OP, what was your gpa?
I just finished 1L year at a T20, slightly below median, BSEE+WE

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby fatduck » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Okay here's the deal: 2011 MVPN graduate with engineering background. Unsuccessful in 2L OCI and 3L OCI was a joke. Interested in patent law and IP law. Recently took a job as a patent examiner. Obviously not my first choice, but I am grateful to have a paying job. However, I am curious about the following:
1. Possibility of transitioning out to being a practicing lawyer at a law firm since I have already passed the bar?
2. Also considering getting IP LLM? Would this help in my efforts of transitioning from patent examiner role a year from now?

Any helpful advice / thoughts would be greatly appreciated :)


T14 + EE....how did you strike out? GPA?

2011 grad, bro. the lost class.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am curious about the following:
1. Possibility of transitioning out to being a practicing lawyer at a law firm since I have already passed the bar?


A friend of mine who is the patent litigation co-chair for a V100 firm (which I won't name or narrow down) had this to say about the Examiner thing:

"Post JD experience as an examiner at the USPTO is viewed positively by most firms and companies. My impression is that it is not difficult to transition back to the legal world if the candidate's credentials are otherwise strong (good law school, grades, etc). It wouldn't limit a candidate to prep and pros type work but there would be a very strong pull in that direction since the candidate has the former-PTO credential that is more meaningful in the prep and pros world. I don't know how often the transition is made, but my impression is that it is usual and normal. I think it is a good option if the right firm position does not present itself. "

hth

Anonymous User
Posts: 273311
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Patent Examiner to Practicing Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:23 am

Current Examiner here....would a former examiner going to a T6 have good prospects?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.