Career path of a lawyer (especially in IP)

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Re: Career path of a lawyer (especially in IP)

Postby truevines » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
chem wrote:Semi thread jack. Where would ChemE fall you think

ChemE is a rather versatile field because it reaches out to so many lucrative industries, such as petroleum, pharmaceutical, semi-conductor, consumer goods/personal care, and don't forget the traditional chemical industry. Landing an industrial research job as a ChemE PhD is relatively easy compared to most other engineering disciplines, and they get the paid well (typically start with $100,000). Some top ChemE PhDs also go to academia or consulting, but those fields are significantly more competitive.

The problem with ChemE PhDs, as well as other type of engineering PhDs for that matter (I generalize quite a bit here), is their careers level off at the research/technical side unless they advance into the executive rank, at which engineering PhDs hold no advantage over MBA, MS or even BS. From a pure money perspective, IP law is more lucrative if one can make into big IP firms.

I agree with the job prospects of a ChemE degree in the relevant industries.

But, in the field of patent law, a ChemE degree is not as readily marketable as a chemistry degree.

ChemE majors are often pigeon-holed to the chemistry category. A B.S. or master in ChemE might not be adequate for patent prosecution (even for litigation in a highly snobbish boutique) because the bio/chem prosecution is flooded with Ph.Ds.

ChemE Ph.Ds. might be adequate. But they have to study a lot for jobs and get comfortable with chemistry because ChemE majors specialize in process scaling, which is quite different from chemistry. Obviously, most chem/pharm patents are about new compound syntheses (chemistry), rather than about process scaling. Though with a Ph.D., a ChemE doctorate will have to adapt himself and learn advanced chemistry. That's a lot of study to do, in my opinion.

I may be wrong. Maybe big pharmas and oil companies have a lot of patents re large-scale production.

Anyhow, one can always make his way to prosecution/litigation with great interview skills and excellent law school grades. Lay people, OCI interviewers or hiring partners hardly know the differences between ChemE and chemistry. It's one thing to get the offer and another to be efficient and comfortable with the work.


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Re: Career path of a lawyer (especially in IP)

Postby collegebum1989 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:46 pm

How do firms view a international research fellowship when looking at employment? I ask because I've applied to a fellowship for next year to conduct research in Asia. Although its not related to IP, its only offered to 15-20 people in my field nationally every year, so its quite prestigious.

It's either I take this, or work as an engineer or industry or as a patent examiner for the USPTO for the next year.


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Re: Career path of a lawyer (especially in IP)

Postby leafs1315 » Wed May 23, 2012 3:20 am

I'm not sure if this thread is dead, but I just wanted to share some things that I thought about. I'm about to complete a master's program in biomedical engineering. The reason I am choosing to go into patent law is because I want to be able to use my technical background and apply it every day. I also want to be able to work on various facets of bme and not be confined to one project for years. I want to be able to constantly learn and expand my knowledge.

I have talked to 2 bme patent attorneys, who, after me telling them this, agreed that patent law would be a good fit. One attorney said that sometimes he works on a medical device, other times he does drug delivery stuff...he said the patents he writes varies across the spectrum of bme.

Hope this helps.

P.S. I am also south-asian, and their are 2 MDs in my family, so education is very important to me too. I wanted to have a professional degree so I was debating between an MD, PhD and JD. I ruled out MD just because I want to be able to use my engineering skills. And I ruled out PhD because I didn't want to be working in research on the same project or have to go through writing grants, doing a post-doc, and all the other stuff that comes with a PhD.

I also suggest that you talk to/shadow/intern with a patent attorney, preferably one with a BME background.


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Re: Career path of a lawyer (especially in IP)

Postby collegebum1989 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:10 pm

leafs1315, thanks for the great advice!

I think I have literally the same reasons for pursuing IP work as well. Glad to hear the attorneys you've met have said it was a great fit. And I was debating between MD, JD and PhD as well, and chose JD for the very reason you have.

Great minds think alike.


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Re: Career path of a lawyer (especially in IP)

Postby Jchance » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:44 am

turbotong wrote:Here are the two career paths, assuming you're not gunning for partner at a law firm.
Patent prosecution for a few years until the law firm can't afford to pay your increasing salaries with the fixed fee patents, then you go to an patent prosecution boutique or be an in-house adviser.
Patent lit for a few years, then you either lateral into another firm or go in house.

Sorry for pumping this old thread.

According to this post, assuming no preference for one or the other, does starting a career in patent pros lead to a more stable lucrative career?

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