IP law with a poli sci degree?

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karina
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IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby karina » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:35 pm

I am majoring in Poli Sci at a top5 UG. I will be applying to law schools come this fall and I have some questions about IP law.


1. Based on the past threads, it seems like going into soft-IP does not require scientific or technical background but it is not a field that most of the IP firms deal with extensively and it is unrealistic to be looking for job opportunities in these fields. Is this true?

2. Also in the past threads, I saw many people disagreeing over whether having no technical background hurts you landing a job in patent litigation. Some say your school and grades can make up for your lack of background, and others say most of the IP firms will not even give you interviews unless you have a background. Which side is more accurate??

3. If I start taking some tech or science classes in my Senior year, would that help at all when I decide to go into IP law?


Just to make sure, I am looking specifically into patent litigation or soft-IP, NOT patent prosecution.

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PARTY
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby PARTY » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:39 pm

from what i've gathered, you need some serious amount of science credits to be "ip secure."

you can at least do trademark law without that, though.

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NinerFan
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby NinerFan » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:40 pm

1. I have a friend going into soft ip at a non ip focused firm. They majored in some liberal arts type thing like english or drama. I think it's possible, but very very difficult and not something you should go into EIP/OCI focusing on unless you have grades or a great law school backing you up. Even then, I mean, if you go into interviews saying you only want to do soft ip, that's career suicide. I'm sure it's fine to express an interest in it as long as you leave yourself open to other things.

2. I don't know for sure, but I think you need the degree to qualify for the patent bar to be useful in patent litigation.

3. Without a degree in the field, taking some classes will likely only serve to lower your GPA and not help you much at all.

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erico
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby erico » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:53 pm

get good grades at a good school.

target
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby target » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:20 pm

PARTY wrote:from what i've gathered, you need some serious amount of science credits to be "ip secure."

you can at least do trademark law without that, though.


For trademark, don't you have to be a patent bar member to do it since it's a patent & trademark office after all?

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PARTY
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby PARTY » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:22 pm

target wrote:
PARTY wrote:from what i've gathered, you need some serious amount of science credits to be "ip secure."

you can at least do trademark law without that, though.


For trademark, don't you have to be a patent bar member to do it since it's a patent & trademark office after all?


IIRC, i've been told that it's a less rigorous path to pursue, though i may be wrong.

Emu Flu
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Emu Flu » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:29 pm

target wrote:
PARTY wrote:from what i've gathered, you need some serious amount of science credits to be "ip secure."

you can at least do trademark law without that, though.


For trademark, don't you have to be a patent bar member to do it since it's a patent & trademark office after all?


Nope!

truevines
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby truevines » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:40 pm

karina wrote:I am majoring in Poli Sci at a top5 UG. I will be applying to law schools come this fall and I have some questions about IP law.

3. If I start taking some tech or science classes in my Senior year, would that help at all when I decide to go into IP law?

Just to make sure, I am looking specifically into patent litigation or soft-IP, NOT patent prosecution.


Do not take tech/science classes with the unrealistic hope that you will be get into IP law. The tech/science class will drastically lower your GPA, which will in turn lower your chances of getting into top law schools.

For soft IP or patent litigation, great grades from a great law school are far more important than some intro classes for non-tech/science majors.

hurldes
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby hurldes » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:46 pm

You can do patent litigation without a hard science degree. You obviously won't have any sort of bump because of a technical background, so your chance of getting a patent litigation position is just the same as anyone.

You'll want to target general practice firms that have an IP group. Most of the bigger firms (Gibson, Jones Day, Sidley.. just to name a few) have patent litigation practices but no prosecution... Those firms want a good lawyer before a good scientist. They will be way more interested in your writing ability and law school grades than your undergrad degree. Granted, all things being equal, an engineer will have an edge. But you can overcome that with excellent grades and writing abilities.

Look on the firms' websites and see who does patent litigation but does not have a technical degree. They do exist. Then just email a few people and ask them how they did it. That's probably the best way to figure out how to get into the field you want... better than asking a bunch of law students or future law students on this site.

Oh yeah.. and without a technical degree, no one will care that you took some science classes your senior year.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Bildungsroman » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:40 pm

PARTY wrote:
target wrote:
PARTY wrote:from what i've gathered, you need some serious amount of science credits to be "ip secure."

you can at least do trademark law without that, though.


For trademark, don't you have to be a patent bar member to do it since it's a patent & trademark office after all?


IIRC, i've been told that it's a less rigorous path to pursue, though i may be wrong.

Bad 0L. Get out of the legal employment forum.

GW_Law_Student
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby GW_Law_Student » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:53 pm

Going into "soft IP" isn't much different than deciding to specialize in i.e. tax. You need good grades from a good school and/or connections.

Going into "hard IP," you need an actual degree in a hard science or engineering. A few classes do not help. One caveat. You can take ~30 credits of science and qualify to sit for the patent bar under category B. Firms like the patent bar. However, most firms would probably prefer to hire someone with the actual science/engr degree, and pay for them to study and pass the patent bar. If you have the degree and the patent bar, you have a little better employment outlook. If your degree is electrical engineering, physics, or computer science, your employment outlook is substantially better.

flcath
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby flcath » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:19 pm

hurldes wrote:You can do patent litigation without a hard science degree. You obviously won't have any sort of bump because of a technical background, so your chance of getting a patent litigation position is just the same as anyone.

The bolded is flatly untrue.

Agent
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Agent » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:16 pm

+1 to the previous post.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:21 pm

I always see threads like this and wonder why people think that employers will be more deferential to them just because they say: "LOL, I LOVE IP!! THAT'S WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO!"

If you don't have a technical background, they don't care if you want to practice IP law. You will be lumped in with every other poli sci shithead who goes to law school. You might as well say you want to do securities litigation. You'll get the same treatment.

r6_philly
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:23 pm

flcath wrote:
hurldes wrote:You can do patent litigation without a hard science degree. You obviously won't have any sort of bump because of a technical background, so your chance of getting a patent litigation position is just the same as anyone.

The bolded is flatly untrue.


I read as him saying he won't receive a bump with a technical background but without a technical degree (as proposed in the OP).

r6_philly
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:25 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:I always see threads like this and wonder why people think that employers will be more deferential to them just because they say: "LOL, I LOVE IP!! THAT'S WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO!"

If you don't have a technical background, they don't care if you want to practice IP law. You will be lumped in with every other poli sci shithead who goes to law school. You might as well say you want to do securities litigation. You'll get the same treatment.


I feel like commitment to IP classes and IP activities in LS may help you make your case a bit stronger if you go to a top school. Obviously not as much as a tech degree, but I think the right person can still probably talk into a soft IP/IP lit position.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:29 pm

r6_philly wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:I always see threads like this and wonder why people think that employers will be more deferential to them just because they say: "LOL, I LOVE IP!! THAT'S WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO!"

If you don't have a technical background, they don't care if you want to practice IP law. You will be lumped in with every other poli sci shithead who goes to law school. You might as well say you want to do securities litigation. You'll get the same treatment.


I feel like commitment to IP classes and IP activities in LS may help you make your case a bit stronger if you go to a top school. Obviously not as much as a tech degree, but I think the right person can still probably talk into a soft IP/IP lit position.


But only to a lesser extent than, for example, taking a bunch of securities regulation classes will help you get a job in securities litigation. At least when you do this, you're on equal footing with everyone else who wants to do securities litigation and graduated from law school. When you're applying to IP jobs as a poli sci grad, you're usually passed over for people who have both tech backgrounds and good law school credentials.

r6_philly
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:35 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:But only to a lesser extent than, for example, taking a bunch of securities regulation classes will help you get a job in securities litigation. At least when you do this, you're on equal footing with everyone else who wants to do securities litigation and graduated from law school. When you're applying to IP jobs as a poli sci grad, you're usually passed over for people who have both tech backgrounds and good law school credentials.


At many T14, tech bg + good grades are not that common. If you have decent grades that would get you hired into the firm, then it's reasonable to show that you are more interested in the IP group. Perhaps firms will pick people with tech degrees first, but IP is hot for now and there seems to be more need than applicants with tech degrees at the top.

Agent
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Agent » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:37 pm

Not really interested in dissecting comments, but here are some thoughts to clarify:

I think that people with technical degrees have a leg up in finding a job patent litigation.

I think that people with a technical background (demonstrated by work experience, registration #-- if they can get around eligibility reqs, etc.) also have a leg up in finding a job in patent litigation, even if they have no technical degree (though not as much as if they had the degree).

I think that law school activities in IP and undergrad engineering/science courses w/ no degree to show for them are practically worthless in terms of getting a leg up in finding a job in patent litigation. Maybe they're something to chat about with an interviewer, but I don't see them helping someone get their foot in the door for an interview that they wouldn't have gotten in the first place.
Last edited by Agent on Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:37 pm

r6_philly wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:But only to a lesser extent than, for example, taking a bunch of securities regulation classes will help you get a job in securities litigation. At least when you do this, you're on equal footing with everyone else who wants to do securities litigation and graduated from law school. When you're applying to IP jobs as a poli sci grad, you're usually passed over for people who have both tech backgrounds and good law school credentials.


At many T14, tech bg + good grades are not that common. If you have decent grades that would get you hired into the firm, then it's reasonable to show that you are more interested in the IP group. Perhaps firms will pick people with tech degrees first, but IP is hot for now and there seems to be more need than applicants with tech degrees at the top.


IP has been hot for over 15 years. People getting tech degrees in UG know about this now and many of them are coming to law school. At least at my school, there are a lot more people with tech backgrounds and good grades than I thought there would be when I came to law school.

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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:39 pm

flcath wrote:
hurldes wrote:You can do patent litigation without a hard science degree. You obviously won't have any sort of bump because of a technical background, so your chance of getting a patent litigation position is just the same as anyone.

The bolded is flatly untrue.


I second this.

In my firm, the patent litigation group has 5 JD-Ph. Ds. - 4 bio/chem and 1 EE, all from Berkeley/Caltech/MIT type of schools.
Almost all the litigators have EECS or bio/chem degrees. The only junior associate who does not have any technical background is a young, hot blond with law review credentials.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
flcath wrote:
hurldes wrote:You can do patent litigation without a hard science degree. You obviously won't have any sort of bump because of a technical background, so your chance of getting a patent litigation position is just the same as anyone.

The bolded is flatly untrue.


I second this.

In my firm, the patent litigation group has 5 JD-Ph. Ds. - 4 bio/chem and 1 EE, all from Berkeley/Caltech/MIT type of schools.
Almost all the litigators have EECS or bio/chem degrees. The only junior associate who does not have any technical background is a young, hot blond with law review credentials.


But enough about Irell...

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gotmilk?
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby gotmilk? » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:49 pm

I'm going into patent litigation with an econ undergrad major and literally zero science/technical classes in school. At OCI, interviewers expect you to have some demonstrable reason you want to do whatever you say you want to do. For patent lit, join relevant student groups in law school, get to know any IP profs at your school, and email your law school's alums in the area. Have something to talk about. This is where I think a couple science classes in undergrad can help you- you can always bring it up in an interview to say that you're eager to learn any technology being litigated. If you don't have good demonstrable reasons why you want patent lit at OCI, you're probably best off at OCI saying you're interested in general lit or something... then once you're in a summer program, take patent lit assignments and get to know the partners- that's how you can weasel your way in.

The thing in patent lit is that even though a firm may have litigators with technical backgrounds, the technology in any actual case is unlikely something they're directly familiar with. People with technical degrees may pick up the technology faster, but for people without science degrees, you need to demonstrate to firms that you're eager to be more technical and to understand the tech enough to be a good litigator.

Good grades from a good school is highly credited.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:54 pm

gotmilk? wrote:The thing in patent lit is that even though a firm may have litigators with technical backgrounds, the technology in any actual case is unlikely something they're directly familiar with. People with technical degrees may pick up the technology faster, but for people without science degrees, you need to demonstrate to firms that you're eager to be more technical and to understand the tech enough to be a good litigator.


Also, firms like to show off their lawyers' tech backgrounds to tech companies looking for an IP litigation team to work on one of their matters.

r6_philly
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:08 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:IP has been hot for over 15 years. People getting tech degrees in UG know about this now and many of them are coming to law school. At least at my school, there are a lot more people with tech backgrounds and good grades than I thought there would be when I came to law school.


I went to the right school then lol I don't think we have any EE here in my year. Handful of tech degrees, and grades must be a mix.




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