IP law with a poli sci degree?

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NinerFan
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby NinerFan » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:46 pm

gotmilk? wrote: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.


Congrats. I'm not not well-versed in how patent law works. All I know for sure is that you have to have some technical or science background to qualify for the patent bar. If not a degree, than a certain number of credit hours in science/tech. If you're actually handling patent issues and not doing soft ip (copyrights, trademarks), then cool.

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

Postby gotmilk? » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:26 am

NinerFan wrote:
gotmilk? wrote: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.


Congrats. I'm not not well-versed in how patent law works. All I know for sure is that you have to have some technical or science background to qualify for the patent bar. If not a degree, than a certain number of credit hours in science/tech. If you're actually handling patent issues and not doing soft ip (copyrights, trademarks), then cool.


You don't need to pass the patent bar to do patent lit. Only for patent prosecution.

hurldes
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby hurldes » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:57 am

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.


This is what I meant to say a few posts up.

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

Postby gotmilk? » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:09 am

hurldes 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.


This is what I meant to say a few posts up.


While this is mostly true, it isn't entirely true. Yes, people without tech bg's who just say that they love IP will not get jobs. But as I said in my first post, you have to be well-prepared for the "Why IP? question with a demonstrable commitment (aka on your resume/concrete examples) to IP. This is harder for people without tech degrees, but it's not impossible. And joining your school's IP Law Society or whatever doesn't suffice (although it can help, if it is among other items pointing to IP).

Last, when I said that great grades from a great school is highly credited, I meant that those people will get jobs no matter what, so you can say pretty much whatever (as long as you're not crazy) and some firms will bite. But if you don't have these credentials, you have to worry more about answering the why IP question well.

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patentlaworbust
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby patentlaworbust » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:20 pm

IP Boutiques will not consider you if you have no science background, regardless of whether you are patent bar eligible from taking the requisite number of science classes to qualify. The clients that choose Boutique firms over large general practice firms do so because they want the added level of expertise known to exist at boutiques. Clients are much less likely to want a non-science patent attorney to litigate their case at a Boutique firm, and not surprisingly, Boutiques won't want to hire non-science attorneys. General practice firms with specialty groups should be your focus.

With no Science background, as you apply to these firms, you should list/communicate your interest in IP Lit as well as several other of the firm's practice areas that interest you. DO NOT LIMIT YOURSELF TO JUST IP LIT as you apply to these firms, or else you will be passed over along with the other less-qualified chumps. A large number of general practice firms let their summer associates choose among an array of legal assignments that interest them (e.g., IP, Business law, products liability, etc...) so you'll get to try it all. Hell, with more exposure, you may even find that you're not as interested in IP law as you initially thought.

Bottom line: Get good grades (really really good grades) and have a good writing sample to showcase your ability. This is your best shot. Unless you have significant WE prior to law school or unless you have a UG/Grad degree that makes you specially qualified for a certain field of law, do not limit yourself outright to any particular field of law. Cast your net wide.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:27 pm

gotmilk? wrote:
hurldes 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.


This is what I meant to say a few posts up.


While this is mostly true, it isn't entirely true. Yes, people without tech bg's who just say that they love IP will not get jobs. But as I said in my first post, you have to be well-prepared for the "Why IP? question with a demonstrable commitment (aka on your resume/concrete examples) to IP. This is harder for people without tech degrees, but it's not impossible. And joining your school's IP Law Society or whatever doesn't suffice (although it can help, if it is among other items pointing to IP).

Last, when I said that great grades from a great school is highly credited, I meant that those people will get jobs no matter what, so you can say pretty much whatever (as long as you're not crazy) and some firms will bite. But if you don't have these credentials, you have to worry more about answering the why IP question well.


Let me guess, you went to a good law school and got good grades?

Da1andOnlyPharo
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Da1andOnlyPharo » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:45 pm

patentlaworbust wrote:DO NOT LIMIT YOURSELF TO JUST IP LIT as you apply to these firms, or else you will be passed over along with the other less-qualified chumps. A large number of general practice firms let their summer associates choose among an array of legal assignments that interest them (e.g., IP, Business law, products liability, etc...) so you'll get to try it all. Hell, with more exposure, you may even find that you're not as interested in IP law as you initially thought.

Bottom line: Get good grades (really really good grades) and have a good writing sample to showcase your ability. This is your best shot. Unless you have significant WE prior to law school or unless you have a UG/Grad degree that makes you specially qualified for a certain field of law, do not limit yourself outright to any particular field of law. Cast your net wide.


Do you follow this advice, mr. PATENT LAW OR BUST? :D
Not that I disagree, I'm a clueless 0L and you seem to know what you're talking about. Is this just your advice for him because he doesn't have a tech background, or is it something you'd suggest for anyone thinking about IP law?

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patentlaworbust
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby patentlaworbust » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:13 pm

:wink: I'll clarify a little bit...

If you do not have a tech background, you especially do not want to limit your practice interest to just IP litigation when you apply to firms. If it interests you, you should certainly mention it in your CL and at the interviews, but you would be foolish to not highlight the other litigation practices which may interest you as well.

If you have a tech background (like me), your approach should reflect the nature of the law firm you are applying to. From my own personal experience, it is helpful to have 2 different sets of CLs/Resumes. One set should be tailored to simply IP/Patent law (mostly geared toward IP Boutiques or GP firms with STRONG IP/Patent groups) and should explain your Sci degrees or relevant Sci WE in more detail, and why you are a good fit for IP. The second set should be tailored to IP and other stuff too (this is geared toward GP firms that have a smaller group of IP-specializing attorneys), and this set should highlight your interest/alignment with IP/Patent law, but also expressing your interest in other of the firm's key practice areas that interest you and/or which may be tangentially related. (e.g., Product Liability, Life Sci, etc...)

True Story --> I applied to a Biglaw GP firm through OCI that has a patent practice, though not a significant practice relative to their other more profitable practice areas. My Res/CL was completely tailored to a position practicing IP law, which they happened to NOT be hiring SAs for. Although my grades and law school prestige were well within what they normally interview, I got passed over at OCI for this sole reason, which I later discovered through a reliable source at the firm.

In the end, I got an SA position at a large IP Boutique paying Market. Patent law or bust :!:

Da1andOnlyPharo
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby Da1andOnlyPharo » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:38 pm

patentlaworbust wrote::wink: I'll clarify a little bit...

If you do not have a tech background, you especially do not want to limit your practice interest to just IP litigation when you apply to firms. If it interests you, you should certainly mention it in your CL and at the interviews, but you would be foolish to not highlight the other litigation practices which may interest you as well.

If you have a tech background (like me), your approach should reflect the nature of the law firm you are applying to. From my own personal experience, it is helpful to have 2 different sets of CLs/Resumes. One set should be tailored to simply IP/Patent law (mostly geared toward IP Boutiques or GP firms with STRONG IP/Patent groups) and should explain your Sci degrees or relevant Sci WE in more detail, and why you are a good fit for IP. The second set should be tailored to IP and other stuff too (this is geared toward GP firms that have a smaller group of IP-specializing attorneys), and this set should highlight your interest/alignment with IP/Patent law, but also expressing your interest in other of the firm's key practice areas that interest you and/or which may be tangentially related. (e.g., Product Liability, Life Sci, etc...)

True Story --> I applied to a Biglaw GP firm through OCI that has a patent practice, though not a significant practice relative to their other more profitable practice areas. My Res/CL was completely tailored to a position practicing IP law, which they happened to NOT be hiring SAs for. Although my grades and law school prestige were well within what they normally interview, I got passed over at OCI for this sole reason, which I later discovered through a reliable source at the firm.

In the end, I got an SA position at a large IP Boutique paying Market. Patent law or bust :!:


Really helpful post as I am in a similar position as the OP. So, would it be safe to say that what you study in law school does not lock you into a particular field of law? I.e. as long as you have good grades and what not, you have the potential to get a good job at a general practice firm, and from there its possible to transition into a field you are more inclined to work in?

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patentlaworbust
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Re: IP law with a poli sci degree?

Postby patentlaworbust » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:15 pm

Da1andOnlyPharo wrote: Really helpful post as I am in a similar position as the OP. So, would it be safe to say that what you study in law school does not lock you into a particular field of law? I.e. as long as you have good grades and what not, you have the potential to get a good job at a general practice firm, and from there its possible to transition into a field you are more inclined to work in?


That's correct. Law school classes will provide you with a good foundation and background, which can help reaffirm or refute your previously conceived practice area interests. You may take an IP class and absolutely hate it... good thing you found out now! By no means are you locked into anything because, for instance, you took only IP classes. However, the opposite is also true; just because you took every IP class at your school won't by itself qualify you for the IP job.

Litigation skills particularly are transferable between IP and other practice areas. If you work at a GP firm and want to get your hands into IP lit, you can do that without having an IP background. Getting litigation experience is definitely key though, whether from WE or from classes at school (e.g., advanced legal writing, Moot Court, Litigation, Pre-trial Ad, Clinics, etc...)




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