BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

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Anonymous User
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BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:52 am

I am currently a 3L at a Tier 3 law school. I was fortunate enough to land a job at a IP law firm handling patents, specifically preparation and prosecution of patents. I will graduate with almost 4 yrs total of patent preparation and prosecution. I went to law school part time at night and worked full time doing everything an associate does and then some work partners handle. From the current trend I will graduate in top 40%. My undergrad degree is im electrical engineering. How successful would I be to get into patent biglaw? Preferably on east coast.

mrsmartypants
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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby mrsmartypants » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am currently a 3L at a Tier 3 law school. I was fortunate enough to land a job at a IP law firm handling patents, specifically preparation and prosecution of patents. I will graduate with almost 4 yrs total of patent preparation and prosecution. I went to law school part time at night and worked full time doing everything an associate does and then some work partners handle. From the current trend I will graduate in top 40%. My undergrad degree is im electrical engineering. How successful would I be to get into patent biglaw? Preferably on east coast.


Even supposing any such firms interview 3Ls during OCI at your school, your chances are marginal at best with that GPA. You might have better chances to lateral in with a few more years of experience, assuming you have a strong undergraduate GPA and can find a recruiter willing to shop you.

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:51 pm

I graduated with a 3.8 in EE with minors in chemistry and physics. mrsmartypants do you have any actual experience or relations to back up your comment or you strictly guessing based on trends? Just curious that's all.

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby mrsmartypants » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:57 pm

I'm a partner at a mid-sized IP boutique.

That undergraduate GPA would probably earn you a look at some biglaw firms that focus on prosecution, if you could get in front of the right person. The challenge is in making that connection.

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:00 pm

I am strictly looking at prosecution. Rather not do litigation. I agree it's making that connection and I need to figure out how since I currently live in Michigan and not in any of the major cities on the East Coast.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:06 pm

You shouldn't focus strictly on biglaw. Many smaller patent prosecution firms pay very well (although not as well as most biglaw firms) and have a lower hours requirements.

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:39 pm

Yes that is true . My current firm has 1,100 billable hours requirement. I was under assumption that big law would open more doors and possibility of making partner at a big law firm.

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby mrsmartypants » Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:27 pm

Actually, although boutiques may not pay as well as biglaw market for juniors, the lack of lockstep means it's possible to catch up or even surpass biglaw market if you're good and you end up at the right boutique.

As a practical matter, partnership prospects in biglaw are so low as to scarcely register in the decision matrix, IMO. Exit options may be better, particularly for in-house (F500 companies sometimes demand experience at a high Vault firm, because they can). But solid options can also be had from smaller prosecution firms.

You might also find it easier to leverage your prior prosecution experience into seniority at a smaller firm. Way back when, one biglaw firm told me they'd give me year-for-year credit for my prior experience, but most lockstep firms wouldn't.

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby bdubs » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:29 pm

Lots of biglaw firms don't even do patent prosecution because there isn't enough money in it.

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:46 pm

bdubs wrote:Lots of biglaw firms don't even do patent prosecution because there isn't enough money in it.


And those biglaw firms that do prosecution often do bulk work for their lit clients. That is, they may do prosecution for IBM/Dell/MS/etc. (who they represent in litigations/licensing negotiations), but they may require 50+ apps/month, and may only get paid $5K-$8K/app. The quality of the prosecution work can be low (not always...I know of a few companies who offer bulk work, but pay reasonable rates for reasonable apps).

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby anonmyuos » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:23 pm

bdubs wrote:Lots of biglaw firms don't even do patent prosecution because there isn't enough money in it.


This. No BigLaw firm really does much patent prosecution, except maybe Fish and Finnegan and Knobbe. I don't think BigLaw will necessarily open more doors for patent prosecution. You have a shot (maybe?) at being hired at one of those places to do prosecution, but with T3 and only top 40% I'd estimate it as low. If you're looking to only do prosecution, I wouldn't aim for BigLaw at this point. Find a solid niche and exploit it.

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Re: BigLaw Question for someone with in Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:01 pm

You can actually earn more than BigLaw at some prosecution firms. I'm seeing more and more percentage compensation systems (e.g., you earn 50% of what you bill). It's quite nice if you're efficient and you have some fixed-fee arrangements. Sometimes I only work 2-3 hours a day and collect my $1500-$2000 for a simple response to an office action.

Also, you can work for small firms and go in-house to the largest technology companies. Out here in Silicon Valley, most of the prosecution is done by small single-office firms (much smaller than what's out in the Midwest or East Coast). People aren't going to be impressed that you did patent prosecution in BigLaw.




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