Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

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mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was a social sciences major in college, but am really interested in intellectual property matters. Do you feel like there's any reason I can't pursue soft IP in biglaw?


I don't think your background matters much at all for soft IP. It may be better to shoot for a place that separates the soft IP people from the hard IP group. Otherwise, you may end up in a group where you can't do a lot of the work, which isn't a great place to be.

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:23 pm

NavyLaw wrote:Where do mechanical and nuclear engineer degrees fit into the mix of IP-desirability?


Neither is particularly great. There is a decent amount of mechanical work, but it tends to be fairly simple stuff that anybody can do. Also, there tend to be quite a few MechE/JD's competing for IP work. I don't really know how much nuclear engineering work there is out there, but we don't do much. I don't think we have a single nuclear engineer on staff.

For people with less desirable engineering degrees, it's best to highlight any experience you do have in the cs/ee areas that tend to constantly be in demand. Even if you just took a couple programming classes or something like that. Make sure to highlight it on your resume and be prepared to talk about it in your interviews.

If you do end up working in patent law with one of those backgrounds, you will most likely have to do a fair bit of cs/ee work.

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:31 pm

NavyLaw wrote:Where do mechanical and nuclear engineer degrees fit into the mix of IP-desirability?


One other thought I had about MechE's. They tend to be a lot better interviewers than cs/ee people (i.e., a lot more normal). So, the competition is tougher for MechE's. With cs/ee interviewees, we are pretty happy if they have any personality and don't come off as too aspie/weird.

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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:42 pm

I have a computer engineering BS from a decent school, but no honors. I did very well at a top 10 law school, however, and currently work in the IP lit department of a V10 as a first year associate. How difficult would it be for me to switch to prosecution at this point and get a job at another firm?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have a computer engineering BS from a decent school, but no honors. I did very well at a top 10 law school, however, and currently work in the IP lit department of a V10 as a first year associate. How difficult would it be for me to switch to prosecution at this point and get a job at another firm?


Not hard at all. At some point, your billing rates become too high to switch, but should be no problem in the first couple years. Have you taken the patent bar? If not, it might be easier to do that first. Although if you wait until you lateral, your new firm will pay for the review course and admission fees.

Incidentally, I prefer doing prosecution. The hours are much more steady, and the long-term exit options are better (easier to do part time or solo work, in-house, etc.). With litigation, usually exit options just mean more lit (and more soul-crushing hours).

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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:01 pm

Can a BSEE overcome a sub-3.0 uGPA in pros hiring? Does the importance of uGPA change if they have industry experience?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can a BSEE overcome a sub-3.0 uGPA in pros hiring? Does the importance of uGPA change if they have industry experience?


We've hired people with sub-3.0 gpas before. It helps if you went to an engineering school with a good reputation, and good law school credentials can obviously help as well. Industry experience is hit or miss, depending on what you actually did. If you got good substantive experience in an area that is relevant to one of a firm's big clients, it could be highly valued.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby ScottRiqui » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:10 pm

Is there any advantage to already having passed the patent bar prior to law school, or do you just care that applicants are patent-eligible?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:29 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:Is there any advantage to already having passed the patent bar prior to law school, or do you just care that applicants are patent-eligible?


I would say it's a significant advantage for ip boutiques, mainly because it shows a clear commitment to patent law. We get quite a few candidates who have the right backgrounds, but are shopping around when it comes to practice area or firm type.

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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:51 pm

Hello,

Since you have made some decisions on offer, I hope you can advise me on this:

I have a few call backs so far, and I have an offer which I have to accept/reject before certain date. Should I then inform other firms that I have interviewed with about that, and urge them (politely of course, like saying your firm is top of my list) to make a decision before that date? I have a feeling that once I make this move, firms that are still considering me (but not yet rejecting me) will reject rightaway, and this seems to have happened to me at least twice (i.e. prompt rejection after knowing I have an offer, but quite a while after the interview).

How should I approach this? The offer comes from a firm that I consider as safe bet but not as good as the firms that I have interviewed so far. The recruiters did tell me to inform them about such deadline so it seems reasonable to do.

Thanks!

theanswer
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby theanswer » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:26 pm

How viable of an option do you think it would be for someone who graduates from LS without a job to do post-bacc EE/CS in the hopes of landing something at a firm?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hello,

Since you have made some decisions on offer, I hope you can advise me on this:

I have a few call backs so far, and I have an offer which I have to accept/reject before certain date. Should I then inform other firms that I have interviewed with about that, and urge them (politely of course, like saying your firm is top of my list) to make a decision before that date? I have a feeling that once I make this move, firms that are still considering me (but not yet rejecting me) will reject rightaway, and this seems to have happened to me at least twice (i.e. prompt rejection after knowing I have an offer, but quite a while after the interview).

How should I approach this? The offer comes from a firm that I consider as safe bet but not as good as the firms that I have interviewed so far. The recruiters did tell me to inform them about such deadline so it seems reasonable to do.

Thanks!


I think it's fine to politely nudge these other firms to make a decision quicker. Calling the recruiters and telling them you have another offer that you have to decide on by a certain date seems pretty standard. I don't think it would hurt your chances, just be nice about it.

Hopefully, you don't end up in a situation where you need to ask the firm you have an offer at for more time to decide. If this does end up happening, make sure to be very polite, reiterate your interest in working at the firm, and explain that because it's a big decision, you are just hoping for a bit more time to fully explore your options.

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:24 am

theanswer wrote:How viable of an option do you think it would be for someone who graduates from LS without a job to do post-bacc EE/CS in the hopes of landing something at a firm?


I've never seen this done, so I can't say for sure. My intuition is it's not very promising. For one, you want to convey that you are committed to being a lawyer, which is tough to do when you spend the first several years after graduation not practicing law and instead getting a cs/ee bachelors. Additionally, it just looks really desperate and firms tend not to like people who look desperate.

If it's an option, it might work better to try to get the cs/ee degree while in law school before getting the JD. Maybe your school can let you take a year off after your second year of LS to do that? I'm not sure of the logistics. But being able to say "I got this cs degree while in law school" looks a lot better than "I graduated law school, couldn't find a job, and then went back to school to get this cs degree."

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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:49 am

Do you ever get involved in hiring patent agents/tech specialists? If so, how does the interviewing process differ from the traditional summer program?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do you ever get involved in hiring patent agents/tech specialists? If so, how does the interviewing process differ from the traditional summer program?


We hire a few patent agents, but not too many. So, my experience is limited. My sense is the big questions we want answered by a perspective patent agent are why he/she is interested in patent law and is she a capable writer. The second part is doubly important for non-native English speakers.

Anonymous User
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:44 am

If one has no prior patent drafting experience and therefore no sample work-product that he can show a potential employer, is there any other way to demonstrate writing ability? Law school writing sample?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:If one has no prior patent drafting experience and therefore no sample work-product that he can show a potential employer, is there any other way to demonstrate writing ability? Law school writing sample?


By far the most common writing sample we get is from a legal writing class. I find this fairly useless since there is no way for me to know how heavily it was edited by the course instructor. For a patent firm, you might try a non-legal, technical piece if you have something. If you are interviewing for 2L summer and you have something you can submit from a 1L summer job, that would be good too.

mrsmartypants
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mrsmartypants » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:03 pm

mbison wrote:
theanswer wrote:How viable of an option do you think it would be for someone who graduates from LS without a job to do post-bacc EE/CS in the hopes of landing something at a firm?


I've never seen this done, so I can't say for sure. My intuition is it's not very promising. For one, you want to convey that you are committed to being a lawyer, which is tough to do when you spend the first several years after graduation not practicing law and instead getting a cs/ee bachelors. Additionally, it just looks really desperate and firms tend not to like people who look desperate.

If it's an option, it might work better to try to get the cs/ee degree while in law school before getting the JD. Maybe your school can let you take a year off after your second year of LS to do that? I'm not sure of the logistics. But being able to say "I got this cs degree while in law school" looks a lot better than "I graduated law school, couldn't find a job, and then went back to school to get this cs degree."


Don't want to hijack, but as to this particular question, I've run across a couple folks who have gone the post-bacc, post-LS EE/CS degree and gotten into patent prosecution. I don't know them well enough to know their stories, but they are universally at smallish boutiques (under 50 attorneys/agents) like mine.

As someone involved in hiring at my boutique, I can say that we wouldn't look askance at someone who took this route solely because it's an unconventional path. For many of us, me included, law is a second career--that is, we did not take the most direct possible path. That said, for most of us in that boat, our prior experience is at least relevant to our current practice, which isn't going to be the case for the post-LS EE/CS candidate.

I disagree with mbison that getting a post-LS technical degree necessarily demonstrates lack of commitment to law or smacks of desperation. (Not saying some firms wouldn't see it that way, just that not all would, and the burden is on the candidate to find the right fit.)

EE/CS bachelor's degrees don't come easy at any point in one's educational career. So long as they got good grades (i.e., would be competitive regardless of the timing of the degree) I would tend to view someone who did the technical degree late as demonstrating above-average commitment to being a patent attorney. By contrast, when candidates go straight from technical UG to LS, I always wonder whether it's because they truly wanted to get into patent, or because they discovered they didn't want to or couldn't get a technical job and law was a convenient backup. (Not that it makes a huge difference, but I suppose it could tip the scales on a marginal candidate.)

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:26 pm

Fair point that patent boutiques tend to be much more forgiving of non-traditional paths than big law firms. I suppose it's more promising than going back for an LLM in Space Law or some such.

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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:30 pm

mbison wrote:My firm doesn't hire people who are not patent bar eligible

Does this hold true for lateral candidates who've worked for several years doing patent lit but don't have a technical background?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
mbison wrote:My firm doesn't hire people who are not patent bar eligible

Does this hold true for lateral candidates who've worked for several years doing patent lit but don't have a technical background?


At my firm, you generally have to at least be patent bar eligible. We market ourselves as being a firm where everybody is a scientist or engineer. And most junior people do at least some prosecution.

I wouldn't say never, but it would have to be pretty unusual circumstances -- maybe if we needed to hire somebody without a tech background to get a significant book of litigation business or something.

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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:18 pm

mbison wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a computer engineering BS from a decent school, but no honors. I did very well at a top 10 law school, however, and currently work in the IP lit department of a V10 as a first year associate. How difficult would it be for me to switch to prosecution at this point and get a job at another firm?


Not hard at all. At some point, your billing rates become too high to switch, but should be no problem in the first couple years. Have you taken the patent bar? If not, it might be easier to do that first. Although if you wait until you lateral, your new firm will pay for the review course and admission fees.

Incidentally, I prefer doing prosecution. The hours are much more steady, and the long-term exit options are better (easier to do part time or solo work, in-house, etc.). With litigation, usually exit options just mean more lit (and more soul-crushing hours).


Thanks. What do you think about the exit options for IP litigation, assuming you have a computer engineering background like me? Have you seen anyone get hired for an in house position coming out of IP litigation?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thanks. What do you think about the exit options for IP litigation, assuming you have a computer engineering background like me? Have you seen anyone get hired for an in house position coming out of IP litigation?


Yes, there are in house jobs for IP lit with a cs/ee background. I would say there are significantly more openings than for general commercial lit, which seems to be hopelessly devoid of exit options. However, as I said before, I think prosecution (or a mix of lit and pros) is better yet.

Anonymous User
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:24 pm

Is your firm the type of firm that grills interviewees on technical aptitude during the interview? If so, can you give an example of the types of technical questions asked?

mbison
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Re: Associate at patent firm formerly V50. Taking Q's re hiring

Postby mbison » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is your firm the type of firm that grills interviewees on technical aptitude during the interview? If so, can you give an example of the types of technical questions asked?


I always ask some technical questions during interviews. I'm not so much interested in aptitude in any particular subject area, but rather that the candidate can speak intelligently and articulately about technical subject matter. Typically what I do is ask them to describe some technical work or research experience they have listed on their resume, and then I ask some specific follow-up questions to see how well they think on their feet and can handle technically complex discussions.

Edit: By the way, lots of people totally crash and burn on these questions. So, it tends to be a useful way to separate candidates.




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