Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:I'm not sure why any of you would think patent litigation is a good idea at this point. At least you have one barrier to entry with patent pros and IPR stuff: the requirement of a reg number. You better be tippy top of your class at a top law school if you expect to compete long-term in patent litigation. You really have to be one of those "love the law" types to succeed in patent litigation. You have to compete with the (many) people with non-tech degrees who are set on patent lit.
The problem with patent lit is that you will most likely never have a reliable book of business if you are set on district court litigation to the exclusion of everything else. There are only a few dozen attorneys in the entire country who have reliable books of business in patent lit, whereas there are probably thousands of patent prosecutors with reliable books of business. Yeah, your billable rates are lower in patent pros, but at least you have business. As a patent litigator, you will almost certainly be reliant on someone else to feed you work for the vast majority of your career, even if you do end up as the top honcho late in your career.
Couple all of the above with changes to the law like fee shifting (which now looks like it is definitely going to happen) and you guys are setting yourselves up for a pretty shitty career.
I guess it makes sense if you are dead set on being in court.
Thanks for the insight. I'm an Agent at a large boutique in law school contemplating switching to patent litigation at a GP firm after law school. Right now my docket is a mix of IPR/prosecution work. At my firm, the litigators also do IPR work since everyone has a patent bar eligible background. By the time I finish law school, I'll have a total of 5 years prosecution experience.
Given the current climate, would it be foolish to jump ship to a GP firm that does patent lit only? Any potential advantages of being in lit vs. pros (other than budget and chances of making partner)? I have noticed that pros tends to be the less "prestigious" out of the two since less is on the stake for the client per work product.
It really depends on the GP firm. Some GP firms (like Skadden/GDC) almost exclusively do district/appellate court litigation. I would avoid these firms.
Other firms, on the other hand, handle a mix of IPR, ITC, and district court litigation. Covington/Wilmer fall into this camp, as do most of the top boutiques. These are the firms you want to gravitate toward, as they will give you the best experience early on and provide you with better exit options in the long run.
The thing is, if you start in pros, you can always go into lit. The reverse is not always true, in my experience. My old firm hired people with mostly patent pros experience into patent lit because the firm needed their technical expertise and knowledge of how the back-and-forth of the PTO works. I have never heard of a patent lit person going into pros after a few years, however--mostly because of the rising rates issue that people have alluded to.
"Prestige" is 100% meaningless when you are a junior attorney. You should care about one thing and one thing only: BUILDING USEFUL SKILLS. That includes IPR, reexam, etc. Doc review, discovery, etc. is going to get you no separation whatsoever from the unwashed masses of shitheads that are still going to try to get into patent litigation without a tech degree.
Making partner in any practice is a long shot, so don't worry about it. First, worry about developing skills (BEFORE you get siloed into something useless). THEN, worry about building a book of business. Finally, after all of that, you can think about making partner. Making partner is not the goal, however. Building a book of business is. If you have a book of business, the world is your oyster. Until then, you are someone's bitch, even if your title is "partner." And no, not all service "partners" make the big bucks. Some make even less than associates!