Patent agent- turned attorney - - higher starting salary for seniority?

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Patent agent- turned attorney - - higher starting salary for seniority?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:11 pm

Wondering if a patent agent finishing law school 3 years later. Does he get the first year salary at that time or 4th year salary? For big law? For top boutiques?

Also, once heard a PhD/JD for 2nd year salary on his first year due to the extra degree - - is this common or just an outlier? What about master's?

Thanks!

r6_philly

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Re: Patent agent- turned attorney - - higher starting salary for seniority?

Postby r6_philly » Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:07 pm

Lock step firms pay based on law school year. A non-lockstep small firm may compensate your for some extra experience but those are probably individual hiring decisions.

Abbie Doobie

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Re: Patent agent- turned attorney - - higher starting salary for seniority?

Postby Abbie Doobie » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:12 pm

this will depend on the firm and on individual circumstances. some firms give seniority for patent agent experience; some don't. also will depend on what you can negotiate.

something to think about is that if you want to switch to litigation, coming in as a 2nd-4th year may make it harder or even price you out of getting the work

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Re: Patent agent- turned attorney - - higher starting salary for seniority?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:30 pm

[quote="something to think about is that if you want to switch to litigation, coming in as a 2nd-4th year may make it harder or even price you out of getting the work[/quote]

OP here. Could you clarify on the transfer to litigation situation (because I am quite interested in that)? You mean I have to charge a high rate if indeed getting the seniority, so that there will be less work for me and make it difficult to survive?

Abbie Doobie

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Re: Patent agent- turned attorney - - higher starting salary for seniority?

Postby Abbie Doobie » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You mean I have to charge a high rate if indeed getting the seniority, so that there will be less work for me and make it difficult to survive?


I mean the firm will set your billing rate based on your class year and your billing rate will be higher (much higher depending on the firm) as, say, a third year vs. a first year. the issue with that is if you are trying to switch practice groups, the practice group to which you are trying to switch may be unwilling (or unable depending on client budgets) to train you on a third year billing rate. or there will be less projects to staff you on.

Bluem_11

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Re: Patent agent- turned attorney - - higher starting salary for seniority?

Postby Bluem_11 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 4:02 pm

In my experience salaries offered vary based on a variety of factors. Industry experience, degrees, and prosecution experience for example. Some firms have set #'s, some will tweak it. You just have to look at your leverage. How valuable are you to the firm given your skills/experience and how much will you bill in a year?

In general associates in my experience are indeed paid higher than agents because you can do opinions on technologies on top of being able to be thrown lit work if pros ever dry up or a litigator has an emergency.

Find your leverage point.

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Re: Patent agent- turned attorney - - higher starting salary for seniority?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:39 am

I highly doubt that a biglaw firm will make you a fourth-year. I've been at firms where they do make you a second-year after 4 years of school (even if you were there several years before school). It is highly dependent on the firm though. My firm does not give extra years for PhDs, though it raises your billing rate maybe $10 from what it'd be with a Bachelor's, so you may get a slight pay bump.

Realistically, if you want to even entertain the idea of switching into different work, the lower you go, the better. As others noted, the more your work costs, the less likely anyone will want to/be able to train you to do new work. So I wouldn't be pushing for fourth-year if you want to go into, say, IP lit, or if you want to switch practice groups entirely (e.g., switch to corporate). It is difficult (and seen as a bad sign) if you ever have to ask to step down a few years, so better to start low and have the flexibility to move, than start high and then ask to move down a few years when you realize you want to do something else.



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