Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

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twiix

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Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

Postby twiix » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:25 pm

Hello all,

Firstly, I am not technically a 0L so if this is not the correct place to put this post, I apologize in advance. I tried searching it out but didn't have a ton of luck and this seemed like the best fit for where it might go. Just let me know if this is still in violation of the rules!

I have a question in regard to my cover letter and I'm hoping someone here has walked this path before and can provide some insight. Anyway, I am 2.5 years out of undergrad where I graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering. During my UG I spent a lot of time doing research on electromagnetics, signal processing and RF's/Communications/Antennas. I took a position after school doing electric design for a large automobile company and have since decided that I want to return to school to pursue a degree in IP law. I don't really love the idea of being buried in another 100-200k worth of loans so my idea is to go work at an IP firm in Chicago (ideal city, but open anywhere) as a technical adviser/researcher to assist with the IP team there. During my stay I hope to get my patent bar paid for by the company so I can do additional patent agent work and then eventually (hopefully) get law school paid for assuming I come back and work there afterwards. Is this reasonable?

Whether I get the law school paid for or not, I still wish to pursue this career change to make sure that going into IP law is a good fit for me. I would hate to sign up for more debt without realizing what I'm getting in to, just to find out that I hate it and have to change careers again with increased student loans.

So my question is - how do I formulate a cover letter with the aforementioned information? Would potential employers want to know that my passion is to go back to school and become an IP attorney?

If anyone else has had the ideas that I have, is it a good plan? I'd love to hear advice and what other people think.

ClubberLang

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Re: Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

Postby ClubberLang » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:01 pm

I'm not sure a "passion" to go back to school to study IP law would provide an advantage in hiring. From my understanding, it is relatively common for firms that do this sort of thing to pick up tuition for technical advisers who want to go to law school, but these are people the firm already knows and likes. I'd be surprised if a firm would hire someone planning to send them to law school, particularly if you don't even have an LSAT score down yet.

Anyway, they'd only pay for you to go part time and you'd have to work full time. Are there schools in Chicago with evening programs? Definitely something you'd want to look into. I could be wrong about this, but think you'd have a better chance selling yourself as a solid technical adviser than as a prospective law student.

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Re: Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

Postby elendinel » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:02 pm

TWiiX wrote:my idea is to go work at an IP firm in Chicago (ideal city, but open anywhere) as a technical adviser/researcher to assist with the IP team there. During my stay I hope to get my patent bar paid for by the company so I can do additional patent agent work and then eventually (hopefully) get law school paid for assuming I come back and work there afterwards. Is this reasonable?


Yes, depending on the firm. I'm not sure what you mean by "come back and work there afterwards" though; no firm is going to pay you to go to school full-time, as far as I know.

So my question is - how do I formulate a cover letter with the aforementioned information? Would potential employers want to know that my passion is to go back to school and become an IP attorney?


If I were you, save the cover for explaining your interests in the sciences, and why you'd want to do anything legal-related after being in the sciences. If asked in the interview about law school, you can be honest and say you're thinking about it; but as far as the cover letter is concerned, I think you want to establish that you want to get into this field first, before talking about 5-year plans. Few firms are likely to hire someone who's leading with their passion to become an expensive investment for the firm ASAP; a lot of people are likely to hire someone who has some interest in the law but is really just passionate about prosecution in general and happy to see where it leads them.

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Re: Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

Postby Abbie Doobie » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:58 pm

there aren't a huge amount of firms that will pay tuition for tech specs/advisers, and i am not familiar with any firms in chicago that do it. pretty sure that mcandrews, brinks, marshall, mcdonnell, hanley, etc., don't. not sure about banner or leydig. banner might but i'd be surprised if leydig did. and none of them will unless you are in school part time and working full time.

most of the firms that pay tuition are in the dc area, so that is probably your best bet. but it's going to be next to impossible finding a firm to pay your tuition if you are going to school full time.

as for the cover letter, it shouldn't be that hard. "hey i'm an engineer interested in breaking into ip law career and i hear your firm is great at training tech specs the right way. while at your firm, i plan to take the pat bar and enroll in law school and hope to join your firm full-time as an associate upon graduation. i have a great technical background [talk about ur research] blah blah blah so hire me. thank." try to tie your research exp somehow into piquing your interest in patenting inventions. if someone even mentioned anything to you about patents while researching or working as an engineer, definitely tie that into your interest in ip law. something like that

i have been down a pretty similar road, so feel free to pm me.

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elendinel

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Re: Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

Postby elendinel » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:10 pm

I would expand that beyond DC; I don't know about the midwest TBH, but there are definitely firms in NYC, Boston, and SF that would pay for law school (part-time) for a patent agent. I'd be surprised if there weren't a fair number of firms in other east-coast/TX cities that offered the same deal, too.

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Re: Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

Postby twiix » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:18 am

Thank you all for the helpful information. I guess going full time or part time isn't a huge deal if I have a gig lined up afterward.. the burning desire to go to a good school (realistically I could probably get the LSAT scores for Northwestern) would be to land a solid biglaw job afterward, but that could already be figured out if a firm is paying for it, so a top tier school may not 100% necessary. Let's say I can actually perform where some of my PT's lie (170ish range right now, but not planning to sit until July so plenty of time for improvement still), do you think it would be better to just commit to full time law school and take on the debt? I already have a nice lump of savings I'm sitting on so this is reasonable and achievable, just looking at all of my options before pulling the trigger.

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Re: Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

Postby jhett » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:58 am

You say you aren't sure whether a career in IP law is right for you. Are you interested in any other type of law other than IP? If not, then I would probably hold off on going to law school. You shouldn't attend unless you have some clear goals in mind.

Going the tech adviser route is probably the best for you. I was at a firm with tech advisers and some left after a year or two because they concluded IP law wasn't the career for them. It's better to figure that out before law school than after. For those that stayed on, the firm paid at least a portion of their law school tuition (full time classes, part time work).

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Re: Engineer Applying for Technical Adviser (future IP law student) need help with cover letter

Postby twiix » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:59 pm

jhett wrote:You say you aren't sure whether a career in IP law is right for you. Are you interested in any other type of law other than IP? If not, then I would probably hold off on going to law school. You shouldn't attend unless you have some clear goals in mind.

Going the tech adviser route is probably the best for you. I was at a firm with tech advisers and some left after a year or two because they concluded IP law wasn't the career for them. It's better to figure that out before law school than after. For those that stayed on, the firm paid at least a portion of their law school tuition (full time classes, part time work).


Corporate/Business law is something that also interests me although I haven't really made any serious commitments to either field since I've yet to actually sit for the LSAT. My career goals are very figured out. I just haven't ever practiced IP law so my "theory" of how well it might fit me could be vehemently misguided.

Working part time with full time school would be my ideal image although I've definitely heard it's not a super common thing. So I'm sure those positions are super competitive.



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