Alternative Career Path for Patent Litigator

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Alternative Career Path for Patent Litigator

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:46 pm

Hi guys,

I am a mid-level patent litigation associate at a big firm. I have a pretty broad range of experience in patent litigation, and my firm actually goes to trial pretty often so I have been involved in several during my time here.

I am at a point in my career that I really want to make a move but not sure how to proceed, so I wanted to turn to TLS for some advice/ideas. My main issue is that I don't see myself working in the traditional biglaw setting for long, I just don't enjoy it. It's not the hours, stress, etc. What I really don't enjoy (unlike the great majority of lawyers) is that I'm in a completely risk-free environment. I despise the idea that I come in in the morning, do 10 hours or so of work a day, go home, and at the end of the week have a consistent paycheck coming in. The idea just doesn't really excite me.

What I want is to be working in a more risky environment, somewhere that I feel like my pay is directly linked to my performance/how well I do. Something perhaps more businessy. Somewhere that I'm not really guaranteed any sort of compensation, but if I do well or perhaps the organization does well I have the potential to make a lot more than my typical basic biglaw salary.

I've been thinking of some options and the things that initially come to mind are:
- leaving for a firm that does contingency work
- working for a patent investing/holding company
- getting into patent litigation finance

I wanted to see if anybody has any experience with any of these and can help me get a better grasp of the situation, or if anybody has any other ideas to help me out. Much appreciated, thanks!!

QContinuum

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Re: Alternative Career Path for Patent Litigator

Postby QContinuum » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:41 pm

Why not try exiting to a startup? You wouldn't be a dedicated patent litigator at the startup, but it sounds like you could pitch your IP bona fides to some effect.

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Re: Alternative Career Path for Patent Litigator

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:02 pm

QContinuum wrote:Why not try exiting to a startup? You wouldn't be a dedicated patent litigator at the startup, but it sounds like you could pitch your IP bona fides to some effect.


How does that exactly work? I haven't had too many coworkers/friends exit to a startup. I have had in-house opportunities come up mostly through the firm's clients on whose matters I work on, but obviously none of our clients are startups.

BlackAndOrange84

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Re: Alternative Career Path for Patent Litigator

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:29 pm

If you want to keep practicing law, yes go to a plaintiff's side firm that does contingency work. Big upside there if you can make partner. But it kind of sounds like you want to get out of practicing (plaintiff's side work will probably feel more urgent, but I wonder if that's really the underlying issue). If you want to get out of practicing, I'd say either IP lit finance or a patent monetization company are the way to go. I'm don't think either is easy to land, but again there seems to be a lot of upside and it's interesting, very strategic work (especially as compared to much of the mechanics of litigation).

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Re: Alternative Career Path for Patent Litigator

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:42 pm

BlackAndOrange84 wrote:If you want to keep practicing law, yes go to a plaintiff's side firm that does contingency work. Big upside there if you can make partner. But it kind of sounds like you want to get out of practicing (plaintiff's side work will probably feel more urgent, but I wonder if that's really the underlying issue). If you want to get out of practicing, I'd say either IP lit finance or a patent monetization company are the way to go. I'm don't think either is easy to land, but again there seems to be a lot of upside and it's interesting, very strategic work (especially as compared to much of the mechanics of litigation).


Any idea on where to even start?

Going to a plaintiff's firm that does contingency work is obviously the closest to what I do now and I think I can navigate a job at a firm if I make an effort. But getting into IP lit finance or patent investing company... I have no idea. What are the skills that they are looking for and how do I get myself in the door for a potential interview and convince them that they should hire me?

BlackAndOrange84

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Re: Alternative Career Path for Patent Litigator

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
BlackAndOrange84 wrote:If you want to keep practicing law, yes go to a plaintiff's side firm that does contingency work. Big upside there if you can make partner. But it kind of sounds like you want to get out of practicing (plaintiff's side work will probably feel more urgent, but I wonder if that's really the underlying issue). If you want to get out of practicing, I'd say either IP lit finance or a patent monetization company are the way to go. I'm don't think either is easy to land, but again there seems to be a lot of upside and it's interesting, very strategic work (especially as compared to much of the mechanics of litigation).


Any idea on where to even start?

Going to a plaintiff's firm that does contingency work is obviously the closest to what I do now and I think I can navigate a job at a firm if I make an effort. But getting into IP lit finance or patent investing company... I have no idea. What are the skills that they are looking for and how do I get myself in the door for a potential interview and convince them that they should hire me?


Great question! From what I've observed, many of the folks working at these firms were fairly senior lawyers when they made the jump, and had worked with the patent monetization firm previously. But I just don't have much of a sense of how they hire. I think it'd probably also help if you had some prosecution, licensing transactional, and patent portfolio and licensing strategy counseling experience as at least the latter two are a big part of what these firms do (sometimes alongside filing continuation patents, though that will depend on the firm, many just acquire patents to enforce rather). For litigation funders, I think you should do some research into the job, including maybe asking some folks for informational interviews. My impression is that these are jobs that midlevels can lateral into. Though it may be tougher if you've always been on the defense side and don't have experience evaluating the merits of potential plaintiffs cases. All that said, I don't have intimate knowledge of how either set of businesses hires, so this all just sort of reasoned speculation on my part.

ETA: I think for the patent monetization firms, I think it may be the kind of thing you either work your way into by having one of these firms for a client, or else that you network your way into. I suspect they don't do a lot of open job postings. I think lit finance hiring may be a little more traditional in that there may be posted openings for which you can apply, though I may be wrong. It may also be worth talking to a recruiter who specializes in IP (I assume there is such a thing but don't actually know for sure). They may be able to provide more insight.



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