Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

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Leo
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Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Leo » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:49 am

Thinking of applying for Federal Circuit clerkship after a couple years in patent lit. What are the long-term benefits? What opportunities/career paths does it open up?

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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:27 pm

Leo wrote:Thinking of applying for Federal Circuit clerkship after a couple years in patent lit. What are the long-term benefits? What opportunities/career paths does it open up?


Current Fed Cir clerk here. The benefits include having a golden ticket to go to almost any firm with a patent lit practice with the standard Fed Cir clerk bonus (75k). Also, consider that the entire circuit is in the same building in D.C., so there is a legitimate possibility that you can network in-person with every other clerk and build a solid network that will benefit you for a long time, especially if you stay in D.C. In addition, consider that the Fed Cir is essentially the Supreme Court for most patent issues (given the rarity (until recently) of Supreme Court intervention on patent issues and given that there is no other circuit to create a circuit split).

The other benefits that go along with any COA clerkship also apply, of course.

The downside to doing patent work is that patents are much less valuable these days in view of Alice, the PTAB, IPRs, a more patent-hostile Federal Circuit, etc. There will be fewer patent cases filed in federal courts in the future, but there is also a glut of biglaw attorneys who have branded themselves "patent litigators" who will be fighting tooth and nail for work.

lolwat
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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby lolwat » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:32 pm

The downside to doing patent work is that patents are much less valuable these days in view of Alice, the PTAB, IPRs, a more patent-hostile Federal Circuit, etc. There will be fewer patent cases filed in federal courts in the future, but there is also a glut of biglaw attorneys who have branded themselves "patent litigators" who will be fighting tooth and nail for work.


All of this is pretty true, but I doubt OP will be hurting for work with patent lit experience + a federal circuit clerkship. And if the work has dried up so much that there isn't enough work out there for OP after the clerkship, then OP was probably eventually going to be screwed without the clerkship anyway.

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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:01 pm

Leo wrote:Thinking of applying for Federal Circuit clerkship after a couple years in patent lit. What are the long-term benefits? What opportunities/career paths does it open up?


I would just add that a CAFC clerkship might open up some appellate opportunities within patent lit, but will likely close doors to practice groups that aren't patent lit. But if you're already practicing patent lit and plan to continue, that might not be a problem.

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Leo
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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Leo » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:23 pm

Thanks for all your responses. What about other career paths outside law firm practice? Does clerking help with going in-house?

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Leo
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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Leo » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:24 pm

Oh and is law review a necessary condition for landing a CAFC clerkship?

runinthefront
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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby runinthefront » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:54 pm

Leo wrote:Oh and is law review a necessary condition for landing a CAFC clerkship?

No.
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

run26.2
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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby run26.2 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:45 pm

There are two big benefits, IMO. First, the network. There are events that are either exclusive to or heavily attended by current or former Fed. Cir. clerks.
If you go to these, you see the same people many times over over the course of a career. Non-clerks also attend some of these events, but it ends up that the clerks coalesce and hang out together before and/or after the events. Second, the somewhat rarity of the credential in the patent litigation community. At non-boutique biglaw firms that have patent litigation practices, there are usually only a handful of former Fed. Cir. clerks. Oftentimes, deservedly or not, former clerks are seen as resources about the law, tendencies in the law, judges' tendencies, etc. In other words, you become a source of information that non-clerks often turn to. This tends to work to your advantage.

You don't need LR to get a clerkship on the court. Some judges may require it, but they are in the minority. Obviously, though, having that credential helps. I don't get the sense that a Federal Circuit clerkship is particularly helpful in landing in-house opportunities.

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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:28 am

Leo wrote:Oh and is law review a necessary condition for landing a CAFC clerkship?


not for all judges. the ones who care about work experience don't (in my experience) care about law review.

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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:33 am

Leo wrote:Thanks for all your responses. What about other career paths outside law firm practice? Does clerking help with going in-house?


It's very helpful for getting a job in the USPTO Solicitor's Office. Probably also desirable in the DOJ section that litigates IP, and perhaps in the National Courts section, too. With a few exceptions (IBM comes to mind), most corporations don't need this type of specialized information on a daily basis.

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Leo
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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Leo » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:28 pm

Can any current/former CAFC clerks provide advice on which judges are best to clerk for? I understand that some CAFC judges have more patent background than others. Should I avoid judges who have no patent experience (other than being a CAFC judge)? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Why clerk at Federal Circuit?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:59 pm

Leo wrote:Can any current/former CAFC clerks provide advice on which judges are best to clerk for? I understand that some CAFC judges have more patent background than others. Should I avoid judges who have no patent experience (other than being a CAFC judge)? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


No reason whatsoever to avoid judges who "have no patent experience." If they've been sitting on this court for years (and they all have), they are experts in patent law. Just because a judge was previously an international trade lawyer or a prosecutor, doesn't mean anything about his or her expertise on patent law (or any of the other areas of the court's jurisdiction) now.




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