Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

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Stevoman
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Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

Postby Stevoman » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:42 pm

The basic outline seems to be:

Technical person with an existing technical career studies for and passes the patent bar on their own
Gets a job as a patent agent with a firm
Works through law school part time while working with firm
Graduates and is typically upgraded to a full attorney with their existing employer

From reading around, it seems this is a good path to follow because most employers want you to graduate, pass the bar, and become a full-fledged associate with them. I have read that , because of this, they typically have low billing requirements, work with your school schedule, and sometimes even help pay for tuition. Of course, the almost-guaranteed employment upon graduation and steady income while in school are also nice perks. And you also get thrown into the fray from day 1, instead of having to wait 3 years for graduation to start having fun!

Has anyone done this? Is it viable? Is it difficult? Is it realistic?

(I have already been accepted to SMU's PT program with a good scholarship, so this path is looking very tempting if it works out like the stuff I'm reading says it works out. I have nothing planned for this summer, so it would be easy to spend 3-4 months to study for and pass the patent bar.)

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wiseowl
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Re: Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

Postby wiseowl » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:44 pm

It's definitely a nice option if you can get it. Only problem is just that fewer and fewer firms will do that.

Agent
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Re: Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

Postby Agent » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:48 am

wiseowl wrote:It's definitely a nice option if you can get it. Only problem is just that fewer and fewer firms will do that.


+1. And I believe firms often call this type of position "student associate," even when seeking candidates with a registration number. HTH.

Anonymous User
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Re: Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:37 pm

"Student Associate" positions are common in the DC patent prosecution market. To get one of these positions, it helps if you're actually in law school, rather than just a patent agent. This is because firms recruit directly from 1L class for these positions, and because patent agent jobs are difficult to get these days.

Some DC market firms full pay for tuition for Student Associates. Some firms don't. Some firms don't have full time Student Associate positions, but only park time Law Clerk positions.

Anonymous User
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Re: Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:41 pm

Not sure why this needs to all be "anonomus" but WTF ever, "when in Rome...." :roll:

Patent Agent can get the job done, and if that's all you want to do anyways then why waste $100K and 3 years of your life? That being said, it's good to have options and Patent Lawyer looks better on a Resume and can things an Agent can't do(obviously).

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yuzu
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Re: Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

Postby yuzu » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:55 am

Yes, I know people who've done this. The trouble is that you're precluded from going to a T14 because T14s don't tend to have PT programs. If you would go to a similar school either way *and* you can get a patent agent job in the same city then this is a fine approach. Whether you can get that job may depend on how strong your technical background is.

One person I know was an agent at an in-house patent department. If your background is EE maybe you could try Texas Instruments?

Anonymous User
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Re: Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:27 am

yuzu wrote:Yes, I know people who've done this. The trouble is that you're precluded from going to a T14 because T14s don't tend to have PT programs. If you would go to a similar school either way *and* you can get a patent agent job in the same city then this is a fine approach. Whether you can get that job may depend on how strong your technical background is.

One person I know was an agent at an in-house patent department. If your background is EE maybe you could try Texas Instruments?


Georgetown has a part-time program.

I find very few patent prosecutors come from a T14 school. Engineering undergrad GPAs at many schools tend to be on the low side, so the T14 aren't stocked with too many prospective patent prosecutors. Also, most of them seem to want to go into patent litigation where their legal pedigree would be put to more use. Patent prosecutors aren't really recruited as much on their law school degree. A certain second-tier school in my local area gets much more attention from patent prosecutors than higher-ranked schools since you have a much larger applicant pool. I used to find it difficult to compete with them.

Some companies, like Intel, have a class of part-time students at Santa Clara, Lewis & Clark, Suffolk, etc. You might want to see if companies in your area do the same. I've also noticed many law firms starting to go back to the Student Associate program, particularly in Washington DC and Northern California. It's supposed to be brutal though.

Stevoman
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:28 am

Re: Patent Agent -> PT Law School -> Patent Attorney

Postby Stevoman » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:09 pm

Relevant info I should have included:

Already have my BSEE
Couldn't get into a T14 even if I wanted
Highly prefer to stay in TX

I'll look and see if TI has any in-house agents, that's a good idea. Thanks for all the input so far.




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