Job Prospects for Patent and IP Law in Biotech and Pharma

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Job Prospects for Patent and IP Law in Biotech and Pharma

Postby shin8702 » Thu May 02, 2013 8:57 pm

This is my first time posting on this website forum, and I am seeking some sort of guidance to pursue a career that I have been longing for awhile now.

First off, I'd like to mention my qualifications and work experience, so the viewers can assess if I would be even marketable for such legal jobs. I received an Honors BSc. in Biotechnology (approx. 3.7 GPA), along with a Technical Diploma in Biotech (part of the honors program), and a total of 2 years of paid internships in both research academia and at an industrial lab at a large biopharmaceutical firm. Currently, I am working at a biotech firm in the QA/RA dept. and plan on working here for the next year or two.

For those of you who are going to ask the common questions, do you really want to be a lawyer? Can you afford the costs? Do you have a plan? Here are my answers...

Yes, I want to become a lawyer. More importantly I want to study law. I am very interested in the biotech field, but I like how legal institutions attempt to take an objective scientific approach on philosophical concepts. Almost like taking the scientific approach on concepts that are much more difficult to decipher and rationalize.

NO, I cannot afford to go to a top-tier law school whether it be in the US of Canada (I'm a Canadian citizen btw). I'd have to take out a huge loan to fund this endeavor, which is why its so hard for me to justify that my investment will be well worth it.

YES, I have a plan, but a plan alone does not guarantee that the plan will follow through. I am thinking of pursuing a JD/MBA with a focus on IP, technology commercialization, and marketing research. I hope to work as a patent attorney and also participate in Mergers and Acquisitions and other IP-related job functions in the biotech/biopharma industry.

Everything seemed like a good idea, during my undergrad years, until a realized how messed up he legal institutions have become over the years (e.g. outrageous tuitions costs/debts, highly competitive job prospects where salaries do no reflect the level of education attained). IN ADDITION, after speaking to local patent attorneys, I realized most have a PhD, and most recruiters look for JDs who have a PhD, with the underlying rationale that they are more knowledgable in the research involved in those patents. This is why I reasoned myself into looking into a JD/MBA rather than just a JD, so I can differentiate myself from other IP candidates with a PhD. I thought about doing a PhD, but was quickly advised not to go that route to solely become a patent lawyer, and I also am confident that my experiences in academic research has developed plently of skills and insight into dissecting research papers into pieces.

Everyone is telling me the job prospects for lawyers are horrendous, and I believe them, but I believe it applies to 'generic' lawyers. Can anyone inform me of the job prospects for Patent Attorneys or lawyers specializing in IP within the biotech/biopharm sector? Will I be able to compete against other prospective patent attorneys with PhDs? I know I need to have a more detailed plan, and I would appreciate any kind of advice or insight anyone can provide.


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Re: Job Prospects for Patent and IP Law in Biotech and Pharma

Postby lukertin » Thu May 02, 2013 9:05 pm

As you recognize, you aren't in a good position to become a patent prosecutor with just a B.S. in biology. Nor do patent prosecution firms care about MBAs. The only firms that won't care so much are large GP firms who only recruit from the top schools. If you can't get into one of those...

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Re: Job Prospects for Patent and IP Law in Biotech and Pharma

Postby kyle010723 » Thu May 02, 2013 9:13 pm

Most patent attorneys do not need an advance degree in hard science. Bio is the exception. Reason being pharmaceutical companies want to deal with Ph.D only. Granted you want to go to the best school you can get into, doing IP will give you a little bit of flexibility not being T14 or bust.

If you want to do M&A, without a doubt you need T14. IP transactions do exist, but as a new associate, you are either a prosecutor or a litigator, it is extremely unlikely you can find anything transactionally related starting out.

And re: you cannot afford to go to a good school, that is totally untrue. Get a 180 in LSAT and you can go to pretty any school you want for essentially free.

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Re: Job Prospects for Patent and IP Law in Biotech and Pharma

Postby Agent » Fri May 03, 2013 9:50 pm

Glad to chat about this if you send me a PM. I probably won't look at this thread again.

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