STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
User avatar
yot11
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:31 pm

STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby yot11 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:26 pm

I'm currently a senior at my undergrad completing an engineering major and was recently offered a chance to enroll in the BS/MS program where I can get my masters in an additional year without having to take the GRE, etc.

My question is whether having a MS in that field would be worth the additional year of my time and tuition for employment purposes? I understand that it has no effect on admissions, but are there other benefits to getting a MS and delaying law school for a year? Especially given the current application climate.

EDIT: I believe that a MS/PhD is almost required to be competitive for life science undergrad degrees, but what about for BSME/BSEE students?

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18424
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby bk1 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:46 pm

Depends on what are of STEM. This should help:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/search-f ... sa.y=-1922

User avatar
MormonChristian
Posts: 214
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:33 pm

Re: STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby MormonChristian » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:24 am

yot11 wrote:I'm currently a senior at my undergrad completing an engineering major and was recently offered a chance to enroll in the BS/MS program where I can get my masters in an additional year without having to take the GRE, etc.

My question is whether having a MS in that field would be worth the additional year of my time and tuition for employment purposes? I understand that it has no effect on admissions, but are there other benefits to getting a MS and delaying law school for a year? Especially given the current application climate.

EDIT: I believe that a MS/PhD is almost required to be competitive for life science undergrad degrees, but what about for BSME/BSEE students?



Yes, EE's are in demand. The higher the degree, the better. The number I was given in my patent licensing classes was that EE's should expect to make 220K their first year not counting benefits (includes bonuses). The Prof. said the numbers came from the newest ABA journal of intellectual property salaries or something like that.

User avatar
yot11
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:31 pm

Re: STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby yot11 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:41 am

So you think that it would be worth it to pursue a MS even though I already have a BSME?

mrsmartypants
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:29 pm

Re: STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby mrsmartypants » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:29 am

MormonChristian wrote:

Yes, EE's are in demand. The higher the degree, the better. The number I was given in my patent licensing classes was that EE's should expect to make 220K their first year not counting benefits (includes bonuses). The Prof. said the numbers came from the newest ABA journal of intellectual property salaries or something like that.


Although EEs are in demand, I would tend to take job market guidance coming from professors with a large grain of salt. It's pretty well established (see, e.g., Paul Campos's writings) that most faculty members don't really understand the mechanics of legal employment, which is unsurprising since many of them either never actually practiced or if they did, it was briefly and long ago. (There are, of course, exceptions--in particular for adjunct faculty who typically are practicing attorneys.)

How exactly is a first year going to arrive at 220K? Market for first years is 160K and has been for a long while. Back when the market was a lot better (pre-2008) several firms openly considered whether to selectively pay hiring bonuses or grant another year of seniority to hot patent talent, but I'm not aware that this was consistently done if at all, and I haven't heard any reports of this in the current market.

So while EEs still hold a strong recruiting edge, I have a hard time seeing how first years are going to get to 160K + 60K except in very rare cases (clerkship bonus, maybe). If the strongest evidence in favor is a prof citing an ABA publication, I'm calling bullshit.

mrsmartypants
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:29 pm

Re: STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby mrsmartypants » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:32 am

yot11 wrote:So you think that it would be worth it to pursue a MS even though I already have a BSME?


All engineering degrees are not equal. In particular, ME and EE are not fungible for patent hiring purposes. I won't tend to consider people with an ME background for my EE/CS practice unless they demonstrate (via work experience or further education) a solid grasp of EE/CS fundamentals. On that basis, if you have a BSME, I think an MSEE will give you a hiring edge.

curious66
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:34 pm

Re: STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby curious66 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:40 am

yot11 wrote:So you think that it would be worth it to pursue a MS even though I already have a BSME?


If you have some inherent passion/ inclination for engineering & time then YES.. but just for patent law purposes, NO. The IP market is hot and very few of current J.D. candidates have the required hard science degree to pursue Patent Law -- so, even without the MS or EE degree, you are in probably in very decent shape to land a good job (provided you do well in Law school, etc). If you really want to be a lawyer, my personal vote would be that you spend the time on the LSAT and get the best score possible.. the higher up you go in the T14, the better off (in general) you will be (and you might get decent $$ from the schools to help pay your way).

mrsmartypants
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:29 pm

Re: STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby mrsmartypants » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:47 am

curious66 wrote: -- so, even without the MS or EE degree, you are in probably in very decent shape to land a good job (provided you do well in Law school, etc).


There's an important distinction here that was implicit in my earlier response: for litigation, the required level of technical skill is much lower than for prosecution. Thus, somebody with a decent technical background would have a good chance at getting a patent lit job even without an engineering background.

But for patent prosecution, technical fit is much more important, and that's what I was thinking of when commenting on ME vs. EE. So, OP, you'll have to take into account which side of the litigation/prosecution divide you'll be more likely to fall on.

User avatar
yot11
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:31 pm

Re: STEM Masters for IP/Patent Law?

Postby yot11 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:25 pm

Thanks for the replies!

Here is more background info:
- I already have all of my application materials ready in anticipation of applying this cycle. I was not made aware of this BS/MS program until very recently
- Ideally, I would like to pursue patent prosecution in semiconductor and/or nanotechnology fields, but I don't know the state of patent law in those fields
- I will have a BS in MechE
- The master's that I would pursue would be a MS in Materials Science

My question is whether you guys think the MS will help (and by how much, if at all), given my career goals?




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Exabot [Bot], thaddjoog and 3 guests