What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

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What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:57 pm

I know it's not all about the money.. but I just want to look at it from a practical standpoint.

Is it really worth: taking out loans, missing out on 3 years of $70,000+ salary, and missing out on the opportunity to advance your career in the engineering field?

What are salaries like for: entry level patent lawyers, mid career, and partners? It seems like the typical engineer maxes out around $120,000 as a project/program manager.. How does this compare to the max of a patent lawyer?

Any and all input from current/prospective patent lawyers would be appreciated.

oblitigate

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby oblitigate » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:11 pm

Patent prosecutor or "litigator"?

Both start higher end, prob 120-170k range. But I wouldn't go to law school expecting to work in patent litigation. The future of mega hiring is unclear at this point w the recent crop of changes in the law by our good friends, SCOTUS, and a few pending bills in congress

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nygrrrl

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby nygrrrl » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:14 pm

TLS Moderators wrote:If you're a 0L wanting advice from current law students, we've set up a new forum just for you, which you can find here: viewforum.php?f=4

It's called "Ask a Law Student", and it's a place for 0Ls to ask current law students questions without disturbing the "Students and Graduates" forums. Post all your questions there, including about things like classes, grades, transferring, employment, etc. Please do not continue posting your questions here in the Students and Graduates forums, as doing so might get you banned and/or your thread locked.

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Accordingly, I am moving this thread to the appropriate forum.

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Hooch

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby Hooch » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:30 pm

For a patent litigator working at a large firm, you can typically expect to make roughly market (160k first year + bonus, etc). There are some small exceptions, eg, if you clerk on the federal circuit, your bonus might be slightly higher than a typical federal law clerk bonus. I'm not familiar with partnership compensation differences. Perhaps they exist, but they shouldn't be something you're worried about right now. If you do non-practicing entity work, your compensation might be different. It's my understanding that some NPE law firms do profit sharing with associates, so that can be quite profitable. However, that line of work is a bit niche - it's hard to get, is rare, and as someone above mentioned, congress is always trying to put you out of business.


I'm not familiar with how compensation for patent prosecution firms works.

Emu Flu

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby Emu Flu » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:57 pm

Patent prosecution salaries range all over the place. Most large firms pay $160k first year + bonus. Lots of prosecution boutiques pay $120k-$150k for first years, but the hours requirement is lower than the larger firms.

Some prosecution boutiques pay a percentage of billings, so you can earn more than attorneys at large firms if you're efficient. Or you can just work less and earn less. I've seen/heard the percentage of billings range from 35% to 75% depending on the firm and the practitioner's experience.

You make the most money if you go out on your own and collect the whole budget of the assignment. You can also barely work.

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alkaseltzer

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby alkaseltzer » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:29 pm

My friends in patent prosecution make a killing if they work efficiently.

oblitigate

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby oblitigate » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:41 am

There is serious end of case bonuses in plaintiff patent boutiques, NPE clients or not

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby middlemarch » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:47 am

Hooch wrote:For a patent litigator working at a large firm, you can typically expect to make roughly market (160k first year + bonus, etc). There are some small exceptions, eg, if you clerk on the federal circuit, your bonus might be slightly higher than a typical federal law clerk bonus.


Can you elaborate on the clerkship bonus for Federal Circuit clerks?

collegebum1989

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby collegebum1989 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:28 pm

OP, you have a variety of options within IP/patent law given that you have the requisite background and experience. Engineering/Science UG isn't enough, you need the right type of background at the right level in order to have a shot at the market-paying IP firms (BS for EE/CS, PhD for Bio/Chem or MS in non-EE engineering).

Compared to engineering, you'll make more money but you'll be working more hours without any real sense of job security. There's benefits and tradeoffs you need to consider given your tolerance for stress and risk and your individual personality.

In terms of compensation, there are some major differences based on a variety of factors including: 1) legal market, 2) type of firm, 3) school ranking, 4) technical background

There tend to be more-or-less two blends of patent attorneys:
-Those who work within an IP practice group within a General Practice (GP) firms
-Those who work specifically at an IP-only boutique

Boutiques tend to favor your technical background/experience more than your law school ranking and grades, while the reverse is true for the GP firms. Your starting salary for both is dependent on the size of each firm. Most GP firms tend to pay market while only the large IP boutiques (Fish/Finnegan/Kenyon) pay market. Check NALP to see which ones do and which ones don't.


There are also many ways to enter patent law. You can:
1) Take the Patent Bar (if you qualify) and become a Patent Agent for an IP firm and go to law school part-time
2) Work as a Technical Specialist for an IP firm (without taking Patent Bar) and take it after you get experience
3) Go to law school part-time while still working in your engineering job and network your way into a law firm (This is what I am doing)
4) Go to law school full-time with substantial scholarship or at a T14

There are options - in both pursuing your law degree and positioning yourself at a certain type of firm afterwards. If you figure out which one fits best given your background, experience and personality, you should have better chance at success than the traditional law student.
Last edited by collegebum1989 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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09042014

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:30 pm

Patent Prosecution is a TTT in decline. Effective billing rates are falling like a rock.

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby alkaseltzer » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:59 pm

Patent Prosecution is a TTT in decline. Effective billing rates are falling like a rock.


Are you a patent prosecutor? That's because you are doing TTT patents. Not the case for me.

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rpupkin

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:10 pm

alkaseltzer wrote:
Patent Prosecution is a TTT in decline. Effective billing rates are falling like a rock.


Are you a patent prosecutor? That's because you are doing TTT patents. Not the case for me.

Same here. I only work on prestigious patents.

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby alkaseltzer » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:35 pm

Same here. I only work on prestigious patents.


Lol.

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09042014

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:13 pm

alkaseltzer wrote:
Patent Prosecution is a TTT in decline. Effective billing rates are falling like a rock.


Are you a patent prosecutor? That's because you are doing TTT patents. Not the case for me.


No I do patent lit. What is your rate? In a first year and it's 470.

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby alkaseltzer » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:25 pm

It's high 200 - low 300 ish but I keep over 50% of my billings. I'm in pros only. IMO it's not your billing rate that matters, it's how much you KEEP.

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:28 pm

alkaseltzer wrote:It's high 200 - low 300 ish but I keep over 50% of my billings. I'm in pros only. IMO it's not your billing rate that matters, it's how much you KEEP.


How much do you gross a year. That's great for an associate.

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby Emu Flu » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:53 am

Desert Fox wrote:
alkaseltzer wrote:
Patent Prosecution is a TTT in decline. Effective billing rates are falling like a rock.


Are you a patent prosecutor? That's because you are doing TTT patents. Not the case for me.


No I do patent lit. What is your rate? In a first year and it's 470.


For one of my clients, my billing rate is basically $3500/hour because it takes me 1 hour to respond to their office actions and I get a flat fee of $3500. I get 45% of that.

It's more about how much money you can generate and how much of it you get to keep. Lots of attorneys at small patent prosecution boutiques earn more than their peers in large firms if they're efficient and get a percentage of their billings. Lots are inefficient and don't earn too much, too.

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84651846190

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby 84651846190 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:43 am

Emu Flu wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
alkaseltzer wrote:
Patent Prosecution is a TTT in decline. Effective billing rates are falling like a rock.


Are you a patent prosecutor? That's because you are doing TTT patents. Not the case for me.


No I do patent lit. What is your rate? In a first year and it's 470.


For one of my clients, my billing rate is basically $3500/hour because it takes me 1 hour to respond to their office actions and I get a flat fee of $3500. I get 45% of that.

It's more about how much money you can generate and how much of it you get to keep. Lots of attorneys at small patent prosecution boutiques earn more than their peers in large firms if they're efficient and get a percentage of their billings. Lots are inefficient and don't earn too much, too.


Jesus Christ. Patent prosecution is such a fucking scam. I have no idea why corporations are still paying you idiots to crank out that garbage. It's not like they're even suing each other anymore.

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby Emu Flu » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:14 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Jesus Christ. Patent prosecution is such a fucking scam. I have no idea why corporations are still paying you idiots to crank out that garbage. It's not like they're even suing each other anymore.


Well, some people just don't get it and it can take them 20 hours to do a simple response to an office action. And they can't even advance prosecution. It's only a lucrative field if you're skilled at this ridiculous stuff.

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Re: What salary can a patent lawyer expect?

Postby alkaseltzer » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:06 am

Jesus Christ. Patent prosecution is such a fucking scam. I have no idea why corporations are still paying you idiots to crank out that garbage. It's not like they're even suing each other anymore.


Lol. Who's the idiot moron? Just because you can't set foot in patent pros doesn't mean you can be a moron to others. A little jealous you can't get in?

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