Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

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ironlung
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Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby ironlung » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:36 am

To get right down to it...

I'm 34, married with three kids. I have a computer engineering degree and worked for 5+ years as an engineer for a large semiconductor company. I have an MBA from a top 20 b-school, which allowed me to work in corporate finance for a different large semiconductor company. I now basically work in marketing strategy (still in the computer industry but for company number 3).

I love technology, and I admire the career freedom most lawyers have. If I go back to law school the sole intent would be to go into patent law. But it would only make practical sense if I make very good money right out of law school (150K+), with large upside 5 years out. I assume that I would go to the University of Texas as I already live in Austin.

My wife hasn't worked since we've had kids, so it would be a severe lifestyle change for my family (thus my high salary requirements)

So - are my salary requirements realistic?
question 2 - Could I use my grad school gpa which is very good as a substitute for my undergrad (not so good and 12 years ago)?

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bees
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Re: Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby bees » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:42 am

You really need to have an LSAT/disclose your GPA to have this discussion honestly. UT is not an easy school to get into (although it helps a little that you're a resident) and the way the economy you won't be able to bank on 150k coming out of law school, despite your background.

As to your second question, no. UG GPA is the ballgame.

Your best bet to do very well on the LSAT and to go to Northwestern, seeing as they love work experience, but given your family situation I'm guessing that's not an option.

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nealric
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Re: Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby nealric » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:38 am

To answer your question RE: salary:

Large firms start at 160k. However, you won't be getting any credit for your past experience. Even from UT though, your chances of getting one of these jobs is probably around 30% (of course that requires a lot of economic and academic prognosticating). Otherwise, you may be looking at jobs that pay substantially under your requirements.

From the sound of your situation, I don't think it's worth the risk from a financial standpoint. As far as upside above those starting salaries, Texas large firms are fairly compressed in salary- meaning you won't get huge increases until you get to the partner level after around 8 years (which very few do).

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DavidYurman85
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Re: Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby DavidYurman85 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:50 am

Is the biglaw market-base 160K in Texax? I'm not sure and I would look it up. Anyhow, like most of the other posters have said, we need your scores to give better input. A computer engineering degree and your work experience would definitely make you competitive for an ip job, especially a firm with a strong focus on patent prosecution (writing patents). Though, at your age and in this economy, I'm not sure if leaving your job is THE best solution. Are you planning to remain regional after law school, are you open to moving your family elsewhere? GW or Georgetown's part-time program sounds ideal for your situation-family man/work during the day. If not, then I would carefully research the firms in TX, their IP practices, market-salary, etc...However, most of this is moot without your lsat/gpa scores.

edit: because i can't spell.

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BigFatPanda
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Re: Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby BigFatPanda » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:52 am

ironlung wrote:To get right down to it...

I'm 34, married with three kids. I have a computer engineering degree and worked for 5+ years as an engineer for a large semiconductor company. I have an MBA from a top 20 b-school, which allowed me to work in corporate finance for a different large semiconductor company. I now basically work in marketing strategy (still in the computer industry but for company number 3).

I love technology, and I admire the career freedom most lawyers have. If I go back to law school the sole intent would be to go into patent law. But it would only make practical sense if I make very good money right out of law school (150K+), with large upside 5 years out. I assume that I would go to the University of Texas as I already live in Austin.

My wife hasn't worked since we've had kids, so it would be a severe lifestyle change for my family (thus my high salary requirements)

So - are my salary requirements realistic?
question 2 - Could I use my grad school gpa which is very good as a substitute for my undergrad (not so good and 12 years ago)?


In good times, a freshly minted patent attorney gets about $120k (AnyLaw) - $160k (BigLaw), does not matter where you go to law school (Accredited law schools only). Senior associate with 4-6 years on the job gets around $200k (AnyLaw) to $250k (BigLaw). Partners (10+) gets 400k to 1 mil (bigLaw).

Economy sucks right now and some patent attorney did get lay off last year. However, i think the IP sector is fairly strong vs. others and it will be the first one to bounce back. For example, the number of applications filed this year in the Patent Office is up again, indicating that the amount of work for patent lawyers are up and thus more room for hiring.

Law school don't give weight to your grad GPA. But as a computer engineer, if your undergrad GPA is 3.0+, you should be fine if your LSAT is around a law school's 75% mark. Plus, if your LSAT is good enough, look at Northwestern's 2 year JD program.

Three cheers to my fellow ECE.

jerjon2
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Re: Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby jerjon2 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:55 am

I would ask all of your questions here:http://www.intelproplaw.com/ (if you haven't already)

I don't really know much about patent law in Texas other than that most of the work is in Houston I believe. That web site also has IP job listings so you may be able to get a decent picture based on that. Having a computer engineering background with good experience like yours is probably the best setup you could have for patent law as far as demand goes. The large firms do pay market in Texas also (160k) but you can't be absolutely sure that you would get one of those jobs starting out. Also, as I understand it, in Texas prestige goes H/Y/UT so if you got your engineering degree from UT and/or you got a JD from UT you would probably be in really good shape. I honesty can't say if I would take the risk if it were me because I've never had kids and I imagine that would make me more paranoid about my livelihood but I think there are a lot of people taking much more dangerous risks going to law school than going to a Top School in a region less affected by the recession (again as I understand it, this may be wrong) for the type of law that is still the most in demand with the perfect background for that type of law.

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BigFatPanda
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Re: Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby BigFatPanda » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:55 am

ironlung wrote:To get right down to it...

I'm 34, married with three kids. I have a computer engineering degree and worked for 5+ years as an engineer for a large semiconductor company. I have an MBA from a top 20 b-school, which allowed me to work in corporate finance for a different large semiconductor company. I now basically work in marketing strategy (still in the computer industry but for company number 3).

I love technology, and I admire the career freedom most lawyers have. If I go back to law school the sole intent would be to go into patent law. But it would only make practical sense if I make very good money right out of law school (150K+), with large upside 5 years out. I assume that I would go to the University of Texas as I already live in Austin.

My wife hasn't worked since we've had kids, so it would be a severe lifestyle change for my family (thus my high salary requirements)

So - are my salary requirements realistic?
question 2 - Could I use my grad school gpa which is very good as a substitute for my undergrad (not so good and 12 years ago)?


My friend is EE and he goes to Cardozo (Expecting May 2010), he already has a NYC bigLaw offer lined up at this time. But then again, he's top notch and had a lot of IP experience. Good luck.

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nealric
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Re: Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby nealric » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:12 am

Is the biglaw market-base 160K in Texax?


Yes, Texas went to 160 shortly after NYC.

ironlung
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Re: Experienced applicant and salary expectations - patent law

Postby ironlung » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:22 am

Thank you everyone for your input.

I realize that I opened myself up with the GPA question, but I'm much less concerned about getting into UT than I am about whether I should leave a decent job to go to law school. I just think legal career would play to my strengths more so than what I do now.

I've had one informational interview with a patent attorney, and have more lined up through business contacts. It's just hard to ask, "So how much do you make anyway?" If I didn't have a family, I'd have no problem eating noodles and going back to being a poor student. ...especially if an enjoyable career were on the other side...

FWIW - the attorney I talked to said that business for his firm has actually picked up during the recession. He asserts it's because corporations are trying to squeeze every dime out of their IP.

Thanks




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