IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

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anom217
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IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby anom217 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:22 pm

I'm considering law school, and am mainly interested in studying either IP law or finance/investment law. I'm currently working as a software engineer and have an undergrad degree in CS. My question is, would I have a difficult time getting employment doing finance/investment since I don't have a background in finance/accounting/economics? Ideally, I think I might be interested in working with tech start-ups looking for backing from venture capitalists or doing an IPO or being acquired, that kind of thing. I just wanted to check if I would be disadvantaged with my engineering background and be looked over by employers if I'm not seeking IP. Also, is there a big advantage in either of these law sub-fields over the other?

Jwb0711
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby Jwb0711 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:36 pm

From what I have been told from some lawyers I know (I was curious on this as well), is if you have a relevant undergrad major (accounting, science, engineering) you are predisposed on your resume to work in the that field.
Maybe if you took an emphasis in corporate/tax law courses that would help... but honestly man... unless you hate science/engineering (and if so why didn't you change your major? 0_o) you should definitely be going for IP. The job market isn't great at all right now for any field.. but IP is the most forgiving hands down.

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MrKappus
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby MrKappus » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:36 pm

The law schools people attend and/or their grades at those schools prevent them from doing VC or securities work. Your background will not.

anom217
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby anom217 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:26 am

Jwb0711 - thanks for the reply

I had a late interest in investment/finance matters near the end of college. If I took a bunch of courses in that area during my 2nd and 3rd years of law school, I assume that would matter a lot, possibly more than just having an undergraduate degree in some business field?

And what's the big advantage into going into IP? besides "you did engineering, go IP".

r6_philly
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby r6_philly » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:41 am

anom217 wrote:Jwb0711 - thanks for the reply

I had a late interest in investment/finance matters near the end of college. If I took a bunch of courses in that area during my 2nd and 3rd years of law school, I assume that would matter a lot, possibly more than just having an undergraduate degree in some business field?

And what's the big advantage into going into IP? besides "you did engineering, go IP".


Easier to get a job, and you get to work on things you like. (unless you no longer like engineering stuff)

Jwb0711
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby Jwb0711 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:35 pm

anom217 wrote:Jwb0711 - thanks for the reply

I had a late interest in investment/finance matters near the end of college. If I took a bunch of courses in that area during my 2nd and 3rd years of law school, I assume that would matter a lot, possibly more than just having an undergraduate degree in some business field?

And what's the big advantage into going into IP? besides "you did engineering, go IP".


Well, like I said: I would assume if you focused on corporate/tax law courses and during an interview explain what you just wrote that may work.

I have learned that passion is a great sell to employers... If you can get that across to them about finance/corporate/tax law that would be great.

I still say IP is better, unless you despise it, because the market is more.. forgiving to IP people. I have 2 friends/acquaintances in IP right now (law students from where I am in undergrad), one graduated last may and is a big law associate - the other is a 2L SA at a boutique IP law firm, neither were LR or top quarter. They still got gobbled up because they interviewed well and had engineering backgrounds. Both either have a 160k job or would get one upon full time employment. (I'm not saying every IP focused JD will have this happen but I do believe it is indicative of the market).
There is definitely an advantage for IP when it comes to employment... if you truly think you can do the switch then more power to you.. if that's the career path you really want.

Emu Flu
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby Emu Flu » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:13 pm

I've met many former engineers who have gone into corporate law rather than patent law.

I have an engineering background and decided to go into patent law. Like the prior poster, patent law is much more forgiving to those with engineering backgrounds. I wouldn't get an interview for anything unrelated to patents.

As for other advantages, I find that IP people are friendlier (some people say weirder, too), older (many are second career attorneys), have longer lifespans in the law (particularly in patent prosecution), and have more in-house positions available. Some fields like patent prosecution also have many smaller firms (anywhere from 10 - 150 attorneys) that pay close to market or give you the option of earning more than market. You can work in a large firm or a small firm. If you don't care for the BigLaw (or IP boutique) personality and lifestyle, then you have more options available while still earning a nice salary.

anom217
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby anom217 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:16 am

thanks emu flu.

is there a big difference in the average salary of those in patent law vs corporate/securities law?

Emu Flu
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby Emu Flu » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:17 am

anom217 wrote:thanks emu flu.

is there a big difference in the average salary of those in patent law vs corporate/securities law?


It really depends on the firm. Some IP firms pay about 10-15% less than standard BigLaw firms, but they also have significantly less hours and easier lifestyles. Usually, you get a cut of your billings after a certain number of hours so that if you want to get paid more you can get that type of compensation. They do that so they can get candidates who want an easier lifestyle and also the candidates who want to pay off their loans!

IP firms can also be split between firms that do both litigation and prosecution and those that only or mainly do prosecution (tend to be smaller, more focused firms). In my opinion, patent prosecution (drafting patents) in a general practice firm is probably the most miserable legal position, but a very comfortable position at an IP firm or boutique (if you can stand the work - many cannot).

Basically, if you want corporate/securities, you need to look to BigLaw. If you want patent law, you can look to BigLaw, full practice IP firms, or patent prosecution boutiques (if you're only interested in patent prosecution).

Another advantage that I just remembered is that it's possible to transfer from patent litigation to prosecution, or vice versa. It seems somewhat common. Some people think that prosecution is too boring, so they switch over to litigation. The more common switch that I know of is to go from litigation to prosecution because of laid back lifestyle. I don't see a switch to what is almost a completely different practice occur in many other fields of law. I'm not sure if that's possible in securities.

TxRenegade2012
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby TxRenegade2012 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:39 am

Go IP. A family friend of mine went to A&M and majored in electrical engineering. Went to Baylor law and graduated bottom half. Ended up getting a starting job at a big firm in Houston making 120/year simply bc he was engineering and could take patent bar exam

jim-green
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby jim-green » Mon May 28, 2012 9:43 pm

Emu Flu wrote:I've met many former engineers who have gone into corporate law rather than patent law.
How would I find IP Boutiques in SV? I am going to Cal in Fall 2012. Maybe I should just talk to the careers office? How would I know how much they pay?
And is it easier to become partner at an IP boutique than at Biglaw for a patent lawyer?
I'm thinking I'd prefer the hours of prosecution than litigation.

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dood
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Re: IP vs Finance/Investment law with engineering background

Postby dood » Mon May 28, 2012 9:53 pm

MrKappus wrote:The law schools people attend and/or their grades at those schools prevent them from doing VC or securities work. Your background will not.


2nd this




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