Biomed phd - patent law career opportunities?

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vexing
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:24 pm

Biomed phd - patent law career opportunities?

Postby vexing » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:45 pm

Within a year and half or so I will be graduating with a PhD in neuroscience. I graduated with a 3.85 from my undergrad university and currently have a 3.98 GPA in my graduate program. I haven't taken an official LSAT yet (planning to within the next couple of months), but I have gotten to the point where I'm regularly scoring in the 170s on timed practice exams (I know this is only a proxy for the real thing, but every standardized test I've ever taken I've scored in the 95th+ percentile. Studying for the LSAT so far has gone well...actually kind of enjoy the logic stuff, good way to kill time during my commute to work :mrgreen:).

Ok now that all that is aside, I guess my basic question is whether pursuing a career in patent law is advisable. I keep reading about how terrible the market is for lawyers and about people coming out of law school hundreds of thousands of dollar in debt only to find few job opportunities (and even the few that are available don't pay enough to truly cover debt payment and have a half-decent lifestyle).

As someone who has never been in debt (thanks primarily due to scholarship money, and obviously PhD students get a stipend for living expenses, etc), the thought of even dealing with debt from living expenses during law school, let alone tuition expenses, is rather daunting. Taking on something like that, for me at least, would be contingent on the idea that there is something worthwhile waiting at the end of the whole experience.

I personally think I would really enjoy patent law, and actually be quite good at it, based on my interests / work experience / work skills, so this is less of a "would being a lawyer be right for me?" question than it is a "how terrible of a time is it to go to law school?" type question.

I've considered studying for the USPTO registration exam (i.e. patent bar), passing that, and then trying to find work as a patent agent or go work at the USPTO while going to law school part time (or on some company's tab), but I do not know how feasible that is. I've come across very little information on this.

Any input, then, on just the general patent-law market, or whether this might be a good career path or not (since my interest in bench science has waned a great deal over my PhD experience) would be appreciated.

thanks

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suralin
better than you
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:52 am

Re: Biomed phd - patent law career opportunities?

Postby suralin » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:24 pm

vexing wrote:Within a year and half or so I will be graduating with a PhD in neuroscience. I graduated with a 3.85 from my undergrad university and currently have a 3.98 GPA in my graduate program. I haven't taken an official LSAT yet (planning to within the next couple of months), but I have gotten to the point where I'm regularly scoring in the 170s on timed practice exams (I know this is only a proxy for the real thing, but every standardized test I've ever taken I've scored in the 95th+ percentile. Studying for the LSAT so far has gone well...actually kind of enjoy the logic stuff, good way to kill time during my commute to work :mrgreen:).

Ok now that all that is aside, I guess my basic question is whether pursuing a career in patent law is advisable. I keep reading about how terrible the market is for lawyers and about people coming out of law school hundreds of thousands of dollar in debt only to find few job opportunities (and even the few that are available don't pay enough to truly cover debt payment and have a half-decent lifestyle).

As someone who has never been in debt (thanks primarily due to scholarship money, and obviously PhD students get a stipend for living expenses, etc), the thought of even dealing with debt from living expenses during law school, let alone tuition expenses, is rather daunting. Taking on something like that, for me at least, would be contingent on the idea that there is something worthwhile waiting at the end of the whole experience.

I personally think I would really enjoy patent law, and actually be quite good at it, based on my interests / work experience / work skills, so this is less of a "would being a lawyer be right for me?" question than it is a "how terrible of a time is it to go to law school?" type question.

I've considered studying for the USPTO registration exam (i.e. patent bar), passing that, and then trying to find work as a patent agent or go work at the USPTO while going to law school part time (or on some company's tab), but I do not know how feasible that is. I've come across very little information on this.

Any input, then, on just the general patent-law market, or whether this might be a good career path or not (since my interest in bench science has waned a great deal over my PhD experience) would be appreciated.

thanks


This is relevant to my interests, curious to see what the TLS consensus is.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Biomed phd - patent law career opportunities?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:38 pm

Go to the best school that gives you a full ride (if you get a 170+ that should be a lower T14.)

vexing
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:24 pm

Re: Biomed phd - patent law career opportunities?

Postby vexing » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:42 am

Again, the question really isn't what law school I should go to / whether I can get into law school / etc. I'm more interested in whether this is an advisable decision given the current job market for lawyers, or whether some alternative route to the typical "go to law school, pass your state bar(s), find a job" (the most obvious one to me would be to work in a law office as a patent agent, or go work for the USPTO for a period of time) would be a better, or at least feasible, decision.

Even with a full tuition scholarship you're looking at around $100k in loans for living expenses (maybe less...$75k-ish, given what I'm currently living on), which is still a substantial amount of debt if the job opportunities directly out of law school are limited. So really the question is 1. are they limited for this area of law and 2. if they are, is this the most advisable route?

Agent
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:03 pm

Re: Biomed phd - patent law career opportunities?

Postby Agent » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:41 pm

I know a lot about this. A few thoughts:

  • I regret to inform you that you currently stand virtually no chance at landing an examiner gig.
  • You might have a decent shot at a law firm gig before / during law school, but a lot depends on luck, market, job-hunting skills, and specific credentials.
  • Disregard your graduate gpa and phd when predicting your admissions outcomes—just go by the scatter plots at http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com. Be ready to spin those soft factors when haggling for a scholarship.
  • As a bio phd, you'll still need a pretty solid outcome that takes into account (a) choice of law school, (b) performance in law school, and (c) networking / interviewing skills.
  • No fooling around at TTTs. No tuition debt. Cut back on living expenses.

I might not look at this thread again, but please feel free to shoot me a PM.

vexing wrote:Again, the question really isn't what law school I should go to / whether I can get into law school / etc. I'm more interested in whether this is an advisable decision given the current job market for lawyers, or whether some alternative route to the typical "go to law school, pass your state bar(s), find a job" (the most obvious one to me would be to work in a law office as a patent agent, or go work for the USPTO for a period of time) would be a better, or at least feasible, decision.

Even with a full tuition scholarship you're looking at around $100k in loans for living expenses (maybe less...$75k-ish, given what I'm currently living on), which is still a substantial amount of debt if the job opportunities directly out of law school are limited. So really the question is 1. are they limited for this area of law and 2. if they are, is this the most advisable route?




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