OK, I think this is going to be my last post in this thread. Obviously, reasonable minds can differ on the topic, and the difference between the two schools in this field is probably not large enough to merit much more discussion, absent others contributing their opinions.
Not to get in a pissing contest, but seriously, do your research instead of having me do it for you. The boutiques you mention:
2006 IP Litigation Dept. of the Year according to AmLaw- Finnegan
2007 IP Litigation Dept. of the Year According to Vault- F&R
OK, I was talking about the *current* IP Litigation Department of the Year from the American Lawyer. I picked that ranking not because it is more authoritative than others, but because it just came out this month so the article was still fresh in my mind. For reference, here are the results:
Finalists: Kirkland & Ellis, Morrison & Foerster, Irell & Manella
You don't need to get defensive about Finnegan and F&R. They are obviously giants in the field. I just thought that including these other firms would yield a more representative survey for other readers, as GP firms are a different animal than boutiques and have somewhat different hiring standards (for instance, they tend to place less emphasis on technical background, and tend to have little or no prosecution).
As to the notion that filings in district courts somehow represents that a firm in that area is litigating is also more than moronic. My group alone has active litigations in Texas, Illinois, Delaware, California and NY.
You're right that this notion is nonsensical, and it isn't what I meant. My intention was to say that, looking at national filings in IP cases, you can tally up the number of cases that a given firm handles each year, which will at least give you an idea of how active that firm is in IP. From inspection of that list, you can see which geographic markets are more active because most people in the field know where the IP practice of a given big-name firm is concentrated. In fact, I believe that one of the publications already releases tallies like this, but I can't remember for sure which one (maybe IP Law 360?). Maybe you can tell us, as you seem to follow these things quite closely.
(As to AmLaw, 2007 Dept. of the Year, Wilmer Hale's IP dept. has most of it's partners in Boston (HQ). 2nd of Course is DC. Ditto for Associates.) So, yeah, DC probably isn't as big a market for IP as I thought if the Dept. of the Year is locating most of its people not in their home office in DC.
Look, I am not contesting the fact that DC is a big market for IP--it's definitely top 5, if not top 3. But you said "If you're serious about wanting to do IP, you do it in DC. I don't think anyone will tell you otherwise." This gives the reader the impression that you believe DC is the only game in town, when it clearly isn't. Even from looking at the four firms I mentioned above, or really any national ranking, you will see that DC is just one of many regions with top-flight IP practices. The field is very dispersed (which is why I wanted to broaden up the discussion beyond DC in the first place), but if there were a clear winner for top market, it would almost certainly be California.
And I'm sorry, but your specific example about WilmerHale just isn't convincing. DC has the second most IP lawyers for that particular firm because that's where Wilmer Cutler Pickering had its HQ, so there were obviously a huge number of lawyers already there when they merged with Boston-based Hale and Dorr a few years ago. It's not like a Boston firm was scouting around for a new market to open an office and consciously chose DC over all the others (and even if it did, it's just one sample point).
Why do you think there are so many more IP interested-students from GW? Probably because if it's what you want to do, you know that going to GW is going to offer you better course selection, better faculty, and better career options WITH RESPECT TO IP.
I am not disputing that many students think this. I am simply questioning whether that very last part (better career options) is really true. For what it's worth, you've convinced me that GW's strength in this field carries more weight than I'd originally thought, but I am still not sure that it's enough to open more doors than a Georgetown degree would (and if it is, it would probably be largely due to the alumni network).
By the way, I did perform one attorney search on a firm's website out of curiosity. In Kirkland's IP group, there are 16 Georgetown grads and 12 GW grads. Not a landslide, but it is an example in the other direction.
If there is anyone who can offer a credible opinion here besides Moron #1 (me) and Moron #2 (FLS), I think you'd be doing the board a real service.
Agreed! Out of personal curiosity, I would also like to hear the perspectives of others, especially attorneys who are active in recruiting.