Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

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170orDie
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Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby 170orDie » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:14 am

I have heard that the grade requirement for patent bar eligible students is much lower than the average law student. So I have a few questions:

How did you rank in your class? What type of school did you go to (t14, t1, t50, etc)? Where did you get your 1L/2L SA? Did your eventual job offer come from BL, midlaw, in-house? Starting salary? Where are you located geographically?

Thanks for your responses!

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Leo
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby Leo » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:53 am

Recent CCN grad here. If I'm understanding your question, you want to know whether students who are patent bar eligible have an easier time finding a job. Two or three years ago, I think the answer was a resounding yes because patent lit was booming and thus many biglaw firms were building their patent practices. When I went through OCI in 2015, I received offers from a few biglaw firms despite only median grades. In the last year, however, patent lit has cooled off a bit, so I suspect there is less demand for patent bar eligible grads. In that case, you'll probably still get a bump, but maybe not a significant one.

170orDie
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby 170orDie » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:49 pm

Leo wrote:Recent CCN grad here. If I'm understanding your question, you want to know whether students who are patent bar eligible have an easier time finding a job. Two or three years ago, I think the answer was a resounding yes because patent lit was booming and thus many biglaw firms were building their patent practices. When I went through OCI in 2015, I received offers from a few biglaw firms despite only median grades. In the last year, however, patent lit has cooled off a bit, so I suspect there is less demand for patent bar eligible grads. In that case, you'll probably still get a bump, but maybe not a significant one.


Thanks for your response. Which market do you practice in? Also, do you think the bump would be more significant for patent prosecution?

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UVA2B
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby UVA2B » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:06 pm

Not a practicing patent attorney, but I think you're approaching your thought process slightly askew here.

It's not that grades in law school don't matter for patent work, but it's just that your science/engineering background also play a huge factor in the hiring process. If you're an accomplished engineering/CS/biotech background, then you have some more freedom both in grades and law school pedigree to find desirable employment because you're so rare in law school. If you have the background+grades+pedigree, you're pretty much a golden ticket to whatever IP work you want to do. If you have two of the three, you're probably still golden. If you have only one of the three, it'll still be somewhat a balancing test for firms wanting to hire you. You'll still be in the running for good jobs doing patent work, but you'll also have to focus your job application process smartly.

If all you have is an UG degree in biology, you'll still need to do well/go to elite schools to position yourself well. If you're a Ph.D. in E.E., you can probably do mediocre at a decent law school but nothing flashy.

There aren't any bright-line rules in patent hiring, but instead just adds another wrinkle to firms deciding whether to hire you. You have more room for error in choosing a law school/doing well there, but that stuff will still definitely matter.

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Leo
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby Leo » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:49 am

170orDie wrote:
Leo wrote:Recent CCN grad here. If I'm understanding your question, you want to know whether students who are patent bar eligible have an easier time finding a job. Two or three years ago, I think the answer was a resounding yes because patent lit was booming and thus many biglaw firms were building their patent practices. When I went through OCI in 2015, I received offers from a few biglaw firms despite only median grades. In the last year, however, patent lit has cooled off a bit, so I suspect there is less demand for patent bar eligible grads. In that case, you'll probably still get a bump, but maybe not a significant one.


Thanks for your response. Which market do you practice in? Also, do you think the bump would be more significant for patent prosecution?


I will be practicing on the east coast. The game is completely different for patent prosecution because you are not competing against most of your classmates. Instead, you are competing only with other patent bar eligible students, of which there are few. I think the demand for patent prosecution associates far exceeds the supply of patent bar eligible students, so the competition is not stiff at all. I believe that means you can be below median at a T2 school and still get a job pretty easily.

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Leo
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby Leo » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:51 am

UVA2B wrote:Not a practicing patent attorney, but I think you're approaching your thought process slightly askew here.

It's not that grades in law school don't matter for patent work, but it's just that your science/engineering background also play a huge factor in the hiring process. If you're an accomplished engineering/CS/biotech background, then you have some more freedom both in grades and law school pedigree to find desirable employment because you're so rare in law school. If you have the background+grades+pedigree, you're pretty much a golden ticket to whatever IP work you want to do. If you have two of the three, you're probably still golden. If you have only one of the three, it'll still be somewhat a balancing test for firms wanting to hire you. You'll still be in the running for good jobs doing patent work, but you'll also have to focus your job application process smartly.

If all you have is an UG degree in biology, you'll still need to do well/go to elite schools to position yourself well. If you're a Ph.D. in E.E., you can probably do mediocre at a decent law school but nothing flashy.

There aren't any bright-line rules in patent hiring, but instead just adds another wrinkle to firms deciding whether to hire you. You have more room for error in choosing a law school/doing well there, but that stuff will still definitely matter.

Also this. Your achievements in STEM will buoy your chances.

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elendinel
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby elendinel » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:03 pm

Leo wrote:
170orDie wrote:
Leo wrote:Recent CCN grad here. If I'm understanding your question, you want to know whether students who are patent bar eligible have an easier time finding a job. Two or three years ago, I think the answer was a resounding yes because patent lit was booming and thus many biglaw firms were building their patent practices. When I went through OCI in 2015, I received offers from a few biglaw firms despite only median grades. In the last year, however, patent lit has cooled off a bit, so I suspect there is less demand for patent bar eligible grads. In that case, you'll probably still get a bump, but maybe not a significant one.


Thanks for your response. Which market do you practice in? Also, do you think the bump would be more significant for patent prosecution?


I will be practicing on the east coast. The game is completely different for patent prosecution because you are not competing against most of your classmates. Instead, you are competing only with other patent bar eligible students, of which there are few. I think the demand for patent prosecution associates far exceeds the supply of patent bar eligible students, so the competition is not stiff at all. I believe that means you can be below median at a T2 school and still get a job pretty easily.


I'd heavily disagree with this. Because a lot of work is fixed fees these days, there's not as much of an advantage to hiring pros associates over patent agents as there might have been back when people were willing to pay, like, $5000 for an office action response. So you're not just competing with patent bar eligible law students, you're in all likelihood competing with patent agents/people vying for "tech advisor" positions, who can be paid less and can be billed out at $200-400 instead of $500+ to do the same work. There are definitely more people who are patent-bar eligible (JDs or not) than there are biglaw slots for patent pros, and those biglaw slots for associates are shrinking as more and more biglaw firms either shrink their pros group, expand their agent/advisor pools, or even completely eject their pros groups. This isn't to say it's going to be impossible to get a job (it's still possible), it's just to point out that you can't think about pros prospects the same way you think about prospects for other areas of patent law that do require a JD. It's worth looking into boutiques as well as biglaw if you specifically want pros.

Also as UVA noted, it's not that your LS grades don't matter, it's that your PhD grades and research will matter significantly more than whether or not you're in the top 10% at law school/at a T13, because you don't need a law degree to do pros and because pros requires science expertise first and foremost. Being summa cum laude at Harvard with a B.S. in macrobiology probably won't get you a pros job, but being median at GW after working at Google for a few years after writing your dissertation at MIT on database efficiency might/probably will, because at the end of the day no one's writing patents on evolution, but they will be seeking patents on database technology and need someone with expert-level knowledge of the field to figure out how to translate the science into a patent.

It's a bit different from lit, where science expertise helps you but isn't as important because at the end of the day you're still doing standard legal work (just a niche application of it).

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Roy McAvoy
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby Roy McAvoy » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:05 pm

I’m going to chime in and disagree to a certain extent, particularly that the summa at Harvard wouldn’t be able to find a pros job. Frankly this sentiment is really exaggerated on TLS. I have chemical background (just a BS) and have a job lined up. It was more work for me to find something than if I were an EE, but it’s definitely doable. I know other students at my school (SMU, not like I’m at HYS) in the same boat.

To answer the original question, your grades still matter but far less than for your classmates who are doing some other type of law.

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UVA2B
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby UVA2B » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:13 pm

Roy McAvoy wrote:I’m going to chime in and disagree to a certain extent, particularly that the summa at Harvard wouldn’t be able to find a pros job. Frankly this sentiment is really exaggerated on TLS. I have chemical background (just a BS) and have a job lined up. It was more work for me to find something than if I were an EE, but it’s definitely doable. I know other students at my school (SMU, not like I’m at HYS) in the same boat.

To answer the original question, your grades still matter but far less than for your classmates who are doing some other type of law.


I think what elendinel is saying is that a prosecution job is more about what scientific background you have and your expertise in that field. There isn't as big a need for patent prosecutors in macrobiology than there is for prosecutors in CS/computer engineering, so that background could trump your law school credentials. And your personal example (chemistry or chem E) is in much more need for prosecution than macrobiology, so it is different than what elendinel is suggesting.

This probably just goes back to my original point, which is that your scientific background adds an additional factor to consider in hiring.

ETA: And when it comes to prosecution, you've got the added wrinkle of patent agents without a JD that can be billed for less, which is why big firms are starting to divest themselves of their prosecution practices (personally I think this will happen slowly, but with the lower margins it's probably somewhat inevitable).

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elendinel
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby elendinel » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:36 pm

^ Yes exactly. No one's arguing that going to a prestigious school in and of itself is actually going to preclude anyone from a pros job; what I'm saying is a weak/unattractive science background + HLS is unlikely to trump attractive science background + Cooley LS/GW with mediocre grades*. Because at the end of the day pros needs you for your science background, not your legal skills. "But I got a job with my chem background so you're wrong" is somewhat missing the point.

But more importantly, the overarching point is that the idea that pros has low standards is misleading. Pros doesn't have low standards; pros just has very different standards in comparison to any other job a person is likely to pursue after law school. It's true people can get pros jobs in biglaw without going to HYS or getting top grades, but that's only half the story.


*Hyperbole; don't literally go to Cooley LS.

pricon
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Re: Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Postby pricon » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:13 pm

elendinel wrote:*Hyperbole; don't literally go to Cooley LS.


I laughed




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