Page 1 of 1

Patent law grads, what were your grades like?

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:14 am
by 170orDie
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!

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

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:53 am
by Leo
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.

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

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:49 pm
by 170orDie
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?

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

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:06 pm
by UVA2B
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.

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

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:49 am
by Leo
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.

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

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:51 am
by Leo
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.

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

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:03 pm
by elendinel
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).