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LegalGround >> Patent v. Elder Law


1/1/09 5:50 PM
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David82
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I'm in law school and interested in both patent and elder law. From your experience, in which of the two is it easier to obtain an entry level job?
1/1/09 8:34 PM
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seg
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 Patent law is much more lucrative, but you're probably going to need a "hard science" major to be marketable.
1/2/09 12:36 AM
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Xtina
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what's elder law?
1/2/09 7:14 PM
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seg
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Edited: 01/02/09 9:34 PM
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 ^About 2 more years and you will know all about it you old maid.

Elder law generally means (as its name implies) specialization in the unique legal issues faced by the elderly.  For example, legal issues arising out of home health care, assisted living facilities and governmental benefits (i.e., qualifying for social security benefits, medicare, medical assistance to pay for nursing home expenses, etc.)  Also, commonly includes guardianship issues and estate planning.

In other words, it's about as far away as one can get from patent law.  I have no idea how this guy came up with an interest in two so dissimilar areas of the law.

To return to the original question, elder law is generally practiced in smaller firms and it is easier to establish your own practice in elder law.  But, it is generally speaking much less lucrative as most of your potential clients have little money and will pay the bill from their own pocket as opposed to billing a corporate client.

Patent law is generally practiced by larger firms, and depending on your grades and resume would likely be more difficult for you to land a position.  But, such a position would be more financially lucrative, at least at the start.
 
1/2/09 8:06 PM
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Xtina
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some genius has been causing AARP to send me applications at least twice monthly for the past two years.  >:(

while i admit it was funny for a while, it's starting to get a little annoying.
1/2/09 8:24 PM
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bflex
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Both sound boring as fuck if you ask me. However, I would choose patent law as with elder law, all your clients are dying soon and you won't have much repeat business.
1/13/09 4:18 PM
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Trust
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 What, exactly, do you mean when you say "patent law?" 

I am a registered patent attorney, but there are a couple different ways to be "in" patent law.  First, you could do what I do - represent inventors in getting granted patents.  To do that you will need a degree in a physical science or engineering from an accredited university, or 22 credit hours in upper division classes from such an institution, or "equivalent experience" (which you have to petition the commissioner of patents to approve, and which is very rarely granted). Learning to draft patent applications will take about 18 - 24 months of full time work.  Maybe a few months less.  I would highly advise you avoid going directly to a big, general law firm right out of school. They will not treat you well, even if you are a hyper-achiever.  The best place to start, in my opinion, is in-house. However fresh-out jobs for in-house positions are extremely rare.  Companies typically only hire people from within, like me, who were engineers that went to law school, or they hire experienced patent attorneys.  A good middle ground is a small, boutique firm that specializes in patent practice.  That is where I am now. 

On the other hand, there is patent litigation, and you do not need to be a registered patent attorney for that.  I'm not sure how you go that route, but I think Xtina was doing some work in that area.
1/19/09 10:04 PM
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Tahiti Bo
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Combine them.

Do patent work in the cryonics field.
1/25/09 11:34 AM
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Xtina
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you don't necessarily need a technical degree for patent lit.  a lot of patent lit is just like regular civil lit, only with technical stuff like markman hearings (where the patent claims are construed - and attorneys with a technical background are needed for that). 
there's also IP transactional work, which can involve patent licensing (which i think is usually more fun, but to each his own). 

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