« on: May 01, 2007, 05:54:01 PM »
I'm an EE, I had every intent to go into IP law before I even began undergrad. I went into EE because it is an extremely useful degree for IP. The grade curve is particularly brutal on EE's, even among engineers. I had something like a 4.0 average in my english/social science classes, since those are the ones I have always been strongest, but barely survived the insanely hard engineering classes. Ended up with a lower end 3, which was still well above average. With that GPA, and the three years of technical work experience, I could get a 80-100k starting pay job right now. So, if an EE goes into law, it isn't because of money, it is because it is something they want to do, they actually take a penalty if they go into anything other than IP law. I am going to a low end tier 2, and will be very surprised if I run into more than one other EE there, I don't expect to have any trouble at all, I am used to a curve even harder than the one I will have in law school.
I disagree and agree about the money factor (I am an EE as well). Engineering majors make a lot of money starting out, but then it kinda peaks if one doesn't go into engineering management (at least that is what I have seen in my experience, others may see different things). The salary for patent lawyers is higher in BIGLAW compared to other associates (ie, BIGLAW starting is $125,000, then patent lawyers is $135,000 (I have seen as high as $160,000 starting, which I think that is starting to border on ridiculous)). But of course that is biglaw, but the others translate down as well. There is also growth in these jobs with experience. Being that the hot jobs in patent law is EE and biotechnology, I would expect more EE's wanting to go into law (especially typical requirement for EE patent law jobs is a bachelors vs. PhD for things like biotech.) You are right to a certain extent, if they decided to do something other than IP/patent law, it might result in a pay cut. But I also think that salaries grow more in law than they do in straight engineering. What has been your experience?
Ah, been away from the board for a bit.
Anyways, pay comparison wise, I am just speaking from my situation, over 80% of those who are from my undergrad engineering school, that go into engineering, also end up in management, usually within 3-5 years after starting, so when I was thinking of pay, I meant it scaled at an engineering managers pay level. However, managers have to change locations all the time, every few years or so, and it is not uncommon at all to switch companies, which can also easily lead to a change in location, so in order for pay to scale fairly well, an engineer has to move, a lot. It is just a different kind of trade off. Engineers, especially EE's, have a lot of options open to them.