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Author Topic: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L  (Read 2252 times)

DeltaTauKyle

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Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« on: April 27, 2005, 10:54:50 AM »
I had some general questions about things I should know before starting as a 1L.  Hopefully you seasoned veterans can help me out.

1. When do people normally take the bar exam?  I was under the impression that you would take that as a 3L, but someone said they were going to try the patent bar before their first year (wtf?).

2.  What are the main differences between the patent bar and the regular bar exam?

3. What are the summer intern opportunities for 1L, 2L?  What is the work like?  What is the pay like?

4.  Any other things that are generally helpful to know about the process going in? Things you wish someone would have told you up front?

Thanks!
BC Law '08
Summer IP Intern

zemog

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2005, 12:19:19 PM »
If IP/Patent law is a direction you are planning on going and you have the background to take the patent bar (you must have been a specific major like physics or chemistry oe enginnering, or have 2 years hands on engineering background under a qualified enginer, etc, etc, etc), then I would try to take it before your 1L.  The reason that is, because, you will become a patent agent, and there are alot of IP firms that look for that in the summer right after the 1L. 

Now, understand that to become an IP lawyer, you don't necessarily need to take the patent bar, but it is a big PLUS.

The main difference between the patent bar and regular bar is patent bar is mainly a techical exam, you can take a general patent exam on general principles of physics, chemistry, etc. or you can take a specific one, like on mechanical engineering. 

Opportunities are vast for IP law, but you got to be the best.  It's a growing field, but like anything else, they want the top grades and the best qualified.  Pay can range from voluteer ($0) to $4000 a month or maybe more. 

Good luck. 

norm012001

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2005, 03:56:44 PM »
I am a 0L as well, but I have taken the patent bar and passed, so I can help you out.

As he said, passing the bar makes you a patent agent, this means that you can prosecute patents at the USPTO.  In the rare instance that a case goes on appeal outside the office, you cannot prosecute there, but thie almost never happens.  As a patent agent, you can do a large amount of work and sign your own work, which is unique for someone in law school.  You do not need to pass the patent bar to do litigation (infringement, etc.) but you do need ti to do prosecution whether you have passed a state bar or not.

The patent bar actually is not technical in any sense, and there is only one patent bar.  It is focused on the laws and rules that govern the prosecution of patents.  There are no technical questions and some of the hypotheticals will be from biotech, chemistry, electrical engineering, etc.  The point is to understand the law and know what the correct course of action is.  Sample tests are available on the USPTO web site and also under the specific patent law section of the Suffolk University Law School web site.

If you have no background in patents, you need to take some kind of prep course.  I was an examiner, so I had a good background.  I still took a course, although it probably wasn't necessary.  It may be daunting at first, but I passed first try and it definitely can be done.  The test has about a 45% pass rate, so you don't want to wing it, but it can be passed.

The test itself is made up of 100 multiple choice questions split into a morning and afternoon section.  You have full use of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) which is like the patent office Bible.  You must be intimately familiar with this book as it is thousands of pages in print and you will not have time to find an answer you have no clue on.  You need to know at least the chapter to go to.

Anyway, that's a quick rundown.  I was going to wait to take it, but several people told me to take it before 1L to relieve some stress about it.  I'm glad I did now.
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norm012001

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2005, 03:58:00 PM »
Oh yeah, there is no requirement for years of engineering experience.  I think the poster above may be mixing the requirements for the patent bar and the Professional Engineers exam.

Not trying to be a know-it-all, just telling my experience.
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Accepted: GWU, GMU, American
Waitlist: Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, UVa
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rapunzel

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2005, 04:04:23 PM »
The bar will be the summer after your 3rd year.  It tests general law knowledge and consists of a multi-state mutiple choice question section and an essay portion specific to your state.  Not optional if you want to practice law.  Patent bar is optional as previous poster explained.

Unless you are at a highly ranked school you will probably do volunteer legal work 1L summer.  Maybe a job 7.5-15/and hour.  2nd year summer you are likely to find legal employment.  Range is great pay wise from 10/hour to 2500.00 a week at large firms.  This is where your 1st year grades will factor in.  Top 5-15% can make the big bucks again unless you are at a very highly ranked school.

I wish some prof had given an overview of the case system and how it functions and maybe had me read a brief or two and explain how lawyers use the law to make legal arguments.  You can read cases for months before this becomes clear, especially because the cases in your books are so heavily edited.

giraffe205

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2005, 09:53:24 PM »
I think the others got the patent/regular bar distinction covered. As far as question No. 4 goes... I wish that someone would have shown me what an office memo, a trial brief, and an appellate brief look like. I wish someone would have taken me through the steps of "Here's your fact pattern and legal issue, now go out and give me an office memo."

That would have been greeeaaat! But no, I had to learn the hard way-- my writing class.

Highway

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2005, 01:07:22 PM »
I think the others got the patent/regular bar distinction covered. As far as question No. 4 goes... I wish that someone would have shown me what an office memo, a trial brief, and an appellate brief look like. I wish someone would have taken me through the steps of "Here's your fact pattern and legal issue, now go out and give me an office memo."

That would have been greeeaaat! But no, I had to learn the hard way-- my writing class.

So....

What do office memos, trial briefs and appellate briefs look like? Can we find examples online?

biolawgirl

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2005, 05:03:45 PM »
what if you don't have time or experience yet to take the patent bar before 1L. CAn you still take it during or after 1L? When is it offered?
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birddog

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2005, 06:04:38 PM »
It sounds so easy now, but I wish I'd realized earlier that there's really no such thing as a right answer, only arguments on both sides.  It's not about black letter law, but how you apply the law - how you interpret it for your specific case.

oh, this is far off but since you're asking about the bar: when it comes to 3L year - figure out early in the fall when you bar application is due.  NC deadline was Jan 4 an it took about a month to fill out (varies from state to state).  I turned it in late and paid hundreds in late fees.

NoelleMyBelle

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Re: Things you wish you would have known as a 1L
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2005, 11:35:20 PM »
I wish I had known that most of the people on these message boards are full of crap and shouldn't be taken seriously!  Some people just get off on being mean to anonymous undergrads on these sites...I don't understand.  If they don't want to be sociable they should do something else with their time!

The pre-1Ls are freaked out, just like we were before we started law school.  It's a majorly life-altering experience.  I just wish that I had more people saying it would turn out for the best and fewer trying to make themselves look better by making the experience (and the people) seem worse than they actually are. 

1Ls---it'll all be okay, I promise!  :)