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Author Topic: I'm non-traditional! PhD and law school?  (Read 2358 times)

whfields

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I'm non-traditional! PhD and law school?
« on: January 26, 2010, 10:46:01 AM »
So I'm doing a bit of research online and now looking for opinions about my situation! 

I will be completing my PhD in organic chemistry next year from a large reputable university. I decided last year, after completing a graduate internship at my university's patent foundation, that I wanted to change my career path and pursue patent law instead of working in pharmaceuticals when I graduate.  Now a days, most chemistry PhD's have to complete an additional 2-3 years of post-doctoral research before they apply for a position in academia or in industry, so I'm not really losing any time going the path of law school instead.  With that, I am planning to apply to law school for the fall of 2011. I have read some opinions recently that patent law has become an increasingly crowded field (but what hasn't at this point?), so I wanted opinions on job opportunities for PhD/JD candidates. Last year I had an in depth convo with a patent attorney who also has her PhD (in organic chemistry) in Philly and she said she gets a couple phone calls every day for firms looking for PhD/JD patent attorneys. So now I'm just confused about the situation!  Thoughts?

cooleylawstudent

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Re: I'm non-traditional! PhD and law school?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010, 12:37:14 PM »
You'll get people saying its not worth the money but I say go for it. Live the dream Doc, few can.

BikePilot

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Re: I'm non-traditional! PhD and law school?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 01:00:18 PM »
I don't think that's really so nontraditional - many if not most patent lawyers have advanced degrees in other fields and at some firms its nearly a requirement.  PhD's are also quite common among new legal academics as well.  I'm not an expert on what the job market is like at the moment, but when I was on the market a while ago (right as lehman was crashing) it seemed that there was significant demand for patent lawyers and especially ones with advanced degrees relevant to the practice (chem, bio, engineering etc). I suspect that patent work has been less affected by the huge downturn in the legal market than others, but this is only a guess.  Talking to practicing lawyers and 2 and 3L's looking to go into patent law would be a great start.
HLS 2010

whfields

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Re: I'm non-traditional! PhD and law school?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 04:22:40 PM »
Thanks for the opinions guys.  :D  I guess I consider my situation pretty non-traditional at least from a chemists perspective.  From what I've researched online, people have varying opinions on the prospect of getting a job with a PhD.  But in my time researching the career, I've come across a couple PhD/JD attorneys (we had one at the patent office I interned at).  When I search the internet for patent law employment, I see several that are looking specifically for advanced degree candidates.  The attorney I spoke with highly recommended the career (she has the same background as I do) and saw a stronger and stronger desire for PhD patent attorneys.  But who's so say what the job market will look like in 4 years, though I have researched that the patent field has not been as hard hit as the rest of the legal community and is actually experiencing some growth.  All I know is that I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed working with patents.