Interview with a Patent Lawyer

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

My father is a Patent Lawyer and I had the chance to interview him on his process in the world of law.


What made you want to study law?

For my undergraduate degree I studied computer science and was originally going to be a computer software developer. I liked the prospect of developing software; however, thought it might be difficult for me to do that for my entire working life. Also, when I went to law school in 2003 there was an extreme economic downturn in the technology sector. About the same time a good friend of mine was going to law school and he told me about patent law. I investigated patent law and liked the marriage between law and technology, so I decided to go to law school.

How was the application process?

The process is pretty straight forward. First you need to setup an account at www.lsac.org. Sign up for the LSAT and begin studying. I studied for about 1 year. Take the test and get your results. Then, you need to write a personal statement and apply to the schools you want to go to on the lsac website. Finally, you wait for acceptance letters.

What was included in the final exams?

Most of the exams included writing. Essentially, a legal fact pattern would be given, and we would have to present a legal argument based on case law and statutes that we studied in the class. Usually, these tests where take home and would be over a few days. Sometimes we would have in class multiple choice tests of short answer. Occasionally, the final exam would be to write a legal brief or some sort of legal research paper.

Did you enjoy studying law and why?

I enjoyed studying certain aspects of the law. This differed greatly depending on the professor and the specific type of law. For example, I did not particularly like my criminal law professor’s teaching style, but I think I would have enjoyed the content of criminal law for another professor. My favorite classes where constitutional law and administrative law. These classes really helped me understand the inner workings of the US government and the rights of its citizens.

What is it like being a Patent attorney?

As a patent attorney you are a transactional attorney which means you don’t go to court, but instead process several transactions through a system. In a patent attorney’s case that system is the US patent and trademark office. There is a decent amount of repetition in the process, so once you get a hang of it, the job is smooth. However, it takes about 3-5 years before you are good enough to be effective. Even still I am learning new things about being a better patent attorney.

If you could go back in time, would you change anything and why during your career of law?

I would not change anything. I think I made good decisions throughout my career. My advice to any perspective law student would be to get into the highest ranked law school possible. I have been successful in my career going to a lower ranked school, but that is the exception, not the rule. The higher ranked school you attend, the easier it is to get a job.

What is your favorite thing about law and why?

I like that the law provides me with another way of thinking. I am able understand things in a way that most people do not. The law provides insights and knowledge that you would not get anywhere else.

What advice would you give about the process of going into law and why?

I would recommend that you know what you ultimately want to do with your law degree. Do you want to practice at a law firm, at a company, in the government, etc.? What type of law do you want to practice? Litigation, transaction, criminal, etc.? Then, I would recommend shadowing an attorney or attorneys in your desired fields before going to law school. Law school is expensive, difficult and time consuming and so it is a good idea to know what you are ultimately in for before you begin law school.

What school did you go to for law school and give your opinions of it?

I attended the University of Denver, Strum College of Law. It was fine, but not very high ranked. I don’t actually think my legal education was any better or worse than any other law school (most of the professors were from top 5 ranked law schools themselves). The better the school, the more doors that are opened to you.

What are the most important things to know when studying law?

Keep an open mind. Take a lot of notes. Read a lot. Listen closely in class to your processors. Read a lot. Get good at writing…a lot.

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