Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm annoyed (and scared) that you have a degree and you come from a top school and yet you still have problems getting an IP job.

I've received a few e-mails and comments from people who are in the same place as I am... Married with a child, survived law school, passed the bar, passed the patent bar, but have no technical science background, or at least no undergraduate degree they can use to get a job at a patent law firm.

Yet I don't want you to join my pity party. My posts are my feelings and my expressions. There is work for people who can handle the technical side of it. While I cannot (yet), I will be able to soon.

Then there are those of you who compassionately tell me "you barked up the wrong tree. Patent law is not for you, neither is IP law." While you might be right, there is nothing else I could do except knock down doors and make it happen, because being past the USPTO exam, I am too far along to just say "oh well." [RANT:] I might not be an ivy league lawyer who carries my school name as a badge in order to get ahead in life, but I *am* an authentic lawyer who worked extremely hard to get where I am.

For some reason, the world is all screwy and the prestige of the school you come from determines who will hire you or even look at your resume. I hope to G-d that one day your badge burns and employers look at you for who you are, not what school mascot is on your ring. If I could have gone to a top school, I would have, but unlike your natural talents (a.k.a. minimal effort, maximum reward), I worked day and night studying like who knows what to ace the LSATs, but instead, my score was only slightly above average, as has always been the case when it came to my schooling, my grades, and my education.

I went to a state school for college because that was all I was told I could ever attend. I applied to two schools, got into both of them, and attended the one that was more in line with my aspirations. (Believe it or not, in high school, my guidance counselor told me, "perhaps you are not the kind of person that should go to college.") Even in high school, I ambitiously reached for the advanced placement classes and the honors classes [which consequently caused my grades to decline because the work was so much harder and I even got kicked out of AP European History because I wasn't understanding the material like my classmates were] while the morons in remedial classes got into Yale.

I went to college against my guidance counselor's advice and I worked hard to survive in college. Then when it came to doing the work, I always worked as hard as I could, and the same went for the LSAT studies. But my scores were what they were and my school was the best I could have gotten into, and I am a lawyer today because I did the best I could. We didn't have curves in our school that make everyone look like they have a 4.0 like you do. We had to work hard for our grades, and one day I hope someone finds that out.

Ending my flow of feelings and anger towards those who had it easy in life (and respecting those who sincerely worked for what they achieved without shortcuts from mommy and daddy), I feel that doors into the elite world of ivy have always been closed to me because at some point in the past I chose to reach for the top and I couldn't cut it. But I always wonder why are my grades always haunting me? I was always an average student, often above average, but not by that much. I wonder how much chance I ever had at getting to my goals, or have the odds been stacked against me from the beginning. Okay, obviously I'm in a bad mood and its because I'm tired and it is 4am and I must get to sleep.

Overall on this blog, I need to get onto other topics. My job life (or lack thereof) has been quite depressing lately, and I'm sure it has been a bore for you too. Nevertheless, I have a feeling that life will be changing very shortly. This blog is meant to be for personal development, not for those to join me in a puddle of stagnation about my lack of opportunities and G-d's sense of humor.


Yechiel said...

Thank you for writing this blog. I'm reading your stories and I feel the same way (and have the same situation).

Things are tough, I know, but I know everything will be okay.

Consequently, what has been your experience in the job search area? I'd be interested in sharing notes.

Ahuva said...


A 4.0 doesn't get most people into the ivy league. A 4.0 in all AP classes -might- -maybe- get a student into an ivy league school if you're also active in sports/student government/something that makes you look "well-rounded". I knew three HS students who got into them and many times that who didn't.

Believe me, they didn't just breeze their way into Harvard, Yale, and MIT. They worked incredibly hard-- and then they worked a lot harder once they were there and competing with a whole school of all-AP 4.0 students. (For the record, I didn't apply to a top tier school because I didn't have the grades or the SAT.)

If I were in your shoes, I'd be angry with the fact that no one told you that you needed a hard science degree to do what you wanted.

Anonymous said...

I'd be more angry with myself for not doing basic research. Considering you spent 3+ years writing a blog, I'd think you knew how to do some rudimentary research online.

I want to be less critical, but honestly, I can't.

Anonymous said...

You know, I just rethought what I wrote above (sorry, I do not have a Blogger id). I suppose you probably did your research. Technically (no pun intended), you can still be a patent attorney. I am surprised that you are not getting anything, I mean you say you went to a lowly ranked school, but it appears you went to a Tier 1 (ranked in the top 50 nationwide). If that is the case, you should be able to find a job in some firm. I suggest you forget about being a patent attorney and focus on getting hired by a law firm as a generalist. If you can do that, you will eventually be able to work on a patent case. There you will shine.

Just get hired as a litigator at any firm (I know, that is not an easy task). Once you can do that, you'll be set.

Ahuva said...

It sounds like landing a job is difficult for any lawyer. You may have seen this, but here's the BLS occupational outlook for lawyers: