You'll be snapped up fast in the Bay Area if you're an aspiring or practicing IP lawyer with a background in the likes of engineering.
Chambers Associate: Which practice areas are currently thriving in the Palo Alto legal market?
Jacob Schroeder: The legal market in Palo Alto remains highly competitive for attorneys who want to practice in intellectual property, specifically those with a tech background and fresh out of law school. Each of the past several years, the demand for these attorneys has far outpaced the supply in the market.
...the practice of law is a marathon, not a sprint, and new attorneys should carefully consider the culture of the firm they choose for a summer associate job and pick a firm that matches their expectations for long-term personal and professional growth."
CA: How would you describe the competition between firms in the Bay Area legal market?
JS: As to new attorney recruitment, competition between Bay Area firms remains tight. Each of the past several years, there have only been a handful of new attorneys interested in an IP law practice who also have a background in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or computer science. Going into each of the various on campus interviews, most firms looking for IP talent know the handful of candidates meeting this criteria and know that competition for this new talent will be fierce. I suspect part of the reason for the dearth of new IP attorneys with a tech background in the Bay Area stems from a combination of high engineering salaries in the Bay Area (often rivaling or exceeding starting big law salaries), the high cost of living, and the large number of in-house opportunities.
My advice to new attorneys interested in practicing IP law is that a career in this field can, and should, be a fulfilling lifelong career. But the practice of law is a marathon, not a sprint, and new attorneys should carefully consider the culture of the firm they choose for a summer associate job and pick a firm that matches their expectations for long-term personal and professional growth.