Best Law Schools for Learning Patent Law
Best IP Law Schools
US News and World Report just published their list of the “Best Intellectual Property Law” Schools.
Best IP Law Schools with Evening Programs
Harold Wegner circulated a list of these schools, broken down to the Top Ten within that List that have an evening program. Mr. Wegner’s motivation for the selection was that “more and more successful patent students are welcoming the chance to attend 1L classes “full time”, but then get a full time patent job in their 2L and 3L years while taking law school classes at night.”
My Experience Learning Patent Law at GW’s Evening Program While Working for Finnegan During the Daytime
I attended the George Washington University Law School while working for Finnegan. I think that this was the best way to learn patent law. Working through law school gave me practical experience from 9-5 each day and then academic context from 6-8pm each night. In my opinion, either of these taken alone does not provide the synergy of having them together. By learning this way, I often tried to apply what I was learning in law school to the work that I was doing for clients during the day. I also approached my lecture sessions from the standpoint of trying to extract useful bits that I could apply to my work at the firm.
Another plus to working through law school is that many firms will help pay for school. When I was at Finnegan, my “Student Associate” position came with tuition reimbursement. That’s a big win. However, it becomes taxable income, so law school still is not free once you take that into consideration.
There were a few notable downsides to working while going to law school. First, it was time consuming. Everyone complains about how hard it is to balance law school with work. In my experience, it wasn’t a big deal. I listened to lectures each night instead of watching TV. And, having a “real job” during the day helped keep the law school experience in perspective.
Second, going to evening classes takes four years to get a JD. That’s an extra year of law school. This can be condensed to 3.5 years by attending summer classes. But, either way, you drag out the process. For this reason alone, I knew many students who transferred over to full time. If I could have had it my way, I would have done the full time (3 year) route but also worked full time.