Greater Need For Patent Attorneys
The Trademark and Patent Lawyers and Attorneys industry provides intellectual property due diligence, application, and litigation services to businesses and individuals. While the reduction in the number of applicants for law school over the past several years has been steady, the number of law school graduates qualified to sit for the patent bar exam has been declining even more rapidly. Presently, in 2020, there is clearly a greater need for patent attorneys in the United States.
The number of applications to law schools dropped 35% from 108,522 in 2009 to 70,025 in 2015. However, applicants with a technical or science background who are eligible to sit for the patent bar exam have declined even more significantly. In 2009, while approximately 7,700 law school applicants were qualified for the patent bar, only 4,100 were qualified in 2015, a decline of 47%.
When examining those applicants with a computer science or an engineering background, the decline is even more substantial. In 2009, 382 applicants with a computer science background enrolled at U.S. law schools. In 2015, this number dropped by 57% to only 163. In 2009, 1,264 applicants with an engineering background enrolled in law school. In 2015, this number dropped by 53% to 598.
Since 2015, growing investment in software and medical products has sustained high demand for patent attorneys as these markets are especially prone to intellectual property litigation, which remains one of the law’s best-paid practice areas.
With the cost of law school in 2020, many people with technical undergraduate and graduate degrees take industry jobs and attend law school part-time law reimbursed by their technical firm rather than going straight to law school after college and personally incurring the high cost. Not to mention that these technical industry jobs pay very well compared to legal careers. While law firms may be competing on talent, the real competition is with the high-tech industry since both offer high salaries and require similar skill sets.
The Trademark and Patent Lawyers and Attorneys industry is expected to experience steadier demand for its services over the next several years. Growth in research and development expenditure is anticipated to continue, and businesses will continue to use the services of patent and trademark attorneys to protect these investments. Important markets such as healthcare and software publishing, both especially susceptible to patent litigation, should also continue to grow.
The CDTA provides both the hard and soft skills that attorney-advocates require to meet the needs of clients in the 21st Century. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.