Intellectual Property Law Career Guide

(Including Patent, Trademark, and Copyright)

By Paul Hellyer
Updated May 2023


ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law, Careers in IP Law: Avenues and Opportunities (2013). 
Provides an overview of this practice area and explains how law students can prepare for this field.
Publisher's Description
KF3165 .Z9 C375 2013 (Law Library 2nd Floor & OCS)

Richard L. Hermann, Digital Assets Practice: Three New Practice Opportunities in One (2017).
Discusses new job opportunities related to digital assets, including digital intellectual property.
Publisher's Description
KF299 .A87 H47 2017 v.8 (OCS)

Richard L. Hermann, "Soft" Intellectual Property Law: IP Opportunities for Non-STEM Attorneys (2017).
Discusses new job opportunities in intellectual property law, especially for non-STEM attorneys.
Publisher's Description
KF299 .I58 H47 2017 V.5 (OCS)


Erika Harmon Arner & Jessica L.A. Marks, Leading by Example: Words of Wisdom from Women Leaders in IP, Landslide, March-April 2018.
Presents brief interviews with eight women leaders from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the judiciary, and private industry. Interviewees offer advice on how to follow in their footsteps.

Megan K. Bannigan, Charting their Courses: Six IP Professionals Find Different Paths to Where They Are Today, Landslide, March/April 2021, at 6.
Interviews with six IP lawyers about their career paths.

Big Law Builds IP Teams, With Nationwide Demand Steady, American Lawyer, Sept. 14, 2022.
A look at the current state of the job market for IP lawyers.

Christopher Buccafusco & Jeanne C. Curtis, Fixing the Design Patent Bar: New Opportunities for Federal Lawyers, The Federal Lawyer, July/August 2019, at 55.
Examines the requirements for becoming a patent lawyer.

Matthew Bultman, IP Boutiques Tick Down as AIA Settles In, Law360, April 15, 2018.
Reports a slight downtick in headcounts at IP boutiques as the industry continues to adjust to the American Invents Act.

Matthew Bultman, IP Pressures Could Fuel More Law Firm Mergers, Law360, Aug. 30, 2018.
Reports on the trend of large law firms acquiring IP boutiques.

Matthew Bultman, These Firms Scored the Most Patent Work in 2018, Law360, Jan. 31, 2019.
A look at some of today's leading patent firms and the types of cases they're working on.

Braden Campbell, Littler, Ogletree Pace Firms as Trade Secret Suits Hold Steady, Law360, April 20, 2020.
Reports on trends in trade secret case filings and highlights firms that specialize in this practice area.

Erin Coe, 5 Tips for Aspiring IP Lawyers, Law360, April 25, 2016.
Provides an overview of the IP field and offers detailed, practical tips on how to land your first job and build your career.

Paul R. Gugliuzza & Rachel Rebouche, Gender Inequality in Patent Litigation, 100 N.C. L. Rev. 1683 (2022).
Using original datasets, this article examines gender inequality in patent litigation. It explores some exceptions to the overall picture and offers suggestions for improving gender balance.

IP Counsel Reflect on Gender Challenges and Progress, Managing Intellectual Property, March 22, 2019.
This article explains some of the challenges faced by women in IP law and strategies for creating a more inclusive workforce.

J. Shontavia Johnson, Tonya M. Evans & Yolanda M. King, Why Women of Color Remain "Invisible" and How to Provide More Seats at the Table, Landslide, March-April 2018.
Discusses the lack of diversity in IP law and suggests how the field can attract and retain more women of color.

Dani Kass, Breaking IP Barriers: Q&A With Tyz Law's Jennifer Kelly, Law360, Feb. 22, 2021.
An interview with an IP litigator who represents the video game industry.

Dani Kass, Women Arguing Far Fewer Patent Appeals For Cos. Than Men, Law360, June 23, 2021.
Among attorneys working in the private sector, women have argued less than 10% of patent appeals in the Federal Circuit. This article takes a detailed look at proposed explanations and solutions.

Mike LaSusa, IP Cases Have Spiked in Last 20 Years, Law360, Feb. 13, 2020.
Discusses recent trends in intellectual property case filings.

Michael Loney, Women in IP Interview: Daralyn Durie, Managing Intellectual Property, June 5, 2017, at 2.
"An interview with Durie Tangri co-founder Daralyn Durie, one of Silicon Valley's most prominent patent trial lawyers, is presented, about her career path and the unique challenges for a woman litigator."

Patricia A. Martone, Declining Student Interest in Patent Law Reflects Declining Job Opportunities: How the Weakening of the United States Patent System Weakened the Patent Law Profession, 9 Cybaris: Intell. Prop. L. Rev. 197 (2018).
This article argues that changes in patent law have harmed the job market for patent lawyers and offers suggestions for moving forward.

Kenneth L. Port, Lucas Hjelle & Molly Littman, Patent Jobs and the Myth of the Employment Hypothesis, 9 Cybaris: Intell. Prop. L. Rev. 130 (2018).
This article acknowledges the declining interest in patent law careers, but argues that law students with an engineering background continue to have relatively good job prospects in patent law.

Ruby L. Powers, Making It Rain: Leela Madan, Law Practice Today, Sept. 2022, at 7.
In this interview, patent attorney Leela Madan shares how she became a rainmaker and offers advice on marketing.

Shannon N. Proctor, A Conversation with Mareesa Frederick about Women and Diversity in IP Law, Landslide, March/April 2021, at 43.
A partner at Finnegan LLP discusses her career and offers her perspective as a Black woman on diversity in IP law.

Jeremy Saks, How Legal Profession Can Help LGBTQ Patent Attys Thrive, Law360, June 10, 2021.
Discusses the inclusion of LGBTQ attorneys in the patent bar.

Elaine Spector & LaTia Brand, Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region, Landslide, Sept./Oct. 2020, at 1.
This article takes a close look at racial, gender, and geographical diversity in the patent bar.

Steven T. Taylor, IP Lawyers Across the Country See Uptick in Both Demand and Hiring, Of Counsel, Feb. 2021, at 1.
A look at the demand for and hiring of IP lawyers.



Six issues per year
Chicago: American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property Law
Available on HeinOnline



American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law
321 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654-7598
tel: (312) 988-6254

American Intellectual Property Law Association
1400 Crystal Dr., Ste. 600
Arlington, VA 22202
tel: (703) 415-0780

Copyright Society of the U.S.A.
1 E. 53rd St., 8th Fl.
New York, NY 10022
tel: (212) 354-6401

International Trademark Association
655 3rd Ave., 10th Floor 
New York, NY 10017-5617
tel: (212) 642-1700

National Association of Patent Practitioners
3801 Lake Boone Trail, Ste. 190
Raleigh, NC 27607
tel: (919) 230-9635

Patent and Trademark Office Society
107 S. West St., Ste. 809
Alexandria, VA 22314

Virginia State Bar Intellectual Property Law Section
1111 E. Main St., Ste. 700
Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026
tel: (804) 775-0500


Photo:  Associated Press