Intellectual Property Law Career Guide

(Including Patent, Trademark, and Copyright)

By Paul Hellyer
Updated July 2019



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 (STACKS & 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)

Ann. M. Mueting, Starting an IP Law Practice: Critical Questions to Ask Yourself (2012).
Advice on starting an IP practice for solos, small and mid-size firms, and in-house practitioners. Covers both patent and trademark practices.
Publisher's Description
KF3165 .M84 2012 (STACKS)


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.

Jacqueline Bell, These Law Firms Are Dominating the Federal Circuit in 2016, Law360, Aug. 12, 2016.
Describes some of the leading firms in patent law.

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.

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.

Erin Coe, IP Slowdown Sets Stage for More Firm Combos, Law360, Feb. 24, 2016.
Describes recent changes taking place in the IP job market.

Erin Coe, Law360 Reveals Largest IP Boutiques, Law360, March 25, 2016.
Ranks the top 12 IP law firms, with details on recent gains and losses and overall trends in the job market.

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, Diversifying Intellectual Property Law: 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.

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.

Lisa Shuchman, "Brave New World" of Patent Law, National Law Journal, Nov. 2, 2015, at 1.
Discusses recent major changes in the way patent litigation is handled, and how this is affecting the job market.

Steven Trader, 12% of Attys Appearing in PTAB Cases Are Women: Report, Law360, Sept. 7, 2017.
Reports the low percentage of women appearing in cases before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and discusses what this means.

Cristina Violante, IP Boutiques Right the Ship in Choppy Market, Law360, May 30, 2017.
Explains how headcounts at IP boutiques recently stabilized after a downturn and discusses changes in how patent cases are handled.



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



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
fax: (703) 415-0786

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
fax: (212) 768-7796

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

Patent and Trademark Office Society
P.O. Box 2089
Arlington, VA 22202

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


Photo:  Associated Press