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Careers In IP Blog



Welcome to a new AIPLA website feature - our Career Blog. On this page, you'll find information, tools and career advice that you can use to navigate your career as an IP law practitioner.

Interested in submitting a blog post? Contact membership@aipla.org.

How Do You Like Your Eggs? Or – How to Find Your Preferred Job in IP

by Amdie Mengistu, Managing Partner - Legal Division, Lucas Group
March 2017

There is a surge of in-house demand for attorneys in the Big Law IP space, and associates are looking for ways to position themselves to land these coveted roles. I’d like to share hiring trends and offer guidance for success.

My vantage point is managing the legal practice for a national recruitment firm. While I focus on answering talent needs in the New York and Tri-State areas, the reality is that IP is a dynamic, growing area of practice everywhere. IP-intensive industries operate nationwide and are a major contributor to the overall U.S. economy.

What do eggs have to do with it? I’ll get to that in a minute.

It’s a candidate’s market

As the economy and jobs come roaring back from the 2008 recession, the world has become an oyster for IP attorneys – and for law school graduates who made it through the ‘08 downturn. The classes of 2009 to 2012 are maturing into the mid-level associate era of their careers and entering a window of strong marketability, laterally among Big Law firms, and in-house to a range of companies.

Do you prefer hard or soft IP law?  

Getting back to how you like your eggs, your preference in career direction is pretty important, too. Big Law is full of IP needs on behalf of its clients, and not just hard IP needs like pharmaceutical or engineering patents – but also soft IP needs, such as licensing and distribution agreements. Soft IP legal services are a huge area of growth in entertainment, including in the television and cable network industry, as well as tech industries and others.

The field is expanding, so explore and identify your interests. 

Going from corporate practice to Big Law IP

Following is some advice for associates looking for ways to prepare for these opportunities:

  1. Advocate for yourself in your existing company or firm.
    If opportunities exist to gain experience doing IP portions of the work, ask for them. For example, in every M&A deal there are lawyers doing analysis of IP in the transaction. Do all you can to get into that space. It will make you more marketable to more in-house roles.

  2. Be open to a two-step process.
    At Lucas Group, we help associates at general corporate practices make savvy lateral moves to IP boutiques. They pick up experience that makes them more marketable to Big Law.

  3. Talk to a good recruiter.
    It’s never too soon to establish a relationship with a legal recruiter. Specialists have relationships with Big Law firms nationwide and real access to sought-after in-house jobs. Plus, they want you to succeed and that means delivering golden career eggs – the way you like them.

About the author: 

Amdie Mengistu earned his J.D., cum laude, from Hofstra University School of Law, where he was a Dwight L. Greene Scholar and a New York City Bar Diversity Fellow. At Lucas Group, he works with clients from Big Law to small legal firms and Fortune 500 corporations to find the legal talent they need. For assistance finding top legal talent, please reach out to Lucas Group: http://lucas.gp/zwzZgr.​​