The Texas Bar exam is three days’ worth of terror. Pure, unadulterated, law knowledge. It’s an amalgam of everything you learned in law school and (it seems like) a lot of what you didn’t. Let’s be honest, our law profs do a damn good job of trying to shove every course topic into our ever-growing brains, but they just can’t get it all in.
There’s only so much a girl can know, Y’all.
For those of us with a science or engineering background – and some masochistic tendencies – we can opt to sit for an extra Bar exam. That’s right…a SECOND Bar examination. To practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, or work with patents, trademarks and such, you should be Patent Bar Certified.
What’s neat is that this Bar exam does not require you to earn your Juris Doctorate at all. You could just take the exam and work as a patent agent for the U.S.P.T.O., inspecting and approving (or denying) patent applications and the like. [They make about $110,000 in Dallas – FYI.]
I have an intense love of all things science: engineering, biology, medicine, electronics…
These are a few of my favorite things so, naturally, I did not plan on giving them up after entering the world of law. Instead, I searched for a way to marry my love of science with my passion for the law, and I decided that sitting for the Patent Bar would be a great use of my time.
As a 2L, active in various student groups and on Law Review…I have almost no time left in my day. This means I have to prioritize my limited time and resources to study for yet another exam. Fun, right?
YES! It is. Passing the Patent Bar means I can work as a generalist and take on Patent cases. The goal is to be both marketable and functional. I enjoy the law so much and want to learn as much as I can. Although I’m not sure that I will ultimately practice patent law, I plan to set myself up in a position to have the opportunity to do so.
I signed up to take the exam on June 25th, which gives me about seven weeks to study. Like the Bar exam, you need to apply to sit for the Patent Bar exam. Thankfully the vetting process doesn’t require nearly as many hoops to jump through. You need to provide (1) your official transcripts proving you have a degree that qualifies you to sit for the exam, (2) the registration fee, and (3) the examination fee. Also, you need to pay Prometric the exam fee to take the computer-based test. In total, this cost me a whopping $505 (almost $600 if you include the prep book).
If you’re thinking of taking the exam, just know there’s a process. Once you apply for approval, your response will be returned in 2-8 weeks. Once approved, you can sign up online for a testing timeframe. The sign up is the easiest bit.
Next comes the studying.
Without the funds to pay for an obscenely expensive patent bar prep course, I opted to take the advice of a professor and purchase this handy-dandy book:
It’s a compendium of questions and patent bar review aids that – in my opinion – are wonderfully condensed for a quick study. I plan to complete the entire book before sitting for the exam. If you’ve got big dreams of taking [and acing] the Patent Bar these practice questions (probably) can’t hurt.
The test itself is 6 hours long, 100 questions (of which 90 are scored).
There’s so much to do and so little time. PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!
Did I mention that I’ll be studying while also working 60+ hours per week this summer?
Yeah…I’m not thrilled about it either.
Let’s just hope all this effort pays off.
What are your summer plans?