You can't go wrong in having an in depth knowledge of trademark laws and other intellecutal properties laws (copyright etc.)..
Yes. Study up http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm for TM issues.
Go here for copyright issues: http://www.loc.gov/copyright.
These are the biggest and most important two 'laws' to learn & master...
Thanks for the resources Archangel, and for the tips, slow, fonzie and iabrocca.
Archangel - I'm going to law school, so my question is more on topics generally than self-education..
What about non-TM issues? Any other areas that are really important? Something to do with website development, selecting jurisdictions, etc.....
I know if you go on www.legalchatter.com, it was started by attorneys to answer questions like this. The site was recently launched, so I think if you post in the forums, then they find practitioners and professors to answer your questions...
You'll make more studying criminal law. People will comitt crimes and will always need a good lawyer..
Thanks for the suggestion on legalchatter. I'll have to check it out!.
Criminal apparently ffers a nice work life balance, according to a family friend...
I disagree that you will make more. You will first need to be a prosecutor...for very little pay or reward. Then you become a defender and I would hate to have to sit there and defend rapists, murderers, junkies, and god knows what else. You will need to go to court often to be a criminal lawyer. You may even need to chase down crimes...referrals don't do as well in this area. You also can't make a living (normally) from a small base of clients.
If you are an intellectual propery lawyer...you can do as you please...very little court activity...it's mostly contract law. You can do great by having just 1 client such as a music label or even a popular website.
I can go on and on about the possible negatives of being in criminal law...
Well, let me see if I can take a stab at answering your question. First, I need some background info. What are your interests and hobbies? What was your undergrad major? What have you dreamed about doing all your life or what have you dreamed about doing in the past and what do you dream about doing now? Is there a particular field that your family is in?..
IP and contract law at the very least. There's always room for one more...
I dont think anyone really dreams of being an IP lawyer when they're young I wanted to be a lawyer, until I found out what it entailed. Sure once you get established you can make a good living with a limited amount of effort, which is true for most all professions, but starting out, you will have to commit to sacrificing every area of your life in order to excel. Some people are driven to spend 80 hours a week working, I am not one of them. I have a family and I'd like to see them more often than in passing.
Its very hard to be successful in one area of life without being a complete failure in other areas. This is where establishing priorities plays heavily into life, and ultimately decides the outcome of your happiness therein...
The only advise I have is to look deep within yourself and be completely honest about your desires and goals in life and then make your decisions based on the whole picture.
IPLaw - I've never seen a corporate client balk at the huge billables that come from IP lit, and I've never seen an associate have trouble meeting their billables either.
Criminal? Meh... Won't go there.
Where are you in law school, OP?.
Cool, did you already get accepted into law school, or planning to apply still? I'm writing the LSAT in a few days!..
I'm going to try and do science law when I finish school...that would probably not interest you though if you want to do IP law!..
Worry about your future practice area after you have completed your first year of law school.
Been there. Done that...
SiliconFinance's questions are bang on. I do tech-related stuff because I was a lifelong nerd with graduate degrees in electrical engineering before becoming a patent agent. The knowledge base that serves me best has very little to do with anything I learned in law school. Aside from which, your curriculum has little room for electives until well into the second year (although since I did law school at night over four years, I'm not that familiar with the usual three year sequence).
As noted, IP is essential, although if you do not have a technical or scientific undergrad degree, you won't be able to practice patent law (the USPTO requires a technical degree, a law degree, and an entirely separate examination in patent law to be a patent attorney qualified to represent others in patent matters). If you do have a qualifying technical degree, then even if you don't want to practice patent law, you should still aim toward taking the USPTO exam, since it is something that most lawyers are not qualified to do)...