Engineers – Start Your Career in Patent Law Right Away!

Santa Clara Law has joined forces with top national law firms to offer qualified admitted students a rare opportunity – the chance to start a career in patent law before law school classes even start.

How the Program Works

There is strong demand for patent professionals with training in electrical engineering and computer science. Qualified students admitted to Santa Clara Law’s part-time program will have the opportunity to interview with top national law firms for jobs working as patent agents at the firms’ Silicon Valley offices.

What’s a patent agent? A legal professional, often called a “technical advisor” or “patent engineer” in a law firm setting, who works with inventors, entrepreneurs and companies to obtain patents. It’s an exciting job that will expose you to the newest in technology from start-ups to established leaders in the tech industry.


  • Acceptance to Santa Clara Law and payment of first deposit
  • Undergraduate or graduate degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Physics
  • Some work experience for a tech company or equivalent
  • Excellent writing ability and command of English language
  • U.S. Citizenship or correct legal status for employment
  • Strong interest in patent prosecution

Firms will begin interviewing candidates as early as February 15, 2016. Compensation packages differ from firm to firm, but generally include:

  • Full time or part time offer of paid employment (starting full time salary range approximately $80k to $115k, with laddered yearly raises)
  • Up to 100% law school tuition reimbursement (grade and other requirements may apply)
  • Employee benefits (health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation)
  • Payment of patent bar fees
  • Payment for California Bar review course and fees
  • Billable hours credited towards seniority when elevated to associate attorney (which can mean a substantial raise)
  • Professional development, firm events and mentoring

Interested? The following are the steps to take:

  1. Apply to Santa Clara Law and receive a letter of admittance to either the full-time or part-time program. If you were admitted to the full-time program and you become employed, you will need to transfer to the part-time program.
  2. Make your first deposit (following instructions given in your admittance letter).
  3. Send an email to Tom Lavelle at with the subject line “EPAP Application – Your Name” and attach four .pdf files:
    • your resume
    • your undergraduate and any graduate transcripts (unofficial is fine)
    • a cover letter (a generic version addressed to “Hiring Committee” and referencing the “SCU Engineer to Patent Attorney Program” is fine)
    • a short writing sample of two to ten pages (technical papers are acceptable).
  4. You will receive an email confirming receipt, and an email indicating when your application documents have been forwarded to participating employers. We forward application documents to participating firms on a rolling basis, beginning February 15, 2016.
  5. Firms will contact you directly to schedule interviews. Also, firms will contact you directly if you were not selected for an interview. Firms have been requested to make any offers of employment by May 31, 2016, in time for you to meet the second deposit deadline.

For more information, contact Tom Lavelle, Managing Director, High Tech Law Institute,

Participating Employers

Blakely Sokoloff Taylor Zafman LLP Finnegan Haynes Boone
Kilpatrick Townsend Lowenstein Sandler Morgan Lewis
Schwegman LUndberg Woessner