What to do with a BE/LLB?
February 16, 2007 11:52 PM   Subscribe

Where can I go with (Electrical) Engineering and Law qualifications under my belt?

I'm considering pursuing these two degrees in a double-degree programme and I was wondering what sort of work I could find myself doing in industry, if I don't pursue further study / employment in the academic field. Brainstorm with me, Mefitters!
posted by PuGZ to Education (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Concentrate on patent law and go work for an IP law firm.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:55 PM on February 16, 2007

Have you worked in some field related to EE? An investment bank might be another option.
posted by Good Brain at 12:02 AM on February 17, 2007

For what it's worth, I have neither degree yet -- but in a number of months I will be making my application to university. I'm not sure whether that will have any bearing on your answers, but it's out there!
posted by PuGZ at 12:50 AM on February 17, 2007

I would think that positions with the regulatory arm of utilties was an obvious choice, equally the regulators themselves might be options. If you want to go green then wind developer companies are on the up at the moment, with lots of new capacity coming on line across the US and beyond.
posted by biffa at 1:49 AM on February 17, 2007

IMO... law degrees are useful, but for your standard engineering job, which I have had a bunch of, it wouldn't be more than a curiosity.

Patent law, obviously. Lucrative and boring, from what I can gather, and more engineering than electrical engineering. Also, no law degree required to practice it but an accredited engineering degree is. (Check into this if you don't believe me! Patbar )

Contract administration... ditto. One or the other degree is superfluous.

Don't get me wrong... I LOVE the idea of a law degree. It's basic citizenship training. But from a practical standpoint, in engineering, it's less useful than say, an MBA. From a personal standpoint, it's a damn good backup degree. When/if you strike out on your own, you'll be well served by having it and you should certainly pursue it if you have a passion for the topic.
posted by FauxScot at 5:23 AM on February 17, 2007

oh... and if you can get through an EE program, you'll waltz through a JD.... ( no offense meant, mefi lawyers!)
posted by FauxScot at 5:25 AM on February 17, 2007

Electrical engineers are in high demand at patent law firms. I should know, I work at one. The EE work we do is true EE work - circuits, microchips, conductors, cell phones. We also do a lot programming and mechanical engineering work.

FauxScot is right, you don't need a law degree to take the Patent Bar and prosecute patents, but most of the fun in patent law is in the litigation side. You need a law degree for that.

If you want to try before you buy, so to say, you can always get your EE degree and work at a patent firm as a technical advisor/patent agent. You'll take the patent bar and prosecute patents. You'll get a good feel for what patent law is like before you go through the extensive work and time to get a JD. If you're lucky and get a job at a firm like mine, the firm might even pay for you to get your law degree!

I see at the top that you are getting your LLB. Things operate differently with an LLB as opposed to a JD, and if you wanted to become a patent lawyer you would need additional coursework to get your JD. You could, however, become a patent agent without additional schooling, provided you have enough science/engineering courses to satisfy the requirements to sit for the bar.

Good luck. If you want additional information, my email is in my profile.
posted by MeetMegan at 7:21 AM on February 17, 2007

I got a EE, engineered for 18 years, then went back and got a JD. Now, unsurprisingly, I'm a patent lawyer.
Many patent lawyers don't really have much (or any) engineering experience. They're very much like the really book-smart people I met in school, who couldn't (or had no interest in) actually building anything. If you like building stuff, be sure to work as an engineer for a few years (I'd say five, at least, but probably no need to go more than eight).
A law program (in the U.S., at least) is good for learning how to write (something engineers are notoriously bad at) and for acquiring the mindset of "strip a problem down to its bare essentials, then solve it." It's a useful way of thinking, though some lawyers can't turn it off when it's not productive.
Anyway, a JD/EE would serve well in corporate upper management, if you can get there. You might also get into patents from the government side -- be an examiner, then work on patent policy. Or in a roundabout way: be a judge, and try to work on IP cases. Politics? Somebody has to figure out the nuts & bolts underlying the stupid policies governments institute at the behest of the well-heeled.
Email in profile, if you have other questions.
posted by spacewrench at 8:05 AM on February 17, 2007

friend of a friend has a bachelor's in nanoengineering; just got a job as a nanotechnology investment advisor at credit suisse. i can imagine training in law would come in handy in such an environment. with so many people clamoring to invest in technology, i would think there are lots of opportunities where finance and engineering meet.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 11:01 AM on February 17, 2007

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