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LAW—Intellectual Property Considered Hottest Practice



Law’s Class of ’99 Find Starting Salary for

First Job Is $50,000

At the risk of starting another debate along the lines of when the millennium begins, a legal staffing firm has weighed in with poll results on “the practice of the decade.”

Of course, that practice is intellectual property.

And to judge by its impact, that decade has already begun.

Witness the number of local firms that devote at least some of their resources to intellectual property. A June advertising supplement in the San Diego Business Journal listed 21 firms that handle the subject, staffing as few as two and as many as 71 IP attorneys.

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The Affiliates, a legal staffing service with offices nationwide, including one Downtown, surveyed 200 attorneys nationwide about the hottest area of the law in the next 10 years. Nearly half said intellectual property. Corporate transactional law was second, but it was not even a close second. Only 15 percent chose that.

Computer law and computer technology took just 2 percent of the vote.

Asked, “What do you expect will be the hottest practice area over the next 10 years,” attorneys gave these responses:

Intellectual property: 48 percent.

Corporate transactional: 15 percent.

Employment: 11 percent.

General litigation: 5 percent.

Computer law/computer technology: 2 percent.

Environmental: 2 percent.

Y2K litigation: 2 percent.

Other: 7 percent.

Don’t know/no answer: 8 percent.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and included responses from 200 attorneys among the nation’s 1,200 largest law firms.

The Affiliates announced the survey results with this tip for teens and young adults eyeing a career in law: Don’t shirk your science classes.

Alan Yaron, division director for The Affiliates, suggested early preparation with science, engineering and computer-science coursework.

– – –

From Schooling To Salaries: Members of the law school Class of 1999 are finding the median starting salary for their first, full-time job is $50,000. So says a survey compiled by the National Association for Law Placement of Washington, D.C. That is up from $45,000 for the Class of 1998.

The median salary for a new graduate at a private firm is now $70,000, the association reported.

Of graduates whose employment status was known, 78.4 percent had accepted legal positions and 10.9 percent had accepted positions not directly involved in the practice of law. The rest had no job.

Some 173 ABA-accredited law schools contributed to the survey, providing information on 91 percent of all graduates of the Class of 1999.

Letterhead Change: Warren B. Diven has joined the public finance group of Riverside-based Best Best & Krieger LLP. Diven will be of counsel to the law firm and will practice out of BB & K;’s Downtown office. He specializes in public finance and public agency law, acting as bond counsel and disclosure counsel to public agencies.

Column items may be sent via E-mail to bgraves@sdbj.com. Opinions on when the millennium begins are discouraged.

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