The work done by Kenneth Port, Lucas Hjelle, Molly Rose of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, on this topic, they have established that patent bar eligible students (students who possess the appropriate science or engineering degree that makes them eligible for the patent bar and to become patent attorneys), who attend law school are declining precipitously in number that far exceed all potential law student in general. We have also claimed that this fact will have a deleterious effect on the United States economy. In this article, they have established that the usual argument for why the patent bar eligible student is not coming to law school, that is, that there are few jobs (we call this the Employment Hypothesis), does not apply. In fact, the patent attorney with an appropriate background is quite attractive on the employment market. Yet, they still do not come to law school.
Most people in law do not recognize that there is a double standard in reporting the employment data upon which prospective students might rely. According, to our research no other field of study is analyzed, scrutinized, and made to justify itself as law. Other Doctorates degrees or even most MBA program are not scrutinized to determine if some specific job is in graduates’ near future and whether the education was worth it, whether the students return on investment support obtaining the degrees in first place. Law seems to be the only subject where an entity collects and reports our data to make these types of conclusion possible. In many graduates degree, rather, employment in anything other than teaching is not mentioned even though only some 45% of Ph.D. holders in History, for example, ever obtain a tenure-track teaching position. That is, 55% of History Ph.D. holders may be employed but not at History professors. If 55% of JD holders never obtained a job as a lawyer, it would be remarkable indeed.
Lastly, this article concludes that the very Employment Hypothesis that many in the media claim accurately describes the enrollment crisis in American legal education actually contradicts why MECC Engineers are foregoing a law school education. With this article, they have attempted to pursue many explanations for the public’s reliance on Employment Hypothesis, and in particular why MECC engineers might choose a Ph.D. in their sciences over a J.D. as they seem to do. In the end, this article concludes that MECC Engineers are very employable as the patent attorney. However, the very rationality that leads them to a degree in MECC engineering may be the rationality that diverts them from law school.