How does a GENETICIST/MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST . . . Get to be a Patent Lawyer?

Rochelle Karen Seide, who was trained as a biologist, now enjoys a rewarding career as a patent attorney specializing in biotechnology. After beginning her studies in bacteriology and earning a PhD in human genetics, she completed her schooling with a law degree. This seemingly radical career change, she says, came naturally enough—as an extension of her inborn "people" skills.

"Even when I was a scientist [at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine], I spent a lot of time with other people—teaching, doing genetic counseling. I liked the interpersonal aspects of my work as well as the science. Patent practice lets me use them both."

Dr. Seide is now an attorney in the New York firm of Brumbaugh, Graves, Donohue & Raymond. In her specialty of intellectual-property law, she spends much of her time in litigation and counseling: Does a new biotechnology process or product merit a patent? Can a client expect good protection for the life of the patent? To answer such questions, she must understand the cutting-edge research that her clients are doing. She could not do this without her expertise in—and love for—science.



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