An article in my SSRN feed caught my eye this week: Where Have All the Patent Lawyers Gone? Long Time Passing... by Kenneth L. Port, Lucas Hjelle, and Molly Rose Litman (William Mitchell; Schwegman, Lundberg and Woessner; William Mitchell student).
The paper makes a pretty bold assertion - that the number of new patent lawyers is going to drop by 50% in the next three years. This is not necessarily surprising - after all, new law student enrollments are dropping. But not by 50%. Further, their prediction is not just conjecture or fancy econometrics - they look at the number of LSAT takers qualified to take the patent bar, and find that only 600 in the whole country were so qualified this year. Given that about 80% of qualified law students actually enter the patent bar, the numbers are looking to be south of 500 in 2018. By comparison, the number hovered between 800 and 1200 between 2003 and 2014. So that's that. Then why is this a curious case?