Matthew J. Curran
Registered Patent Attorney
I have always been highly interested in the operation and repair of mechanical and electrical systems as well as computers and knew from a fairly young age that I wanted to enter the engineering field. Having grown up within a few miles of the University, in the nearby town of Dracut, MA, I watched the University transform throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s into the University it is today and knew that this is where I wanted to eventually study, but until shortly before enrolling at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, I had no idea what type of engineering would be the best choice for me.
Prior to enrolling, I decided to speak with both students and graduates from each program and base my decision on these discussions. Although many of the students and graduates from each program spoke highly of their particular program, plastics graduates seemed particularly enthusiastic, and almost uniformly stressed the practical nature of the program, emphasizing its reputation for shaping students into marketable engineers with positive job prospects upon graduation and the interesting nature of the coursework. I enrolled based on those conversations and have not regretted my decision, although I no longer work directly in that field.
While studying at UML, I took advantage of opportunities to intern and co-op, respectively, for two plastics-related companies, KaZaK Composites and NxStage Medical. I wound up working for NxStage, where I primarily developed and carried out validation testing on new or changed product lines. Although I enjoyed the work and practical experience, I eventually decided to enter the field of law, as an intellectual property attorney. This decision was, in part, motivated by conversations with Professors Amad Tayebi and Stephen Grossman. These professors were both successful plastics engineers and patent attorneys and were happy to discuss their career paths with me. Essentially, the opportunity to learn about a variety of brand new technologies from the engineers and inventors responsible for creating them in a fast-paced environment appealed to me and convinced me to enter this field. Since an engineering or similar degree is required to become a patent attorney anyway, I did not feel that my time at the University had been wasted. In many ways it was beneficial, providing me the opportunity to work with individuals with a similar engineering background and limiting the number of competitors for any given position. Had this not been the case, I may not have been able to justify this career path.
Following this choice, I attended another local University, Franklin Pierce (now the University of New Hampshire School of Law), located in nearby Concord, NH. (For those of you not familiar with the University, Franklin Pierce has a very strong reputation for intellectual property law and would make an excellent choice for any considering this line of work.) Following graduation, I decided to work for a small New Hampshire law firm, MCR, and settled in the small town of Brookline, NH, where I have been able to enjoy the outdoors and rural living.
During my time at MCR, where I continue to work through the present day, I have enjoyed assisting clients in a variety of different technology areas and have closer client contact than might be possible in a larger firm. Being a small firm, I have also had the opportunity to put my skills, which were learned at UML during my time as a Network Support Specialist tasked with network infrastructure documentation and installation/repair, to good use in growing and maintaining the firm’s IT infrastructure, technological capabilities and the security of those resources. In the Fall of 2017, I became a partner at MCR and continue to find the work, legal and otherwise, both challenging and rewarding.
I also still keep in touch with UML and the plastics department, serving as secretary and councilor for the Eastern New England Society of Plastics Engineers.
I would be happy to discuss the day-to-day of being a patent attorney, working out of a small firm, the transition between engineering and law school or an engineering career to a career in law, or any other topic of interest that my background might allow me to comment on with any who might be interested. I know it has been an enjoyable and rewarding career path for me!