The location of the USPTO
The USPTO is located at 600 Dulany Street in Alexandria, Virginia which is about 8 miles south of Washington, D.C. The closest metro stop is the King Street Metro which is serviced by both the Yellow and Blue Lines—more on the Metro below.
Your work schedule will be 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Take home pay
One of the most frequently asked questions by new examining attorneys is how much can you expect to take home every two weeks (we are paid on a bi-weekly schedule). This is a hard question to answer because it depends on how much is deducted for state taxes (Maryland, D.C., and Virginia all tax at different rates), federal tax withholding, health insurance choice, retirement savings, etc. However, an examining attorney living in Virginia generally brings home between $1,500 - $2,000 per bi-weekly pay period. Again, this is a ballpark figure that depends on a lot of variables, but anecdotally a reasonable estimate.
Your first paycheck will be deposited about three to four weeks after your start date as you need must work a full two-week pay period before submitting a timesheet, followed by a week for processing. You will be paid bi-weekly thereafter. We share this information so you aren’t caught off guard!
Where to live
As you begin to plan your budget and look for a place to live, one thing to know about the D.C. area is that the closer you live to the Metro, the higher the rent tends to be. The inverse is also true.
- Some employees live within walking distance of the USPTO in the Carlyle neighborhood or Old Town Alexandria; many enjoy the very easy commute. This area is very quiet with a movie theater and some restaurants.
- Moving up the Yellow and Blue train lines is the Braddock Road neighborhood. This neighborhood is growing really quickly. There are lots of apartment buildings to choose from, and it borders Old Town Alexandria which dates back to before the Revolutionary War.
- Next are the Del Ray and Potomac Yard neighborhoods. Del Ray is a great place for families and its main street, Mt. Vernon Avenue, is filled with cafes, shops, yoga studios and many other bohemian outlets. Potomac Yards is north of Del Ray and Braddock Road. Neither neighborhood has quick and easy access to the Metro, but both have many bus routes that are great options. The north end of Potomac Yards has the area’s Target, a movie theater, a Best Buy, and a variety of other restaurants and shops.
- The next Metro stops are Crystal City and Pentagon City. These stops are within walking distance of one another and offer a great mix of stores, restaurants and the Pentagon City shopping mall. Many employees enjoy these areas because they also offer a short commute to work and easy access via Metro to the District, Virginia, and Maryland.
- At the Pentagon, the Yellow Line goes into the District while the Blue Line goes into Rosslyn where it meets the Orange Line. On the Orange Line are the Court House, Clarendon, Virginia Square and Ballston neighborhoods. These areas are quite trendy and feature a wide variety of restaurants and shops. Although the commute on the train from these areas can run about 45 minutes or more, they are still considered a relatively easy commute to work.
- In the District, the neighborhoods of Foggy Bottom, U Street, Columbia Heights, Southwest/Navy Yard, and Du Pont are all popular places to live but can be expensive and have a longer commute.
- If you drive there are a great many choices—some of which are more affordable—outside the District, aka “outside the Beltway.”
- Driving—The USPTO has two parking decks that charge $10 a day. However, if you plan on driving regularly, you can buy a monthly pass for $90 and sign up to have the payment come from pre-tax dollars.
- Biking—The USPTO has bike lockers for rent if you ride your bike to work.
- Public Transit—This is by far the most popular option for two reasons. First, the King Street Metro is very close to the office and quite convenient. Second, the federal government offers a commuting stipend to spend on bus and rail transportation. The current stipend goes up to about $215 a month. You can choose either the monthly parking program (you pay the discounted monthly rate), or the stipend, but not both. You can still park in the deck at any time but you will pay the normal daily rate.
The USPTO is a casual work environment. While you are more than welcome to wear a suit every day, examining attorneys usually dress more casually. Employees are expected to maintain a neat, clean, business-like appearance during working hours. However, there is no need to purchase a whole new “smart” wardrobe—unless you really want to- because it isn’t required for this position.
You will be assigned a buddy who can field questions you might have that are not covered here, and to help you acclimate to the office.