IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

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Anonymous User
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IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:06 pm

I mass-mailed a lot of firms and received a CB with a firm which focuses exclusively on IP (major market, think DC/NYC/Chicago/LA). Oddly enough, I received the CB without a screening interview -- apparently the firm normally does phone interviews before CBs, but I got a CB without doing one.

Anyway, I don't have a science/tech/engineering degree (B.A. in liberal arts). I did do well in some science/math classes in college, though. Also, I do have some experience in the medical field, but nothing terribly technical. So, I am trying to figure out how I can convey that I can do IP litigation. Any advice? I am getting myself up-to-date on current technology news and will research this firm like crazy.

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I mass-mailed a lot of firms and received a CB with a firm which focuses exclusively on IP (major market, think DC/NYC/Chicago/LA). Oddly enough, I received the CB without a screening interview -- apparently the firm normally does phone interviews before CBs, but I got a CB without doing one.

Anyway, I don't have a science/tech/engineering degree (B.A. in liberal arts). I did do well in some science/math classes in college, though. Also, I do have some experience in the medical field, but nothing terribly technical. So, I am trying to figure out how I can convey that I can do IP litigation. Any advice? I am getting myself up-to-date on current technology news and will research this firm like crazy.


I was in a similar position during interviews. I've heard from a lot of IP litigators that you don't need to understand the fine details of every part of the technology. The litigation will likely be focused on one small part, and your job as a litigator will be to translate the legal issues about that technology into something the judge/jury can understand. A big part of your job is being a translator.

I've heard from a lot of firms that what you need is a strong interest in technology/IP, and if you have it, you won't have much trouble understanding the technology. So maybe play up your interest in tech.

Also, have a good answer for "why IP?". I got this a lot, and you need to be able to express why you're interested in the field (e.g. cutting-edge issues, you like science/math but you wanted to be a lawyer).

Hope that helps.

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was in a similar position during interviews. I've heard from a lot of IP litigators that you don't need to understand the fine details of every part of the technology. The litigation will likely be focused on one small part, and your job as a litigator will be to translate the legal issues about that technology into something the judge/jury can understand. A big part of your job is being a translator.

I've heard from a lot of firms that what you need is a strong interest in technology/IP, and if you have it, you won't have much trouble understanding the technology. So maybe play up your interest in tech.

Also, have a good answer for "why IP?". I got this a lot, and you need to be able to express why you're interested in the field (e.g. cutting-edge issues, you like science/math but you wanted to be a lawyer).

Hope that helps.

This is very helpful, thanks! Did that "Why IP?" answer work for you?

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:25 pm

Bump -- any other advice?

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:39 pm

I didn't interview at any IP only firms but I did interview at places where patent was a substantial portion of the lit practice.

As noted above, you likely will get the "why IP?" question, which in my cases, and I'm assuming yours, meant "why patent lit?". I do not have any technical stuff in my background. I responded with a general interest in tech (current issues, interesting products, interesting companies, etc) which I don't think was very convincing and was received merely in an okay fashion by my interviewers (though I did get offers). My suggestion based on how they reacted to my responses is to not only demonstrate an interest in tech but also to know how patent lit differs from general lit (e.g. prior art, Markman hearings, etc) and be able to convey why those things make you prefer patent lit over general lit (whether that is true or not).

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I was in a similar position during interviews. I've heard from a lot of IP litigators that you don't need to understand the fine details of every part of the technology. The litigation will likely be focused on one small part, and your job as a litigator will be to translate the legal issues about that technology into something the judge/jury can understand. A big part of your job is being a translator.

I've heard from a lot of firms that what you need is a strong interest in technology/IP, and if you have it, you won't have much trouble understanding the technology. So maybe play up your interest in tech.

Also, have a good answer for "why IP?". I got this a lot, and you need to be able to express why you're interested in the field (e.g. cutting-edge issues, you like science/math but you wanted to be a lawyer).

Hope that helps.

This is very helpful, thanks! Did that "Why IP?" answer work for you?


It worked at some places and not others. I think if you say it enthusiastically, and are able to describe why technology interests you, it should work out fine. At a couple of places, I think my answer was phrased in a really disorganized way, and that's what really hurt me, more than the answer itself.

Edit: also, what the above anon said is spot on.

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:47 pm

They may ask what types of technologies you are comfortable with. You should be able to answer this smoothly. They might even ask describe a technology you worked with or read about. Be sure to know what you are talking about.

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:48 pm

A few things I learned from callbacks in IP:

-Having a technical degree doesn't necessarily matter. What matters is how you can explain scientific issues to a jury or even a judge. You might want to highlight your great communication skills and ability to learn new subjects quickly.

-Have some good questions prepared. For example, I asked an IP litigation in the Silicon Valley how the Apple v. Samsung decision might affect tech startups fearful of violating copyrights, and then I turned it into a question of how this might affect their business. I don't think this is a great question, but at least it shows some general interest in IP. Draw on whatever you can.

Pokemon
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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Pokemon » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:51 pm

I was under impression that some IP firms have a venture capital/emerging enterprises department. Does this firm have one at all? (yes, i know you said exclusively, but...) Otherwise, it seems really odd that they would give you a CB directly... in either case, remember that they are paying for you to visit them so they must like something about you on your resume.

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:54 pm

Wow, all of this stuff is very helpful, everyone -- thank you! I guess I'll research how patent litigation differs from general litigation, think about some good questions. Anything else?
Pokemon wrote:I was under impression that some IP firms have a venture capital/emerging enterprises department. Does this firm have one at all? (yes, i know you said exclusively, but...) Otherwise, it seems really odd that they would give you a CB directly... in either case, remember that they are paying for you to visit them so they must like something about you on your resume.

Yeah, I thought it was odd that I got a direct CB, too. I just checked the firm website again; nothing listed in their practice areas page except for IP stuff. I do have a lot of medical stuff on my resume, so maybe that's what they liked. I will make sure to brush up on all of the stuff I did with healthcare in the past, too.

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Re: IP Firm CB (But No IP Background)... Help!

Postby soccerfreak » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Wow, all of this stuff is very helpful, everyone -- thank you! I guess I'll research how patent litigation differs from general litigation, think about some good questions. Anything else?
Pokemon wrote:I was under impression that some IP firms have a venture capital/emerging enterprises department. Does this firm have one at all? (yes, i know you said exclusively, but...) Otherwise, it seems really odd that they would give you a CB directly... in either case, remember that they are paying for you to visit them so they must like something about you on your resume.

Yeah, I thought it was odd that I got a direct CB, too. I just checked the firm website again; nothing listed in their practice areas page except for IP stuff. I do have a lot of medical stuff on my resume, so maybe that's what they liked. I will make sure to brush up on all of the stuff I did with healthcare in the past, too.

You'll be fine, just make sure that you talk about your enthusiasm for IP litigation, because you're not qualified for pros.

Healthcare stuff is very important, IP firms do a lot in the pharmaceutical industry.

Also, anything you can bring up that can show you're interested in science/technology, have interacted with it before, or can understand it even if you don't have any background. A science degree really isn't necessary, but you do need to be able to understand it.

Also, depending on the firm, some do a substantial amount of trademark work, so that's something to look into.




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