Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

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Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:37 pm

Lifestyle, work, recruiting questions, etc. Ask away.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:40 pm

I've heard the exit options from patent litigation aren't that great. Do you agree? Where do most midlevel/senior IP who leave your firm go? Other firms? In house? Unemployment?

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:47 pm

Thanks for doing this! What market? What type of firm? (GP firm? Big boutique? Smaller boutique?) What are the hours like? Better or worse than non-IP litigation associates?

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[OP] Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:47 pm

[OP]

Anonymous User wrote:I've heard the exit options from patent litigation aren't that great. Do you agree? Where do most midlevel/senior IP who leave your firm go? Other firms? In house? Unemployment?


I've heard this repeated too, and I'm not really sure where it comes from. Doesn't seem to be an issue. In terms of moving from firm to firm, there seems to be high demand if you have a EE/CS background -- I get at least 3-5 calls a week from recruiters. Without a EE/CS bground, I would assume it is harder.

In terms of where people have actually gone, I'd say they go about 30% other firms (more often boutiques than comparable), 50% in house (usually the more senior ones, 7-10 years out of LS), and 20% go do other things like tech companies in either a business or tech role (makes sense given the prevalence of engineers).

I know of none who have left and were forced into unemployment, although I do know a few who have left and taken 6 month tours-de-planet to decompress.

Did that answer? If you need more details, let me know.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Dr. Review » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:48 pm

What's your UG degree in (above answer seems to suggest EE/CS), and do you ever find yourself using it (e.g., drafting a Markman brief)?

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[OP] Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:51 pm

[OP]

Shoot, this will be hard to read since everybody is posting anon. I will try to point out that I'm the OP in the subject when answering.

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this! What market? What type of firm? (GP firm? Big boutique? Smaller boutique?) What are the hours like? Better or worse than non-IP litigation associates?


GP, V20.

My hours fluctuate wildly. When I'm in trial or preparing for trial, we're talking 200-300 hr/month. When I'm not, I'm usually laying low and keeping in the 100-150 range, if that. I avoid the office in downtime months (like right now), and that seems to be the generally accepted approach. I actually really like this lifestyle -- when I'm busy, I prefer to be really busy. And when I'm not, I prefer to have a lot of freedom (compared with 9-6 office hours).

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[OP] Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:53 pm

[OP]

Bedsole wrote:What's your UG degree in (above answer seems to suggest EE/CS), and do you ever find yourself using it (e.g., drafting a Markman brief)?



I have a technical background. I use my specific background maybe 25% of the time, but I'd say I'm using some level of technical analysis about 75% of the time. There's markman briefs, expert reports, depositions, SJs, trial, interacting with client, pre-lit research etc.

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Re: [OP] Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:[OP]

Shoot, this will be hard to read since everybody is posting anon. I will try to point out that I'm the OP in the subject when answering.

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this! What market? What type of firm? (GP firm? Big boutique? Smaller boutique?) What are the hours like? Better or worse than non-IP litigation associates?


GP, V20.

My hours fluctuate wildly. When I'm in trial or preparing for trial, we're talking 200-300 hr/month. When I'm not, I'm usually laying low and keeping in the 100-150 range, if that. I avoid the office in downtime months (like right now), and that seems to be the generally accepted approach. I actually really like this lifestyle -- when I'm busy, I prefer to be really busy. And when I'm not, I prefer to have a lot of freedom (compared with 9-6 office hours).


Are you glad you went to a big, upper vault GP firm as opposed to i.e. Finnegan/Fish/Fitzpatrick/Banner/Figg/Wilson/Kenyon/Knobbe/Oblon/Sughrue/Blakely/Sterne/Leydig?

Curious because I recently made this exact decision (life sciences though, not EE/CS).
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [OP] Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:12 pm

[OP]

Anonymous User wrote:
Are you glad you went to a big, upper vault GP firm as opposed to i.e. Finnegan/Fish/Fitzpatrick/Kenyon/Knobbe/Oblon/Sughrue/Blakely/Sterne?


I had callbacks/offers from some of the firms you listed, and I can tell you that facially they seemed pretty similar. Good people, good work, from everything I could tell. I decided to chase prestige because... well, most of you probably know why.

That said, I think that was a good call overall. Big firms mean lots of options -- if I don't like the bosses I work for or the experience I'm getting, I can just try to find different partners and different workstyles; if I don't like the subject matter of the cases, I can look for different stuff.

Prestige also usually means better exit options. Fair or not, that's how it goes. If I lateral out of my firm to a V50 or one of the firms you listed, I'm not likely to get docked a year of seniority. But when we accept laterals, we almost always dock them. It's just how it seems to play out.

It also means it's not long before you get junior associates underneath you. That means you can delegate down and focus on bigger picture stuff, which is immensely rewarding. My friends at smaller firms at my level are still doing work that I don't need to think about anymore (doc review, etc.).

So for now, as an associate, this is a good choice. I get great experience, many options, etc. But towards the middle of my career -- maybe in a few years -- I might start more seriously considering the types of shops you mentioned for better QOL, being a big fish in a small pond, easier to bring in smaller clients because of lower rates, etc.


edit: Sorry, I just saw that you made the choice to go to a small firm. I think you are still in great shape, none of what I said necessarily has to be a detriment, you just need to be aware of it. Try to quickly identify a partner that you will latch on to, make sure he/she has a great reputation and good case load and will take care of you, and then ride it out with him/her. You want intelligence, fairness, loyalty, and good business in a partner, particularly at a small firm where you're not likely to get the chance to defect.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:25 pm

I'm convinced that having prosecution experience makes one more attractive to all -- in house as well as other lit and pros firms. Do you have prosecution experience (or have you taken the patent bar)? If not, do you think you are disadvantaged at all, either in terms of exit options or just litigation in general?

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[OP] Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:38 pm

[OP]

Anonymous User wrote:I'm convinced that having prosecution experience makes one more attractive to all -- in house as well as other lit and pros firms. Do you have prosecution experience (or have you taken the patent bar)? If not, do you think you are disadvantaged at all, either in terms of exit options or just litigation in general?


I think that's definitely one path. A lot of small companies push to have prosecutors in charge of all IP (including IP lit); bigger ones have almost all litigators in charge of IP.

As a litigator, I'll tell you that most patent prosecutors don't know how to write a patent that will be useful in litigation (or business). It's infuriating.

In terms of exit options, the only folks who seem to want members of the patent bar are those that are hiring for prosecution positions. I don't see it being a more universal requirement, but I could be wrong.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:57 pm

Thanks OP for doing this.

Do you feel that the amount of work in IP lit is growing, declining, or staying the same? Do you think that trend is likely to continue over the mid to long term?

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:20 pm

[OP]

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks OP for doing this.

Do you feel that the amount of work in IP lit is growing, declining, or staying the same? Do you think that trend is likely to continue over the mid to long term?


As a whole, it seems to be growing. As so many companies' futures become intertwined with their know-how and intellectual property, I expect we'll see more investment and concern about litigating to protect their portfolios.

NPE litigation certainly has kept things busy for awhile, but that seems to be declining. Recent and proposed legislation, regulatory interest in NPEs, and a couple recent decisions killer to NPE's bottom line would seem to dissuade the rush of NPE litigation we've seen over the last few years. But that said, only a small portion of my cases are NPE based, and many of them are the minor relative to the big IP wars we see between actual companies (smartphone, wifi, etc).

That said, we may see the business model shift. I'm not entirely convinced that a lot of the firms I go up against in IP lit actually know what they're doing, either because their attorneys are not solely focused on IP lit or they just don't understand the technology. I think we may see a heavy focus in the future on a small subset of law firms and boutique shops that specialize IP litigation and have the right background to succeed. That's mere speculation, but if I ever become a GC and need IP litigators, I know a lot of law firms and teams that I wouldn't even dream of giving business.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That's mere speculation, but if I ever become a GC and need IP litigators, I know a lot of law firms and teams that I wouldn't even dream of giving business.



Which firms have you noticed that seems successful with IP lit and those that you don't think handle it well?

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:That's mere speculation, but if I ever become a GC and need IP litigators, I know a lot of law firms and teams that I wouldn't even dream of giving business.



Which firms have you noticed that seems successful with IP lit and those that you don't think handle it well?


Sorry, no.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:59 pm

I'm interested in patent litigation. Assuming I can only take one, which course would you recommend: complex litigation or trademarks?

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:05 pm

[OP]

Anonymous User wrote:I'm interested in patent litigation. Assuming I can only take one, which course would you recommend: complex litigation or trademarks?


Without knowing the syllabus for complex litigation, I think that is probably the no brainer. I've yet to need to know one iota about trademarks.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:[OP]

Anonymous User wrote:I'm interested in patent litigation. Assuming I can only take one, which course would you recommend: complex litigation or trademarks?


Without knowing the syllabus for complex litigation, I think that is probably the no brainer. I've yet to need to know one iota about trademarks.

Cool thanks. Do you call yourself an IP litigator rather than a patent litigator for any reason in particular?\

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:16 pm

[OP]

Anonymous User wrote:

Cool thanks. Do you call yourself an IP litigator rather than a patent litigator for any reason in particular?\


I sometimes do copyright pro bono stuff?

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 pm

Nice

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:05 pm

what's the best answer you've heard for "why patent lit?" at an interview?

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:56 pm

[OP]

Anonymous User wrote:what's the best answer you've heard for "why patent lit?" at an interview?


Most interesting question so far.

First off, if I'm asking you this question, it's usually not a good sign. It means I've been unable to ascertain any reason why you would do patent litigation. I usually don't ask this question to a STEM grad, and I usually won't ask it if I see that you have any tech experience whatsoever. (If I ask it and you do fit this category, it means I'm bored. also not good.) If this is you, you should aspire to beat the interviewer to this question by loading the answer to this question into another question. (e.g., make your technical experience/background/interest very clear early on in the interview.)

That said, it is unrealistic (and unfair) for somebody to know the answer to this question as a rising 2L if they DON'T fit one of those categories. How the heck would you know? You probably haven't even taken an IP class yet.

So what I want is an answer that sounds like you've got some basis and you've done some preliminary research. Say something about how you've always enjoyed science and technology (please do this without reference to consumer electronics), mention some experience you've had in college with it (bonus points if you actually took a handful of STEM classes without majoring/minoring), and then point out one of the key differentiating factors from other litigation: you spend a lot of time mastering the technical aspects of something, how it works, etc., and you like the challenge and difference of that, rather than just spending your time analyzing contracts. Remember that we all have egos, and if you (gently!) poke fun at another department while making ours seem better, we're apt to like you.

If challenged on your lack of STEM, say that you understand there are experts and whatnot that we have to help us understand the technology. If challenged on your lack of relevant STEM, say that you think like a scientist/technical person, and with a little guidance in the relevant field, you think you'll be more than capable of picking something up.

How's that?

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:19 am

Awesome thanks. I do have a UG life sciences background and also some tech work, but have also gotten that question in all of my interviews (no jobs though :lol: ). I'll try to preempt it going forward.

Any memorable responses to "why our firm?" A couple interviewers asked this question even after admitting "they're all the same." For big firms, I've concentrated on the class of clients they attract, the number of options, and reputation. For boutiques, I've geared towards being attracted to the specialization/focus, and the communal/team feeling.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:Awesome thanks. I do have a UG life sciences background and also some tech work, but have also gotten that question in all of my interviews (no jobs though :lol: ). I'll try to preempt it going forward.

Any memorable responses to "why our firm?" A couple interviewers asked this question even after admitting "they're all the same." For big firms, I've concentrated on the class of clients they attract, the number of options, and reputation. For boutiques, I've geared towards being attracted to the specialization/focus, and the communal/team feeling.


Protip: you should generally run from all the firms that say "they're all the same." They're not. The firms that say this are usually trying to compensate for being particularly sucky in one thing or another. That said, just focus on getting ANY job first before you get picky.

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Re: Senior Associate IP Lit Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:48 am

I'm in the middle of applying to law schools right now, I was wondering if firms prefer to hire from specific schools for IP law, for example Boalt? And I majored in life sciences, biochemistry to be more specific in undergrad, would it be harder for me to get a job in IP litigation since I didn't go the engineering or CS route? By the way, thanks for doing this!




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