Patent lit to VC? How?

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auds1008

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Patent lit to VC? How?

Postby auds1008 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:20 am

I've been working in patent litigation for almost 2 years and I have seen/worked on almost everything in patent litigation (definitely not saying I'm good at it), including the lifestyle it offers. I am seriously interested in VC/startup work (not necessarily legal) and am actively trying to be part of the community. Eventually, I would love to switch over if possible, even if it means working on projects unrelated to law. For those that are already in/considering VC/startup, what advice can you give me, besides starting my own startup?

I talked to a person who's made a name in the Palo Alto area and s/he told me the best thing to do is to drop out of law school (at the time I was still in law school), work for someone in the Bay Area for free. S/he also said that s/he doesn't mention he's an attorney anymore because it harms more than helps first impression. Is this generally true?

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swampman

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Re: Patent lit to VC? How?

Postby swampman » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:55 am

Can't speak to how to make that transition, but I do have a few friends in that world and can speak a little to the second question. They generally see the lawyers they work with as overly conservative, holding up deals just to cover their own asses and regularly shutting down great ideas. Conversely, they see themselves more as risk-taking, disrupting innovators. Basically polar opposite cultures.
I can imagine it being a tough sell to convince someone you share their mindset and values.

I do know an older attorney who easily made the move from in-house at a tech company to the vc/startup world, but at the time he made the move he was mostly managing other attorneys and running big technology licensing/acquisition deals, so it was a pretty natural transition.

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Re: Patent lit to VC? How?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:17 pm

auds1008 wrote:I've been working in patent litigation for almost 2 years and I have seen/worked on almost everything in patent litigation (definitely not saying I'm good at it), including the lifestyle it offers. I am seriously interested in VC/startup work (not necessarily legal) and am actively trying to be part of the community. Eventually, I would love to switch over if possible, even if it means working on projects unrelated to law. For those that are already in/considering VC/startup, what advice can you give me, besides starting my own startup?

I talked to a person who's made a name in the Palo Alto area and s/he told me the best thing to do is to drop out of law school (at the time I was still in law school), work for someone in the Bay Area for free. S/he also said that s/he doesn't mention he's an attorney anymore because it harms more than helps first impression. Is this generally true?



The best way is to network at any of the incubators in the area. get to know people and get them to know you. If you convey to them you're an a-typical lawyer, looking for the high risk projects and also looking for a career change, then you'll be. fine. bring something to the table, if you have ideas for them, tell them - you need to bring them value for them to start seeing a value in you and eventually bringing you inside.

I'm a former startup guy and also worked in IB but not in LS. Will probably do a few years at a firm then switch back towards VC/Startup work - but that just all depends how the next few years go. I guess the hurdle for me isn't so drastic b/c i'm also in the process of launching a startup while in school - keeps me fresh and w/in the culture so my name is already known.

The key is getting your name known and known as someone who ca bring value to their platform - in your case it's the technical expertise - but also start to get well versed in all aspects of business (finance, strategy, marketing, human capital, etc). It helps to have more than one thing to talk about.



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