Info About IP Lit Boutiques

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Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:31 am

TLS has been very helpful in getting info about firms and biglaw in general, but when I was going through OCI and ultimately deciding between offers, there wasn't much info about lit boutiques (especially IP lit boutiques) beyond that one Elite Lit Boutique Burnout thread. I figured that if anybody had questions I had during OCI time, I could try to answer them here to the best of my ability.

Disclaimer: I believe that there a similarities and idiosyncrasies between lit boutiques (and even IP lit boutiques), so I will do my best to describe what is most likely particular to my firm and what is probably the same everywhere. For example, we don't bill hours at all; we don't even have to track time. Naturally, the way we handle some things would be different from a firm that does bill time. I also can't answer anything about myself since it's so easy to deduce the firm/individual, but I can answer questions about selectivity/requirements/etc. I also hesitate to use the word "Elite" since it's pretty meaningless, but we do pay above NYC market, and I think that may result in some difference between my firm and some other IP lit boutiques. We are also litigation only and do no prosecution work at all, so I don't know anything about IP boutiques that focus on prosecution.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Roy McAvoy » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:TLS has been very helpful in getting info about firms and biglaw in general, but when I was going through OCI and ultimately deciding between offers, there wasn't much info about lit boutiques (especially IP lit boutiques) beyond that one Elite Lit Boutique Burnout thread. I figured that if anybody had questions I had during OCI time, I could try to answer them here to the best of my ability.

Disclaimer: I believe that there a similarities and idiosyncrasies between lit boutiques (and even IP lit boutiques), so I will do my best to describe what is most likely particular to my firm and what is probably the same everywhere. For example, we don't bill hours at all; we don't even have to track time. Naturally, the way we handle some things would be different from a firm that does bill time. I also can't answer anything about myself since it's so easy to deduce the firm/individual, but I can answer questions about selectivity/requirements/etc. I also hesitate to use the word "Elite" since it's pretty meaningless, but we do pay above NYC market, and I think that may result in some difference between my firm and some other IP lit boutiques. We are also litigation only and do no prosecution work at all, so I don't know anything about IP boutiques that focus on prosecution.


What market are you in? What kind of background do you have? Did you go to this boutique right out of school or did you do a stint in big law first?

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:07 am

My firm is in a major legal market. Everyone at my firm, with the exception of 1 partner, has at least a BA in some STEM degree. However, there are quite a few people with only that--so a Master's or PhD is certainly not necessary (although obviously a great bonus). The firm has a summer program, so some people come straight from law school, but it has also hired laterals, and is open to doing so. I don't know if this is true for most IP lit boutiques, but it would make sense for a lit boutique to be more focused on litigation/lawyering ability than pre-existing technical expertise.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby twiix » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:20 am

Do you guys hire exclusively from the T13? If not, what is a general "cut-off" school if one exists? I've heard mixed things about IP, especially in regard to boutiques, in the sense that it's so hard to find enough people to keep up with the work that they will regularly hire from outside the T13 (T30 would be sufficient, for example).

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:35 am

TWiiX wrote:Do you guys hire exclusively from the T13? If not, what is a general "cut-off" school if one exists? I've heard mixed things about IP, especially in regard to boutiques, in the sense that it's so hard to find enough people to keep up with the work that they will regularly hire from outside the T13 (T30 would be sufficient, for example).


I can only speak for my firm when I say that we do hire from outside the T13. There is no stated "cut-off", but if you are not a local school (think Fordham for NYC), T20 is probably a fair mark. My firm has hired a few people from local T1's and people outside the T13. Obviously, stellar grades are required. I do believe most other market+ paying lit boutiques are much more snobby about pedigree/clerkships.

I don't know that it's IP boutiques can't find people who can "keep up with the work," but when you narrow by: good grades/law school, science background, wants to do IP lit only, wants to do trial work/likes oral advocacy, wants to be in X city, you end up excluding a lot of otherwise great candidates. I'm not sure that my firm in particular is "forced to" dip outside the T13, but rather that it would rather hire a top 1%-5% from a T20 than a top 25% from a T13 or something. There are also a lot of uncertainties and concerns around IP boutiques since there just isn't much literature out there about them (partnership prospects, exit options, work load, what is IP lit like, etc.), so risk-averse law students just pick biglaw, which is a safer bet.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Jchance » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For example, we don't bill hours at all; we don't even have to track time. . . . we do pay above NYC market.


there is like one firm that fits this description... lol

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby twiix » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:52 pm

Awesome, thanks for the info.


Anonymous User wrote:
There are also a lot of uncertainties and concerns around IP boutiques since there just isn't much literature out there about them (partnership prospects, exit options, work load, what is IP lit like, etc.), so risk-averse law students just pick biglaw, which is a safer bet.


Could you shed some light on what your specific role is like? I'm set on IP work in some capacity, but haven't really locked in on any specific area (partially because of ignorance).

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby run26.2 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:44 pm

Jchance wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For example, we don't bill hours at all; we don't even have to track time. . . . we do pay above NYC market.


there is like one firm that fits this description... lol

I can think of 2, and maybe a third, depending on whether they'd be considered an IP boutique.

That said, 1 of the 2 doesn't really hire from local schools. So maybe there is only 1.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:36 am

TWiiX wrote:Awesome, thanks for the info.


Anonymous User wrote:
There are also a lot of uncertainties and concerns around IP boutiques since there just isn't much literature out there about them (partnership prospects, exit options, work load, what is IP lit like, etc.), so risk-averse law students just pick biglaw, which is a safer bet.


Could you shed some light on what your specific role is like? I'm set on IP work in some capacity, but haven't really locked in on any specific area (partially because of ignorance).


Just to be clear, is this question about the difference between IP lit, IP transactional (tech trans), and patent prosecution, or the difference between IP and general lit? Either way, your best resource for questions like this would be getting coffee irl with attorneys in each practice area. Frankly, a biglawyer in a firm that does all of the above could probably shed the most light on this.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby twiix » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:
TWiiX wrote:Awesome, thanks for the info.


Anonymous User wrote:
There are also a lot of uncertainties and concerns around IP boutiques since there just isn't much literature out there about them (partnership prospects, exit options, work load, what is IP lit like, etc.), so risk-averse law students just pick biglaw, which is a safer bet.


Could you shed some light on what your specific role is like? I'm set on IP work in some capacity, but haven't really locked in on any specific area (partially because of ignorance).


Just to be clear, is this question about the difference between IP lit, IP transactional (tech trans), and patent prosecution, or the difference between IP and general lit? Either way, your best resource for questions like this would be getting coffee irl with attorneys in each practice area. Frankly, a biglawyer in a firm that does all of the above could probably shed the most light on this.


Ah sorry for the ambiguity. I was looking to see if you could shed some light on what your specific role (day) is like at an IP boutique. There's a thread that outlines average workdays for various places, but IP is typically the one that never gets touched on.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby PotatoSalad » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:There are also a lot of uncertainties and concerns around IP boutiques since there just isn't much literature out there about them (partnership prospects, exit options, work load, what is IP lit like, etc.), so risk-averse law students just pick biglaw, which is a safer bet.


I know OP may not still be around, but could anyone speak to this above? What are the exit options like at a litigation-only IP boutique? It seems a little more clear to me that prosecution work can jump in-house at clients, but I'm not sure how frequently clients would need an IP-litigation specialist. And perhaps that depends more on the size of the client and, therefore, the specific IP boutique you're at.

As I'm doing research leading up to Loyola PLIP I'm trying to get a good grasp of what opportunities would be ahead of me at the IP Boutiques.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:50 am

desmarais?

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:41 am

OP here.

Sorry this isn't in the OP, but it should be important for you all to know that I was a summer associate at my firm. That means that I'm not qualified to talk about what it's actually like to work here, since my only exposure to that is what associates (who are trying to recruit me) have told me. I also can't talk much about what IP lit is like generally. The point of this thread is to mainly answer objective questions, such as how work is distributed, how accessible partners are, how big is the support staff, what firm benefits there are, what firm benefits there aren't, how big are teams, etc. I can talk about my personal experiences as a summer and what I've seen or heard, with the caveat that it's likely filtered to be as appealing as possible. I thought this would be helpful because, like I said earlier, there just isn't much information out there and rising 2Ls have to make a blind decision w/r/t IP lit boutiques.

I can talk maybe a little bit about the culture at the firm, since it's so small and I have met literally every person at the firm except maybe a few of counsel.

WRT exit options, the firm I was at is very young and not many people have left (it has more than doubled in size since when it started and it's less than 10 years old). Of the few who have, I believe there are a couple who went to biglaw, one went to an AUSA (not SDNY), and at least one other went in-house somewhere (so I heard).

Regarding exit options to in-house, remember everything I have to say is hearsay and conjecture. A lot of the large clients my firm works with (IBM) who get sued a lot and/or do a lot of suing have designated litigation in-house counsel. I have no idea what the odds are of getting jobs like that. Probably low. But at the very least, you can start working directly with them and being building a relationship as a junior associte.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby PotatoSalad » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:12 pm

Thanks OP, hope you're enjoying your summer. I think it's a little obvious which firm you're at, but you seem to only have good things to say.

If you had to estimate quality of life for associates, where would you put it? Having a "no billable hours" policy sounds great on paper, but doesn't provide a great deal of insight into the actual work-life balance at the firm.

If you think of it, perhaps PM me. I have a few more questions that I'd like to ask.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:01 pm

Yeah, I think it's pretty clear I worked at Desmarais, so there's no real point beating around the bush.

I've certainly asked about quality of life, but obviously take everything I say with the requisite summer associate salt. The junior associates I talked to have told me that their weeks generally range between 60-70 hours, with certain exceptions, such as being near trial or doing expert reports, where all-nighters are common. Having weekend work is normal, but I think most people have most Sundays free. I've talked with people who have lateraled from biglaw, and they say that some of the great things about not billing hours is not stressing about hitting a minimum or having to make up for "slow" weeks. The partners have also opined that lacking a billable hour structure improves collegiality because you never need to consider whether you can bill the time when someone asks you for help on something.

I have asked about downsides to not having billable hours, but the most I've heard is that it is much harder logistically to balance work among the associates and to know how hard certain associates are working. However, that hurdle is not as high when you're in a firm this small.

The general thing I've heard is that your work-life balance isn't going to be too much better here than at a biglaw firm. It's not Wachtell here though, so you won't be killed worse than biglaw, which I think is fair enough considering you get paid more.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:17 am

Does Desmarais have a policy on dinners/ rides home? I interviewed there and noticed there was a sweet breakfast spread out... is that up for grabs? Do they give cell phones or subsidize gym memberships? How is the benefits plan? It seems generous of them to cover full premiums.

Did you interview at any other IP lit boutiques?

Cheers.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:Does Desmarais have a policy on dinners/ rides home? I interviewed there and noticed there was a sweet breakfast spread out... is that up for grabs? Do they give cell phones or subsidize gym memberships? How is the benefits plan? It seems generous of them to cover full premiums.

Did you interview at any other IP lit boutiques?

Cheers.


OP here. If you stay past 8pm, you can bill your Seamless dinner straight to the client. If you stay past 9pm, you can call the firm's car service to take you home or you can have a cab/uber/lyft/whatever reimbursed.

The main kitchen area on the 26th floor is fully stocked with those disposable cereal bowls at all times, milk (of all kinds, including soy and almond), whole fruit, and a bunch of snacks. Every day except Friday, the firm provides breakfast in there too, so yes, everything you saw in there was up for grabs for everyone, including support staff. On Friday, the firm provides lunch in the big boardroom, where attorneys and support staff without pressing matters sit and eat together. If you have dietary restrictions (vegan/vegetarian, religious, allergy), the firm will make sure you have food to eat.

The firm does not provide cellphones, but it does reimburse up to $50 of your monthly phone bill.

There is a discounted rate with the NY Health and Racquet Club I believe. I am unsure about Equinox. I don't think there is a subsidized rate with them, but that could be wrong.

Since I was not a full-time attorney, I don't have any experience with the benefits plan, but I didn't see any indication that it isn't as advertised. The firm does pay your monthly health insurance and dental premiums in full, and it contributes 4% of your income to your 401K up to some number around 12k I think (so after your 4th or 5th year or something the contribution will stay the same).
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Info About IP Lit Boutiques

Postby bobrino » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:25 pm

Thanks for the valuable information, OP. If you're still around, I would be very interested to hear about how you made the choice between a patent litigation boutique (like Desmarais) vs. a biglaw firm with a strong patent practice (like Kirkland). Feel free to PM.



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