• With today’s influx of technology, patent attorneys are in more demand than ever.
  • However, many hiring departments don’t know what to look for in a patent attorney.
  • This article can help you understand that some general practice firms haven’t the slightest idea about patent attorneys or what they do.

  1. Patent Attorneys Often Do Not Care What Law School They Attend.
  2. When Patent Attorneys Get into Law School They Often Don't Care About Grades, Journals, Law Review or Any of The Stuff Their Peers Are Likely to Be Interested In.
  3. Patent Attorneys Are Often Older Than Other Attorneys.
  4. Patent Attorneys Often Interview Horribly with General Practice Law Firms Because They Are Not the Same Sorts of Attorneys.
  5. Patent Attorneys Have Disputes with Each Other and Hold Grudges That Are Often Severe and Difficult for the Average Attorney to Understand.
  6. Patent Attorneys Tend to Hold Multiple Jobs in Many Law Firms, Switch Firms Often and Also Have Long Periods of Unemployment on Their Resumes.
  7. Patent Attorneys Often Have Stints as In-house Attorneys.
  8. Patent Attorneys Often Have Stints as Solo Practitioners.
  9. Patent Attorneys Tend to Be More Calculating About Not Just Their Work but How They Spend Their Time.
  10. Patent Attorneys Are Not as Ambitious as the Average Attorney When It Comes to Money and Prestige.

Summary: Patent attorneys are in higher demand in today's technology-driven world, but some firms are still not sure how to hire them.

Hiring patent attorneys requires a different mindset than many law firms are used to.

A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes
Law firms have an excellent business renting out the labor of scientists and engineers, including technical specialists, patent agents, and patent attorneys (who are also scientists and engineers). For the purposes of this article, let's just call these individuals "scientists."

The advent of large (and even small) generalist law firms renting out the work of scientists is a relatively new phenomenon. I've been a legal recruiter most of my career and when I started practicing law over 20 years ago the substantial majority of patent attorneys practiced in small, patent-only law firms that were sort of like "guilds." Some of these guilds are still around. They are not like normal law firms and they are populated by science-types that think and act differently than your average attorney. In fact, patent attorneys are far different than "average" attorneys and law firms need to understand these differences.

Patent-only IP firms and traditional law firms are as different as a science lab is from a college newspaper. They are populated by different people, with different interests and motivations. You simply cannot compare the two. What makes someone "cool" and acceptable in the science lab is going to be something completely different than what makes someone "cool" and acceptable in the college newspaper.