Top 10 Reasons Most General Practice Firms Have No Idea How to Hire and Evaluate Patent Attorneys
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.