Senior Pharma IP Associate Moves to a Larger Firm in a New Market |

Senior Pharma IP Associate Moves to a Larger Firm in a New Market

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I worked with this candidate for over a year. As a senior IP associate at a small firm in Northern Virginia, she had no portable business to take to another firm in the area, and she also really wanted to move back home to the North East. She had been with her firm since she was in law school and since then, she had been very busy and this is how she likes to remain. However, when she contacted me, she was seeking a new opportunity because the pipeline of work coming into the firm had begun to slow a bit and there was concern about the future of viability of maintaining her strong practice.

Additionally, the partner who held the primary client relationships had maintained very close ties to the clients and sort of blocked my candidate from doing so. He had become ill and he was out of the office for a while. My candidate was able to lead the firm in his absence and this solidified her confidence in her ability to cultivate and maintain strong client relationships in addition to actually doing the legal work. She was very interested in client development and wanted to find a firm that would support her efforts in this regard and potentially provide her with some resources to undertake client development activities.

The candidate did have a PhD in Pharmaceuticals from Rutgers and she had done well at a top 20 law school. Because she had been at a small firm for so long, she had gained a great deal of responsibility early on and had assumed a leading role on her matters relatively early in her career. She had ten years of experience providing client counseling to a number of large corporate clients on patent procurement strategy, patentability, infringement avoidance, and due diligence in support of licensing and acquisitions. She had extensive experience preparing patent opinions (500+ opinions).
The candidate wanted to be at a more stable firm and at a place that offered more resources and support - and not a block to - client development. We looked at firms in the Northern Virginia and D.C. areas, as well as firms in her home state of Pennsylvania, and nearby in New Jersey. Because of her pharmaceutical background, I encouraged her to consider Boston as well. Initially, looking in the D.C. Metro area only, we did not get any traction. When we expanded the search to New England, one firm in Boston was interested in interviewing the candidate but, ultimately decided she was too senior for their needs. When we further expanded the search to the North East - Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York - we found a firm that had just had a new need arise and we applied to the opening the very same day the firm provided us with the position description.
The firm is actually based in the Midwest and was opening a new office in the North East and looking for a senior IP associate in order to assist the partner building the office there. We highlighted the candidate's ties to the area and spoke to her network there. This was appealing to the firm as the partner is one who moved from the Midwest to the new office in the North East. When the firm made an offer to my candidate, it was less than what we were expecting. Previously, they had asked the candidate if she needed a Counsel title or if an Associate title would be acceptable and she had responded that she was open to meeting their needs and that the title was not top of mind to her. At the offer stage, when we tried to negotiate a higher salary, the firm made the point that this is the amount they pay their senior associates in their Midwest offices. I replied that the cost of living in the Midwest is generally cheaper than in the North East and advised the firm that if they wanted to attract local talent on the East Coast, they would have to pay more. We did end up being successful here, with the firm offering a higher salary as well as relocation costs. Their benefits package was also quite generous, which was important to my candidate who has a daughter. When negotiating the salary, we made it clear that we are not doing so as a sort of ultimatum, but just to see if some of the costs of moving and higher rent could be covered and this seemed to sit well with the firm. We made it clear we were trying to get to a place of "yes" rather than just seeing how much more we could get to use as leverage against/with another prospective firm.

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit
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