How did you get your first job in this field?
I am a patent attorney. Initially I was an Aerospace Engineer in the US military working on airplane and satellite programs. Part of my job was to interact with engineers who were inventing cutting edge technology and products. I became interested in learning how to protect intellectual property and how to position it for use across multiple applications, so I decided to go to law school. Shortly after I started working as a patent attorney the inventors I was helping asked me to protect their inventions in foreign jurisdictions.
Describe your typical day at work.
Parts of my day are spent working with clients drafting patent applications and responding to communications from the U.S. Patent Office on those patent applications. Other parts of my day are spent communicating with patent attorneys in countries outside the Unites States, such as the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, and China. If I am working on a patent infringement case involving parties or witnesses located outside the United States, then some of my day might involve reviewing foreign technical documents, preparing foreign witnesses for depositions, and taking or defending depositions. Sometimes those depositions are held in a foreign country.
What personal qualities have helped you become successful?
Being able to approach a legal problem from a number of different angles (including my clients’ viewpoint) and coming up with alternative solutions is a skill that has helped me be the best attorney I can be. I am also a good listener who works collaboratively with others as a team member.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of being a patent lawyer is helping people get patents to protect their ideas and inventions. Guiding them through the process and helping them understand the complexities of intellectual property protection is rewarding, particularly when I work with clients who are not familiar with the U.S. filing process. Being involved in non-patent law pro-bono representation is also meaningful to me. I have been able to help a number of disadvantaged families in their petitions for legal guardianship of children that are in difficult circumstances.
Why did you choose a career with an international focus?
International chose me. The inventions my clients are developing have global reach. Advancements in communications, technology, aerospace and engineering are occurring all over the world. In today’s market, it is really important to make certain you are positioned to take full advantage of opportunities, wherever they may be, and to make certain you are protected not just in the U.S. but around the world.