We’re pleased to bring to you this post by UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, identifying the top skills every IP lawyer should possess and why, based on the collective experiences of its alumni and professors.
The Top 7 Skills Every IP Lawyer Needs for Success
At UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, we are committed to producing leaders in intellectual property law. For nearly 50 years, our law school has produced a number of highly successful IP lawyers, many of whom are thought leaders in their respective fields. In this post, we thought of tapping into their collective experiences to identify the top skills every IP lawyer should possess and why.
We asked several experts–our professors and alumni from University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law–for their thoughts.
And this is what they had to say.
1. Communication: According to Micky Minhas, JD, LLM ’97, executive director of the UNH Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property, the ability to clearly articulate issues, concerns, and solutions to clients is key. His colleague, Professor Alexandra Roberts, agrees. Roberts notes that every IP lawyer should possess strong writing and communication skills, including “the ability to explain complex concepts in plain terms and tell a compelling story.” This also involves developing the keen listening skills essential to understanding and prioritizing client needs.
2. Understanding the “why”: “The perspective of ‘why’ enables the IP attorney to prepare and take a position while drafting patents which shall help their client in the long run,” explains Vishal Katariya, LLM ’01, founder of Katariya & Associates Law Office and IPR chair at the University of Pune. Katariya also recommends explaining the cost/benefit analysis to the client before filing for IP. This practice will offer additional objectivity to the process and lead to an improved relationship between attorney and client.
3. Preparation and in-depth knowledge: Prior reading on the subject, and reviewing the IP filed by the competitors of the client, can go a long way toward positive outcomes. In other words, staying up-to-date on the latest status of IP in a given field can prepare a lawyer for success. Shashwat Purohit, LLM ’09, a partner at Mindspright Legal, advises IP lawyers to build an in-depth understanding of substantive law and policy before presenting a case. Having the diligence to develop command over technical subject matter can go a long way.
4. Grasping the fundamentals: Gustavo Piva de Andrade, LLM ’10, a partner at Dannemann Siemsen and executive director of the Dannemann Siemsen Institute, identifies three related skills as essential to success for every IP lawyer. They include a deep knowledge of how individual IP rights interact with one another; an understanding of the multidisciplinary aspects of IP, and how a team of people with different backgrounds can work together; and a comprehensive understanding of how IP promotes economic development and innovation. “Upon mastering these skills,” says de Andrade, “the lawyer will not only be able to provide high-quality advice for clients, but also help to develop and promote an efficient, coherent IP policy for governments and institutions.”
5. Maintaining a worldview: Ashlyn Lembree, director of the Intellectual Property and Transaction Clinic at UNH Franklin Pierce, reminds new attorneys that IP is a global area of the law, which makes being comfortable with (and making an effort to understand) different cultures and laws around the globe an important skill for IP lawyers. In the same vein, diplomacy and negotiating skills are also needed to ensure the disputes that inevitably arise in matters of IP are more likely to result in favorable outcomes for clients.
6. Proactivity and cooperation: “Your job will be to anticipate issues and come up with solutions before they become bigger problems,” says Minhas. The framework from which IP lawyers form legal strategy is important in getting ahead of any potential challenges. His colleague, Lembree, suggests the need for IP lawyers to develop an appreciation for business decisions, teamwork, and strategies devised in collaboration with clients. “Good IP attorneys need to understand the law,” explains Lembree, “devise pressure points and priorities, and fit those puzzle pieces into the client’s business plans.”
7. Laser focus: Finally, stresses Professor Roberts, IP lawyers must be able to “zoom in and zoom out.” This means focusing on and understanding very specific, technical details, but also being capable of stepping back and contemplating that work in the context of the broader marketplace, international laws, separate but related IP regimes, and accounting for public-facing implications.
UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law invites you to learn and practice these skills with our world-class IP faculty at the program ranked #4 for intellectual property by U.S. News & World Report. Click here for more information. Apply today!
Note: This is a sponsored post.