HenryHankPalmer wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:26 am
Alpha wrote: ↑
Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:32 pm
done wrote: ↑
Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:32 pm
Would you say that your firm hires primarily through OCI or BigLaw refugees like yourself?
We don't do OCI, and really don't do new grad at all (though I have a feeling we may open up to idea of a stub year or first year, in right scenario). We run pretty lean, so it's tough for us to take a new grad - we'd prefer that someone else's clients pay for the training, frankly.
What is the largest difference between BigLaw lit practice and a boutique?
I think there are a ton, but a lot of it varies based on the specific biglaw firm and specific boutique, but I think one thing that is pretty true regardless of specific biglaw firm and boutique is that biglaw is relatively highly structured. You have defined resources, assets, and support staff. Boutique is a bit less structured and a bit more ad hoc. And generally, a lot more autonomous. At our firm, you won't succeed if you have to be told what to do next or don't take initiative to deploy resources to solve problems. Sometimes that means having to learn about about something that you otherwise wouldn't. For example, what is the right doc review vendor for a particular case (because it is not always Relativity nor is it always particular company Y). And, at least at my firm, there is a strong "big kids rule" in play. No one is going to check on you to see how progress is coming on something, if you need help, or if you are swamped so bad you may miss a deadline. Some thrive in this environment, and some don't.
How much of your work is substantive (writing something besides discovery responses/taking depos/actually speaking in court/trial work, etc.)?
It depends on where you are at in the case - probably 2 years ago or so, when some of my cases began, it was pretty heavy on discovery, including preparing discovery and responding to it. But that is also around depositions. But, here we have a very flat hierarchy. We don't put school year on our website, and I couldn't tell you when most of my colleagues graduated. I've done doc review for a colleague that I think is younger than my class year, and I've had a partner do depo prep kits for me. But as an example of the substance level - I was primarily in charge of the infringement case for two parallel litigations, and managed everything from infringement discovery, to expert depo prep and defense, to trial prep, setting trial strategy including determining what we keep and drop, and then being able to present our expert witness at a bench trial portion of our second case.
When I left biglaw, I could tell you exactly how many depositions I had taken. Now, I have no clue. My next step in progression there is expert depositions (not defense). I've argued evidentiary motions, procedural motions, and pre-trial motions in federal court.
That, frankly, is the biggest difference between biglaw and boutique (though I know some people at boutiques that still see a bit more of a biglaw model, so it's not categorical). But generally, I have far, far more experience than a comparable 5-6th year at a biglaw firm.
Do you have a hard science background?
Yes and no - I have a b.s. in abstract math. It's not PTO-qualifying, and not EE, so many firms would take that as a negative. But, I think stronger trial boutiques (which we consider ourselves to be), care more about the ability to explain technology to lay people than understanding it inherently and easily. We hire experts to be the experts, but I will say everyone here is very, very intelligent and adept at learning technology (high tech to pharma) that is not in their wheelhouse or part of their prior undergrad history. That said, I am working on studying for the FE exam, as passing that makes you patent bar eligible. I'll get around to that probably after the SCOTUS ruling on PTAB - as I definitely don't want to go through all that effort for non-existent IPRs.
What does patent practice in Texas look like post-TC Heartland? RIP EDTX, right?
RIP EDTX as we know it, for sure. But, there are still some major players HQ'ed in EDTex, so it will never truly go away. That said, I see the local counsel bar out there scrambling to be experts in things other than patent lit - so it will definitely have an impact on that economy. Frankly, I think the biggest impact is that it all but wipes our ANDA lit in EDTex, and while the high tech is in a state of decline and future is a bit uncertain, the ANDA work simply is not going to go away anytime in the future.
But, for lead counsel firms, the EDTex thing is not that big of an issue - everyone's always maintained a nationwide practice.