Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 5

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’

 

EPISODE FIVE | INCLUDE A COMPONENT OF BLIND HIRING/strong>

 

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Harrity & Harrity Diversity & Inclusion Report

Harrity & Harrity, LLP has released its 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Report, focused on identifying and addressing the lack of diversity in the patent legal profession.

Our Diversity Mission has always been to promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family-friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team by leveraging and learning from our team’s diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills, talents, and capabilities. Our goal with this report is to educate the field on the root of the issue and both suggest and inspire innovative diversity-focused solutions to instigate change, so that the future of our field is representative of the diversity of our population.

Read the full report below or click here to download a PDF version

 

HARRITY & HARRITY DIVERSITY & INCLUSION REPORT
FEBRUARY 2021

THE ISSUE

The practice of law remains one of the least diverse professions in America.  Not only are men overrepresented in the practice of law, but they outnumber women in equity partner positions nearly five to one.  In addition, around 90 percent of equity partners are white, and approximately 9 percent of equity partners are racially diverse minorities with only one-third of them being racially diverse women.

Diversity statistics become even more troubling when we examine patent attorneys. The patent bar requires a hard science background, such as a degree in engineering, chemistry, physics, or biology; however, the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field has historically been dominated by men, who, as of 2017, account for 76 percent of all STEM jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce1.

Since 1950, less than 6 percent of USPTO registrants have been racially diverse (Fig. 1)2. For example, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, an average of 1.7 percent of registrants per year were racially diverse2.  During the 1990s, the average for racially diverse registrants increased to approximately 4 percent of registrants each year.  Despite significant increases in 2000 (16.2 percent increase) and 2013 (20.1 percent increase), respectively, the average USPTO registration rate for racial minorities since 2000 has hovered around 6.5 percent2.  Among racially diverse women, the numbers are significantly worse, hovering at an average of 1.7 percent of registrants since 19502.  In fact, there are more patent attorneys and agents named “Michael” in the United States than there are racially diverse women.  From 1950 until 1999, an average of 0.2 percent of USPTO registrations each year were racially diverse women, with the first being registered in the late 1980s2.  Since then, those numbers have improved very little, with an average of 2.2 percent of registrants being racially diverse women since 2000 (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Historical racial breakdown of patent practitioner registrations by year, including racially diverse female registrations

For patent firms seeking to increase diversity in their practice, existing diversity data is problematic.  For starters, less than 15 percent of registered practitioners are diverse (race, gender, LGBTQ+, individuals with disabilities) in the areas of computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering2.  As registered patent practitioners move along their career paths, there is inevitable attrition, as reported in the Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey report3.  Accordingly, it will be difficult for firms practicing in the areas of computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering to improve their diversity numbers, particularly at the partnership level, given that the diversity numbers are so low before adjusting for attrition.

Diversity of the patent bar is not only important to those practicing in this profession- it is essential for broadening participation in the innovation process by underrepresented groups.  Innovation by underrepresented groups will start to improve when they can go to patent attorneys who understand them, who look like them, and who can relate to them. Lowering barriers to the innovation ecosystem to include all groups of people will foster a more robust economy.

CURRENT APPROACHES

The lack of diversity in the field of patent law is no secret, and several approaches have been tried in an effort to drive change, with two of the most popular approaches being internship and mentoring programs.  These programs help STEM/law students and new patent agents/attorneys improve their skillsets; however, these approaches do little to move the diversity needle in a meaningful way.  If they were truly impactful, we’d have seen more significant results over the many years these programs have existed.  Even if internships and mentorships focus strictly on helping diverse groups, the programs still only help the minuscule number of diverse individuals who are already in the field, which does nothing to increase overall diversity numbers in patent law.

The Mansfield Rule® is another well-meaning approach for addressing diversity in the legal profession, specifically when it comes to diversity within leadership roles.  To achieve Mansfield Certification®, law firms are required to demonstrate progress in increasing diversity in senior recruitment and leadership decisions by affirmatively considering a minimum of 30 percent diverse candidates for these roles, including women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+, and lawyers with disabilities.  Today, women account for a mere 20 percent of all USPTO registered attorneys and just 5 percent of all registered patent attorneys are racially diverse2.  Therefore, it becomes statistically impossible for every patent law firm to have diverse candidates make up 30 percent of their leadership talent pool. The data doesn’t get much better for the general legal profession either, which has less restrictive requirements to practice as compared to patent law.  As of 2019, all racial minorities combined make up just 17.48 percent of practicing attorneys, and only 3.43 percent of all attorneys include individuals with disabilities or that are openly LGBTQ+3.  While women account for just over 36 percent of all attorneys, women of color only account for 9 percent (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. 2019 Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey overall law firm demographics

The Coca-Cola® “Heavy Stick” approach is similar to the Mansfield Rule®; however, it actively punishes firms that do not meet certain diversity requirements.  According to a January 2021 article by Bloomberg Law4, “Coca-Cola® is forcing its outside counsel to staff at least 30% of new matters with diverse attorneys, with at least half of that billable time going to Black lawyers in particular.” The corporation’s General Counsel, Bradley Gayton, stated he hopes to increase the overall diverse billable hour staffing requirement to 50% within the next two years, calling the initiative “one of the legal industry’s most rigorous outside counsel diversity programs yet” and withholding a nonrefundable 30 percent of fees from firms that fail to meet diverse staffing metrics4.

As with the Mansfield Rule®, this approach poses several logistical issues based on the fact that only 3.45 percent of attorneys are Black (Fig. 3).  Even after adding in all racially diverse attorneys, Coca-Cola® is limiting its legal talent force to less than 18 percent of the legal field (Fig. 3).  Applying this approach to the patent field produces even worse results.  For example, 86.5 percent of all intellectual property attorneys in the United States are Caucasian, meaning just 13.5 percent are racially diverse5.  Looking at the patent field specifically, merely 1.7 percent, or 578 of the total 34,000 registered patent attorneys are Black (Fig. 4).

The “Heavy Stick” approach is sure to result in some level of quality reduction for client work products, because work is assigned based on physical characteristics instead of relevant legal skills and experience.  Coca-Cola®, and others adopting the “Heavy Stick” approach, should expect a downward shift in quality, and perhaps also timeliness, efficiency, and expertise, if they decide to eliminate their existing standards in favor of this new diversity driven approach.

The overriding problem among the diversity approaches discussed above is that none address the root cause of the diversity issue: the numbers.  It may be idealistic for an organization to say that it will hire a specific number of diverse candidates or counsel; however, when it comes time to make diverse hires, where will these diverse individuals come from?  If, for example, every organization requires that 30% of their work goes to Black patent attorneys and, as we know, there is a pool of 578 of them5, how much work can those attorneys handle?  What happens to the firms whose fees are withheld because these 578 attorneys already have too much work on their plates?  How is it statistically viable to meet these standards, and what impact will it have on the health and work/life balance of the 578 attorneys?

HARRITY ADVOCATES FOR A NEW APPROACH

For the reasons above, we believe that the Coca-Cola® “Heavy Stick” approach (i.e., an approach that punishes law firms that do not meet certain metrics) is not the correct approach to improve diversity in the legal profession, especially when the standards cannot be met with today’s pool of diverse attorneys.  Instead, we recommend a “Carrot” approach, which rewards firms that innovate when it comes to diversity solutions.  With the “Carrot” approach, companies can require firms to create and implement new diversity solutions, and explain how these solutions actually help solve the diversity numbers problem in the legal profession.  The expectation of firms to create programs that bring more diverse candidates into the field, rather than merely manipulating data to check boxes or achieve unrealistic quotas, will help address the issue from the ground up.  Companies should encourage and reward innovative and disruptive diversity solutions however they see fit.  Whether this be awarding the firms with the most disruptive and beneficial solutions with a nominal monetary amount, investing in programs themselves through sponsorships or scholarships, or other applicable incentives, firms will switch their focus from scrambling to find diverse attorneys or recruiting from competing firms to making a lasting impact in the field.

HARRITY’S DIVERSITY SOLUTIONS

Our Diversity Mission has always been to promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family-friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team by leveraging and learning from our team’s diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills, talents, and capabilities.  At Harrity & Harrity, we are committed to The Rooney Rule 2.0, a hiring policy we pioneered that demonstrates our firm’s commitment to our Diversity Mission is not just lip service.

The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview one minority candidate for every head coaching or senior football operations job opening.  However, this means that if 1,000 individuals apply to the opening, only one minority individual needs to be considered and the other 999 can be white males.  Our Rooney Rule 2.0 takes this policy a step further; we are committed to interviewing one female or minority candidate for every male, non-minority candidate interviewed for any position at our firm.  While this is similar to the Mansfield Rule® in that diverse candidates are considered, the Rooney Rule 2.0 applies to all positions at the firm, not just leadership roles.  Prior to implementing our Rooney Rule 2.0 in January of 2016, 8 percent of Harrity & Harrity attorneys were diverse.  Today, 30 percent of our attorneys are diverse, nearly quadrupling our diversity numbers in five years through the implementation of just one policy.

We also remain committed to producing top quality work for our clients, so unlike the “Heavy Stick” approach that selects candidates based on physical characteristics, our candidates must go through a rigorous hiring process, which includes skills-based testing.  Once a candidate submits their test, all identifying information is removed to eliminate potential scoring bias and is replaced with an anonymized code prior to sending the test to a separate grading team.  We aspire to grow our diversity numbers; however, we cannot sacrifice the quality of our work or the value of our clients’ IP assets.  Our process allows candidates to be screened based solely on their abilities, rather than physical characteristics.  Once hired, every individual is reviewed based on a scorecard that relates to their position and includes strictly objective metrics to be graded on (timeliness, work product volume, efficiency, etc.).  This process allows individuals to be reviewed solely based on their job performance, and again removes the likelihood of bias.

We recognize that our high standards for quality limit the overall pool of eligible candidates, and that not enough diverse individuals exist in that pool in the first place.  To fix the root cause of this problem – the lack of diversity in the legal profession – requires a long-term approach to be measured in years, not months or days.  Several factors contribute to this problem, which, in turn, requires a multi-pronged solution:

  1. Insufficient number of diverse students entering law school. This aspect requires educating young diverse individuals about legal career opportunities in high school and undergraduate programs; putting programs in place to steer these individuals toward law school (e.g., pre-law classes, scholarships, tutoring for LSAT, summer internships, etc.); and encouraging underrepresented groups to participate by addressing and eliminating historical obstacles (e.g., lack of financial resources, college readiness, institutional stereotypes, lack of focus and self-motivation, lack of assistance and engagement6).  This aspect has at least a 3-year lead time to see results.
  2. Insufficient number of diverse students entering STEM programs (which is a prerequisite to a career in patent law). This aspect must be tackled at the middle school and high school levels to increase enrollments in undergraduate programs.  The above approach can be applied when students are in middle and high school STEM programs to inform them of legal opportunities.  This aspect has at least a 2-year lead time (assuming high school juniors are the most advanced targets) for changing college admission rates, and at least 6 years before individuals graduate high school, complete undergraduate degrees, and can enter law school.  Realistically, it will take 7 to 9 years before law school graduation demographics change noticeably for the patent field under this solution.
  3. Insufficient number of mid and upper-level attorneys that are diverse. This aspect requires that firms provide targeted training, mentoring, and work opportunities to diverse attorneys to grow their skills and help them advance within firms.  Merely advancing people based on physical characteristics and regardless of skillset will impair quality delivered to clients and will blemish diversity efforts going forward.  This aspect has at least a one-year lead time because meaningful training for a narrow skillset takes at least a year to complete.  Lead time will be longer for more varied or advanced skillsets.

Using this knowledge, Harrity’s Diversity Committee has dedicated many hours to creating, implementing, and evolving Diversity Programs that are focused on serving the legal community by helping to increase the number of diverse legal practitioners and enhancing their quality of practice in patent law.

Minority Firm Incubator Program:  We hired our first Minority Firm Incubator (MFI) candidate in 2020.  This program was established to help train, cultivate, and launch minority-owned patent law firms.  The program consists of four phases: Drafting Patent Applications, Prosecuting Patent Applications, Firm Management, and Firm Launch.  In the fourth year, program participants have the tools, knowledge, and experience required to launch their own patent law firms with the added benefit of established corporate relationships based on Harrity working with our clients to send work to a graduate’s new firm.  Firm leaders will receive ongoing mentorship from Harrity to help ensure their success.  The goal of the program is to increase the number of minority owned law firms.  Incubator programs are vital because they help jumpstart a new law firm in the same way venture capital funding helps startups ramp up their operations.  Minority-owned firms are less likely to have access to the capital and resources needed to run a sustainable business, and the Harrity MFI reduces these obstacles by connecting new firms with clients and by providing personalized training to the firm’s leadership team.

Minority Firm Incubator 2.0:  In an attempt to make our Minority Firm Incubator program more impactful to the patent field, we are developing an enhanced version of our program.  This program will be both a virtual and condensed version of our current MFI and focus on helping diverse individuals launch their own patent firms and help existing, struggling minority-owned firms to succeed.  The program will teach best practices of firm management and focus on improving quality processes within the firms, which will in turn allow them to give better pitches, win more business, and produce higher quality work product.

Annual Women’s Patent Law Workshop:  We are currently planning our Fourth Annual Women’s Workshop, to be held May 2021.  This four-day virtual workshop introduces the field of patent law to female science and engineering students, law school students, and recent graduates.  Women from across the country join us for skills training in patent preparation, prosecution, and writing; career and resume mentoring; patent bar preparation; and to learn first-hand from partners at major law firms, leaders in university tech transfer, and in-house counsel about their experiences as women in the legal field.  By engaging women at the early stages of their careers, we hope to encourage them to join the patent field and provide them with tools to do so successfully.

The Harrity Academy: Launched in September of 2020, the Harrity Academy is a free virtual program comprised of three courses that introduce diverse participants to the field of patent law; provide exclusive training, practice materials, and mentorship; and teach how to effectively and efficiently draft and prosecute high-quality patent applications.  The goal of this program is to help increase the number of diverse candidates entering the patent field by targeting diverse students in STEM programs and law schools; newly practicing attorneys; and early career engineers.  Courses are held each Spring and Fall, with 20 participants per class, and are voluntarily taught by Harrity attorneys.

The Diversity Channel:  In January 2021, Harrity launched The Diversity Channel, a collection of resources aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in the patent field by sharing ideas and sparking conversations.  The channel includes published articles on the issues surrounding diversity in the legal field; Driving Diversity, a weekly vlog produced by Diversity Co-Chair Elaine Spector with consumable tips to drive diversity within an organization; and Diversity Dialogue, a series of webinars held throughout the year featuring diversity-thought leaders that provide the benefits, challenges, and processes associated with increasing diversity in the patent field.

Patent Pathways:  While each of our Diversity Programs have the implicit goal of encouraging diversity and inclusion in the patent legal field, Patent Pathways will have the most direct impact on the least represented group (i.e., Black female patent practitioners), with a goal of increasing the number of Black female registered patent practitioners.  The program includes an introduction to patent careers, several weeks of patent preparation and prosecution training, and a clear pathway to taking and passing the patent bar.  This program will include corporate sponsorships for patent bar preparation courses as well as taking the bar, and potential law school scholarships offered to those who pass the patent bar.  Patent Pathways participants will also be matched with patent attorneys for ongoing mentorship opportunities and maintain a network of other Patent Pathway participants to help each other succeed throughout their careers.

Harrity’s Tutoring Program:  While internships and mentoring programs help diverse individuals who are already in the field, tutoring programs aimed at middle and high school students in math and science classes focus on encouraging diverse individuals to enter the patent field.  By enlightening students, at a young age, to education opportunities in the STEM field, we provide students with the encouragement needed to become interested in a patent law career, and give them the tools they need to pursue such a career.  Our proposed program consists of three phases:

Phase 1 – Provide free STEM tutoring to girls/women who are interested in STEM, starting as early as middle school and continuing through college.  This program will help increase the number of women who go to college to pursue a STEM degree and greatly increase the chances that they graduate with such a degree.  We recommend that all participants of this program be required to partake in free mentoring sessions, which will include an introduction to the patent field.

Phase 2 – Expand the program to include all categories of diverse students.

Phase 3 – Expand the group of schools and colleges involved.

Possible Expansion – Provide free English tutoring (since writing is an important part of a career in patent law).

The overall goal of the program is to increase the percentage of diverse USPTO-registered patent professionals in the patent field so as to better represent the diversity of the U.S. population.  This program requires partnering with skilled tutors for complex STEM courses and requires the support of corporate sponsors.

Internal Progress: In early 2020, we named our first female partner, Elaine Spector.  Along with her twenty years of experience in the patent field, Elaine serves as Co-Chair of the Harrity Diversity Committee, Chair of the AIPLA Women in IP Law Committee’s Global Networking Event and Outreach Subcommittee, Vice-Chair of IPO’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Co-Chair of IPO’s Diversity & Inclusion Outreach Subcommittee, and a Board Member and Secretary at the non-profit No More Stolen Childhoods.

As a firm, we are actively involved with several organizations that promote Diversity within the legal community:  AIPLA- Women in IP Law Committee; Association of Legal Administrators, ChIPs; IPO Diversity & Inclusion Committee; and Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA).  We will also be conducting monthly Affinity Group meetings led by Edward Kim, former president of the largest government-affinity group, USPTO-Asian Pacific American Network (APANET).  In addition, we are proud to report that all employees at the firm completed diversity and unconscious bias training in the last year.  We continue to work every day to ensure inclusion within our firm through open communication, weekly leadership check-in calls, and regular committee meetings which allow any member of our firm to participate in brainstorming initiatives for all aspects of our business development, including our Diversity Committee.

HARRITY SEEKS PARTNERS TO IMPROVE THE PATENT LAW PROFESSION

Imagine the future of our legal profession if companies adopted our proposed Carrot approach, where a majority of law firms are developing new and disruptive diversity programs to finally make the diversity issue a thing of the past. One of the largest obstacles we face in this battle is a lack of action. While current approaches attempt to address internal diversity counts, rarely are organizations creating external programs directed at fixing the root cause of the issue. The legal profession first needs to recognize that the problem is not that firms do not want to hire diverse candidates, but that a sufficient number of diverse candidates do not exist in the field in the first place. Using this knowledge, organizations that require law firms to seek practical and attainable solutions that bring more diverse individuals into patent law will be the ones responsible for revolutionizing the field with respect to diversity. In turn, we can create proportionate opportunities for diverse individuals to thrive in the field, such as described in the Mansfield Rule® and Coca-Cola® approaches.

That being said, Harrity & Harrity is currently taking action to tackle this issue head-on. As outlined in our aforementioned Diversity Programs section, we have dissected the causes of the diversity issue and created realistic plans of action to begin addressing diversity issues from the ground-up. While we recognize that this will be a long-term effort, we are confident that we can drive the field in the right direction, beginning now.

Next Steps:

Patent Pathways

This program is scheduled to launch in Spring 2022. Materials for patent training will be provided by Harrity, and classes will be taught by both Harrity attorneys and other leaders in the patent field. The goal of this program is to increase the number of Black female registered patent practitioners; however, this training is only successful if participants actually go on to take the patent bar. This opens up several partnership opportunities, including:

1. Exclusive Program Sponsorship: Pay for patent bar preparation course, patent bar exam, and USPTO registration fees for all of the women who participate in our Patent Pathways program. This equates to $500 per preparation course, $400 per patent bar exam and $100 per registration for up to 20 women in the class at a time.

2. Non-exclusive Program Sponsorship: Pay for one or more women for one or more stages of the patent bar registration process. This equates to roughly $500 per preparation course, $400 per patent bar exam and/or $100 per registration.

3. Scholarships: Offer law school scholarships to any number of women who both complete the Patent Pathways training and obtain registration with the USPTO. The amount of any particular scholarship is discretionary.

Harrity’s Tutoring Program

Providing diverse students with the resources needed to succeed in the STEM field at a young age will increase the likelihood of them going on to pursue a degree and a career in STEM, which is a critical first step for entering the field of patent law. With a long-term goal of increasing the percentage of diverse USPTO-registered patent professionals, students need to both be aware of this opportunity, and be equipped to succeed should they pursue it, which this program accomplishes. Our tutoring program will have several partnership opportunities, including:

1. Exclusive Program Sponsorship: Pay for full tutoring program for entire participant group, which includes multiple tutors for multiple schools. (cost TBD)

2. Non-exclusive Program Sponsorship: Pay for one or more tutors for one or more students. (cost TBD)

3. Scholarships: Offer undergraduate scholarships to any number of students who complete the tutoring program and enter a STEM program at an accredited university. The amount of any particular scholarship is discretionary.

We are actively seeking partners to join us in transforming the legal profession to one that mirrors the diverse landscape of our society as a whole. This starts with giving diverse individuals the tools required to enter and succeed in the patent field and encouraging early interest in pursuing a career in patent law. We feel that our Patent Pathways and Tutoring Program will do exactly that. However, these programs require the partnership of corporations and/or law firms to achieve a significant, nationwide impact. Will you join Harrity on the forefront of this transformation?

 

For more information on Harrity’s diversity initiatives, click here.  To contact us regarding this report, please email info@harrityllp.com.

 

CITATIONS

  1. Women in STEM: 2017 Update,” U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Office of the Chief Economist ESA Issue Brief #06-17 (November 2017).
  2. Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region,” Landslide® Magazine Vol. 13 Num. 1 (September 2020).
  3. Law Firm Diversity Survey, Overall Law Firm Demographics,” Vault & Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Report 4 (March 2020).
  4. Coke GC Tired of ‘Good Intentions,’ Wants Firm Diversity Now,” Bloomberg Law (January 28, 2021).
  5. Dulabaum, Nina L.  “Barriers to Academic Success: A Qualitative Study of African American and Latino Male Students,” Innovation Showcase 11:6. League for Innovation in the Community College (June 2016).

The names and logos of third-party products and companies used in the materials are the property of their respective owners and may also be trademarks.

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 4

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’

 

EPISODE FOUR | REVAMP YOUR INTERVIEW PROCESS

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 3

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’

 

EPISODE THREE | WORDING YOUR JOB POST

 

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Elaine Spector Presents at 2021 TIGER Innovation Conference: Advancing Equity in Innovation

Harrity’s Elaine Spector, joined by Ayana Marshall, presented on diversity-related issues in the field of IP for Emory Law’s 2021 TIGER Innovation Conference: Advancing Equity in Innovation. The conference explored issues concerning gender and racial gaps in the innovation system such as access to resources for entrepreneurs who are women and people of color and the underrepresentation of diverse inventors in the patent system and included several expert speakers in this area.

Elaine’s presentation focused on Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region, a topic on which Elaine & data analyst LaTia Brand co-authored an article of the same title. Elaine also discussed several of Harrity’s Diversity Initiatives aimed at addressing the lack of diversity in our field by increasing the pool of diverse candidates and providing resources for those individuals to succeed.

You can watch the full presentation here:
Part 1

Part 2


To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 2

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’

EPISODE TWO | INCREASE THE POOL

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 1

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’
EPISODE ONE | THE ISSUE

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Law360: Harrity & Harrity Launches Academy To Diversify Patent Law

Law360 (December 23, 2020, 4:20 PM EST) — To address some of the issues underlying a lack of diversity in patent law, Harrity & Harrity LLP has announced a new set of free classes the firm hopes will inspire more patent lawyers from underrepresented populations.

The Harrity Academy, which the midsize firm launched this fall, consists of three Zoom classes that will convene throughout 2021. Ranging from four to eight weeks in length, the three classes address different aspects of patent law and range in scope depending on the participants’ experience. Each course will be led by a Harrity & Harrity attorney and has 20 spots available, the press release says. The program also includes mentorship and breakout sessions for more individualized attention…

Read the full article on Law 360 here.

 

 

Elaine Spector Discusses Gender Gap on IP Breakfast Podcast

“Women are amazing advocates for other people, but not good advocates for themselves.”

Harrity Partner and Diversity Chair Elaine Spector was featured on the IP Breakfast Podcast with hosts Albert Decady & Emmanuel Coffy to discuss the gender gap in IP, her experiences as a female practitioner, and what needs to change to bridge the gap and give women the tools and confidences to succeed in a male-dominated field. Listen now at http://ow.ly/fyMu50CnogQ.

 

A Practical Guide to Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the Intellectual Property’s Owners Association has released ‘A Practical Guide to Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession.’

The IPO D&I Guide is designed to help improve diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, with contributions by Elaine Spector, Carlyn Burton, Shruti Costales, Serena Farquharson-Torres, Gloria Fuentes, and Rachael Rodman.

Check out the full guide below!

IPO-Practical-Guide-to-Diversity-and-Inclusion-Version-2-Sept-2020

 

Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region

Harrity’s Elaine Spector and LaTia Brand provide a deep-dive analysis of the lack of diversity in the patent practice for the American Bar Association’s Landslide® Magazine. Read the full article here:

 

Diversity in Patent Law

Harrity & Harrity’s First Virtual Women’s Workshop

By Elaine Spector

Harrity & Harrity just completed its 3nd Annual Women’s Workshop.  Due to the quarantine, we shifted gears to host our Women’s Workshop virtually for the first time, which allowed us to offer more women seats in our program.  The Women’s Workshop is part of Harrity’s Diversity Initiative, whose Diversity Mission is to “promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team with diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills/talents, and capabilities.”  35 women, including recent law school graduates and current law students, participated in a 3 ½ day long workshop. The interactive programs included patent preparation and prosecution skills training, resume and interview preparation, and sessions with prominent women guest speakers in the intellectual property field.  Ed Good joined us this year to provide a ½ day seminar in effective legal writing.

The guest speakers ranged from IP partners at major law firms (both litigation and prosecution partners), former leaders at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Chief IP Counsel and IP Counsel at major corporations, and leaders within Diversity and Inclusion organizations. The speakers included Barbara Fiacco, a partner at Foley Hoag LLP and AIPLA’s President, Barbara Fisher, Assistant General Counsel, Intellectual Property and Technology Law for Lockheed Martin Corporation, Courtney Holohan, Accenture’s Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Mercedes Meyer, a Partner at the law firm Faegre Drinker, Sophia Piliouras, president of MCCA’s Advisory Practice at the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), Teresa ‘Terry’ Stanek Rea, a Partner at the law firm Cromwell & Moring and former acting and deputy director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and Ellen Smith, a Partner at the law firm Sughrue Mion.

A favorite session among the participants was the Drafting 101 session with Harrity attorney, Peter Glaser.  The participants were taken through the application drafting process. Another favorite session was led by Harrity attorney, Tim Hirzel, who instructed the participants on patent prosecution.  Both sessions included a hands-on training assignment, which was reviewed by their instructors to maximize learning opportunities.

The session also included two-hour Q & A with Harrity attorneys, which included partners John Harrity, Paul Harrity, and Paul Gurzo.  John and Paul Harrity both agreed that their best career advice includes reading as much as possible with a focus on continued learning.  We hope the participants had a great time, and we are looking forward to next year’s workshop!

The Benefits of Incubator Programs for Minority-Owned Firms

The legal profession is making inroads in terms of diversity, but the National Association of Law Placement reports these gains as slow and incremental. The percentage of African-American associates, for instance, was 4.76% last year, finally breaching the previous milestone mark of 4.66% recorded in 2009. Unfortunately, women of color remain grossly under-represented, accounting for only 2.8% of associates last year — down from 2.93% in 2009. Clearly, the legal profession remains one of the least diverse industries, even with institutions like Harvard Law School reporting ever-increasing minority representation.

Invariably, this lack of diversity can only be addressed through change leadership and decisive action, like implementing diversity initiatives and offering incubator programs for minority-owned firms. This desire to make a difference compelled Harrity & Harrity managing partner John Harrity to incubate women- and minority-owned law firms. The legal industry needs more people like Harrity, with Maryville University noting that a change in society comes from those who have the courage to make a difference. This is why more people and industries need to grapple with social inequalities such as under-representation in various professions. But why are incubator programs important, and what are their benefits to minority-owned firms?

Giving necessary support

Incubator programs are vital because they can help jumpstart a firm in the same way venture capital funding helps startups level up their operations. This aid is the main benefit of incubator programs, which support up-and-coming law firms by providing a range of resources such as office space and professional services for a reasonable fee that is often paid out in installments or via negotiated arrangements. This support is invaluable to minority-owned firms, as they are more likely to have less capital and fewer resources to run a sustainable business.

Helping a firm focus on the core business

Crucially, being part of an incubator program can also help minority-owned law firms focus on their core business, which is to provide top legal services to their clientele. This is possible because the program already puts in place the necessary infrastructure to get the firm up and running. This gives all members the ability to fully focus on their cases, as they are freed up from having to accomplish mundane, day-to-day administrative tasks.

Expanding the network

Fast Company details how membership in an incubator program means gaining access to a strong professional network, including industry partners. This network expansion, in turn, opens up plenty of exciting possibilities, like collaborating with big firms, that are often non-existent for a firm in its infancy, especially if the firm is minority- or women-owned. Not to mention, being part of a growing network is also a public relations coup, as associations with bigger firms can help raise the profile of a smaller ones — without necessarily investing a fortune in marketing and PR.

Access to mentors

Another thing about being part of an incubator program is that it gives a firm access to mentors, who can then provide expert knowledge not only on the legal profession, but also on the best practices in terms of running a law firm. Take, for instance, the Minority Firm Incubator program, which is now accepting applicants for its second participant and whose goals include training, developing, and launching minority-owned patent law firms. As such, Harrity & Harrity’s finest get involved in the program and provide guidance to all participants — and by year 4, they already have the necessary knowledge to fully launch their firms.

A final word

We at Harrity & Harrity are committed to promoting diversity in the legal industry, and will continue to nurture our minority-focused programs and their participants to effect change. We hope that initiatives, like our Minority Firm Incubator, will not just begin to address the issue, but inspire others to be change leaders in diversity as well.

By Sharon Drew
Written exclusively for Harrityllp.com

Learn more and/or apply to the 2020 Minority Firm Incubator program HERE.

Harrity’s Third Annual Women’s Workshop

With COVID-19 sending everyone into lockdown, you may find yourself looking for something productive to do.  Now is a great time to learn something new.  Particularly since many events that would not typically be found online are now offering free virtual versions via live streaming and video conferencing.  The ability to get online provides access to innumerable resources to stay entertained and learn new skills.  It is the ideal time to reconnect with your goals and start achieving them.  For those interested in patent law, IP firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP is one of those resources.

Harrity’s Women’s Workshop

In response to the current climate, Harrity will host its third annual Women’s Workshop as an online program.  The workshop is a rare opportunity to learn basic patent preparation and prosecution skills, interact with some of the most prominent female patent lawyers in the industry, network with a diverse group of participants, meet with a writing coach, have live Q&A’s with practicing patent attorneys, access free career mentoring, and more.  The four-day program will take place May 18-21 and will be held live through online video conferencing.  It is entirely free and is available to engineers and law students or recent graduates with technical backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a future in intellectual property.  The program will allow participants to explore the lucrative opportunities provided by a career in patent law and learn what it takes to succeed, specifically as a female, in the patent field.

Why Attend the Program?

Obtaining a patent can be a complex process and requires several steps, including searching prior art, determining patentability, preparing and filing a patent application, and corresponding with the patent office through patent prosecution.  It can be a particular struggle to determine whether an invention is a new, non-obvious invention and how it differs from existing patented concepts when attempting to obtain a patent.

In Harrity’s Women’s Workshop, you will learn how to effectively draft and prosecute patent applications in order to get the patents allowed by the USPTO, an action that will officially patent an invention.  The skills to do so will be learned through a series of presentations, discussions, and practice assignments throughout the immersive program.

Speakers for the 2020 Women’s Workshop include female partners at top patent firms, the American Intellectual Property Law  Association’s (AIPLA) President Elect, IP Counsel for leading technology companies, the President of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s (MCCA) Advisory Practice, and the former acting director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Each speaker will provide guidance on best practices in patent law and exclusive advice on how to succeed as a woman in this underrepresented industry.

For the first time, the 2020 Women’s Workshop will also include writing skills training by writing expert, Ed Good.  Ed is a globally recognized trainer in corporate writing skills with specific expertise in legal writing.  The program will also include resume and interview preparation and career mentoring for success in the patent field.

Upon completion of this workshop, participants will have a thorough understanding of what a career in patent law entails and have the tools required to pursue one.

Our Mission

At Harrity, We believe that the ‘practice of law’ is advanced by a more diverse legal team – with diversity of background, upbringing, education, and perspective comes quality legal innovation.  Our mission is to promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team with diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills/talents, and capabilities.

The Annual Women’s Workshop is part of our ongoing diversity initiative aimed to increase the number of women practicing in the IP legal field and climbing the ladder to success.  Harrity’s previous workshops are highly rated and recommended by past participants.

The virtual workshop will take place from May 18-21st and is completely free. Whether you are a science or engineering major, current student at a law school, or practicing attorney interested in intellectual property, the Harrity Women’s Workshop is a can’t-miss opportunity.  The application deadline to participate is April 30th, so don’t delay- Apply Now!

Addressing the Lack of Diversity in the Legal Field

Promoting the culture of diversity is important for all professions, but it is especially lacking in the legal field. In fact, the legal profession is among the least diverse professions in the United States.  Diversity and inclusion in the workplace help to identify and embrace different backgrounds and contribute to the overall advancement of the business.

There are several factors that impede the prevalence of diversity in the legal field.  At Harrity, we are dedicated to overcoming these obstacles by providing opportunities for minorities and developing tools for diverse candidates to succeed.  Although the disparity of minorities practicing law, and especially minorities in equity positions, will take time to overcome, it is an obtainable goal if all firms work to address the problem.

Statistics Talk

The industry needs to recognize the importance of creating an unbiased, equal, and harmonious working environment for all legal professionals.  Unfortunately, the lack of diversity is widespread in the legal field, and the numbers show the industry is moving at a slow pace to address the issue.

In 2018, 85% of lawyers in the U.S. were Caucasian, according to the American Bar Association.  Another report on diversity in U.S. law firms found that racially diverse women are the most underrepresented group in the legal profession.  Other diverse groups underrepresented include LGBTQ2+ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, and Black/African lawyers.

The Challenges in Recruiting Diverse Workforce

While corporate legal departments and law firms are working on more inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, there is still a need to address the lack of diversity.  Many barriers impede the advancement and retention of diverse lawyers in the legal profession.  Some of the factors that contribute to the lack of diversity include in-group favoritism, stereotyping, unconscious biases, and diversity fatigue.

Law firms should regularly participate in diversity training, utilize a diversity consultant, and review their own Diversity & Inclusion policies.  Firms should also consider concepts such as implicit bias, i.e., attributing certain attitudes or associating stereotypes with a person or group of people without our conscious knowledge, and self-assessment bias, in which females and minority groups tend to rate themselves lower on skill-related surveys than white males.

Other factors that contribute to the lack of diversity in the legal field are the socio-economic circumstances that often hinder minority groups, including limited access to quality education and other resources, and the high cost of pursuing a legal degree.  Outreach programs, financial aid, and internal training opportunities targeting low-income families can help legal professionals address this and ensure all demographics have the same access to a legal career path.

Importance of Diversity in the Legal Field

Law firms must welcome a diverse workforce as it promotes mutual respect, acceptance, and co-existence.  It is crucial to formulate new strategies when working in the legal world.  A diverse group of lawyers, with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and skills, can help each other in building strengths and overcoming weaknesses.

Diversity leads to innovative ideas, opinions, and strategies.  It improves the quality of service and ensures that the voice of marginalized groups is also heard.  A female lawyer or black lawyer can highlight the issues of their respective groups better than others.  Diversity helps law firms to adapt accordingly to unprecedented or less familiar situations.  It allows them to respond to diverse clients more effectively.

Above all, diversity and inclusion in the legal field prevent discrimination against skilled and qualified lawyers.  Many reports and studies show that diverse workplaces are more productive and that they have lower turnover compared to non-inclusive workplaces.

Final Word

Harrity & Harrity strongly believes that the practice of law can advance only when there is a diverse legal team.  Our Diversity Mission is to promote a respectful, family-friendly, and diverse culture that recognizes and values the diverse backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, skills, and talents of each member on our team.

In order to provide equal opportunity to all candidates, Harrity developed the Rooney Rule 2.0 with regard to hiring, which is based off of The Rooney Rule.  The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview one minority candidate for each head coaching and senior football operation job.  According to The Rooney Rule, only one diverse candidate needs to be interviewed, while there could be hundreds or thousands of non-diverse candidates.  The Rooney Rule 2.0 changes that rule to commit to interviewing a female or minority candidate for every male or non-minority candidate we interview for any position at our firm.

The Harrity Diversity Committee has implemented several other initiatives in order to grow and nurture diversity in the IP legal field.  The Minority Firm Incubator helps train, develop, and launch minority-owned patent law firms in an effort to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field.  The annual Women’s Workshop is a free program that introduces female engineers and law students or recent graduates to the practice of patent law with guest speakers, patent skills training, career mentoring, and more.  The Harrity Academy provides minority candidates with exclusive training and practice materials for drafting high-quality patent applications.

The goal of these programs is to help increase the number of diverse candidates applying to positions within Harrity and the legal field, help improve skillsets and the likelihood that these candidates will succeed in the interview process, and encourage upward movement for minorities within their firms.

If more firms commit to implementing a comprehensive diversity plan, together, we can help bridge the gap by eliminating biases and encouraging diversity within the legal community.  It is vital that the hiring process focuses only on required skillsets and qualifications, regardless of gender, color, race, or religion, and that steps are taken to reduce discrimination and give minorities the opportunity to succeed.

If you are interested in reading the 2018/2019 Harrity Annual Diversity Report, it can be found here.  For more information regarding Harrity’s diversity initiatives, visit harrityllp.com/diversity.

 

Elaine Spector
AUTHOR

Elaine Spector

Elaine Spector is a Partner at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a boutique firm specializing in intellectual property law. Her practice focuses primarily on the prosecution of patent applications, specifically within electromechanical technologies. Elaine is a driving force in the firm’s diversity and charity initiatives and serves on several committees and boards in relation, including AIPLA’s Women in IP Law’s Global Networking Event & Outreach Subcommittee, IPO’S Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and the non-profit No More Stolen Childhoods.

Harrity Welcomes First Minority Firm Incubator Candidate

WASHINGTON, DC (March 5, 2020) Harrity & Harrity, LLP has named James Bennin as the first Minority Firm Incubator candidate.  In October of 2019, the firm announced the formation of the Minority Firm Incubator, a program developed to help women and minorities establish their own law firms in an effort to change the disparity of minority-owned firms in the field.  James was selected for the program from a large pool of applicants due to both his expertise in IP law and his desire to create opportunities for minorities to succeed in underrepresented industries.

“Our firm’s Diversity Mission is focused on fostering inclusion within the legal community and encouraging the growth and success of individuals from all backgrounds.  The Minority Firm Incubator is a service-oriented program intended to further this mission by helping underrepresented groups flourish in a field where diversity is lacking.  James not only shares our beliefs on the importance of diversity in the practice of law, but is committed to using this role as a community outreach platform to help overcome the socioeconomic barriers that many minority groups face.  These values, in addition to James’s impressive background in intellectual property law, make him the ideal candidate to launch our Minority Firm Incubator program,” said Managing Partner John Harrity.

James is a patent attorney with nearly 15 years of experience counseling clients on matters related to intellectual property law.  His practice focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications in a variety of technological fields, including electrical and software technologies. James has experience in private practice and as an in-house attorney.  James began the program, which consists of four phases, on February 3, 2020.

In the first phase of the incubator program, James will focus on efficiently drafting effective, high-quality patent applications through the use of Harrity’s in-house tools and processes.  In the second year, he will focus on prosecuting pending patent applications.  The third phase consists of firm management training, during which Bennin will learn best practices for hiring and training attorneys, establishing and maintaining an office, managing human resources, accounting, and docketing, pitching and retaining clients, and more. At the beginning of the fourth year, James will launch his own firm.  In doing so, James hopes to reshape the perspective of minority-owned firms and improve the diversity of the legal field.

“Given my own background as an individual who was raised by a single mother in a low income household, was the first college graduate in my immediate family, and is a member of an underrepresented group in the legal profession, I am very grateful for and fortunate to have had great experiences in my legal career thus far.  I understand the obstacles someone with my background needs to overcome to be successful in this profession, and understand the importance of improving diversity in the legal field,” stated James.  “I want to use this program/platform as a means to give back in light of the great experiences in my legal career and to help provide a blueprint or guide to success for members of underrepresented groups, so they can see me as a testament that success in any professional field, and more particularly in the legal field, is a realistic possibility in their future.“

With James well underway in Phase 1 of the initial launch, Harrity has reopened the Minority Firm Incubator program to more applicants.  To learn more and apply to the Minority Firm Incubator, and to see Harrity’s other initiatives for driving diversity in the IP legal field, visit harrityllp.com/diversity.

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300®.  Our clients trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.  For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Elaine Spector Named First Female Partner at Harrity, LLP

WASHINGTON, DC (January 28, 2020) Harrity & Harrity, LLP is pleased to announce Elaine Spector as one of three newly named partners at the firm.  Already a driving force in legal innovation, diversity initiatives, and charity involvement, Elaine’s new role is sure to implement even more progressive ideas at Harrity.

“Truly, something extraordinary is happening here at Harrity; where a woman, or any other lawyer for that matter, can have the opportunity to be a partner, but not at the sacrifice of their family.  I am unaware of any other firms that provide the flexibility that Harrity offers; that can allow a mom like myself (who likes to cook for her family and be involved) an opportunity to work reduced hours, while still caring for my family in a way that feels good to me,” said Elaine.  “I am very excited for the opportunity I’ve been given and for what the future holds for this awesome firm.  The best is yet to come.”

Elaine is a patent attorney with over 20 years of experience in intellectual property law.  Her current practice consists primarily of prosecuting patent applications with a focus on electromechanical technologies. She is Harrity’s first female partner.

Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, Elaine worked in private practice for over 15 years handling various intellectual property matters, including patent application drafting and prosecution, trademark prosecution and enforcement, as well as litigating complex patent cases in federal courts. Elaine’s extensive litigation experience provides her with a unique perspective in prosecuting patent applications.

Most recently, Elaine worked in-house for 6 years at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, where she managed over 500 matters in medical and software related technologies before moving to Harrity, LLP in May, 2017.

Elaine serves as Chair of the Harrity Diversity Committee and Chair of the AIPLA Women in IP Law Committee’s Global Networking Event and Outreach Subcommittees. She is also on the IPO Diversity Committee’s Management Team and is a Board Member at the non-profit No More Stolen Childhoods.

To learn more about Elaine’s background and leadership involvement, please visit her Harrity Bio Page.

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300®. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Senior Associate Neil Kardos Promoted to Partner

WASHINGTON, DC (January 28, 2020) Harrity & Harrity, LLP is pleased to announce that senior associate Neil Kardos has recently been named partner.  As the firm continues to expand, Neil will play a key role in its ability to stay current with new technologies, provide excellent service to the firm’s clients, become increasingly efficient, develop patent automation tools, and drive forward-thinking business development. Neil is one of three new partners at Harrity, as announced by the firm last week.

“I’m excited and thankful to be part of an innovative firm that’s blazing a trail toward what a patent law firm should look like,” Neil said of the announcement.

Neil is a patent attorney specializing in preparing and prosecuting patent applications. His practice focuses on electrical, computer, and mechanical technologies, including telecommunications, 5G, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) systems, financial technologies, computer hardware and software systems, computer networking, search engines, optical systems, internet hardware and software systems, machinery, sensors, control systems, e-commerce, and business methods.

Neil is actively involved with the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association (IPO) and has spoken at the IPO annual meeting on several occasions, most recently about diversity and gender disparity among inventors.  He has partaken in several speaking engagements regarding innovation and the IP field, including presentations at IPO and the Corporate IP Institute as a panel member to analyze and discuss trends in corporate IP management, as well as to share strategies for using patent analytics to manage IP portfolios and IP teams. As part of his work on the IPO’s Corporate IP Management Committee, for which he has served as Vice Chair, Neil helped develop a benchmarking survey that assists in-house counsel in the management of their IP departments and patent portfolios.

Prior to joining Harrity, Neil worked as a Primary Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, where he examined patent applications directed to computer-related technologies, operations research, e-commerce, computer software, complex network analysis, internet applications, and business methods. While working at the USPTO, Neil attended The George Washington University National Law Center and served as a member of The George Washington Law Review. He has been with Harrity, LLP since April of 2012.

To learn more about Neil’s background, and to view all of his speaking engagements and publications, please visit his Harrity Bio Page.

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300®. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Harrity Promotes Three Attorneys to Partner, Including First Female Partner

WASHINGTON, DC (January 24, 2020) Harrity & Harrity, a leading patent law firm based in the Washington, DC metro area, is pleased to announce the promotion of three top patent attorneys into partner roles, effective January 1, 2020.

Neil Kardos, Eli Mazour, and Elaine Spector have consistently demonstrated excellence in their practices while going above and beyond to contribute to the firm’s accomplishments in the intellectual property sector. The announcement comes at a time when Harrity is on track to be national leaders in innovation, automation, analytics, charity, and diversity initiatives in the legal field. The transition of Neil, Eli, and Elaine into partnership roles will be a driving force in the continued growth and advancement of the firm.

“Neil, Elaine and Eli are an exceptional group of talent. During their collective time at Harrity, each has demonstrated a tremendous amount of leadership, innovation, efficiency, and progression, both within the firm and the IP community as a whole- all while providing top quality services to our clients. We are thrilled to have these three attorneys begin a new chapter with us as partners and know they will play an instrumental role in furthering Harrity’s accomplishments into the new decade,” said the firm’s Managing Partner, John Harrity.

Neil Kardos, a former Primary Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and active member of the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association (IPO) and Corporate IP Institute, specializes in preparing and prosecuting patent applications. His practice focuses on electrical, computer, and mechanical technologies, including telecommunications, 5G, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) systems, financial technologies, computer hardware and software systems, computer networking, search engines, optical systems, internet hardware and software systems, machinery, sensors, control systems, e-commerce, and business methods. Neil is a graduate of The George Washington University National Law Center and has been with Harrity since April of 2012.

Eli Mazour joined Harrity in 2010 and currently leads the firm’s patent prosecution team with a focus on helping Patent 300® companies build valuable, high-quality patent portfolios in an efficient manner. In this role, he develops and implements best practices for managing workflow and innovative patent prosecution strategies for reaching favorable results at the USPTO. Eli is also the creator and host of the Clause 8 podcast, which features interviews with prominent members of the IP community, and has written and presented about various patent-related trends. As a result, he is sought out by clients and other professionals for his insights on various patent policy developments, including legislative proposals and changes at the USPTO.

Elaine Spector has over 20 years of experience in intellectual property law. Her extensive experience in the IP field includes patent application drafting and prosecution, trademark prosecution and enforcement, as well as litigating complex patent cases in federal courts. Elaine’s current practice consists primarily of prosecuting patent applications with a focus on electromechanical technologies. Elaine is a driving force in legal service quality, diversity programs, and charity involvement at the firm, and currently serves as Chair of the Harrity Diversity Committee and Chair of the AIPLA Women in IP Law Committee’s Global Networking Event and Outreach Subcommittees. She is also on the IPO Diversity Committee’s Management Team and is a Board Member at the non-profit No More Stolen Childhoods. Elaine has been with Harrity since 2017 and is the firm’s first female partner.

“Truly, something extraordinary is happening here at Harrity; where a woman, or any other lawyer for that matter, can have the opportunity to be a partner, but not at the sacrifice of their family.  I am unaware of any other firms that provide the flexibility that Harrity offers; that can allow a mom like myself (who likes to cook for her family and be involved) an opportunity to work reduced hours, while still caring for my family in a way that feels good to me,” said Elaine.  “I am very excited for the opportunity I’ve been given and for what the future holds for this awesome firm.  The best is yet to come.”

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300®. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Elaine Spector Named Harrity Diversity Committee Chair

We are proud to announce Elaine Spector as the new Chair of the Harrity Diversity Committee.

Elaine is already involved in several diversity-focused initiatives and we look forward to seeing her next accomplishments as she continues to promote inclusion within the patent law field.

Of the new role, Elaine states:

“I am honored to assume the position of Diversity Chair of Harrity’s Diversity Committee. Like our firm, our diversity team members are innovators, collectively finding solutions to address not only diversity issues within our firm, but also diversity issues within the patent profession at large. With the introduction of our Minority Firm Incubator, we are committed to not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.”

To learn more about the progressive work of Elaine and our Diversity Committee, and how you can become involved, please visit harrityllp.com/diversity.

Harrity’s Elaine Spector Named AIPLA’s Women in IP Law Outreach Subcommittee Chair

Congratulations to the newly named chair of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)‘s Women in IP Law Outreach subcommittee, Harrity’s own Elaine Spector.

“I am excited to take on my new role as chair of AIPLA’s Women in IP Law Outreach subcommittee. The Outreach subcommittee is responsible for coordinating the Women in IP breakfast at each stated meeting, as well as overseeing the Global Networking Event and Community Events. This position has also allowed me to become part of the Executive Team within AIPLA’s Women in IP committee, and to work with some truly amazing women in our field. In my new role, I am looking forward to further advancing the needle for women IP practitioners,” states Elaine.

To learn more about Elaine’s roles in driving diversity in the IP legal field, visit harrity.com/diversity.

 

Harrity Creates Incubator to Launch Minority- and Women-Owned Law Firms

LAW.COM (October 3, 2019) After years of reading about new legal diversity programs with nothing to show for it, Harrity & Harrity managing partner John Harrity decided he wanted to try something new.

Harrity & Harrity managing partner John Harrity was sick of reading about law firm diversity.

The effort to diversify firms, he agrees, is noble. But over the years he had read countless stories about how this new internship or mentorship program will mend the legal industry’s diversity problem. And despite all these efforts, nothing much has changed.

“We keep doing the same things over and over and over again,” said Harrity, who co-founded the IP firm 20 years ago. “If the programs were really impactful we wouldn’t be having these conversations today.”

After reading a book about apprenticeships, Harrity had an idea for something new: Why not incubate women- and minority-owned law firms?

he idea wasn’t a big hit when he first brought it before the firm’s diversity committee. The biggest objection was that the program would essentially create competition for the firm. Harrity didn’t see it that way.

John HarrityJohn Harrity

“The reality is that there’s a ton of work out there, much more than we could ever handle ourselves,” he said. “And if they’re really good and taking work away from us that means we need to up our game.”

Eventually, the program was approved, and Harrity got to work on structuring the incubator. For each of the next three years beginning Jan. 1, the firm will bring in one woman attorney and one male minority attorney. Candidates must be a licensed attorney with a degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, physics or a similar technical field.

The first year of the three-year program will teach the candidates how to draft patent applications. In the second year, the attorneys will learn how to prosecute pending applications. The third year marks a shift from legal practice training to management training. Participants will be taught how to hire and train attorneys, establish and maintain an office and pitch and retain clients.

At the beginning of the fourth year, the participants will each launch their own women- and minority-owned law firm.

The minority attorney incubator program has partnered with professional services firm Accenture, which will send work to the nascent firms to help get them off the ground and build a portfolio. Harrity hopes to bring in more companies as the apprenticeship develops.

Joel Stern, CEO of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, described the program as “novel” and “innovative.” Stern spoke with Harrity about the incubator when it was in development, and he applauded his firm for creating an unselfish and innovative program—especially in an area of the law that has traditionally been devoid of minorities.

He hopes that these new firms will join NAMWOLF, which just announced it had helped more than 100 minority- and women-owned law firms win $1.6 billion in legal spend since 2010.

“You can’t just keep doing the same thing over and over again. Harrity is trying something new and novel that I think is going to work,” Stern said. “Even if it doesn’t, he deserves credit. He’s subordinating his interests to help minorities thrive in the business.”

To learn more about the Minority Firm Incubator and Harrity’s other initiatives to drive diversity in the IP legal field, visit harrity.com/diversity.

 

By Dylan Jackson

Harrity Diversity

IP boutique seeks to show that new thinking on diversity is not just for Big Law

IAM (September 10, 2019) In the latest issue of IAM our cover story “the Boston Manifesto” is a call to action for the IP industry to increase gender diversity across all parts of the market. The piece, which subscribers can read here, reflects some of the challenges that women face in reaching senior levels, particularly in-house and in private practice. The article also contains some specific areas that all stakeholders should focus on.

This is a challenge confronting all parts of the IP system as stakeholders try to increase both the gender and racial diversity in their ranks. Arguably it is most pressing among the largest law firms that have struggled to grow the diversity of their workforce, particularly at partner level.

But it’s by no means only the denizens of Big Law who are zeroing in on how they can make their workforces more diverse. Last week Harrity & Harrity, a respected IP boutique with around 30 attorneys based in Northern Virginia, announced the launch of its minority firm incubator, an initiative designed to help foster the growth of minority-owned specialist IP law firms.

Starting in January 2020, the firm will recruit two minority attorneys who will be trained over the next four years not only in the ins and outs of patent drafting and prosecution work but also on how to launch and manage their own firms. To help those fledgling firms thrive, Harrity is signing up a group of businesses as programme partners. They have committed to giving any new firms work on a trial basis as and when they get off the ground. Accenture was the first to get involved, with somewhere between three and six companies ultimately expected to join on top.

Should the Harrity recruits decide that they’d prefer not to go down the route of owning their own firm then managing partner John Harrity said he’s “not going to kick them out the door”. However, he also said that he hoped the new programme would attract entrepreneurial types willing to take the plunge.

Harrity, who established his firm with his twin brother Paul, admitted that he needed to get over some doubts among his staff, such as why they would create more competition for themselves, before getting the initiative off the ground.

“There’s more than enough work to go around,” Harrity said he told his firm’s diversity committee, but he also admitted that there are plenty of concerns to be overcome outside of his own practice.

“One of the things that I’m finding out as we go out to the industry, talking to chief patent counsel at the largest filers, there’s a perception that minority firm means a firm that’s not good and is not going to be able to perform at a high level – we’re going to change that impression,” Harrity commented.

This is by no means his firm’s first diversity initiative. Three years ago it introduced a rule whereby it must interview a female or minority candidate for every male, non-minority candidate for any position. Since then it has gone from 8% diversity at the attorney level to 30% and Harrity insisted that this has had a marked effect. “It’s amazing how my firm has grown in the last three years, as we’ve taken this diversity journey,” he remarked. He pointed to a doubling in headcount, significant growth in revenues and profits, and more innovative thinking among the workforce as clear byproducts of having a more diverse practice.

“If you expand that out to the industry in general I think you’ll see the same types of effects and we’re going to start thinking differently which is really what the legal field needs to do,” Harrity maintained. He pointed out the irony of a lack of innovation on the subject among a patent community where much of the work is grounded in new ways of thinking.

“We’re in a field of innovation, that’s what the whole thing is about, and firms don’t do anything,” he claimed. That maybe an unfair accusation to lay at all IP practices but as Harrity’s new incubator shows, there is a growing realisation that more work is required to produce clear results.

To learn more about the Minority Firm Incubator and Harrity’s other initiatives to drive diversity in the IP legal field, visit harrity.com/diversity.

 

By Richard Lloyd

Harrity Minority Firm Incubator Video Thumbnail

Harrity Introduces Innovative Legal Diversity Initiative

Harrity & Harrity Introduces Innovative Legal Diversity Initiative

Program designed to launch minority-owned IP law firms

WASHINGTON (September 3, 2019) – Harrity & Harrity, LLP today announced its Minority Firm Incubator program, established to help train, cultivate, and launch minority-owned patent law firms. The four-year program seeks to address the growing issues surrounding the lack of diverse representation in law firm leadership across the industry.

According to a study by the National Association of Law Placement, women account for just over 12% of partner ranks in U.S. law firms, while minorities account for just 8% of all law firm partners.

“The Minority Firm Incubator program is an integral and innovative part of our ongoing diversity initiative to advance attorneys who will contribute to diversity in the patent field,” said Harrity Managing Partner John Harrity. “The statistics show the legal industry has work to do and that’s why our firm has dedicated time and resources to take meaningful action.”

The Minority Firm Incubator program is comprised of four phases:

  • Drafting Patent Applications
    In the first year, attorney participants will be trained to draft effective, efficient, high-quality patent applications in the technical areas of software, optics, telecommunications, computer networking, e-commerce, business methods, and others. Using the firm’s in-house developed automation tools, participants will learn how to draft like Harrity attorneys, who complete over 100 applications a year and many of whom average less than 12 hours per application.
  • Prosecuting Patent Applications
    In the second year, program participants will be trained to prosecute patent applications, negotiate with examiners, communicate effectively with clients, and ensure high-quality outcomes in some of the most difficult art units. Use of examiner analytics and uniform procedures will be emphasized to ensure that responses and other matters can be completed in less time and with a higher likelihood of success.
  • Firm Management
    In the third year, program participants will learn firm management skills, such as how to hire and train patent attorneys and support staff; how to establish and manage a law office; and how to pitch, manage, and retain clients.
  • Firm Launch
    In the fourth year, program participants will launch their own new patent law firms with already established corporate relationships. New firm leaders will continue to receive ongoing mentorship from Harrity to ensure their success.

Candidates must be from a protected, diverse class; be an attorney or a law student graduating in 2019 and have a degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, physics, or a similar technical field; be registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; demonstrate a record of academic and professional achievement; and have a sincere interest in starting a law firm.

Applications will be accepted from September 1, 2019 through November 18, 2019. Candidates should email their resume and an essay, limited to 500 words, as to why they should be chosen to be part of the program to incubator@harrityllp.com.

For more information, please visit https://harrityllp.com/incubator.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is the nation’s leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

John Harrity Delivers Diversity Message to Meeting of Chief IP Officers

Managing Partner John Harrity was a featured speaker at the final day of the two-day Chief Intellectual Property Officers Council meeting, hosted by The Conference Board in New York City this week.  Speaking about diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, John presented an overview of Harrity & Harrity’s diversity and inclusion journey, mentioning among other things, the firm’s self-imposed adherence of an adapted version of the Rooney Rule for hiring.

The Conference Board is a global, independent membership and research organization working in the public interest. Its mission is to provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve performance and better serve society.

In only its third year of existence, the Chief Intellectual Property Officers Council provides a confidential environment where a select group of chief and senior IP leaders come together to openly discuss both legal and business issues related to IP protection and management.

Harrity Womens Workshop 2019

Harrity & Harrity Holds its 2nd Annual Women’s Workshop

By Elaine Spector

Harrity & Harrity just completed its 2nd Annual Women’s Workshop.  The workshop is part of Harrity’s Diversity Initiative, whose Diversity Mission is to “promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team with diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills/talents, and capabilities.”  Nine women, including recent law school graduates, current law students, and one research scientist with a Ph.D in electrical engineering, participated in a 3-day long workshop. The interactive programs included patent preparation and prosecution skills training, resume and interview preparation, and sessions with prominent women guest speakers in the intellectual property field.  The guest speakers ranged from IP partners at major law firms (both litigation and prosecution partners), former leaders at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Chief IP Counsel and IP Counsel at major corporations, and leaders within Diversity and Inclusion organizations.

The participants were particularly interested in how these women navigated their careers in light of gender issues associated with working in a male-dominated profession as well as balancing career with life.  For example, Barbara Fiacco, President-Elect of AIPLA and litigation partner at Foley Hoag, indicated that her love for research and writing led her to a career in IP litigation, where she is thriving.  Ellen Smith, a partner at Sughrue Mion, shared her philosophy from her daughter’s school, “If there is no path, make your own,” as she described her experiences in navigating a different path for herself at Sughrue Mion while she was starting a family.

Cynthia Raposo gave us an inside look on how she helped develop the legal department for Under Armour before Under Armour was a household name.  Interestingly, Cynthia had moved back to a small firm to a part-time position in attempt to achieve a better work-life balance.  She began to do work for Under Armour and soon became their go-to lawyer for legal advice.  When offered the position to go in-house at Under Armour, she indicated it was too exciting an opportunity to turn down.  Cynthia was responsible for developing strategies for securing trademarks worldwide well before Under Armour would even enter those particular countries.

Other sessions included health and wellness issues in the practice of law, top career tips, as well as the very sage advice from our Harrity founders.  John and Paul Harrity both conceded that their best career advice includes reading as much as possible with a focus on continued learning.  We hope the participants had a great time, and we are looking forward to next year’s workshop!

Harrity & Harrity Hosts Second Annual Women’s Workshop

WASHINGTON (April 9, 2019) – Harrity & Harrity, LLP will host its 2nd Annual Women’s Workshop, a professional development program designed to introduce more female law students and recent graduates to the practice of patent law.

The three-day program will take place May 20-22, 2019 and is open to science and engineering students, law school students, and recent graduates.

Topics covered during the program will include:

  • Prominent Guest Speakers (as outlined below)
  • Patent Law Introductory Training
  • Patent Preparation and Patent Prosecution Skills Training
  • Resume and Interview Preparation Workshops
  • Law School Career Mentoring
  • Attorney Career Mentoring
  • Patent Bar Preparation

“We are proud to offer this program to women interested in patent law,” said Harrity & Harrity Counsel Elaine Spector. “The event last year was so successful, thanks in large part to our amazing female speakers and mentors, that we knew we needed to offer it again. Hopefully initiatives like this will encourage more women to seek out intellectual property law as their area of practice.”

Those interested in participating in the program are invited to submit an application by April 30, 2019. Applications can be found here and should be supplemented with a personal statement expressing interest in pursuing a career in the patent field and a resume.

Guest Speakers:

Barbara A. Fisher is Assistant General Counsel, Intellectual Property and Technology Law for Lockheed Martin Corporation in Manassas, Virginia. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Fisher was Senior Intellectual Property Counsel at an international oil and gas corporation in Houston, Texas. Prior to her in-house experience, Fisher was a Partner in a mid-sized Virginia law firm where she was Manager of Client Development and chaired the Best Practices Committee.

Courtney Holohan is Accenture’s Chief Intellectual Property Counsel. Prior to beginning at Accenture in January 2012, Holohan litigated all types of high stakes intellectual property cases at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where she was a partner.

Sophia M. Piliouras is President of MCCA’s Advisory Practice (“MAP”) at the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) and partners closely with MCCA’s members in increasing the impact, effectiveness and sustainability of their organization’s D&I initiatives. Prior to joining MCCA, she was Vice President, Assistant General Counsel at JP Morgan Chase.

Cynthia Raposo has more than 30 years of legal experience working both as in-house and outside counsel. Her most recent position was Senior Vice President, Legal of Under Armour, Inc., in Baltimore, Maryland, where she built and lead the legal team from 2006 until her retirement in 2015.

Terry Rea is a partner and vice-chair of Crowell & Moring’s Intellectual Property Group and a director with C&M International (CMI), the international trade and investment consulting firm affiliated with Crowell & Moring. Rea is the former acting and deputy director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as well as acting and deputy under secretary of commerce for intellectual property.

Ellen Smith started her legal career with Sughrue in 1997, and she provides extensive patent counseling for clients ranging from large multi-national corporations to small business ventures. Her counseling includes freedom-to-operate, infringement, and validity opinions. Ms. Smith’s dedicated experience in the patent space for over 15 years has provided her clients with respected strategic advice for developing and protecting their intellectual property portfolios, including developing strategies for establishing, protecting, preserving and enforcing those patent rights in the U.S. and abroad.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is the nation’s leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com/.

Robin O Harrity Associate

Patent Lawyer Robin O Joins Harrity & Harrity

CHICAGO (March 27, 2019) – Harrity & Harrity, LLP is pleased to welcome Robin O to the firm as an associate. O is a patent lawyer who focuses on electrical and computer technologies, including telecommunications, computer hardware and software, telematics, data analytics, networking devices, medical devices, and business methods.

“Robin has the unique experience of having worked both in law firms and in-house,” said Harrity & Harrity Managing Partner John Harrity. “Having been involved in software and business method related inventions for much of his career, I am certain that our clients will benefit from Robin’s experience.”

Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, O practiced in-house at Allstate Insurance Company. He started his legal career as a patent agent at Miller, Matthias & Hull. He earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his J.D. from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is the nation’s leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com/.

Harrity Diversity Hands

Harrity & Harrity Releases 2018/2019 Annual Diversity Report

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2019) – Harrity & Harrity, LLP is pleased to announce the publication of its annual diversity report. The 2018/2019 report highlights the firm’s successes in the past year with regards to diversity in the patent law field.

“2018 was a banner year for hiring at our firm,” said John Harrity, the managing partner at Harrity and head of the diversity committee. “Our diversity committee oversaw the hiring and training of our third annual diversity fellow, So Ra Ko, who I am pleased to announce will be joining our firm full time after she finishes law school this coming Spring. To supplement our efforts at recruiting the next generation of diverse attorneys, we have implemented what we like to call, ‘The Rooney Rule 2.0,’ a hiring policy where we are committed to interviewing a female or minority candidate for every male, non-minority candidate we interview for any position at our firm.”

Harrity’s commitment to diversity is evidenced by their one-of-a-kind “Rooney Rule 2.0”, and the upcoming Harrity Minority Firm Incubator.  For more information about Harrity’s diversity commitment, visit harrityllp.com/diversity

The 2018/2019 report is available here https://harrityllp.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2018-2019-Harrity-Annual-Diversity-Report.pdf.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is the nation’s leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com/.

Download full press release HERE.

Harrity Diversity Fellowship

2019 Harrity Diversity Fellowship – Applications Open!

The Harrity Diversity Fellowship is an integral part of the firm’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the firm’s practice.

The Harrity Diversity Fellowship is comprised of three parts:

• A paid summer associate clerkship position at Harrity during the summer;
• Mentoring throughout the year by our firm’s attorneys; and
• A $10,000 scholarship – Harrity & Harrity will award $5,000 to all Diversity Fellowship recipients upon completion of their summer associate clerkship with the firm; and award an additional $5,000 to those who join our firm as an associate, after receiving and accepting an associate offer with our firm following the completion of their following summer clerkship with us.

Eligibility Requirements:
Candidates must be in good standing as a law student at an ABA-accredited law school; demonstrate a record of academic and professional achievement; contribute meaningfully to the diversity of our firm and legal community; and have a sincere interest in our firm and our practice area.

Mentoring:
Each recipient will be assigned an attorney mentor. Mentors will serve as a liaison between the student and our firm, and facilitate the student’s professional growth and learning. The mentoring relationship begins as soon as the recipients have been named and continues at least through the academic year. Students will meet with their mentors multiple times per year, in person when possible. Should the student receive and accept an offer to return for a second summer, the mentoring relationship would continue for another academic year.

Scholarship:
A grant of $5,000 will be awarded in September of the recipient’s following year of law school. The grant can be used for expenses at the student’s discretion. An additional $5,000 will be offered to those who receive and accept an associate offer with our firm after the completion of their summer clerkship with us.

Fellowship Application Process:
Applications will be accepted from December 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019.

To apply, please visit https://harrityllp.com/diversity/diversity-fellowship/ and click on the “Start Your Application Today!”.

Elaine Spector, Harrity Team

“Gender Pay Gaps” white paper published by “Push Forward” IPO Subcommittee

Elaine Spector, as a part of “Push Forward”, a subcommittee of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) Women in IP Committee, helped with a white paper called “Gender Pay Gaps” last month in the IPO Law Journal.

Get full access here: https://bit.ly/2BHWh4p

Elaine Spector, Harrity Team

Elaine Spector on the 2018 AIPLA Annual Meeting and the Women in IP Law Breakfast

By Elaine Spector

The 2018 AIPLA Annual Meeting was held on October 25-27 in Washington, DC, and included the gathering of more than 2,000 diverse professionals in the field of intellectual property.  In addition to the numerous networking opportunities and education sessions, committees within the AIPLA conducted their committee meetings.

Perhaps the most enjoyable of these committee meetings was the Women in IP Law Breakfast meeting.  Despite being held on Friday morning of the conference at 6:45 AM, attendance was certainly impressive.  The full buffet breakfast helped!  But the breakfast is not the only reason we have seen such a surge in attendance.  The leadership of the Women in IP committee is forward thinking and inclusive.  What used to be a small breakfast, has turned out to be one of the most well attended sessions at the AIPLA, likely because of the programming and inclusiveness it provides.  By the way, men are invited too!

During the meeting, we discussed numerous committee issues.  But the one most dear to my heart is the AIPLA Women in IP Global Networking Event which I co-chair with Lucy Samuels.  The Global Networking Event is scheduled for April 4, 2019, of which my firm, Harrity & Harrity, is a proud sponsor in Northern, Virginia.  The Global Networking Event consists of a plurality of events held on the same day in various cities around the world. The hosts are responsible for choosing their type of event, sending out invitations to female AIPLA members in their area (the AIPLA provides a list), and of course inviting anyone else they would like. Each host event can include any activity the host would like such as a cocktail reception, dinner, guest speaker, or panel discussion etc. Each host is asked to join a brief teleconference call to connect and say hello to other hosts in different locations.  It is a wonderful event, and I strongly encourage women IP professionals to attend, or host in your area.

Please contact me if you are interested in attending in Northern Virginia, or if you would like to host in another area.

Elaine Spector, Harrity Team

Working From Home – Elaine Spector Published in American Diversity Report

By Elaine Spector
September 8, 2018 – Working From Home: A Game Changer

After over 21 years of working in an office, I finally had the opportunity to take a leap of faith to work from home. Many people have questioned me about the move, and how I am fairing. My response is simple: “It is a game changer.”

Like many Americans, I’ve spent a majority of my working life in a brick and mortar office. On a typical morning, I would take a quick shower, eat a hurried breakfast, and dash to my car in a futile attempt to beat the traffic. I have been in the law practice for 21 years, most of which were spent living and working in Washington, D.C.- a city notorious for its congestion. After a move to Baltimore, I continued to commute to D.C. for seven excruciating years.

READ MORE

Harrity Hosts First Women’s Workshop

The Harrity Women’s Workshop 2018 took place from May 21-23.  We invited ten women from law schools across the country to join us to learn about the patent field from leading women in the field.  Elaine Spector, Counsel at Harrity & Harrity, and Sandra Maxey, the Firm’s Controller, both wanted to put together a program that would provide women with the skills necessary to succeed both personally and professionally in a high-stress career.

Harrity attorneys presented on topics ranging from the patent process to patent drafting and prosecution, rivaling what can be taught in a traditional classroom setting.  The workshop also featured many speakers, including Teresa Rea, a partner and vice-chair of Intellectual Property and a director with C&M International, a subsidy of Crowell Moring. She spoke about her career and how to create a life-work balance, and inspired the women in attendance to set high goals for themselves. Mercedes Meyer, a partner in the Intellectual Property group at Drinker Biddle & Reath explained the importance of creating a business plan and how to set yourself apart from your male counterparts. Barbara Fisher, Assistant General Counsel, Intellectual Property, at Lockheed Martin, gave an empowering speech on setting goals and achieving them.  Courtney Holohan, Accenture’s Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, told our workshop participants the ten things she wished she had known when she entered the field.  Cynthia Raposo, Senior Vice President of Legal for Under Armour, Inc., discussed issues related to women, including the advancement of women in the field and reasons why women do not tend to promote themselves.  Finally, Ami Gadhia of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) led a panel along with Catherine Wendelken, Nekeshia Maloney, and Felicia Metz.  They answered questions about their field, technology transfer, and how they manage a life-work balance.

This is the first Women’s Workshop held by the Harrity Women’s Committee, a sub-committee of the Diversity Committee.  In 2017, the firm held a Diversity Workshop geared towards introducing law school students to the practice of patent law.  Harrity & Harrity is committed to promoting diversity in the legal field, and does so through workshops such as those mentioned above, fellowships, and scholarships for new attorneys.

Seven women whom participated in the Harrity Women's Workshop

Harrity Women’s Workshop Participants

Harrity Announces its First Women’s Workshop

We’re excited to announce that Harrity will be holding its first Women’s Workshop this spring from May 21-23! This workshop includes presentations from some of the most successful women in Intellectual Property, and hands-on patent training from our firm’s attorneys. This workshop is open to any woman currently enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school and recent graduates. For more information, visit our website.

Harrity Diversity

Harrity & Harrity Attends The 2017 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Annual Membership Meeting

We are proud to announce that Harrity & Harrity has joined the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.  John Harrity, Managing Partner, and Sandra Maxey, Chief Diversity Officer, attended the Annual Membership Meeting, Vision 2020: The Power of Networks, in Washington, D.C. on October 17.  Sandra Maxey said of the event, “I was excited to attend the 8th Annual LCLD Meeting.  Their vision for creating a diverse workforce is solid, and I have no doubt that they inspire change.”  We are excited to work with this driven organization and do our part to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal field. 2017 LCLD Annual Membership Meeting Conference Screen

Harrity Diversity

Harrity & Harrity Joins the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity

Harrity & Harrity has joined the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.  This is their most recent advancement in their Diversity and Inclusion commitment.  The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity works to connect more than 265 law firms and major corporations through various programs that target attorneys at all stages of their careers.

John Harrity, Managing Partner, says of this step forward, “We look forward to utilizing the resources this great organization has to offer us, and to helping diversity in the legal community grow.  Since implementing our diversity program almost four years ago, we’ve seen tremendous growth at our firm, and we’re excited to see that growth continue across our field.”

Harrity & Harrity mentioned in Law 360 Article “3 Law Firms With Their Own Riff On The Mansfield Rule”

Harrity & Harrity was mentioned in Law360’s article regarding firms that have adopted alternative hiring practices to the Mansfield Rule. The Mansfield Rule, created in 2016, states that at least 30% of the candidate pool for promotions, leadership positions, and senior level hiring must be comprised of either diverse candidates or women. The Rooney Rule 2.0 expands on that idea.

“Virginia-based patent law boutique Harrity & Harrity launched what it calls the “Rooney Rule 2.0” at the end of 2015. The law firm has committed to interview at least one woman or minority candidate for every nonminority male candidate it interviews for both attorney and nonattorney positions.

According to one of the law firm’s founding partners, John Harrity, the law firm has seen a good deal of progress since it implemented the rule. Of the eight attorneys it has hired since November 2015, half were either minorities or women, and across the law firm, out of the 19 employees hired during that time period, 12 are women and minorities.”

READ MORE>

To learn more about Harrity & Harrity’s diversity initiatives, please visit our Diversity Page.

ALA Diversity Seminar

Diversity: An Interview With John Harrity

By Mauricio Velásquez, MBA

At a recent Association of Legal Administrators, Washington, D.C. Chapter meeting, John Harrity, Managing Partner of Harrity & Harrity, spoke about his firm’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative. Harrity & Harrity is an innovative boutique patent law firm based in Fairfax, VA. When asked about his firm’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, he explained, “We believe that the ‘practice of law’ is advanced by a more diverse legal team – with diversity of background, upbringing, education, and perspective comes quality legal innovation. At Harrity & Harrity, we are committed to The Rooney Rule 2.0. This is a hiring practice that shows our firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is something that we take seriously; it’s something we’re very proud of.”

The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. But there was a flaw – the football team only had to interview at least one minority candidate for an NFL coach opening but could interview an unlimited number of other candidates. “The Rooney Rule is just not going far enough,” Mr. Harrity said, “we wanted to go much further and so we decided that for every opening – attorney or non-attorney – we are committed to interviewing a female or minority candidate for every male, non-minority candidate we interview.”

After his presentation, I asked Mr. Harrity what sort of benefits his current team could expect to see from their diversity efforts. “We are creating and nurturing a workplace culture that is inclusive, values differences, and is authentic, and we want our team to know we really care about them, their well-being, and their future. This will make us the patent law firm employer of choice. We are looking for good people from all backgrounds to help our team grow and to help us become the number one patent law firm.”

There has been recent press about the Mansfield Rule. This rule, introduced in 2016, requires that women and minorities comprise at least 30 percent of the candidates for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and lateral positions in law firms. Again Mr. Harrity countered, “Just like the Rooney Rule, we don’t think the Mansfield Rule goes far enough.”

Sandra Maxey, Chief Diversity Officer at Harrity & Harrity told me that “making the commitment is one thing, executing the everyday work of finding, hiring, and retaining divers talent is the real challenge. We are fully committed to diversity and inclusion at our firm.”

For more information about Harrity & Harrity’s Diversity Program, please visit their website (www.harrityllp.com/diversity). Please join Harrity & Harrity and the ranks of other law firms in implementing the Rooney Rule 2.0.

Mauricio Velásquez, MBA, is President and CEO of the Diversity Training Group based in Herndon, VA. He can be reached at 703-478-9191 or mauriciov@diversitydtg.com. DTG is in our 21st year of operation.

Diversity Semi

Editor’s Note: The Rooney Rule 2.0 was created in 2015 by the Diversity Committee at Harrity & Harrity, LLP. For a brief period in 2017, it was known as The Harrity Rule, however, after careful consideration, the name was changed back.

 

 

John Harrity, Harrity Team

John Harrity Speaks About Successful Diversity Initiatives at ALA Diversity Panel

On June 15, 2017, John Harrity, Managing Partner and Diversity Partner of Harrity & Harrity, spoke on a diversity panel hosted by the Association of Legal Administrators. Mauricio Velasquez, of Diversity Training Group, began the program with a presentation on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the legal field, and lack thereof.

Kendal Tyre, Partner at Nixon Peabody, discussed diversity initiatives within his firm.  At Nixon Peabody, associates, partners, and support staff, are expected to commit 40 hours annually to diversity initiatives.  Diversity initiatives can include meeting with an affinity group, attending diversity seminars, and attending recruiting functions.  These practices can improve firm morale and maintain a positive culture at the firm.

John Harrity’s presentation focused on internal diversity initiatives and the results that the firm has seen since their launch in 2015.  Despite having a diverse support staff, it is difficult to recruit women and minority patent attorneys.  To change this, Harrity & Harrity has taken the following steps to recruit women and minorities. The first step was initiating the Rooney Rule 2.0. The Rooney Rule 2.0 means that we are committed to interviewing a female or minority candidate for every male, non-minority candidate we interview for any position at our firm.  The firm began hiring for reduced hours and remote work positions.  The firm also started a 1L Diversity Fellowship in 2016 and launched the first Diversity Summer Workshop in 2017.

Since the launch of our diversity initiatives in 2015, Harrity & Harrity has hired seven new attorneys, four of whom are considered diverse by the EEOC Diversity Scorecard.  Across the firm as a whole, there have been 18 new hires in the past two years, 12 of whom are considered diverse.

John Harrity says of the seminar, “This was a great opportunity to not only talk about our diversity initiatives, but to share ideas and learn new skills from other firms, as well.  I strongly believe that cultivating a highly diverse firm is one of the keys to success, and I look forward to working towards this goal.”

Harrity Diversity Workshop National's Game

Harrity & Harrity Launches it’s First Annual Diversity Summer Workshop

Harrity & Harrity wrapped up the 2017 Harrity Diversity Summer Workshop on Friday, May 26.  The workshop brought together ten engineering students, law students, and recent law school graduates to learn the skills involved in being a patent attorney.  During the workshop, participants had an opportunity to learn about patent preparation and patent prosecution, as well as receive mentorship from associates and partners at Harrity & Harrity.

Participants also had opportunities to hear perspectives from attorneys in other positions throughout the country.  Teresa Rea, former acting director of the USPTO, met with participants and provided advice about forging a career as a patent attorney, balancing life and work, and government service.  Similarly, Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google, and Courtney Holohan, Chief IP Counsel at Accenture, gave tips for succeeding as an attorney and navigating career paths and opportunities.  Participants ended the week receiving hands on advice on crafting their resumes and cover letters, practicing mock interview skills, and traveling with Harrity & Harrity attorneys and support staff to see a Washington Nationals game.

Sandra Maxey, Chief Diversity Officer, says of the workshop, “This week was an incredible success, and we hope to start looking for participants for our 2018 workshop soon to help diverse students with an interest in the patent field gain the skills to succeed as private practice attorneys, patent examiners, and in-house counsel.”

Kris Rhu Joins Harrity as an Associate

January 4, 2016 – Kris Rhu joins Harrity & Harrity as an associate.

pic_krisPrior to joining Harrity & Harrity, LLP, Kris was a Primary Patent Examiner at the USPTO, where he examined patent applications directed to electrical and computer technologies, including input/output interfaces and devices, computer memory, computer networking, processors, and software development. Kris also worked at the Patent and Trial Appeals Board helping Administrative Patent Judges write opinions for Ex Parte Appeals. While working full-time at the USPTO, Kris attended The George Washington University National Law Center.

Click HERE to learn more about Kris Rhu and the rest of our team.