Harrity Implements Four-Day Work Week

Harrity & Harrity, the Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™, has implemented a four-day work week for support staff.  This summer, each support team has selected one month to test out the shortened work week, splitting up who takes which day off in rotation.

The firm already offers schedule flexibility, remote options, and a 7.5-hour workday.  The ultimate goal of the four-day work week is to maintain this, allowing staff to work just 30 hours per week.

“Obviously, we have deadlines, and timeliness is an extremely important part of the services we provide our clients,” says John Harrity, Managing Partner.  “Support staff will work a longer day if they have to in order to ensure all work is completed on time, but the intention of the four-day work week is not to work four 10-hour days.  The goal is to continue with our normal 7.5-hour day, with a 30-hour work week.”

The idea came about in 2019, with the goal of attaining true life/work balance- a significant component of Harrity’s firm culture.  Although many things still need to be achieved before the firm can implement this full-time, shortened summer weeks are a step in the right direction.

“The future of the firm,” says John, “will be permanent four-day work weeks.”

And, it seems to be going well so far.

“I’ve done a four-day work week before and I love doing it; I think our team really likes it too. Who doesn’t want to cut their work week down to four days?” says Sara Stesney, Manager of the New Applications Support Team.

Another advantage, she adds, is the fact that the benefit is shared by the whole team.

“The individuals on my team are incredibly hardworking and responsible.  Despite the firm’s ample PTO policy, they are hesitant to take any paid time off, because they know their absence will increase the workload of their other team members and they just don’t want to create more work for anyone else. With the four-day work week, everyone contributes to the extra workload, and everyone enjoys the extra time off.   I’ve already seen the benefits of the shortened week reflected in the mindsets of my team members.  They come back from their day off truly refreshed and ready to tackle their work, without the feeling of guilt for putting a burden on their colleagues.”

For more information on Harrity’s life/work balance and other factors that contribute to their high employee satisfaction and great team culture, and to apply to current openings, please visit harrityllp.com/careers.

Harrity 4 Charity Lends a Hand in Communities Across the Country During Pandemic

For the past 33 years, Manna Ministries, a weekly food share distribution agency in rural Alabaster, Alabama, has helped feed people in underserved communities in four counties—already making it the largest agency of Community Food Bank of Central Alabama in Birmingham. But even so, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything.

“Since COVID,” says Executive Director Phyllis Harbin, “we have doubled the number of people we are serving since this time last year, now close to 300 households. And we are one of the only food shares that distributes weekly, not monthly.  People are carpooling here from inner city Birmingham with two, three, even four families in the vehicle because they can’t find enough food,” she notes about the drive-throughs on Saturday mornings.”

“People are losing their jobs,” she explains. “We’re now seeing all walks of life come through … many of them middle class folks. At least 25% have never needed to ask for help before.  People have no financial cushion and who would have ever thought something like this would happen?”

Reliant on donations of cash and food, all-volunteer Manna Ministries is able to feed someone for a month for about $5 … But COVID has made it far harder to meet the demand … And many people don’t realize that Food Stamps don’t even cover necessary paper products or hygiene items.

“Weekly,” Phyllis relates, “we give every family one box each of pantry items, produce and meat, as well as breads, sweets and dairy if we have it—about 50-60 pounds of food. And we provide baby formula/food. We don’t always have hygiene items, but we are trying during the pandemic to provide toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, feminine hygiene products, even pet food.  All of our volunteers look for donations, like asking our dentists to donate toothpaste and toothbrushes.  We’ll take any usable donation. Hand sanitizer is hard to find, but the Church Ladies have been making masks to hand out.  We just try to show kindness and love on them.”

Afraid that COVID isn’t going anywhere soon, donations like the one from Harrity 4 Charity’s COVID emergency fund are more important than ever.  “You betcha,” says Phyllis, a retired financial record keeper.  “The amount that Harrity gave us took us through three months of weekly food drive-throughs—You’re talking about feeding 1,500 families. And the public relations support provided by Harrity brought in three more sizable donations. We’re grateful.”

“We all do it not because we have to,” she shares, “but because we see a big need out there and have a love of people. We feel called to do His work. It’s a labor of love and we’re just glad that we’re able to assist.”

See Manna Ministries food distribution drive-thru on NBC’s WVTM-TV: https://www.wvtm13.com/article/local-ministry-hands-out-food-to-hundreds-in-alabaster/33357106

Images of Food Drive-Through

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. 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’s Rocky Berndsen Recognized in IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists Annual Listing

Harrity’s Rocky Berndsen has been recognized in the IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists, an annual listing of individuals who lead the way in the development and implementation of world-class programs that maximize the value of intellectual property portfolios.

According to IAM Media, the strategists identified in this guide do not see issues from just one perspective; instead, they see value creation in the round. It is this 360-degree perspective, combined with a demonstrable ability to deliver, which makes them stand out from the crowd.

Rocky’s innovation and leadership in the area of patent analytics and IP business strategy development contributed to his nomination on this global listing of the IP elite. Congratulations, Rocky!

About the IAM Strategy 300 Nominations

(Source: IAM Media)

These world-class IP strategists are primarily identified through confidential nominations made online. However, the extensive research process also involves face-to-face and telephone interviews, as well as email exchanges, with senior members of the global IP community.

No individual can qualify for a listing in the IAM Strategy 300 unless he or she is nominated by at least three people from outside of his or her own organization. But even this does not guarantee inclusion; instead, only those individuals who further research shows to have exceptional skill sets, as well as profound insights into the development, creation and management of IP value, are featured in the IAM Strategy 300.

For this latest edition of the guide, IAM started the research process from scratch; so even those who had previously been listed had to meet the same selection criteria as those who are new to the guide this year. Once a person received the minimum three recommendations from outside his or her own organization, IAM undertook their own independent research to assess these claims.

Most nominees did not make it through the vetting process; those who did are listed in the following pages. The selection procedure is always strictly applied because our overarching aim is to ensure that only those individuals who possess exceptional skill sets – as well as profound insights into the development, creation and management of IP value – are featured in the IAM Strategy 300.

“We cannot promise that every IP strategist who deserves to be described as world class has made it into this publication. But we are certain that everyone who is listed deserves to be.”

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™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.


Data-Driven Decision Making for Patent Portfolio Managers

By Bret Tingey, Associate | IPWatchdog.com

A patent portfolio can be one of the greatest assets that a company owns. A patent portfolio may boost a company’s valuation for a stock offering or a sale, may be licensed for recurring revenue, may be sold to raise cash, or may be enforced to seek monetary damages or to exclude competitors from the market. However, growing a patent portfolio can be expensive. For this reason, many companies hire a portfolio manager to balance the value and expense of growing and maintaining the patent portfolio.

A portfolio manager may be responsible for making decisions including a total target number of patent filings, target numbers of patent filings for different technology areas of the company, patent firms to use for filing and prosecuting patent applications, or how to manage costs per issued patent. The portfolio manager can improve the decision-making process by using data-driven decision making. This article shows some examples of data-driven decision making.

Keep Reading on IPWatchdog.com


Shawn Lillemo Co-Presents “The Tech-Enhanced Law Firm” at Legal Marketing Association (LMA) P3 – Virtual Experience

Harrity’s Software Product Manager Shawn Lillemo was recently featured in the Legal Marketing Association (LMA)’s P3 – The Virtual Experience. Shawn co-presented “The Tech-Enhanced Law Firm: Developing Custom Solutions to Supercharge Your Legal Professionals” with Amy Monaghan of Perkins Coie.

The session covered how to build an “unfair” competitive advantage, improve firm efficiency, and provide better client services using custom software solutions, such as Harrity’s proprietary patent drafting automation software, amongst other Harrity and Perkins Coie developments.

“The Tech Enhanced Law Firm” presentation included the following topics:

  1. Legal Innovation – What Asteroid?
  2. Rise of the Robots
  3. Making Legal Superheroes
  4. Sustainable Innovation

R. Amani Smathers, Senior Practice Innovations Specialist at Chapman and Cutler LLP, provided the following feedback regarding the presentation:

“Shawn, your anecdote about the US/European patent filing formats was one of the best examples I’ve heard of the importance of asking ‘why,’ reexamining assumptions, and that sometimes the best solution is ‘no-sourcing’—determining the work doesn’t need to be done by any resource (human or automated) at all.

I also appreciated that in mentioning being willing to fail, you both recognized that we operate in organizations that typically have a lower risk appetite.  So yes, be willing to fail fast—but fail ‘safe.’  Fail small and smart, and internalize your lessons learned.  I think those points often get lost in the popular ‘fail fast’ mantra, which originated in an industry with a higher risk tolerance.”

For more information regarding Harrity’s software, and to watch Shawn’s Automation Drafting Tools Presentation at IPO’s 2019 Annual Meeting, visit our Automation Page.


Harrity Ranks as a World Leading Patent Professional on IAM Patent 1000 List

Harrity & Harrity, LLP has been named a “Highly Recommended” firm in the field patent prosecution, according to the newly released 2020 edition of the IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals.

The online publication of the IAM Patent 1000 stated the following in regard to Harrity’s accomplishments in the patent space:

“It is simply amazing what Harrity & Harrity has been able to achieve inthe patent space by applying a carefully thought-out lean manufacturing style system to file vast numbers of patents while maintaining quality of the highest order. Clever use of automation and a uniform writing style play into its efficiency, while a rigorous second-attorney review system helps to set the quality bar high.

The compact boutique has worked other magic, too: its dedicated patent analytics group, headed by Rocky Berndsen, has been delving into all sorts of statistics to bring a unique level of industry insight to clients.

None of this has gone unnoticed by competitors: “It is growing faster than any similarly sized peer and runs an impressive recruiting programme that precisely identifies people who will thrive in its system. The efficiency tools it has invested in are also excellent. Harrity & Harrity just gets prosecution and patents.”

From a client perspective, its “reasonable pricing and outstanding customer service” are major plus points, as is its nimbleness: “When an emergency project needs to be completed quickly and done right, it is the only firm to turn to.”

Another feather in the outfit’s cap is its admirable proactivity with respect to diversity in the IP profession. In 2019 it launched the Harrity Minority Firm Incubator, which trains attorneys from minority backgrounds in prep and pros and law firm management; at the end of the four-year programme, those schooled under it will establish their own patent boutiques. The genius architects of all this success are John HarrityPaul Harrity and Paul Gurzo.”


About the IAM Patent 1000
(source: IAM Media)

The IAM Patent 1000 is commonly regarded as the definitive ‘go-to’ resource for those seeking to identify world-class, private practice patent expertise and leading expert witnesses in the US. As with previous editions, to arrive at the 2020 rankings, IAM undertook an exhaustive qualitative research project to identify outstanding firms and individuals across multiple jurisdictions. When identifying the leading firms, factors such as depth of knowledge, market presence and the level of work on which they are typically instructed were all taken into account, as well as positive peer and client feedback.

Over five months, IAM conducted in the region of 1,800 interviews with numerous attorneys at law, patent attorneys and in-house counsel to gather market intelligence on the leading players in the field. Individuals qualify for a listing in the IAM Patent 1000 when they receive sufficient positive feedback from peers and clients with knowledge of their practice and the market within which they operate. In those markets in which practitioners have narrowed the focus of their work, we have presented tables highlighting the leaders in the respective areas of prosecution, transactions and litigation. Only those individuals identified by market sources for their exceptional skill sets and profound insights into patent matters feature in the IAM Patent 1000.

We have also identified the leading firms in the market – similarly listing them, where appropriate, in prosecution, transactions and litigation tables – as it is clear that the depth of expertise that a firm can offer beyond and in support of its star practitioners is an important factor in the decision to instruct. Firms qualify for a listing on the basis of their depth of expertise, market presence and the level of work on which they are typically engaged.

Our aim is to ensure that the IAM Patent 1000 is as accurate as possible. We seek to produce the definitive list of the world’s leading patent experts, on the basis of feedback received from those operating in the market. If you disagree with the opinions we have presented, we would like to hear from you. Our guarantee is that we will further research your input and so improve the list in the future.

All names and individual positions at firms are correct to the best of our knowledge as of 15 April 2020. In instances where a firm has merged or subsequently dissolved, or individuals have moved, these changes will be reflected in the next edition of the IAM Patent 1000.


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™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.


Fairfax Lawyer Helps Fund Restaurants During COVID-19

Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WASHINGTON, DC (June 15th, 2020) A Fairfax attorney is using his charity organization to help community members suffering from the financial impacts of COVID-19.

In 2016, John Harrity, managing partner of Harrity & Harrity, nearly died at 49 from a “widowmaker” — a heart attack resulting in the complete closure of the left anterior coronary artery that often results in instant death. Given a million-to-one odds of survival, Harrity decided to turn such a negative experience into something good.

Soon after, Harrity 4 Charity, or H4C, was born.

“I thought, if I just get through this process and eventually go back to work and just go back as if nothing happened, then I will have wasted this entire experience,” Harrity said.

In the four years since its founding, H4C has worked as a tangential organization of Harrity’s firm to donate 5% of its profits to multiple causes, including the American Heart Association and Zero – the End of Prostate Cancer.

“Every employee of my firm gives a portion of their paycheck to our partner charities,” Harrity said. “We wouldn’t hire someone that wouldn’t be willing to make that commitment. That’s how important it is for us.”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, H4C, now independent from Harrity’s firm, has “redesigned” its priorities to create a fund for individuals that are struggling financially during these times. In the past few months, Harrity has used his organization to create grants for struggling local restaurants — including Glory Days Grill in Fairfax.

“We thought, OK, we’ve been giving to charities, and that’s good, but I think we need to pivot and help people who have been financially impacted,” Harrity said.

Therefore last month, Harrity teamed up with the Glory Days Grill owners to create a system in which the restaurant provided 157 meal vouchers to local food banks that could be brought to the restaurant and exchanged for a meal for a family of four.

“The [community] response has been overwhelming. People are so grateful that we are helping them,” said Sandra Maxey, controller for H4C.

One Fairfax resident that benefited from a meal voucher is Elsa. Last month, the youngest of her four sons tested positive for COVID-19. Because her family has to stay home for at least two weeks following his diagnosis, they were unable to work and struggled to afford groceries.

“The Glory Days Grill donation came to us at the best time where we could sit down as a family and enjoy a meal together,” Elsa said.

Harrity said he wanted to make a charitable contribution directly connected to his firm, as well. Therefore, he had his 55 employees compile a list of all the individuals they knew of that are struggling financially during this time.

The firm has since sent a first round of checks to those individuals to help alleviate financial stress, with a second round being sent in the upcoming weeks.

“Our intention with that is that we will continue to do it for as long as there’s an issue,” Harrity said.

Maxey said that the organization is currently in the process of creating an additional program to help feed first responders.

Harrity said he wants to help those outside of Virginia, as well. Therefore, with two employees working remotely in Alabama, H4C has begun giving to food banks there.

“We’re going to continue to do this through the end of the year,” Harrity said.


About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. 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.

Paul Harrity Consecutively Named a Global IP Star

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that Partner Paul Harrity was recently selected by Managing Intellectual Property, the leading specialist guide to IP law firms and practitioners worldwide, as a 2020/2021 “Patent Star.”  Paul was recognized as a Virginia practitioner in the areas of patent prosecution, patent strategy and counseling for the second year in a row. The annual “IP Stars” list recognizes leading lawyers and law firms for intellectual property work in more than 125 jurisdictions.

Paul is a patent attorney in the firm’s Fairfax, Virginia, office, where he focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications.  He began his career in 1991 as a patent agent at the United States Patent and Trade Office.  Since leaving the USPTO, Paul has prepared hundreds of patent applications and thousands of Patent Office responses.

Sara Stesney Offers Management Advice in “Leadership Freak” Blog


As published in the “Leadership Freak” blog by Dan Rockwell (April 16, 2020)

Dear Dan,

I have an employee who rushes through her work. I’ve tried to get her to slow down, but she is always worried about getting in trouble for not getting work done. She has never gotten into trouble for not getting work done while working for me.

When she rushes, she makes mistakes on things that she has done correctly, in the past, for years. How do you help this sort of employee? I know she has anxiety and in reading this I am now wondering if there is a correlation. Any advice?

Seeking Advice

Dear Seeking,

Sometimes we cause our own frustrations.

Self-inflicted frustration:

Don’t blame your employee for a situation you’ve been tolerating. We cause our own frustration when we:

  1. Respond the same way to repeated mistakes.
  2. Hope patience will resolve issues without intervention.
  3. Delegate tasks to people who consistently drop the ball.

An employee’s repeated mistakes reflect on the person who manages them.


What if it’s boredom? If she’s done things correctly for years, maybe she needs new responsibilities.

  1. How might you redesign her job?
  2. Who might be able to assume some of her current responsibilities so she can focus on something new?
  3. How satisfied is she with her current job on a scale of 1:10? If she is dissatisfied, but is reluctant to speak up, how might you begin crafting a new future for/with her?

Suggestions from Sara:

I reached out to Sara Stesney for her suggestions. I’ve worked with Sara and know that she manages in an area that requires precision.

Sara shared an illustration that might help your employee grasp the importance of quality.

Sara said, “If you went to McDonalds and ordered food, would you rather have the food come out REALLY FAST and be completely wrong or would you rather the food come out in a reasonable amount of time and be perfect?”

Sara added two more suggestions.

  1. Ask your employee to compete her work, set it aside, and review it for mistakes later.
  2. Help your employee learn by finding and correcting her own mistakes. Don’t point out mistakes. Say, “This work has mistakes. I need to know you can find your own mistakes. Please find and correct them.”

You have my best,


Read more advice from Dan Rockwell on his blog, Leadership Freak.