Law360 (December 21, 2020, 4:47 PM EST) — Intellectual property firms ranging from just a handful of lawyers to several hundred attorneys said the COVID-19 pandemic was a logistical curveball, but their industry has largely been insulated from the worst of the pandemic’s financial woes.
Law360 spoke with seven IP firms that span in size and location to get a snapshot of how the novel coronavirus pandemic impacted the industry, including Harrity’s John Harrity.
“Harrity & Harrity’s staff was already three-quarters remote before the pandemic hit, said John Harrity.
‘We were ready for it,’ he said. ‘We were already paperless — we had done that several years ago. It was probably as seamless a transition for us as possible.’
He said the firm has been continuously growing, and with a dozen new attorneys added in 2020, it marked its biggest year for hiring.
While Harrity said the firm had always allowed for flexibility with attorneys, such as letting them choose their own hours, it extended that same freedom to support staff during the pandemic.
‘[We’re letting them start] as late as 3 p.m. so that they could do their homeschooling if they have young kids and then start their day after that’s over,’ he said. ‘We’re put in this really awkward position with this, especially with virtual learning. If you have small kids, what are you supposed to do? We didn’t want our parents to have to choose between teaching their kids or working. We gave them an opportunity to be able to keep doing both.’
The patent preparation and prosecution specialists say they’ve seen particular growth in the telecom sector, which has blown up in the remote work environment.
Internally, the firm has used that remote technology to try and keep its employees connected to each other, including with virtual happy hours and live meditation sessions.
‘It’s necessary during a situation [like] we’re in — the inherent stress that’s involved with the pandemic and the uncertainty that’s around it,’ Harrity said.”