Harrity Implements Optional 3PM Start for Support Staff Due to Virtual School

Harrity & Harrity, the Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™, has adjusted its flexible start time to accommodate distance learning.  With schools across the country implementing virtual classes this fall, Harrity leadership announced that employees have the option begin their workday as late as 3:00 pm, allowing working parents and caretakers to focus on both the education of their children and their careers.

The firm already offers schedule flexibility, remote options, and a 7.5-hour workday, and recently implemented a four-day work week trial period for support staff.  The 3 pm start-time is just one more way Harrity is improving life/work balance in the legal field.

“At Harrity, we understand the predicament that virtual learning can create for working parents who are trying to balance their child’s schoolwork and their own career.  We don’t believe in making our team choose between their family and their success, and recognize that with schools across the country practicing e-learning this fall, that is the unfortunate reality for many,” said John Harrity, Managing Partner.

“Effective immediately, we have modified our flexible hours to allow staff to start their workday as late as 3 pm, when most school days end.  This will allow parents to assist with classwork and childcare during normal school hours, without using PTO or falling behind at work.”

The new policy has been well-received by staff, as it offers relief to the firm’s working parents struggling to find a balance.

Back in March, Autumn Vanatta, a Patent Prosecution Specialist at Harrity, began sharing her remote office with her two children.

At the time, her husband was also home and able to assist with helping their two children, in 1st and 4th grades, complete their online assignments.  “We were one of the few schools that continued actual grading, classes were not just pass/fail, so sometimes it required teaching new material to the kids.  Some days this took a lot of time and effort because we are not trained to be school teachers, so we put forth the extra effort to learn how to teach our children the lessons so they would not fall behind.”

However, as school starts back this fall Autumn’s husband will not be home to assist with school.  Her children will be in a school district holding virtual classes so she jumped at the opportunity to start her workday later.

“I really wasn’t sure how I was going to balance two kids “in” school and working during the same hours, knowing how much time and effort my husband and I put into the last few months of the last school year.  The 3pm start time will keep me from feeling pulled in three directions – responding to work in a timely manner and assisting two kids (in different grades) with school,” she said.

Docketing Specialist Julie Swartz added how appreciative she is of the firm’s consideration and support of its staff.

“Not only does Harrity & Harrity encourage their employees to innovate and excel while on the job, but also in life.  In addition to the benefit of working remotely, having a flexible schedule empowers me to focus my attention on my child’s online schooling during typical working hours,” stated Julie. “The firm has alleviated the problem so many parents are facing during these difficult times- to be an educator, a role model, and a dedicated employee – all within the confines of 9 to 5.”

 

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.

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 Allows Staff to Choose Own Work Schedule Due to Virtual School

As working parents try to figure out how they will help their children with virtual learning this fall, one local law firm is trying to set an example.

The firm Harrity and Harrity is based in Fairfax, Virginia, but has employees nationwide and just announced its staff can now choose their own schedule with the ability to start the day as late as three o’clock in the afternoon.

 

Managing partner John Harrity tells FOX 5: “Is someone supposed to quit their job just so they can sit with their kids to make sure that they’re learning all day? That’s a devastating situation.”

Harrity says many of his employees are taking him up on the 3 p.m. start time and his firm is hoping others take notice and consider offering their staff the same flexibility.

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 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 without taking any cuts in pay.

“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 Named a “Best Place to Work” in 2020

FAIRFAX, VA (January 31, 2020) Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a nationally recognized patent law firm, has been named one of the 2020 Best Places to Work in Virginia by Virginia Business Magazine and Best Companies Group.

The 2020 Best Places to Work in Virginia list is part of a statewide survey and awards program which identifies the 100 best places of employment in Virginia. The list is determined by evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics, as well as the results of employee experience surveys measuring the overall employee satisfaction. Only companies with the highest combined scores receive recognition as a Best Places to Work in Virginia winner.

“It is an honor to have been named one of Virginia’s Best Places to Work in 2020. Since our inception 20 years ago, the partners at Harrity have always focused on fostering a positive, exciting, and rewarding firm culture. Our people are the core of our business and our success comes from recruiting and retaining the best talent. This means constantly learning and evolving to improve the type of environment we provide and ensuring that our employees have the resources and support they need to succeed,” said John Harrity, Managing Partner at Harrity, LLP. “This award is a fantastic recognition of that.”

As a boutique IP firm specializing in the preparation and prosecution of electrical and mechanical patent applications, Harrity maintains a robust and prestigious client base, consisting of a number of Patent 300® companies and some of the leading technology companies in the world. In addition to high-quality work, experienced practitioners, and outstanding service, Harrity employees highlighted the firm’s cutting-edge innovation, dedication to charity, progressive diversity initiatives, generous benefits, and flexible remote policy as factors that set Harrity aside from typical workplaces.

Harrity will join other top ranked companies at an awards luncheon on January 31, 2020, at the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, where the official 2020 Best Places to Work in Virginia announcement will be made.

To learn more about what makes Harrity a great place to work and to view current career opportunities, visit the Harrity Careers 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.

Flexibility for Lawyers, Clients Helps Harrity & Harrity Stay Competitive

Law.com (September 10, 2019) “We allow our attorneys to work where they want, when they want, and how much they want,” managing partner John Harrity says.

Firm Name: Harrity & Harrity, LLP
Firm Leader: John Harrity, Managing Partner
Head Count: 30 attorneys, 20 professionals
Location: Fairfax, Virginia
Practice Area: Intellectual Property
Governance structure and compensation model: Management by a three-person management committee, compensation is a pay for performance model
Do you offer alternative fee arrangements? Yes

**The following answers were provided by Harrity and edited lightly for style.**

What do you view as the two biggest opportunities for your firm, and what are the two biggest threats?

Our biggest opportunity stems from the fact that we are consistently able to provide high-quality, uniform patent work in a timely and efficient manner. Other firms, especially those that are using the traditional law firm model, are struggling to compete in today’s competitive, price-conscious patent environment. While some firms think that it is impossible to provide outstanding customer service in today’s environment, we are thriving. Our biggest threat is the difficulty we have attracting superstar attorneys to join our firm. This has long been one of our challenges. Big Law firms offer high starting salaries to attorneys who have very little experience. It can be difficult for us to compete when our model is pay for performance.

Some other opportunities for our firm are related to our remote staffing model. We don’t need every attorney at the firm to operate from our central office location, so we benefit from a pool of candidates that many law firms won’t consider because the candidate is interested in working remotely, or isn’t in the geographic footprint of other firms. We also see opportunity in the price pressure that is impacting the practice of patent law—while the big law firms struggle to find profitability in this area while bowing to the price pressures mandated by the large corporations that are setting the pricing standard for patent applications, we leverage technology and process improvements to ensure efficiency without sacrificing quality or our ability to make a profit.

The legal market is so competitive now—what trends do you see, and has anything, including alternative service providers, altered your approach? Is your chief competition other mid-market firms, or is your firm competing against big firms for the same work?

We go head to head with law firms of every size. Although we don’t directly compete with alternative service providers, I would still consider them to be competition. In the patent field, we have seen pricing for patent application drafting and prosecution come down, and we don’t expect it to go back up. Law firms tend to think that Patent 300TM companies will come to understand that higher prices are required to be able to provide outstanding customer service, including outstanding quality. This just simply isn’t the case. We have been focusing on efficiencies for more than six years. When I say efficiencies, I’m talking about leaning out our process steps and creating automation tools. Being able to provide outstanding customer service while charging less for patent services is not only doable for us in today’s patent field, but we are also simultaneously able to pay our attorneys top dollar.

There is much debate around how law firms can foster the next generation of legal talent. What advantages and disadvantages do midsize firms have in attracting and retaining young lawyers, particularly millennials?

I think we have a huge advantage over the big firms with respect to attracting and retaining young lawyers, including millennials. One thing you hear about with respect to millennials is that they want freedom. So, we give it to them. We allow our attorneys to work where they want, when they want, and how much they want. This freedom is an instrumental reason why we attract such a large group of candidates for open attorney positions. In addition to this freedom, we have a pay for performance model, which allows hardworking young professionals to make substantially more than their peers at the big law firms.

Does your firm employ any nonlawyer professionals in high-level positions (e.g. COO, business development officer, chief strategy officer, etc.)? If so, why is it advantageous to have a nonlawyer in that role? If not, have you considered hiring any?

An integral (nonlawyer) member of our firm is Rocky Berndsen, who leads Harrity Patent Analytics. He oversees an analytical team using cutting-edge capabilities to analyze patent data and extract insights for clients to use when making strategic decisions regarding patent portfolios. The team recently published its inaugural Patent 300TM Report, which ranks and analyzes the top 300 companies, organizations, and universities in the patent field.

What would you say is the most innovative thing your firm has done recently, whether it be technology advancements, internal operations, how you work with clients, etc.?

In September, we introduced our Minority Firm Incubator program, established to help train, cultivate, and launch minority-owned patent law firms. The program is an integral and innovative part of our ongoing initiative to advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field. Our firm will select two candidates from a pool of skilled applicants, and begin training them through an exhaustive four-year program that will not only prepare them to draft and prosecute patent applications, but also prepare them to successfully run their minority-owned patent firm as a business. In addition, what makes this a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is that these selected attorneys will develop, during their time at our firm, relationships with Patent 300TM companies that are part of our program. Ultimately, the selected attorneys will learn how to successfully run their law firms abiding by Harrity & Harrity’s proven best practices, then formally launch their firms assisted by the already established corporate relationships.

Does your firm have a succession plan in place?  If so, what challenges do you face in trying to execute that plan? If you don’t currently have a plan, is it an issue your firm is thinking about?

As a 20-year-old firm, our leadership is far from retirement age, but that has not stopped us from putting succession framework into place. We have established training programs that will help our associates develop the leadership and management skills they need to ascend the partner ranks. We have also engaged outside resources to make sure we’re doing the things we need to do to prepare for the day—many years down the road, we hope—when the firm’s leadership will transition to a new guard. We are prepared for that, and see no imminent challenges to implementing our succession plan.

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.