Elaine Spector Goes Viral with #BreakMomBias

Harrity Partner & Diversity Co-chair, Elaine Spector, recently went viral in a LinkedIn post sharing her thoughts on how mothers are treated in the field of law, in response to a leaked text message from a male attorney to his female colleague in Ohio.

In short, the female attorney was asked to work while on maternity leave, and later resigned. She received the following text from a male partner at her firm.

“What you did — collecting salary from the firm while sitting on your ass, except to find time to interview for another job — says everything one needs to know about your character. Karma’s a bitch. Rest assured, regarding anyone who inquires, they will hear the truth from me about what a soul-less and morally bankrupt person you are.”

Elaine’s post reads:

“‘Collecting Salary From the Firm While Sitting on Your Ass’

We can all look at the statement and think it is atrocious. But what is more atrocious is that the firm leadership’s first response was to “explain” the exchange. I am happy to hear that the lawyer who sent the text was fired, but why didn’t that happen initially?

And what unnerves me the most is that many lawyers think this way. That somehow, maternity leave is easy where we just “sit on our ass” and eat bon-bons.

Let me tell you something. Growing a human inside of me (three times) was the most physically challenging time in my life, not to mention the trauma of birth. I had no idea the recovery would be so painful. Imagine having surgery and then being woken up in the middle of the night every 2 hours to nurse a child. It is absolutely physically exhausting. I needed every day of the 12 weeks I had off to recover from birth, as well as bond with my child.

So, as a show of solidarity with the woman who received that horrific text, I am posting a picture of me just after I gave birth to my first child 20 years ago. It was harder than any race I have run.

We are warriors!”

Shortly after, Elaine was featured in an article for Above the Law by Wendi Weiner, who discusses the curtailing impact of why toxic culture is to blame for women leaving law firms.

“Elaine Spector, a patent lawyer, posted in solidarity about her pregnancy and subsequent harsh recovery. Both of these posts and countless others sent a very loud and clear message: maternity leave is definitely not ‘sitting on your ass,'” the article, titled Why Toxic Culture Is To Blame For Women Leaving Law Firms reads.

At Harrity, we believe in equal treatment and opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. We are also committed to maintaining a respectful, inclusive, and supportive workplace for all employees.

In support of all working women and all moms throughout the world, if you haven’t already, we encourage you to post a picture of yourself either after childbirth, mothering your children, or whatever you have, to demonstrate our support of one another and as a way to break the bias towards moms! Please include the hashtag #BreakMomBias.

You can see more of Elaine’s insights in her weekly vlog, Driving Diversity, on LinkedIn. Learn more about our Diversity Initiatives here and join our Diversity Mentor Network here.

Elaine Spector Featured in Brink News Article, “Why Is There a Chronic Lack of Diversity in the Legal Profession?”

Harrity Partner & Diversity Co-chair, Elaine Spector, was recently featured in an interview with Brink News, where she shared her thoughts on the lack of diversity in the legal field and her ideas on how to improve diversity and equity in law.

You can read the entire article on Brink’s website.

You can learn more about our Diversity Initiatives here and join our Diversity Mentor Network here.

Harrity Joins Google, Amazon, Meta & More in DEI Collective

Harrity & Harrity is excited to announce that we have partnered with Advancing Diversity Across Patent Teams (ADAPT) to bring standardization and transparency to how the patent profession measures diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and scale efforts to improve diversity of the patent bar.   

ADAPT is a collective of corporate legal teams, law firms and industry groups who have come together to address the lack of diversity in the IP profession, including LOT Network Inc., Amazon, Cruise, The Walt Disney Company, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Uber. By spreading awareness of the issue, increasing accessibility to DEI resources and opportunities, and making it easier to participate in diversity efforts, ADAPT aims to significantly improve DEI in the intellectual property space.  

Harrity Analytics will work with data science teams from Google and other ADAPT members to conduct and publish accurate analysis of the diversity breakdown of the profession. With input from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Harrity and ADAPT aim to better visualize the DEI landscape of the talent pipeline, understand practical application of technical training for patent careers, better map out the career path for patent practitioners, and much more. ADAPT will open source the underlying data and methodology once established. 

Harrity is also collaborating with ADAPT on multiple diversity programs, removing barriers for external firms and individuals to participate in diversity efforts by creating volunteering and sponsorship opportunities and sharing templates to launch similar programs.   

“We are thrilled to be part of ADAPT, and to continue our work in tracking data statistics with regard to diversity of the patent bar,” shared Elaine Spector, Harrity Partner and Diversity Co-Chair. “This collaboration will build on our seminal work, published in ABA Landslide magazine, regarding demographics of the patent bar. It is so important that we understand whether our diversity efforts in the patent field are effective, and this collaboration will allow us to do so. It is critical to the US economy to have a diverse patent bar, so that we can expand diversity of innovation to underrepresented communities.”   

Through this collaboration, Harrity and the ADAPT consortium will create a network of practitioners passionate about improving diversity, provide insights on what the career path of an IP attorney can look like, and connect aspiring patent professionals with the organizations that can support them in their journey. This new partnership will be a huge step in changing the demographics of the patent bar to mirror those of our society, and Harrity is honored to be on the forefront of this transformation.  

Want to get involved? You can see our all of Diversity Initiatives here and join our Diversity Mentor Network here.

Elaine Spector Named WIPR Influential Woman in IP

A big congratulations to Harrity Partner & Diversity Co-chair, Elaine Spector, who has been recognized as an Influential Woman in IP in the #WIPRDiversity annual listing of the best and brightest women in the IP field.

“I am very excited to be listed as an Influential Woman in IP in the WIPR Diversity, Class of 2022. I know so many of the 50 women listed there, and I am very honored to be included among them. I am also very grateful for the time, resources, and support extended by my firm, Harrity & Harrity, LLP, in efforts to make a meaningful impact with respect to diversifying the patent bar. I couldn’t do this work without their support,” Elaine shared.

We could not think of anyone more deserving of this honor! Elaine’s passion for improving diversity of the patent bar has already had a huge impact on the field, with much more change to come. You can see our Diversity Initiatives here and join our Diversity Mentor Network here.

Harrity Featured in Bloomberg Law: Moving the Needle

Harrity & Harrity has recently been recognized by Bloomberg Law for our diversity initiatives, specifically with respect to increasing the representation of African-American/Black women within patent law.

The article, Black Women Lawyers Still Sparsely Seen at Federal Circuit, refers to Harrity as a law firm focused on moving the needle by creating programs that target the pipeline problem of a lack of women and minorities sitting for the patent bar, including quotes from Diversity Co-Chair, Elaine Spector, on our Patent Pathways program.

“Harrity & Harrity LP—after conducting a diversity and inclusion study that found that there are more patent attorneys and agents named “Michael” than there are racially diverse women in those roles in the US—launched a program to register more Black women as patent practitioners.

The initiative, called Patent Pathways, starts this summer. Harrity & Harrity will help women who complete the program find law firm jobs afterward. The inaugural program’s 20 participants could ‘move the needle quickly,’ said Elaine Spector, a Harrity partner leading Patent Pathways.

‘We want to make sure that innovation is expanded across all of our populations,” Spector said. ‘Women and racially diverse inventors are inventing or showing up on patents at a lower rate, and there is that correlation, to make sure that they can go to attorneys that represent them.'”

Patent Pathways is a Diversity & Inclusion Program dedicated to increasing numbers of registered African-American/Black women patent attorneys and agents through free patent skills training, mentoring, career counseling, and expenses paid to prepare for and take the patent bar exam. This program was created to help address the significant lack of diversity found in IP Law.

To learn more about the Patent Pathways program, click HERE.

Click HERE to read the full article by Samantha Handler.

Onyx IP Group, Launched from Harrity’s Minority Firm Incubator, Creates Diversity Scholarship

Harrity is thrilled to announce that Onyx IP Group, PLLC, the first minority-owned patent law firm to launch from our Minority Firm Incubator Program, has awarded two scholarships to diverse students studying STEM.

James Bennin, Founder of Onyx IP Group, shared the following statement.

“I am excited to announce that Onyx IP Group has awarded its inaugural scholarships to high school seniors who will be pursuing an education in STEM!! Onyx IP Group has been operating for almost a year now and we are so excited to be able to award scholarships to a couple of high school students at Evans High School – a high school we have been working with this academic year.

One scholarship was awarded to a female student who will be attending Texas A&M next year planning to major in Engineering. The other scholarship was awarded to a male student who will be attending Valencia College with a UCF Direct Connect with a plan to major in Neurological Sciences. This week, a part of the team at Onyx IP Group was able to meet these great high school students and learn about their amazing stories. Last week, we were able to attend an awards ceremony at Evans High School for its seniors and were amazed at the amount of talent at this school.

Onyx IP Group, PLLC has decided to commit at least 5% of its profit to our scholarship fund every year. We are so grateful for our clients who have entrusted us with their work and have made this scholarship fund a reality. As Onyx IP Group grows and the profit of the firm increases, we will be able to increase the size of our scholarship fund and provide scholarships to a larger group of high school students every academic year. It feels great to give back to our community and to continue to take steps towards our goal.”

Harrity’s diversity programs are focused on giving back to the community by providing underrepresented groups in the patent field free resources to help them succeed. We are honored that James has continued this sentiment within Onyx IP and cannot wait to see what the future holds for his firm and his scholarship recipients.

Learn more about Onyx IP Group here.

Elaine Spector Featured in ChIPs for World IP Day

Harrity’s Elaine Spector was recently featured in a blog by ChIPs in celebration of World IP Day.

The organization shared what World IP Day means to their ChIPsters, and what needs to happen to make the theme of this year, IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future, a reality.

Elaine’s feature can be found below.

What are the opportunities to continue to increase access for young women inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs in intellectual property? 

“In recent years, we have learned through numerous studies that women are not showing up on patents in proportion to their representation in the workforce. And that’s a loss for all of us.  

 In fact, the Hamilton Project found that bringing more women, Black Americans and other underrepresented groups into the innovation process could increase GDP by more than 4%. We all win when these groups are informed about our amazing patent system and given the amazing tools to become a part of the innovation ecosystem.  

 As such, it is important for us in the innovation ecosystem to reach back to young women to provide them with the information, tools, and resources to innovate, create, and protect their intellectual property. Consider hosting an outreach event to expose these young women to intellectual property, whether it be presenting through organizations like the Girls Scouts or Girls Who Code.  To truly make a difference, we need “all hands on deck!” 

Elaine Spector, Member, ChIPs Washington, DC Chapter, Partner, Harrity & Harrity, LLP  

Click HERE to read the full article.

Harrity Recognized for DEI Initiatives

Harrity & Harrity has recently been recognized by IM-Media, in their article “Closing diversity gaps in patenting: current initiatives and the HP perspective” for it’s many DEI initiatives – in particular, the Patent Pathways program which Harrity is helping to launch the first iteration of this program Summer 2022.

Patent Pathways is a Diversity & Inclusion Program dedicated to increasing numbers of registered African-American/Black women patent attorneys and agents. This program was created to help address the significant lack of diversity found in IP Law.

To learn more about the Patent Pathways program, click HERE.

Click HERE to read the full article.

IPO Diversity & Inclusion Committee Honored with the 2021 Outstanding Committee of the Year Award

Congratulations are in order for the IPO Diversity & Inclusion Committee for being awarded the 2021 Outstanding Committee of the Year Award!

Harrity Partner and Committee Vice Chair, Elaine Spector, says: “It is such a pleasure to work with such a committed group in furthering diversity of the legal profession, which is in dire need of improvement. I am excited to see how this committee can make a direct impact on diversity of the IP profession, as well as the legal profession.”

From IPO:

“In recognition of exceptional service, IPO will present its 2021 Outstanding Committee of the Year Award to the Diversity & Inclusion Committee during the 2021 IPO LIVE + Virtual Annual Meeting. The Diversity & Inclusion Committee is chaired by SHRUTI COSTALES (Dell Technologies). Its co-vice chairs are CARYLN BURTON (Osha Bergman Watanabe & Burton LLP), SERENA I. FARQUHARSON-TORRES (Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.), and ELAINE SPECTOR (Harrity & Harrity, LLP). The secretary is CLAUDIA W. STANGLE (Leydig, Voit & Mayer, Ltd.) and Board Liaison is DARRYL FRICKEY (Dow Chemical Co.).

The committee has gone above and beyond this year by preparing the Practical Guide on Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession and several webinars supporting it, as well as creating a new D&I resource group for IP Professionals with Disabilities and Advocates. The committee continues to be forward-thinking in creating content and materials for those inside and outside the IPO membership. Congratulations to the committee and all its members!”