Elaine Spector Provides Data-Driven Perspective at 2024 AIPLA DEIA Colloquium

In an inspiring gathering at the 2024 AIPLA DEIA Colloquium in Puerto Rico, Elaine Spector, Partner at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, provided an enlightening presentation that underscored the crucial role of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity within the intellectual property (IP) realm. This significant event, held in partnership with the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), ASIPI, and Invent Together, served as a platform for thought leaders to exchange insights and advance the conversation around DEIA in the IP field.

Elaine’s presentation delved into the current state of diversity in IP law, offering a comprehensive, data-driven analysis that illuminated both the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead. By leveraging empirical evidence, she highlighted the underrepresentation of diverse groups in the patent field and the untapped potential this presents for innovation. Elaine’s adept use of data not only provided a clear picture of the current landscape but also underscored the importance of strategic efforts to enhance diversity within the profession.

Elaine Spector on DEIA Panel

A standout moment of the colloquium for Elaine was meeting Aina Breen, a patent agent hired by Harrity out of our Patent Pathways™ program.  Patent Pathways™ is a groundbreaking 501(c)(3) organization that aims to bridge the diversity gap in the patent field by offering free training and mentorship to individuals interested in becoming patent professionals who are currently facing underrepresentation and socioeconomic barriers.

“The icing on the cake was meeting our extraordinary Patent Pathways™ (a 501(c)(3) organization) hire Aina Breen. Aina has a degree in mechanical engineering and rocked the patent bar exam on her first try! What an honor it is to know her and mentor her, and now, to meet her in person!” Elaine shared on LinkedIn.

Aina’s presence at the colloquium embodied the success of targeted efforts to foster inclusivity and support underrepresented talent in the IP sector.

Elaine Spector and Aina Breen

Elaine Spector’s participation in the 2024 AIPLA DEIA Colloquium not only reinforced Harrity & Harrity’s dedication to advancing DEIA in the IP field but also sparked meaningful discussions on how to continue this important work. Through a combination of data-driven insights and real-life success stories, the presentation highlighted the firm’s strategic approach to nurturing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for innovation.

As we reflect on the insights shared at the colloquium, it’s evident that while strides have been made, the journey toward full inclusivity and representation in the IP field continues. Harrity & Harrity remains at the forefront of this endeavor, committed to leveraging data and real-world outcomes to guide their efforts in making the patent world a more diverse, innovative, and accessible place.

For more information about Harrity & Harrity’s diversity initiatives and services, please visit harrityllp.com/diversity.

Revolutionizing the Patent Landscape: The ‘Driving Diversity’ ADAPT Webinar Unpacks the Future of Diversity in Patent Law

Today, we’re diving into a subject that’s close to our hearts: the advancement of diversity in the patent law field. If you’re as passionate about this issue as we are, you’ll want to know all about the Diversity Dialogue: ADAPT Webinar that recently took place. This event brought together some of the brightest minds in the industry to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in patent law.

In a world where innovation drives progress, it’s important for the teams behind the patents to reflect the diversity of the world they serve. This isn’t just an ethical imperative; it’s a business necessity. Diverse teams bring fresh perspectives that can catalyze groundbreaking ideas. And that’s where the ADAPT initiative comes in, as a collaborative effort aimed at making tangible changes in the industry.

Harrity’s Elaine Spector was joined by panelists Gail Su (Google), Mike Binns (Meta) and Judy Yee (Microsoft) as this collective wisdom came together to delve into the ADAPT initiative, each contributing their unique perspectives and expertise.

How ADAPT Came to Be

Elaine Spector kicked off the discussion by recounting the founding story of ADAPT. The goal? To transition from mere talk to meaningful action. The thought that collective action from power players like Google, Meta, and Microsoft was the key to making waves in the patent law ecosystem. So they formed a DEI collective and gave it a name worth remembering: ADAPT.

Why DEI Isn’t Just a Buzzword

DEI isn’t a corporate fad—it’s a corporate strategy. Gail Su hit the nail on the head, reminding us that diverse teams don’t just check boxes; they break new ground. Also, Mike Binns pushed us to think broader about what diversity means. It’s not just about color or gender; it’s about varied educational backgrounds, experiences, and even diverse ways of thinking.

The Progress So Far

ADAPT is more than just a collective on paper; it’s making real moves. From mentorship programs to data analytics for tracking DEI metrics, this initiative isn’t playing small. ADAPT isn’t here for the short game, but is looking to build sustainable diversity.

As we look to the future, the objectives for ADAPT extend well beyond the present moment. The panelists articulated a strategic vision aimed at institutionalizing DEI practices within the patent law ecosystem. Elaine Spector emphasized Harrity & Harrity’s unwavering commitment to not only supporting but also actively contributing to these pioneering initiatives. The ambition is to elevate DEI practices to the level of an industry standard, setting a precedent for excellence and inclusivity that other firms in the patent law field will aspire to meet.

Questions to Spark Your Imagination

  1. How can your firm adopt a data-driven approach to keep DEI at the forefront?
  2. What unorthodox strategies could you utilize to attract and retain diverse talent?
  3. Could DEI be the secret sauce for your organization’s long-term success?

If this post has piqued your interest, don’t miss the chance to watch the entire ADAPT Diversity Dialogue Webinar here. Until we meet again, let’s continue to challenge the status quo and reshape the future landscape of patent law.

Watch the full webinar here:

Want to get involved? Check out the useful link below!

ADAPT.LEGAL


Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

Elaine Spector: Thoughts on Mandatory Returns to Office

Elaine Spector shares her candid thoughts on law firms requiring an in-person return to office as we transition into a post-COVID environment below.

“I get so frustrated when I hear about another Biglaw firm requiring their lawyers to return to the office full-time with minimal remote work options. While various factors may drive these changes, they have the potential to affect lawyers, particularly those with families, disproportionately.

Remote work has proven to be a game-changer for many professionals, allowing them to effectively manage their careers and personal responsibilities. The legal field is no exception, as countless lawyers have thrived while juggling complex cases and family commitments from the comfort of their homes. However, a shift away from remote work in certain Biglaw firms could inadvertently create an uneven playing field, disadvantaging those who rely on remote work options to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Lawyers with families, in particular, could face challenges due to this shift. Many parents find remote work a lifeline, enabling them to be present for their families while delivering exceptional legal services. Eliminating or limiting remote work opportunities may unfairly bias these dedicated professionals. It doesn’t need to be this way.

When I went remote six years ago, my life completely changed. I didn’t have to waste time in my car commuting, and I could attend to my family and work more readily. I was so much less frazzled and present and happy. I became a top biller and a top rainmaker. Don’t you all want your lawyers to feel balanced and happy? I guarantee they will overperform if they are.

Are you feeling frustrated by the return to the office edicts? I’d love to hear your comments.”

Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

Elaine Spector Honored with the 2023 Stars of the Bar Award

In a remarkable acknowledgement of excellence, Elaine Spector, a partner at Harrity & Harrity, has been awarded the 2023 Stars of the Bar Award by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBA). This award celebrates women who have made significant contributions to the legal community and is emblematic of Elaine’s steadfast commitment to the principles that define her legal career and our firm’s mission.

About the Stars of the Bar Award

The Stars of the Bar Award is an annual recognition by the WBA Foundation, designed to honor exceptional women attorneys who have demonstrated leadership, community service, professional growth, and commitment to the WBA’s mission of maintaining the honor and integrity of the profession. This award adds to Elaine’s rich legacy of excellence in the legal community.

Dedication to Diversity

Elaine’s work in promoting diversity within the patent field echoes Harrity’s focus on increasing diversity and championing underrepresented groups in intellectual property law. Her alignment with the values recognized by the Stars of the Bar Award further emphasizes her dedication to this vital cause.

Innovation and Quality

Elaine has actively contributed to our firm’s endeavors in automation, quality, analytics, and innovation. Her role in building a progressive environment aligns with the innovative spirit rewarded by the Stars of the Bar Award and highlights Harrity’s leadership within the patent law industry.

Community Involvement

A firm believer in giving back, Elaine’s community involvement resonates with Harrity & Harrity’s values and the WBA’s focus on community service. Her generous efforts have fostered a culture of responsibility and compassion, reflecting the ideals celebrated by the Stars of the Bar Award.

Elaine Spector’s receipt of the 2023 Stars of the Bar Award by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia is a notable acknowledgment of her professional excellence, innovation, commitment to diversity, and community service. This award aligns perfectly with Harrity & Harrity’s values, making it a proud moment for our firm. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Elaine and eagerly anticipate her continued achievements in patent law.

Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

The Transformative Power of Mentorship: A Spotlight on the Patent Pathways™ Mentor Program

In the realm of personal and professional development, the role of mentorship is often underscored. The Patent Pathways™ program, a unique initiative designed to guide budding patent practitioners, is a testament to the transformative power of mentorship. Ayana Marshall, the chair of Patent Pathways™, recently shared her insights on the profound impact that mentors can have on the lives of their mentees in the following video.

Ayana’s journey into the patent field was sparked by an inadvertent mentor, a woman she met at a conference who spoke with infectious enthusiasm about her career in technology transfer and patent work. This encounter, though seemingly incidental, had a profound impact on Ayana’s career trajectory. It led her to delve into the patent field, a domain she might not have discovered otherwise. This story underscores the immense influence mentors can wield, often without even realizing it.

However, the Patent Pathways™ program is not about inadvertent mentorship. It’s about intentional mentorship. The mentors in this program consciously choose to guide, support, and inspire their mentees. They are the catalysts for change, the guiding lights that illuminate the path for future patent practitioners.

The mentors in the Patent Pathways™ program are not just diversifying the patent field; they are creating a ripple effect that transcends generations. This is particularly significant for minorities, who, with the right guidance and support, can make their mark in a profession that is not only financially rewarding but also instrumental in driving innovation.

By becoming a mentor for this unique program, you have the power to shape the future of the patent field and, more importantly, to make a difference. You have the opportunity to be the intentional mentor that will change the trajectory of an individual’s life, and future generations to come.

The impact of mentorship, as exemplified by Ayana’s story and the Patent Pathways™ program, is profound and far-reaching. It’s about more than just guiding someone through their career; it’s about inspiring them, supporting them, and helping them realize their potential. As a mentor, you have the power to change lives. If you are passionate about increasing diversity or helping others, become a mentor, and make a difference today. Your commitment can shape the future of the patent field and the lives of the individuals within it. Get started by clicking here: BECOME A MENTOR

Check out more ways to get involved below!

JOIN A PATENT PATHWAYS COMMITTEE
BECOME A LAW FIRM PARTNER
BECOME A CORPORATE SPONSOR
APPLY TO PARTICIPATE IN PATENT PATHWAYS

Patent Pathways™ Webinar: Law Firm Partnership Informational Session

Patent Pathways (a 501(c)(3)) is a virtual program that focuses on helping the least represented demographic in patent law, Black women, by aiming to register participants with the patent bar and matching them up with mentors and job offers over the course of just one year. The entire program, including patent bar preparation and exam fees, is free to participants thanks to the generosity of Patent Pathways™ sponsors, partners, mentors, and volunteers.

Harrity’s Elaine Spector was joined by panelists Rosa Walker (Pillsbury Law), Mehul Shah (Juniper) and Heather Molleur (Micron) to discuss the program and the multiple opportunities for patent law firms to work alongside each other to make a difference in this one of a kind program.

Webinar topics included a summary of the current demographics of patent law, what Patent Pathways™ is doing to improve diversity in the patent field, the benefits of joining Patent Pathways™, and the many ways you can get involved.

Watch the full webinar here:

Want to get involved? Check out these useful links below!

JOIN A PATENT PATHWAYS COMMITTEE
BECOME A MENTOR
BECOME A LAW FIRM PARTNER
BECOME A CORPORATE SPONSOR
APPLY TO PARTICIPATE IN PATENT PATHWAYS

Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

Sandra Maxey Featured on World of Marketing Podcast

Harrity’s Firm Controller, Sandra Maxey, was featured on Foster Web Marketing’s World of Marketing Podcast! Along with host, Tom Foster, Sandy discusses her snowbird lifestyle, her proudest moments, meditation, and why she regrets jumping out of an airplane!

You can listen to the full interview here!

The Diversity Problem in Patent Law

Harrity’s Elaine Spector explains what the diversity landscape in patent law looks like, why the current approaches aren’t working, and what we can do to improve diversity and inclusion in the field as a community in this brief video on ‘The Diversity Problem in Patent Law.’

Patent Pathways (a 501(c)(3)) is a virtual program that focuses on helping the least represented demographic in patent law, Black women, by aiming to register participants with the patent bar and matching them up with mentors and job offers over the course of just one year. The entire program, including patent bar preparation and exam fees, is free to participants thanks to the generosity of Patent Pathways™ sponsors, partners, mentors, and volunteers. We are scaling up the program to 50 participants this year, and need your help!

Want to get involved? Check out these useful links below!

JOIN A PATENT PATHWAYS COMMITTEE
BECOME A MENTOR
BECOME A LAW FIRM PARTNER
BECOME A CORPORATE SPONSOR
APPLY TO PARTICIPATE IN PATENT PATHWAYS

Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

Patent Pathways™ Webinar: How You Can Get Involved & Help Solve the Diversity Problem in Patent Law

Patent Pathways (a 501(c)(3)) is a virtual program that focuses on helping the least represented demographic in patent law, Black women, by aiming to register participants with the patent bar and matching them up with mentors and job offers over the course of just one year. The entire program, including patent bar preparation and exam fees, is free to participants thanks to the generosity of Patent Pathways™ sponsors, partners, mentors, and volunteers.

Harrity’s Elaine Spector and Ayana Marshall hosted a webinar to share more about scaling up the program to include 50+ participants, and opportunities for our patent community as a whole to work alongside each other to make a difference in this one of a kind program.

Other speakers included:

  • Cass Dottridge, Cargill
  • Maeve Carpenter, IBM
  • Phong Dinh, Microsoft
  • Shruti Costales, Dell
  • Scott Markow, Stanley Black & Decker
  • Richard Watkins, Medtronic
  • John Harrity, Harrity & Harrity
  • Steve Kontos, Harrity & Harrity
  • Samantha Sullivan, Harrity & Harrity
  • Ryan Thelen, Harrity & Harrity

Webinar topics included a summary of the current demographics of patent law, what Patent Pathways™ is doing to improve diversity in the patent field, the benefits of joining Patent Pathways™, and the many ways you can get involved.

Watch the full webinar here:

Want to get involved? Check out these useful links below!

JOIN A PATENT PATHWAYS COMMITTEE
BECOME A MENTOR
BECOME A LAW FIRM PARTNER
BECOME A CORPORATE SPONSOR
APPLY TO PARTICIPATE IN PATENT PATHWAYS

Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

Elaine Spector Featured in The Patent Lawyer Magazine in a Women in IP Leadership spotlight on inspirations, experiences, and ideas for equality.

Elaine Spector is determined to bring equality and diversity to the patent world, and she’s not afraid to show it. She recently sat down for an interview with The Patent Lawyer magazine to discuss her inspirations, experiences, and ideas for equality in the industry.

With over 25 years of experience in intellectual property law, Elaine is a partner at the IP boutique, Harrity & Harrity, and is the first female partner in the firm’s history. She holds a degree in mechanical engineering and is dedicated to improving diversity in the field of patent law. Elaine serves as the co-chair of Harrity’s Diversity Committee and as the vice-chair of IPO’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Elaine’s passion for patent law started in high school, where her love for math and science intersected with her interest in law. For those starting their career, she advises advocating for oneself and valuing the unique skills you bring to the table. Her career path involved working at various firms and transitioning into a role as a Tech Transfer Intellectual Property Manager at Johns Hopkins before joining Harrity & Harrity, where she was able to work remotely and on a flexible schedule. Elaine encourages women to set boundaries and not compromise themselves. She faced challenges in balancing work and family life early on in her career, but was able to set boundaries and find more flexibility in her schedule as her children grew older.

Of her greatest achievements in her career, Elaine recounts the memory of joining Harrity in 2017 at a time when it was a smaller firm of only about 14 lawyers (and they were all men!). Fast forward to 2023, and Harrity boasts up to about 45 practitioners now, including multiple women attorneys. This rapid growth has helped the firm move very quickly on new initiatives without much red tape. During the six years Elaine has been at Harrity, their diversity committee has launched numerous external diversity initiatives to improve the pipeline with regard to the patent bar, all with visible impacts. She mentors young women in the profession and hopes to see a more diversified patent bar in the future. Elaine’s future career aspirations include developing DEI initiatives to improve diversity in the patent bar, specifically by expanding their Patent Pathways program to support more Black women, and then shifting the program to help other underrepresented groups in the future.

In the next five years, Elaine hopes to see the patent community take a more active role in promoting diversity and equality through engagement in DEI programs like ADAPT (a coalition of various companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, Google, Cruise and Disney. ADAPT stands for Advancing Diversity Across Patent Teams, and provides a platform for in-house patent attorneys and law firms to get engaged in various DEI programs) and by taking action to support initiatives like Patent Pathways. She emphasizes the need for collaboration and involvement from the larger patent community to effect meaningful change.

“I really would like to see more firms and corporations not just talking the talk and actually taking action to make these initiatives successful. My firm can’t do it by itself; we need the patent community at large to step up and get involved in programs like ours,” Elaine states.

Hear about these initiatives, the advice Elaine has to give, and more in this exclusive interview with The Patent Lawyer Magazine. Read the full article HERE.

Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

John Harrity Featured in Law 360 on Disrupting Law Firm Models

John Harrity interviews for Law360 Pulse On Disrupting Law Firm Models

Law360 reported that Harrity is disrupting the traditional law firm model with significant contributions in charitable giving, diversity in the profession, and the automation of legal tasks. Co-founder John Harrity said the firm is doing things differently from many others in the field and plans to continue disrupting industry norms. This includes a goal to offer attorneys, patent agents, and staff a four-day workweek with the help of automation.

Harrity has grown from 14 attorneys and patent agents in 2017 to 45 today, and attributes some of its success to high-profile charity and diversity programs, which aim to improve the representation of minority groups within patent law through free education, training, and ongoing resources.

During the past five years, Harrity has increased its own number of practitioners from underrepresented groups from 8% to 40%. John discusses the firm’s diversity programs, including the Minority Firm Incubator that helps women-owned and minority-owned patent law firms grow and fine-tune their practices; the Harrity Academy, which brings more people from underrepresented groups into patent law; and the Patent Pathways™ (501 (c)(3)) program that specifically brings Black women with technical degrees into the field.

“In a few years, we’re going to look back at this Patent Pathways program and say it was the most impactful diversity program ever created. So that’s a pretty big intro to a program you probably haven’t heard of yet,” John states.

Hear about these and other firm initiatives in this exclusive interview with Law360 Pulse. Read the full article HERE.

Want more? Listen to Eli Mazour‘s Clause 8 Podcast featuring John Harrity HERE. John shares his thoughts on everything from how firms in the patent law space should be innovating, to some of the secrets of our own firm’s success.

Elaine Spector on How to Make the Future DigitALL: Persevere

Elaine Spector, Partner at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, and ChIPs Washington D.C. Member, was featured in ChIPs recent spotlight, “How to Make the Future DigitALL,” which focuses on improving diversity and inclusion for women in IP. Her response? Persevere! Read the full interview below.

Q: What actions are needed to keep more women and diversity in the rooms where innovation is happening?
A: I think the most impactful action step to keep more women and diversity in the rooms where innovation is happening is to inform women about the innovation process as well as careers in the intellectual property (IP). Many women with STEM degrees don’t know that they can enter the patent profession without going to law school. You will find that many of us who entered the profession were told about it through a family member or family friend. As we inform women about the innovation process as well as careers in IP, they can then take the steps needed to be included by speaking up and being proactive with regard to invention submissions. If innovation is not their thing, they can be part of the innovation process by becoming a registered patent practitioner without having to go to law school. I am a true believer that knowledge is power! And we, as women, are more powerful than we even know.

Q: What actions can open pathways for the next generation to thrive?
A: We need more outreach programs to women to get them interested in STEM fields, as well as well as being proactive in nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit in women. Men are taught to take risks, while women are taught to be perfectionists. We need to encourage the younger generation of women to take risks. My advice for the girl or woman behind me is to not give up, to persevere. I strongly suggest building a network of like-minded women (and men) who can support you during the tough times. I’ve developed amazing friendships with women who are very similar to me, who absolutely understand my struggles. Feeling seen and heard and cared for you other women has been integral to my success.

Q: What advice would you give to the girl or woman coming up behind you?
A: My advice for the girl or woman behind me is to not give up, to persevere. I strongly suggest building a network of like-minded women (and men) who can support you during the tough times. I’ve developed amazing friendships with women who are very similar to me, who absolutely understand my struggles. Feeling seen and heard and cared for you other women has been integral to my success.

Q: How does your company embrace equity?
A: Harrity & Harrity, LLP is one of the few law firms that dedicates thousands of hours to outreach programs to change diversity of the patent profession.

[Harrity & Harrity’s diversity programs include Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop, Patent Pathways for Black women, the Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 for minority-owned firms, and the Harrity Academy™. To learn more about Harrity & Harrity’s diversity programs, visit: https://harrityllp.com/diversity.]

Q: How do you innovate? How do your life experiences
impact your innovation?
A: I am so grateful to be part of a law firm that prides itself on innovation. Harrity innovates in many areas, including automation, analytics, charity, and diversity. For me personally, I have always been a problem solver, so innovation is second nature to me. As a child, when something would break, my mind would always go to finding a solution to get it back working again. Being at a firm that embraces my innovative spirit has led to a lot innovation in the diversity space! I am so grateful, likewise, for the innovative spirit of the members of Harrity’s Diversity committee, as we truly make an impact in diversifying the patent bar.

Celebrating Women’s History Month – MFI 2.0 Spotlight – Shawna Lemon

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Shawna Lemon, a graduate of our Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 Program and Co-managing Shareholder of Stanek Lemon, a majority female-owned IP law firm!

During this interview, Shawna candidly discusses what she is most proud of in her position as a firm leader, her advice to others, and how the MFI 2.0 program took her business to the next level.

Watch the full video:

The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 program is a new & improved 42-week program that provides the training and tools needed to propel female and minority-owned patent law firms, existing or yet to be launched, to the next level of success. This program includes free training & strategy classes, concluding with a pitch session with a panel of in-house IP attorneys. The MFI 2.0 is an integral part of Harrity’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field.

We are currently accepting applicants for the 2024 program. You can learn more and apply now HERE.

Elaine Spector Featured on Inclusion Evolution Podcast

Harrity Partner & Diversity Co-chair, Elaine Spector, joins Judy Yee (Microsoft) as guests on Inclusion Evolution, a podcast hosted by Lisa Mueller & Mike Kasdan focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession, the technology space, the world of sports, and our everyday.

This episode covers why Harrity & Elaine are so passionate about diversity; the various DEI programs we’ve launched, including the Minority Firm Incubator programs, Annual Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Law Workshop, the Harrity Academy™, and Patent Pathways™; ADAPT.legal (Advancing Diversity Across Patent Teams)’s efforts to improve #DEI together, and much more.

It’s a fantastic episode that you won’t want to miss. Listen now at:
Apple: https://lnkd.in/gXJRA4tw
Spotify: https://lnkd.in/gW8guR5f

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Harrity for Parity Spotlight – Bree Vculek

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Bree Vculek, a participant from the 2022 Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop!

Harrity for Parity™ brings women from across the country together to participate virtually in this free, four-day long annual program geared towards an introduction to the practice of patent law, patent skills, and career training.  The program, founded in 2017, is open to female science and engineering students, law school students, recent graduates, and current practitioners.

The Harrity for Parity™ Women’s Workshop includes prominent guest speakers who are women in the patent field; Patent Law Introductory Training; Patent Preparation Skills Training; Patent Prosecution Skills Training; Writing Skills Training by Writing Expert, Julie Seitz; Resume and Interview Preparation Workshops; Law School Career Mentoring; Patent Attorney Q&As; Patent Bar Preparation; and Networking Opportunities.

This week, Bree, a Patent Scientist and 4L Law Student, shared her experience with the Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop. 

“My name is Bree Vculek and I currently work as a patent scientist at Davis Wright Tremaine. I am a fourth year, evening part-time law student at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. My technical background is biology, chemistry and biotechnology. I’ve worked in that area in a variety of different sectors, most recently within the patent space, and I’m now working in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well.

I am excited to weigh in today. I’m going to start with how I found Harrity for Parity, and specifically how I found the Women’s Patent Workshop. So I attended the workshop last May of 2022. I came across it on my favorite social media platform, LinkedIn. Harrity & Harrity Partner Elaine Spector had made a LinkedIn post announcing the event. They were taking applications and I got super excited. I think I applied the same day, because I was just starting to work in patent law at a boutique firm. I had completed many of the patent law and all of the intellectual property law courses at the George Washington University Law School.  I was really excited and applied the same day, and was lucky enough to get accepted into the workshop.

I had an amazing experience. To be honest, I was reflecting a little bit, and even though I had started working in patent prosecution, and even though I attend a law school with a highly ranked intellectual property law program, I still felt that there were important pieces of the patent preparation and prosecution puzzle, if you will, that were missing in my comprehensive and holistic understanding of the practice. And so when I was thinking about my favorite part of the workshop, or really what my takeaways were, I had several.

I would say, first of all, I loved meeting so many of the other women who are at various stages of their careers, both in private practice and in-house, as well as at the USPTO, and getting their perspectives on what it’s like to be a woman in patent law. Also, to learn from them what works, what didn’t work, and what advice they have. I found that to be really a connective force. I think having this community, albeit virtual a lot of the time, is so incredibly important for minorities within a certain practice, such as patent law. So that was one thing that I really loved and enjoyed.

And second to that, I really liked that the workshop provided us with practical experience. We had the opportunity to draft claims and receive feedback, and to practice reading through and familiarizing ourselves with Office Actions from the USPTO and responding to 101, 102, 103, and 112 rejections, and just kind of understanding how it all works and different strategies. And so I really enjoyed that. I still, to this day, take a lot of those foundational skill sets that I learned in the Women’s Patent Workshop and apply them to my practice today, so that was really an incredible experience.

I also wanted to mention one additional thing – so I talked a little bit about community and conductivity and collaboration. I met a another student through Harrity for Parity, and we’ve developed a friendship. We saw each other a couple of months after the workshop actually, in-person at interviewing events, and have kept in touch thereafter. And ultimately, we are going to be working close by following graduation. So I think that was again just a really cool opportunity to make friends within the practice, make connections, and that was something that I didn’t necessarily expect but I really was was longing for. It was kind of like a cherry on top.”

Watch the video here:

 

We’re currently accepting applicants for our 2023 Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop, scheduled for May 22-25th. Learn more and apply HERE.

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Harrity for Parity Spotlight – Bree Vculek’s Advice for Others

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Bree Vculek, a participant from the 2022 Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop!

Harrity for Parity™ brings women from across the country together to participate virtually in this free, four-day long annual program geared towards an introduction to the practice of patent law, patent skills, and career training.  The program, founded in 2017, is open to female science and engineering students, law school students, recent graduates, and current practitioners.

The Harrity for Parity™ Women’s Workshop includes prominent guest speakers who are women in the patent field; Patent Law Introductory Training; Patent Preparation Skills Training; Patent Prosecution Skills Training; Writing Skills Training by Writing Expert, Julie Seitz; Resume and Interview Preparation Workshops; Law School Career Mentoring; Patent Attorney Q&As; Patent Bar Preparation; and Networking Opportunities.

This week, Bree, a Patent Scientist and 4L Law Student, shared her advice for others entering the field. 

“The advice I would give other women, or really any anyone interested in patent law, is to be mindful that we are all training to be advocates. Typically, it’s advocates for our clients, the inventors, the innovators, etc. I want to remind you that it’s equally, or arguably more important, that we’re advocates for ourselves.

Now, that can look a variety of different ways. But the way in which I see it playing out is by seeking out different opportunities, like attending the Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop. There are other opportunities, like taking classes, that might be a bit more intimidating or challenging. You can do it, you know, I believe in that. And the way in which we believe in that is by taking more opportunities and showing to ourselves, gathering more data that can be directed, that you can do it. And whether it be volunteering on a committee that you’re a part of, in an association or something like that, I think that’s really important, and something that I’m kind of learning as I go, and I wish I learned prior.

I think it’s a really valuable mindset to be mindful. Of course, we support others, we support our colleagues, we support our classmates, we support our clients, absolutely. But we ought not to forget to support ourselves as well. I’m a big fan of holistic support, and that includes wellness as well: mental, physical, spiritual, financial, the whole wellness wheel. I think that is really incredibly important to be mindful of. It’s a really rewarding and fulfilling career and not only do you deserve, but your colleagues or clients or classmates etc. deserve to see you or to interact with you as your very best self. So that’s kind of a long winded advice that I would give. Seek out opportunities, and be relentless in your pursuit. And again, I highly, highly, highly recommend without reservation, the Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop.”

 

Watch the video here:

 

We’re currently accepting applicants for our 2023 Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop, scheduled for May 22-25th. Learn more and apply  here.

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Harrity for Parity Spotlight – Bree Vculek’s Experience in the Field

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Bree Vculek, a participant from the 2022 Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop!

Harrity for Parity™ brings women from across the country together to participate virtually in this free, four-day long annual program geared towards an introduction to the practice of patent law, patent skills, and career training.  The program, founded in 2017, is open to female science and engineering students, law school students, recent graduates, and current practitioners.

The Harrity for Parity™ Women’s Workshop includes prominent guest speakers who are women in the patent field; Patent Law Introductory Training; Patent Preparation Skills Training; Patent Prosecution Skills Training; Writing Skills Training by Writing Expert, Julie Seitz; Resume and Interview Preparation Workshops; Law School Career Mentoring; Patent Attorney Q&As; Patent Bar Preparation; and Networking Opportunities.

This week, we sat down with Bree, a Patent Scientist and 4L Law Student, to hear about her experiences as a young woman entering the patent field. 

“My name is Bree Vculek and I currently work as a patent scientist at Davis Wright Tremaine. I am a fourth year, evening part-time law student at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. My technical background is biology, chemistry and biotechnology. I’ve worked in that area in a variety of different sectors, most recently within the patent space, and I’m now working in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well.

So thus far, my experience in patent law has been quite positive. I have worked now in both an intellectual property boutique firm, as well as in big law. I have found, at times, it’s lonely, for sure. But I think that there are events like the Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop, as well as tools like LinkedIn, or various other groups like AIPLA, ChIPs, Women in IP in DC, that I have specifically involved myself in to help continue to foster that community and that sense of belonging. It’s also, I think, important to share, have shared experiences, but also learn from one another and maybe ask questions like, how did you navigate this situation? And so I found that to be really an incredible piece to my early practice, if you will.

Actually, this week, we’re going to file my first provisional patent application. This is through the George Washington University Intellectual Property Technology Clinic. We’re going to file our first provisional patent application, that is an entire women team. So the inventor is a woman. And then I’m one of the student attorneys, my co-counsel is also a woman, and the director and the patent attorney that we’re going to file under is also a woman – so a comprehensive, holistic, all women team! It’s a first across the board, and I’m just really, really excited to have that opportunity.

I think that kind of explained my experiences thus far, but also what’s possible and what’s out there and what we’re, you know, fingers crossed, going to see as we continue to navigate and progress in the field of patent law. So whatever that may mean, I remain hopeful and excited from what I’m seeing in law school, and acknowledging that we still have a lot of work to do. I’m grateful for programs like Harrity for Parity’s  Women Patent Workshop – that’s really what I consider a launching pad in my career in patent prosecution, to be honest, it really opened my eyes to what is possible, and helps give me that next level of confidence in my skill set and in myself, that you know, I belong and I add value, and I’m worth taking a chance on. So that was really another beautiful experience and a little bit about what my early career has been like as a young woman in the practice of patent protection.”

 

Watch the video here:

 

We’re currently accepting applicants for our 2023 Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop, scheduled for May 22-25th. Learn more and apply HERE.

 

Diversity Dialogue ThinkTank: An Update on Programs to Increase the Representation of Women in IP

Harrity Partner and Diversity Co-Chair Elaine Spector meets with Meredith Struby (MCC IP Law), Lisa Mueller (Casimir Jones) and Carlyn Burton (OBWB) for a discussion on the 2022 ThinkTank initiative to increase the representation of women in patent law and the progress each firm has made in the implementation of their new programs brought about from the brainstorming sessions.

Questions covered in this discussion include:

  • What do you think is preventing women with science and engineering degrees from registering with the patent bar?
  • What can we do about the problem of women not getting technical degrees in science and engineering?
  • I know there were likely a number of different programs that came up during each brainstorming session. Can you tell us a little bit about the program you decided to undertake and why?  Have you done some similar programs in the past to help underrepresented groups?  Can you tell me a little about them?
  • How do you go about recruiting participants into the program? Is it hard in trying to target women?  How do you get the word out?
  • If you were starting the program all over again, would you do anything differently?
  • What are your biggest setbacks so far?
  • How do you get to the right person at a university or high school?
  • What impact do you anticipate it having, in terms of the # of participants, percentage increase in awareness, or similar?
  • If someone in the audience wants to start a program to bring diverse people and women into the patent field, what would you recommend?
  • What opportunities are available in your programs for people in the patent field to get involved?

You can watch the full session below.

 

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

To get involved in any of the above initiatives, please reach out to Elaine at espector@harrityllp.com.

 

Celebrating Black History Month – MFI 2.0 Spotlight – Ted Wood

To celebrate Black History Month, Harrity is highlighting the black-owned law firms that participated in the 2022 Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 program!

This week, we sat down with Ted Wood, Managing Partner of Wood IP, a black-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned patent law firm. 

Ted candidly discusses his time in the military, how he faces others’ expectations as a black patent attorney, and his advice to those looking to enter into the patent field.

Watch his entire interview here:

 

ABOUT MFI 2.0:

The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 Program is Harrity’s 42-week program that provides the training and tools needed to propel female and minority-owned patent law firms, existing or yet to be launched, to the next level of success. The program includes free training & strategy classes, concluding with a pitch session with a panel of in-house IP attorneys. The MFI 2.0 is an integral part of Harrity’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field.

In November 2022, 7 minority-owned law firms graduated from the first iteration of this program after intensive law firm operations trainings from Harrity partners and pitches to a panel of in-house attorneys. You can learn more and apply to the 2024 program here.

 

Celebrating Black History Month – MFI 2.0 Spotlight – James Bennin

To celebrate Black History Month, Harrity is highlighting the black-owned law firms that participated in the inaugural Minority Firm Incubator program and the 2022 Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 program!

This week, we sat down with James Bennin, Founder & Owner of Onyx IP Group, a black-owned patent law firm. 

James got candid about his accomplishments as a new firm owner, the driving force behind Onyx IP Group, and his advice to those wanting to join the #patent field.

Watch his entire interview here:

 

ABOUT MFI 2.0:

The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 Program is Harrity’s 42-week program that provides the training and tools needed to propel female and minority-owned patent law firms, existing or yet to be launched, to the next level of success. The program includes free training & strategy classes, concluding with a pitch session with a panel of in-house IP attorneys. The MFI 2.0 is an integral part of Harrity’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field.

In November 2022, 7 minority-owned law firms graduated from the first iteration of this program after intensive law firm operations trainings from Harrity partners and pitches to a panel of in-house attorneys. You can learn more and apply to the 2024 program here.

 

Celebrating Black History Month – MFI 2.0 Spotlight – Arlene Neal

To celebrate Black History Month, Harrity is highlighting the black-owned law firms that participated in the 2022 Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 program!

This week, we sat down with Arlene Neal, Founder & Managing Attorney at Neal Blibo, a black-owned, woman-owned law firm. 

When asked about being a black-owned, woman-owned law firm, Arlene said, “I see a lot of black-owned firms and I see a lot of women-owned firms, but I don’t see a lot of the combination- black and woman-owned. And I’m thinking to myself, “Well, I gotta be proud!”

Watch her entire interview here:

 

ABOUT MFI 2.0:

The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 Program is Harrity’s 42-week program that provides the training and tools needed to propel female and minority-owned patent law firms, existing or yet to be launched, to the next level of success. The program includes free training & strategy classes, concluding with a pitch session with a panel of in-house IP attorneys. The MFI 2.0 is an integral part of Harrity’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field.

When speaking on this program, Arlene says, “As a Managing Attorney, I am always seeking out the best practices in running my firm. The MFI program exposed me to new processes for managing my firm and also helped me to refine current processes.”

In November 2022, 7 minority-owned law firms graduated from the first iteration of this program after intensive law firm operations trainings from Harrity partners and pitches to a panel of in-house attorneys. You can learn more and apply to the 2024 program here.

 

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.

Harrity Referenced in Bloomberg Article: Diversity Woes in Patent Field Lead Lawyers to Try New Ideas

Diversity Woes in Patent Field Lead Lawyers to Try New Ideas

Harrity & Harrity, LLP’s research and innovative diversity initiatives are featured in a recent Bloomberg article on diversity in the patent field.

The article references research found in Elaine Spector and LaTia Brand‘s “Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region” piece for ABA’s Landslide Magazine, including the following excerpt:

More ‘Michaels’ Than Racially Diverse Women

Fewer than 22% of patent attorneys and agents registered with the Patent and Trademark Office are women, a 2020 study led by the Virginia patent law firm Harrity & Harrity LLP found. Patent agents aren’t attorneys but can work on inventors’ patent applications.

The average number of PTO registrants who are racial minorities has been around 6.5% over the past two decades, according to the study.

“Among racially diverse women, the numbers are significantly worse,” the authors wrote in a September 2020 article for Landslide, a magazine published by the ABA’s Section of Intellectual Property Law.

“In fact, there are more patent attorneys and agents named ‘Michael’ in the United States than there are racially diverse women,” the authors wrote.

Managing Partner Paul Harrity is also quoted in the Bloomberg article, specifically with regard to Harrity’s upcoming Patent Pathways program.

“The Harrity & Harrity law firm has plans for a ‘Patent Pathways’ program this summer. It’s a free, 42-week virtual course, with the aim to register 20 underrepresented minorities with the patent bar in the first year.

The program will target engineering and science students, or individuals in those fields looking to change careers. Paul Harrity, a founding partner at the firm, said they’re looking to connect with candidates with presentations at universities and through groups like the National Society of Black Engineers.

Harrity said he stumbled into the patent field after seeing a job advertisement for a patent examiner position at the PTO. It’s not an uncommon experience.

‘A lot of people have the same story—somebody just mentioned it to them,’ Harrity said. ‘We want to be the people to mention it.'”

You can find the full article by Bloomberg Law HERE.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, with a focus on giving back through its Harrity 4 Charity program and many diversity initiatives. Harrity is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™ and their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

For more information on Harrity’s analytics, automation, and patent services, firm culture, and current openings, please visit harrityllp.com.

Elaine Spector appointed as 2022 Vice Chair of IPO’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee

We are proud to announce that Harrity Partner, Elaine Spector, has been appointed to serve as Vice Chair of IPO’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee for 2022!
On her role, Elaine said, “I am honored to continue my role as Vice-Chair of the Intellectual Property Owner Association (IPO)’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee for 2022. We have an amazing team of leaders on this committee, and I am excited for the year ahead and all that we will accomplish. There is still so much work to be done in this space.”
To learn more about IPO’s D&I Committee, visit their website here!

 

Diversity Dialogue Presents “Confidence Through Your Closet: Spreading Holiday Cheer & Being the Best You in the New Year”

Diversity Dialogue Host Elaine Spector is joined by Wardrobe Stylist and Confidence Curator Melanie Lippman for this special holiday-themed networking event aimed at improving confidence among women attorneys through simple adjustments to daily routines.

During this session, Melanie will teach you what to wear, how to wear it, where to find it, when to save and when to splurge. By editing your wardrobe and identifying the pieces that make the most impact on your look with minimal reinvestment, you can have less frustration and more confidence.

With video calls consuming more of our every-day life interactions, Melanie will focus on statement pieces that fit into curating your professional persona online, what to wear to that virtual holiday party, the perfect gift guide, and how to “own your box” on a group video meeting.

WATCH NOW!

To see more Diversity Dialogue episodes and Driving Diversity tips, click here.

 

Harrity & Harrity, LLP Announces Minority Firm Incubator 2.0

Harrity & Harrity, LLP Announces Minority Firm Incubator 2.0
Diversity Initiative Will Train & Launch Exceptional Minority-Owned Patent Firms 

WASHINGTON, DC (October 18, 2021) Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a leading patent preparation and prosecution law firm, is excited to announce the launch of the Minority Firm Incubator (MFI) 2.0 – a spin-off of a program developed to help women and minorities establish their own patent law firms in an effort to address the disparity of minority-owned firms in the patent field.  The MFI 2.0 is an integral part of Harrity’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field. The goal of this initiative is to improve and nurture diversity within firm ownership by helping existing minority-owned firms become remarkable in their practice.

“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 2.0 is a service-oriented program intended to further this mission by helping underrepresented groups flourish in a field where diversity is lacking,” said John Harrity, Co-Chair of Harrity’s Diversity Committee, who is spearheading the program.

In early 2020, Harrity introduced James Bennin as the inaugural participant of the innovative Minority Firm Incubator 1.0, a four-part program consisting of patent drafting, patent prosecution, client development, and business operations training. James excelled and successfully launched his own minority-owned patent firm, Onyx IP Group, in June of 2021. He has already welcomed several new clients, including a Fortune 50 company, and continues to provide impeccable service and high-quality work using many of the skills he gained as a result of his participation in the Minority Firm Incubator 1.0.

While the Minority Firm Incubator 1.0 was successful, Harrity realized that it would be possible to have an even greater impact by working with many attorneys and firms rather than focusing on a single attorney and newly created firm. The MFI 2.0 will be a 100% virtual, 42-week program intended to help existing women and minority-owned patent law firms grow their business, increase efficiency and quality, and improve their overall operations. The expectation is that 6-8 firms will be selected to participate. One of the most exciting features of the MFI 2.0 is the opportunity for the participants to have face-to-face interactions with in-house attorneys at leading technology companies that have committed to the possibility of engaging with at least one of firms at the completion of the program.

The MFI 2.0 will provide extensive training that includes a variety of scheduled lessons, assignments, mentoring, and strategy classes, and will commence with the participants pitching their firms to a panel of in-house intellectual property counsel at leading technology companies.  MFI 2.0 program partners will have the opportunity to serve as guest speakers and mentors, providing a range of perspectives and insights to help guide the firms in their journeys.

Participants will learn how to implement processes to ensure their firm is consistently producing a high quality, uniform work product; how to provide an outstanding customer experience for clients; how to hire and train high-performing attorneys and support staff; how to maintain their diverse ownership and encourage innovation that promotes diversity; how to implement a culture of belonging and innovation; how to create a distinguished firm brand; and how to pitch prospective clients. Using feedback from an initial pitch to the panel and knowledge gained throughout the program, the participating firms will present a new, refined client pitch to the same panel at the conclusion of the program and may be selected to receive work from one or more of the companies based on the reception of their final pitches.

“We believe the immersive agenda of the MFI 2.0 will revolutionize the manner in which participating firms operate their business and showcase their brand, ultimately helping to create and nurture an exceptional business and land prominent clients, starting with our program partners,” says Harrity.

The firm is currently accepting applications from minority firms who wish to partake in the program, which is set to begin on January 11, 2022.  To learn more about the MFI 2.0, participate as a minority-owned firm, or volunteer as a partner, visit https://harrityllp.com/diversity/mfi2-0/.

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. The firm has obtained more than 8,600 patents since its founding in 1999. Our clients trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry-leading innovation, and outstanding service. Harrity actively promotes diversity and inclusion at the firm and throughout the legal industry, with an additional focus on giving back to the community through Harrity 4 Charity. Visit us online at harrityllp.com.

 

Diversity is Just Good Business

(October 25, 2021) James Bennin, the inaugural participant of Harrity’s Minority Firm Incubator Program and Managing Partner of the Black-owned Onyx IP Group, explains why diversity is good business in a recent opinion piece for IPWatchdog.com.

“When you exclude alternative points of view, you are not getting the full picture of all the available options and the best possible solution to resolve an issue or matter. Additionally, clients and leadership do not just come from one particular group, they come from diverse groups and circumstances. By having legal counsel that is also diverse, you are better able to relate to a client. Diversity makes the firm and the general practice of law that much more resilient, relatable, and successful.

The article can be read in full on IPWatchdog.com

About Onyx IP Group

With combined experience (private practice and in-house) in the electrical, software and mechanical technology areas, the Onyx IP Group provides legal counseling for patent drafting, patent prosecution, trademark, and transactional matters. Visit us online at https://onyxipgroup.com

See more on Harrity’s diversity initiatives: https://harrityllp.com/diversity

Check out our Driving Diversity vlog:  https://harrityllp.com/thediversitychannel

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. The firm has obtained more than 8,000 patents since its founding in 1999. Our clients trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry-leading innovation, and outstanding service. Harrity actively promotes diversity and inclusion at the firm and throughout the legal industry, with an additional focus on giving back to the community through Harrity 4 Charity. Visit us online at https://harrityllp.com

Join the Conversation …

Like Us:  https://www.facebook.com/harrityllp

Follow Us:  https://twitter.com/harrityllp

Linked In:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/harrityllp

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!”

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 31

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 THIRTY ONE | BLACK WOMEN IN LAW

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 Launches Vlog on Prosecution Best Practices

Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm based in Fairfax, Va., is excited to announce the launch of a new video blog series, The Precise Prosecutor.

The Precise Prosecutor consists of quick, practical tips and best practices for efficiently prosecuting high-quality patent applications. Brought to you by Harrity Counsel and IP matters expert George Howarah, the vlog is released each Friday across Harrity’s social media channels and its webpage, harrityllp.com/the-precise-prosecutor.

Howarah, a patent attorney for nearly a decade, leverages his wide variety of experience, use of automation tools, and best practices knowledge to strategize and prosecute litigation-ready patent applications in sophisticated technologies. His diverse background provides for interesting insights and well-thought-out guidance shared exclusively in his Precise Prosecutor videos.

After graduating from law school, Howarah spent three years as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, examining hundreds of patent applications, learning how examiners operate, and facing a wide range of practices from outside counsel. Since then, he has spent almost a decade in private practice working with a wide range of clients on various technologies, including telecommunications, computer architecture, virtualization, integrated circuits, software as a service, semiconductors, medical devices, and sophisticated computer applications.

In doing so, Howarah has prepared and prosecuted a substantial volume of patent applications, including managing a global patent portfolio of 500+ patent assets for one of the world’s most innovative organizations.

“I have been involved in all facets of the patent process, including patent preparation, examination, prosecution, and litigation,” Howarah says of his experience. “I have prepared and prosecuted hundreds of patents applications, including managing a global patent portfolio for a subsidiary of a Fortune 50 company, and preparing and prosecuting standard-essential patents for a leading telecommunications company.  I have opined on the enforcement and validity of patents and been deeply involved in several complex post-grant proceedings at the U.S. Patent Office and the Federal Circuit.  Accordingly, I have become aware of the issues that patent prosecutors and litigators encounter.”

Howarah is now looking forward to turning those experiences into actionable advice for followers of his vlog.

“I look forward to sharing the patent prosecution experience that I acquired from examining patent applications at the U.S. Patent Office and from patent procurement and litigation in private practice through The Precise Prosecutor. I hope to provide patent prosecutors with valuable tips on prosecuting patent applications precisely and efficiently while upholding the integrity of each invention and enhancing the quality of this unique practice of law.”

The Precise Prosecutor is the third vlog series to be released by Harrity, joining Neil Kardos’s Practical Patents, which focuses on best practices for drafting high-quality patent applications, and Driving Diversity, a short video series hosted by Elaine Spector on increasing diversity of the patent bar.

You can find each vlog series below:

The Precise Prosecutor: https://harrityllp.com/the-precise-prosecutor/

Practical Patents: https://harrityllp.com/practical-patents/

Driving Diversity: https://harrityllp.com/thediversitychannel/

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 30

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 THIRTY | WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY

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 29

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 TWENTY NINE | WORK/LIFE BALANCE FOR PARENTS

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 28

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 TWENTY EIGHT | BLACK WOMAN’S EQUAL PAY DAY

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 27

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 TWENTY SEVEN| LAWYERS WITH DISABILITIES

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.

 

Black-Owned IP Law Firm Emerges in Orlando via Minority Firm Incubator

(July 27, 2021) Dan Roe interviews James Bennin on the launch of the Onyx IP Group for Law.com.

James Bennin’s Onyx IP Group is the first minority-owned firm produced by the Minority Firm Incubator, which Harrity & Harrity launched in 2019 with the aim of increasing diversity in the legal profession.

“There’s a need to increase the amount of diversity in the legal field, especially in the patent field,” said Bennin, who is the first college graduate in his immediate family. “Looking at my career, I guess I’ve been fortunate to have the career I’ve had. I felt it was incumbent on me to give back.”

The article, by Dan Roe, can be read in full on Law.com.

About Onyx IP Group

With combined experience (private practice and in-house) in the electrical, software and mechanical technology areas, the Onyx IP Group provides legal counseling for patent drafting, patent prosecution, trademark, and transactional matters. Visit us online at https://onyxipgroup.com

See more on Harrity’s diversity initiatives: https://harrityllp.com/diversity

Check out our Driving Diversity vlog:  https://harrityllp.com/thediversitychannel

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. The firm has obtained more than 8,000 patents since its founding in 1999. Our clients trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry-leading innovation, and outstanding service. Harrity actively promotes diversity and inclusion at the firm and throughout the legal industry, with an additional focus on giving back to the community through Harrity 4 Charity. Visit us online at https://harrityllp.com

Join the Conversation …

Like Us:  https://www.facebook.com/harrityllp

Follow Us:  https://twitter.com/harrityllp

Linked In:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/harrityllp

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 26

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 TWENTY SIX| ARE WINEB LAWYERS PAYING ENOUGH ATTENTION TO UPWARD MOBILITY

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 25

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 TWENTY-FIVE | THE MANSFIELD RULE

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.

 

IPO Submits Comments to Supreme Court of Florida on Diversity of Faculty for CLE Programs

Harrity’s Elaine Spector helped prepare comments, on behalf of IPO, submitted to the Supreme Court of Florida in response an order issued on April 15 regarding a recently adopted policy regulating the composition of faculty at section-sponsored continuing legal education (CLE) programs. The Court noted that “quotas based on characteristics like the ones in this policy are antithetical to basic American principles of nondiscrimination.”

Elaine also covered this topic in Episode 19 and Episode 21 of Driving Diversity, a weekly vlog series covering important issues related to improving diversity in the legal field.

IPO’s comments, which were prepared with assistance by several additional members of IPO’s Diversity & Inclusion and Women in IP Committees, noted four main issues: 1) A rule requiring a minimum number of diverse panelists advances diversity and the quality of programming with no evidence of harm; 2) the Court fails to offer any guidance on permitted diversity policies moving forward; 3) the order could have a chilling effect on addressing current structural and ongoing inequity; and 4) sua sponte revision of the rule, without notice, will cause harm to Florida attorneys and diversity of the Florida Bar

Read the full response below.

In-The-Supreme-Court-of-Florida-Comments

 

IP Watchdog on Rallying Call for More Diversity: Featuring Research by Harrity’s LaTia Brand & Elaine Spector

Harrity’s LaTia Brand & Elaine Spector’s research regarding the the gender gap and lack of diversity in the field of patent law, specifically as it pertains to women in the space, was quoted in a recent IP Watchdog Article, On Tiffany Cunningham’s Appointment to the CAFC: An Impeccable Candidate and a Rallying Call for More Diversity in IP.

Cunningham is the first African-American, and therefore first African-American woman, to join the Federal Circuit bench. “Although a cause for celebration, this momentous occasion should not be wasted in self-congratulation but rather should provide momentum for further public and private efforts to increase diversity at the most senior echelons of the IP bar. Without a ready supply of diverse and qualified candidates, we remain in danger of this important ‘first’ becoming a ‘last.'”

Read the full article on IPWatchdog.com.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 23

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 TWENTY THREE | MARYLAND LEGAL EDUCATION SUCCESS COLLABORATIVE

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 22

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 TWENTY TWO | PRIDE MONTH

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.

 

“Best Practices for Patent Quality” Webinar Features Patent Expert Elaine Spector

Best Practices for Patent Quality
Webinar Hosted by Patent Bots and Harrity & Harrity, LLP
Join leading patent attorneys from Harrity & Harrity (Elaine Spector), McDermott Will & Emory (Bernie Codd), Holland & Hart (Michael Drapkin), and Patent Bots (Jeff O’Neill) as they explore best practices in the processes, tools, and metrics underlying higher patent quality.
Questions covered in this webinar include:
  1. What are you doing at your firm to ensure that your clients are getting a high-quality work product?
  2. What is the metric that you use to gauge quality?
  3. Are you tracking anything relating to quality on an individual attorney basis?
  4. What tools do you use in relation to quality?
  5. Are your quality processes today the same as they were 5 years ago and if not, how have they changed?
  6. When do you use tools like PatentBots, Patent Draftr, ClaimMaster, and Patent Optimizer?
  7. How are you using examiner analytics in patent prosecution to improve quality?
  8. Whose work is reviewed and who is reviewing it?
  9. Are all clients work reviewed and if not why not?
Watch Now!

To see more tips for achieving patent quality, visit our Practical Patents page.

 

Tech Transfer IP | Prosecuting Patent Applications with Elaine Spector

Prosecuting Patent Applications with Elaine Spector
Lisa L. Mueller
Lisa L. Mueller | June 23 2021

Click here to listen to audio

Welcome to another episode of Tech Transfer IP. Today I am pleased to speak with Elaine Spector. Elaine is a patent attorney with Harrity & Harrity with over twenty year’s experience in intellectual property law. Elaine’s current practice consists primarily of prosecuting patent applications with a focus on electromechanical technologies.

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

Listen as Elaine shares some key differences between working in a University Tech Transfer office and working in a law firm. She also talks about the Rooney Rule and how Hannity has improved it by making it Rooney Rule 2.0, and how the Rooney Rule is different from the Mansfield Rule.

Elaine discusses her company’s rigorous hiring process to remove bias, the factors that contribute to the problem of having a small amount of diverse individuals in the legal profession, and the programs her office has launched to help bring more women into her firm, like the Annual Women’s Patent Law Workshop and the Minority Firm Incubator Program to name a few.

Elaine shares some suggestions for small firms that might struggle to develop diversity and inclusion procedures, standards, and programs. She says that reaching out is one action step patent professionals can take to improve diversity for the Patent Bar.

In This Episode:

  • [02:26] Welcome to the show, Elaine!
  • [02:48] Elaine shares her career journey from a University Tech Transfer office to a law firm.
  • [06:16] She worked at John Hopkins Technology Transfer, which later changed its name to Tech Ventures.
  • [06:46] What are some of the key differences between working in a University Tech Transfer office and working in a law firm?
  • [09:18] Elaine discusses the Rooney Rule 2.0 and how Harrity takes the rule even further.
  • [10:28] How is the Rooney Rule different from the Mansfield Rule?
  • [12:39] Elaine doesn’t believe that the “Heavy Stick” approach suggested by some corporations will be effective in helping meet diversity requirements.
  • [15:01] Elaine speaks about her company’s rigorous hiring process and how it removes the likelihood of bias.
  • [17:20] Can you tell us about the factors contributing to the problem of not enough diverse individuals in the legal profession?
  • [20:01] Elaine discusses Harrity’s office’s Annual Women’s Patent Law Workshop.
  • [21:46] Elaine discusses another program Harrity has recently developed which is training women and helping them pass the writing part of their application process.
  • [22:31] Elaine shares some other programs her firm has that focus on diversity and inclusion.
  • [24:28] Elaine speaks about the Minority Firm Incubator Program they are launching.
  • [27:39] Harrity has launched a diversity channel this year with a weekly vlog.
  • [28:58] How does your diversity committee handle these programs?
  • [31:01] Elaine shares some suggestions for small firms that might struggle to develop diversity and inclusion procedures, standards, and programs.
  • [33:04] Elaine believes the changes proposed by USPTO will help with gender diversity, and she shares some other degrees that should be included.
  • [35:05] What is the one action step patent professionals can take today to improve diversity for the Patent Bar?

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 Launches Black-Owned Firm Through Minority Incubator Program

Harrity & Harrity Launches Black-Owned Firm Through Minority Incubator Program

Florida-Based Onyx IP Group is the first Minority Owned Firm Specializing in IP Law to Come Out of Diversity-Focused Program

Fairfax, Va. — June 21, 2021 For Immediate Release:  Harrity 4 Charity (H4C), the giving-back initiative of Harrity & Harrity, LLP, one of the country’s preeminent patent law firms, is thrilled to announce the launch of the Onyx IP Group (OIPG), the first minority-owned firm to come out of the Harrity Minority Firm Incubator (MFI), a program initiated in 2019 to address the fact that the practice of law remains one of the least diverse professions in the U.S.

Based in Orlando, Florida, OIPG is a 100% Black-owned, Intellectual Property (IP) law firm launched by the MFI’s first graduate, James Bennin. Bennin has approximately 15 years of experience in the IP field, with an extensive background in counseling clients on various IP matters in the U.S. and other jurisdictions. Prior to joining Harrity’s MFI program, Bennin was an associate general counsel handling transactional matters (including IP matters) for the University of Central Florida, one of the largest universities in the country and formerly served as IP counsel at Caterpillar, a large multi-national company, where he counseled multiple business units on matters related to IP.

Raised by a single mother in a low-income household, Bennin was the first college graduate in his immediate family. With African-Americans making up just 1.94% of all equity partners in the U.S., Bennin’s launch of OIPG is making strides for a severely underrepresented group in the field of law.

“I understand the obstacles someone with my background needs to overcome to be successful in this profession and the importance of improving diversity in the legal field,” Bennin said.  “I want to use this program/platform as a means to give back and to help provide a blueprint or guide to success for members of underrepresented groups, so they can see that success in any professional field, more particularly in the legal field, is a realistic possibility in their future.“

Serving as Of Counsel for OIPG are Keri Sicard, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field of IP law and is experienced in a wide variety of technologies from the simple to the highly complex; and Michael Antone, who has over 20 years of experience in large law firm, corporate, and venture capital environments in the area of IP and business operations counseling.

Added Bennin, “I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to launch the Onyx IP Group and am well prepared to provide exceptional work to clients while also furthering my goal of making a positive impact – particularly for those, like myself, in minority groups.”

 

The Stats …  According to the 2019 Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey on overall law firm demographics, 82% of all lawyers and 89% of all partners are Caucasian. Just 2% of all partners are African-American, under 3% are Hispanic and under 4% are Asian. None of the statistics regarding specific minority percentages have changed over the past decade, despite the fact that those populations in the U.S. have increased during the same timeframe.

About the Minority Firm Incubator … Harrity—which has launched a variety of service-driven initiatives under its H4C philanthropic arm—is hoping to help be the change for diversity in the legal field with the MFI program, which supports the recruitment, retention and advancement of attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the legal field by launching minority-owned patent firms. A year-long, multi-phase program, Harrity’s MFI program works to train minority attorneys in patent law and help them overcome the barriers to launching their own patent law firms. The program encourages minorities to become leaders in the field for both quality and diversity and sets them up for success.

Commented Elaine Spector, a partner at Harrity, who co-chairs the firm’s diversity committee. “Having a diverse workforce leads to a more integrated practice. Women and diverse inventors want to consult capable attorneys who look like them and who understand them and the context of the goals they are working to achieve.”

Adds partner John Harrity, who co-chairs the diversity committee with Spector, “Diversity generates quality legal innovation. The benefits of differential skillsets, outlooks, approaches and ways of processing make a team stronger, bringing varied and valuable insights to cultures, systems and policies, which is what is required to be change leaders.”

More H4C News on ‘Driving Diversty’ … Visit us online to learn more about Harrity’s multi-faceted diversity initiatives, which, in addition to MFI, also include The Diversity Channel, The Harrity Academy and Harrity for Parity: A Women’s Patent Workshop. Visit the firm’s weekly vlog, Driving Diversity, which addresses such issues as hiring practices; how intersectionality relates to underrepresented groups falling into more than one community; implementing the Rooney Rule 2.0; how a firm’s culture affects diversity; flexibility; patents pathways for women of color; mentoring/tutoring programs; and more.

Harrity’s diversity initiatives: https://harrityllp.com/diversity

Driving Diversity vlog:  https://harrityllp.com/thediversitychannel

 

About Onyx IP Group:  

With combined experience (private practice and in-house) in the electrical, software and mechanical technology areas, the Onyx IP Group provides legal counseling for patent drafting, patent prosecution, trademark, and transactional matters. Visit us online at https://onyxipgroup.com

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. The firm has obtained more than 8,000 patents since its founding in 1999. Our clients trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry-leading innovation, and outstanding service. Harrity actively promotes diversity and inclusion at the firm and throughout the legal industry, with an additional focus on giving back to the community through Harrity 4 Charity. Visit us online at https://harrityllp.com

 

Join the Conversation …

Like Us:  https://www.facebook.com/harrityllp

Follow Us:  https://twitter.com/harrityllp

Linked In:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/harrityllp

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 21

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 TWENTY ONE | FLORIDA CLE REGULATIONS CONTINUED


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 20

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 TWENTY | THE IDEA ACT


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.

 

Diversity Dialogue | Diversity in Innovation Webinar

Harrity Partner and Diversity Co-Chair Elaine Spector meets with Diversity thought-leaders Charu Kurani of Facebook, Scott Barker of Micron, and Sandra Nowak of 3M to discuss the landscape of diversity in innovation and how to overcome gender and racial barriers in this interactive and thought-provoking webinar.

Questions covered in this discussion include:

  • There is clear evidence that women and diverse groups are underrepresented in patents compared to their presence in the workforce.  Why does diversity in innovation matter?
  • Some resources have identified a number of causes for disparity in innovation, such as the pipeline, a leaky pipeline, and a lack of engagement. What have you found at your respective companies to be the biggest issue with regard to disparity in innovation?
  • Diversity of Innovation is a complex problem. How did you go about addressing the issue within your company?
  • Have you seen progress from your efforts?  Are there areas you still need to work on?  What key initiatives have you implemented?
  • What recommendations would you give a company who is just beginning the process?
  • Are there resources you found helpful, such as the Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit, developed by the IPO Women in IP Committee?
  • How can your approved law firms support you in the process?
  • Are there specific questions they should be asking during the inventor interview process?
  • What is one thing our audience can do as a result of our amazing discussion?

You can watch the full session below.

 

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

 

Elaine Spector Serves as Panelist in Chicago Bar Association DEI Presentation

Harrity Partner and Diversity Co-Chair Elaine Spector serves as a Diversity Expert Panelist for the Chicago Bar Association on “Flipping the Script: Ways Law Firms Can Increase DEI in the Legal Profession.”
“A first step is to recognize the history in why black inventors are not being listed at the same rate of white inventors.”

You can watch the recording, which shares various perspectives and stories to help and empower law firms to move the needle towards increasing Diversity and Inclusion in a significant way, below.

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 19

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 NINETEEN | ARE CLE PROGRAMS DISCRIMINATORY? 

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 18

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 EIGHTEEN | SIMPLE STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING DIVERSE INVENTORS

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 17

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 SEVENTEEN | GENDER DIVERSITY

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 16

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 SIXTEEN | BLACK INVENTORS

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 15

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 FIFTEEN | DIVERSE INVENTORS

 

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 14

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 FOURTEEN | CATEGORY B DEGREES

 

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 13.5

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 THIRTEEN 1/2 | OUTSIDE COUNSEL REQUIREMENTS

 

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 13

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 THIRTEEN | DESIGN PATENTS

 

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 12

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 TWELVE | PATENT BAR ELIGIBILITY

 

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 11

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 ELEVEN | INTERSECTIONALITY

 

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.

 

Why Continuing Remote Work Options After the Pandemic Will Support a More Diverse and Inclusive Work Culture

Why Continuing Remote Work Options After the Pandemic Will Support a More Diverse and Inclusive Work Culture

By Elaine Spector

Women have been advocating for change with regard to work/life flexibility for years.  For decades, choices for women starting a family while working in a law firm setting have been limited: either return to work full-time to stay on the partnership track or return to work part-time and be put on the dreaded “mommy track.” Women in partner roles would often return to work within days of giving birth.  That is just how things have always been, the model many women had no choice but to follow.  So, it is no surprise that many women, myself included, defaulted to the “mommy track,” or worse yet, left the practice of law entirely.

In addition to a lack of flexibility regarding part-time work, law firms have been reluctant to allow flexibility with regard to remote work.  Often, law firms equate lawyers who want to work remotely with a lack of commitment. As such, if a law firm actually agreed to a remote work arrangement, the lawyer working remotely would be taken off the partnership track.

While the pandemic has been a struggle across the world, a lot of women are quietly cheering from their homes.  Finally, our employers are forced to allow us to work remotely, and now they see that we can work well at home.  In fact, for some of us, working at home is where we shine. We are happy, less stressed, and feel some sense of control and balance.  At least, that is the way I feel.

I began working remotely a few years before the pandemic hit.  My firm allows for any lawyer at the firm, regardless of the numbers of hours they work or whether they show the requisite face time in the office, to make partner.  And I did.  Remotely.  Working part-time hours.  Many of my female colleagues at other firms have reached out to me to ask, “How can we keep the remote work going?”  “How do we continue to develop relationships and culture within our firm?” and “Can someone make partner while working remotely?”

As offices begin opening back up, I encourage law firms to look at this time as an opportunity to re-evaluate their outdated policies regarding remote work.  Despite the physical separation, you can build a firm culture focused on nurturing relationships.  Relationship building is the core of culture, inclusion, and ultimately, success at your firm.  Here are five tips to improve your firm culture while working remotely.

  1. Assign each lawyer in leadership an associate or member of support staff to meet with weekly.

It is critical to continue to build relationships in the remote work environment.  How do we replicate water cooler conversations?  One way is to require leadership to meet weekly or biweekly with both lawyers and support staff via a video call.  This type of face-to-face interaction is so much more engaging than a telephone call, as we have all experienced over the past year.  When holding the call, talk about your life to whatever extent you feel comfortable sharing, just as you would at the water cooler.  Set up a rotation within the firm, so that leadership is meeting with different individuals throughout the year and be sure to mix it up from those who typically work closely together.  This personal connection, untied to any pressing work matters, will transform your internal relationships.

  1. Hold monthly firm-wide meetings.

Get in the habit of holding monthly firm meetings, which include both lawyers and support staff.  The firm meeting is a great place to talk about your shared vision, to highlight people who have done exceptional work that particular month, and to address any issues that might need attention.  The firm meeting is also an opportunity to get to know each other.  Have a few employees present about their families/backgrounds, or cultural holidays and celebrations.  The days of keeping your family and work life separate are over!  An appropriate overlap, where employees feel the firm knows what is important to them, will make everyone feel more comfortable and supported in the workplace.

  1. Form firm committees that meet regularly.

A game changer at our firm was when one of my colleagues suggested forming committees focused on firm goals, such as diversity, employee relations, recruiting, automation, and new client development.  These committees perform optimally when the majority employees of the firm participate in at least one committee.  It is important to firm culture and work satisfaction that everyone at your firm has a voice, which also inspires innovation and progress.  The committee work furthers important objectives at your firm, while forging important relationships among your employees as they work together to create and implement new initiatives and reach common goals.

  1. Start a Book Club.

A virtual book club is yet another way to build relationships among employees of your firm.  The topics can range from fiction, to self-help, to business-oriented books.  A book club allows support and professional staff yet another way to get to know each other on a personal level, which is important for firm culture.  Participants can grow better through sharing their perceptions of what was read and have a better sense of camaraderie.  When employees feel seen and valued, the work environment becomes so much more effective and fulfilling.

  1. Talk to your staff virtually.

It is important to replicate face-to-face meetings as much as we can.  These interactions are crucial to developing meaningful relationships.  Face-to-face meetings allow you to see expressions on your colleagues’ faces and talk on a more personal level to allow for a more understanding culture.  Make it a policy at your firm, that when you would ordinarily walk into someone’s office, to instead, make a quick Zoom or Teams call with video always on.  After all, you wouldn’t force your colleague to speak to you through a closed door in the office – why make them talk to a blank screen?  Again, virtual face-to-face meetings are integral to developing a highly effective, remote working environment.

CONCLUSION

It is far past time to shift perspectives from the old rigid mindset to embracing a more diverse work force.  One where we, as women, don’t have to give up the important job of raising our children, while also providing top quality service to our clients.  In addition, lawyers should not be excluded from partnership because they work remotely or prefer to work a reduced schedule.  An attorney can contribute just as much to the success and advancement of the firm, its culture, and its future without packing in the hours.  In fact, the benefits of working a flexible schedule may contribute to more growth and innovation in the firm, as, from my own experience, those who work reduced-hours tend to be less stressed and more engaged.  Flexibility is essential for advancing talented women and other lawyers seeking balance in their life and careers.

Law firms have essentially two options for proceeding when offices begin opening back up.  Return to the way you ran things, pre-pandemic, with rigid work policies and lack of flexibility.  Or, embrace the future, where environments of flexibility and freedom reap the benefits of a happy and productive workforce.  You choose.

 

Forbes Features Research on Gender Gap by Harrity’s LaTia Brand & Elaine Spector

Harrity’s LaTia Brand & Elaine Spector’s research regarding the the gender gap and lack of diversity in the field of patent law, specifically as it pertains to the mechanical and electrical engineering space, was quoted in a recent Forbes article.

“Although some patent practice areas where women are well represented, such as biotechnology and chemistry, other areas continue to lack significant diversity. According to an Article published by Elaine Spector and LaTia Brand for the American Bar Association ‘women account for only 11.4 percent of patent practitioners with a technical background in electrical engineering and only 11.1 percent of patent practitioners have a technical background in mechanical engineering…”

Read the full article on Forbes.com.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 10

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 TEN | THE LOST GROUP

 

 

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 On Improving Diversity In The Patent Bar

Jack Karp interviews Harrity’s Diversity Co-Chair, Elaine Spector, on improving diversity in the patent bar for Law360 Pulse.

“Few areas of the law are more white and more male than the patent bar, says Elaine Spector. She’s trying to change that.”

Read the full article on Law360 Pulse.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 9

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 NINE | RACIAL BREAKDOWN OF THE PATENT BAR

 

 

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.

 

Ensuring Women and Diverse Candidates in the Patent Bar: We Must Address the Root of the Problem

By Elaine Spector

“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.”

https://depositphotos.com/63016893/stock-photo-multiethnic-group-of-people.htmlAs we celebrate Women’s History Month, it is important to point out the role of women in the field of patent law. Women have been members of the patent bar since as early as 1898, when Florence King became the first woman registered to practice before the U.S. Patent Office, as well as the 685th registrant. She became a lawyer first, and then went back to school to obtain a degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering so that she could register on the patent bar. As a woman patent practitioner with a mechanical engineering degree, I feel a lot of gratitude to women like Florence King, who paved the way for me. Yet, despite her trailblazing efforts over a century ago, there is still a considerable lack of gender diversity in the patent bar…

Keep reading on IPWatchdog.com. 

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 8

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 EIGHT | HISTORY OF WOMEN IN THE PATENT BAR

 

 

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 7

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 SEVEN | DIVERSITY OF THE PATENT BAR

 

 

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 Thought-Leaders Provide Comments on USPTO’s National Strategy for Expanding American Innovation

Harrity diversity thought-leaders Elaine Spector, Edward Kim, and Ayana Marshall provided comments in response to USPTO‘s National Strategy for Expanding American Innovation alongside other members of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO)‘s Women in IP and Diversity & Inclusion committees.

“An important aspect for moving innovation with respect to under-represented groups is to understand the extent of the issue, and then track improvements with regard to innovation and commercialization.”
Read the full response below:

For more information regarding our diversity initiatives, visit harrityllp.com/diversity.  To see more diversity and inclusion resources, visit The Diversity Channel.

 

Diversity Dialogue | Strategies for Moving the Needle with Respect to Diversity of the Patent Bar

The first Diversity Dialogue webinar in a series of diversity-focused discussions hosted by Harrity’s Elaine Spector features HP’s Shruti Costales and MCCA’s Sophia Piliouras as panelists and covers challenging topics associated with increasing diversity in the patent field.

Some of the questions covered during the panel discussion include:

  • What is one action step patent professionals can take today to improve diversity for the Patent Bar? 
  • What do you think is the greatest issue affecting diversity in general? 
    Is it appropriate to apply the Mansfield Rule to the patent bar?
  • What alternative strategies do you believe would be helpful for moving the needle in the patent bar?  
  • Why do you think women and other diverse groups are not pursuing degrees/careers in the field?  And more!

Watch the full webinar below:

 

For more information regarding our diversity initiatives, visit harrityllp.com/diversity.  To see more diversity and inclusion resources, visit The Diversity Channel.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 6

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 SIX | BE A FIRM THAT GIVES BACK

 

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.

 

5 Hiring Strategies For Diversifying The Patent Bar

By Elaine Spector

Law360 (March 1, 2021, 5:19 PM EST) —  Diversity and inclusion have garnered much attention over the past few years, particularly in the field of law, which is one of the least diverse professions in the U.S.According to the 2019 Law Firm Diversity Survey by Vault and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, over 80% of lawyers in the U.S. are white.[1] Not only are men overrepresented in the practice of law, but they outnumber women in equity partner positions nearly 5-to-1. In addition, around 90% of equity partners are white, and approximately 9% of equity partners belong to minority groups with only one-third of them being women of color.

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 field has historically been dominated by men, who, as of 2017, accounted for 76% of all STEM jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.[2]


For patent firms seeking to increase diversity in their practice, existing diversity data is problematic. For starters, 94% of the patent bar is white, as seen in Figure 1 above.[3] In addition, less than 15% of registered practitioners are women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community in the areas of computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

As registered patent practitioners move along their career paths, there is inevitable attrition, as reported in the Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey report. 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. Improving the innovation ecosystem to include all groups of people will foster a more robust economy.

Despite the lack of diversity of the patent bar, an intellectual property boutique can increase diversity by first examining its hiring practice. For example, a rule similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule can be implemented.

According to the Rooney Rule, for each new head coach position available, at least one candidate from an underrepresented group must be interviewed. In essence, to meet the requirements of the Rooney Rule, just one candidate from an underrepresented group would need to be interviewed for a position among a limitless number of other candidates.

This process can be taken one important step further — Rooney Rule 2.0. Instead of requiring only one candidate from an underrepresented group to be interviewed per position, Rooney Rule 2.0 requires such a candidate to be interviewed per each candidate who doesn’t belong to an underrepresented group.

This rule has been instrumental in increasing the diversity of applicants and, in turn, hires at my firm. In January 2016, prior to implementing Rooney Rule 2.0, 8% of my firm’s attorneys were women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities. Today, 30% of our attorneys belong to those groups, nearly quadrupling our diversity numbers in five years through the implementation of just one policy.

If your firm is serious about increasing diversity, revisiting your hiring practices is a vital place to start. Here are five key hiring strategies to increase diversity at your firm.

1. Increase the pool of candidates from underrepresented groups to be considered.

As discussed above, implementing Rooney Rule 2.0 will help increase the pool of candidates from underrepresented groups considered. While rules like the Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule have become popular over the last few years, it is exceedingly difficult to fill equity partner and leadership positions when there is not a proper base of lawyers from underrepresented groups to consider for the role.

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% women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities for these roles, including women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities.

By comparison, Rooney Rule 2.0 requires a 1-to-1 ratio of attorneys belonging to these groups and those who do not interviewed for positions at every level, rather than just leadership roles. This creates a larger pool of candidates from underrepresented groups at earlier career stages, allowing individuals from these groups to gain the necessary experience to eventually secure a role in leadership, and firms to have more success in achieving Mansfield certification.

By implementing policies like Rooney Rule 2.0, firms can significantly increase the number of applicants from underrepresented groups considered for a position, thus increasing the number of such candidates hired at the firm and those eligible to fulfill the Mansfield Rule.

2. Prepare a job posting to attract candidates from underrepresented groups.

A properly worded advertisement can help attract candidates from underrepresented groups. For example, words like “competitive” and “leader” attract more male candidates, while words like “support” and “interpersonal” attract more women.[4]

In 2017, I came across a job advertisement for my firm that included the words “reduced hours available,” and “flexible schedule.” As a working mom, it was that very language that got my attention and ultimately persuaded me to leave an in-house position and return to private practice. It is also important to highlight reduced billable hour requirements, or elimination of such requirements, in job postings.

A simple advertisement to recruit women and minority candidates may read, “Remote Work, Flex Hours, Great Firm Culture.” You can also include information related to work-life balance, such as, “Work where you want, when you want, and how much you want,” or represent your firm’s culture by adding highlights, such as, “Casual culture, flexible schedules, positive people, supportive leadership, and a focus on giving back.”

Simply including words like “inclusive,” “people-oriented,” “friendly” or “forward-thinking” can also convey a welcoming message.

To garner the most attention from women and minority candidates, share videos created by your own employees discussing reasons why they love working at your firm. If these candidates can visibly relate to your employees, the wording of the posting will resonate with them that much more. After all, your job posting needs to be a reflection of the candidates you want in the role and show if your firm is inclusive.

3. Revamp your interview process.

I highly recommend revamping your interview process by migrating to the topgrading methodology.[5] In this method, interviewers ask all candidates the same questions — questions that are very specific to their job tasks and responsibilities. The interviews are immediately documented and scored by interviewers.

All interviewers can be trained specifically in this technique. Having a structured interview minimizes “bias by allowing interviewers to focus on work competencies rather than on what they have in common with the person being interviewed,”[6] as noted in the Intellectual Property Owners’ Association’s Practical Guide on Diversity and Inclusion. The guide further recommends including underrepresented minorities in the interview team.[7]

4. Include a component of blind hiring.

Blind hiring can be an important aspect of your application process when it comes to skill evaluation. Your firm may decide to require candidates to partake in a testing phase, such as submitting a writing sample or taking a writing test, as writing is an important part of a career in patent law. A candidate’s performance on such tests may be a crucial determinant in whether the candidate will move on to the next step of the job application process.

There is no question that many interviewers have implicit biases. Implementing a component of blind hiring addresses any biases, unconscious or otherwise, when evaluating any skills-based test.

In the area of patent law, tests can be administered to evaluate skills related to either drafting a patent application or responding to an office action. A mediator, who first receives the test, can assign an anonymous identifier to the candidate, replacing all identifying information on the submission. Evaluators can then be sent the writing sample without reference or access to any information on the writer of the sample.

Often, gender and race can be assumed from a person’s name, and additional information such as location, education and previous employers can carry other assumptions. This strategy will help to eliminate any implicit bias that may occur at one of the most critical steps in an interview process and will ensure that candidates move forward based only on their qualifications, rather than an interviewer’s preconceptions.

While skills-based tests are a great way to objectively screen potential candidates, measures such as anonymization must be taken to ensure the test grading is truly objective.

5. Be a firm that gives back.

The legal community 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.

To truly move the needle, firms will need to develop programs to specifically increase the diversity of the patent bar from 80% white men to a breakdown more representative of the population as a whole, as well as enhance existing female and minority practitioners’ quality of practice in patent law. This may include free mentoring, tutoring or interning programs, and a focus on both current practitioners and students as young as middle school in order to garner interest in joining the field.

Whatever program your firm creates, it should focus on giving back by providing more resources and opportunities to diverse individuals and give representation to currently underrepresented groups. Not only will such programs contribute to moving the needle with respect to diversifying the patent bar, they will also draw candidates from underrepresented groups to your firm.


Elaine Spector is a partner at Harrity & Harrity LLP.

[1] 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. https://www.mcca.com/resources/reports/2019-vault-mcca-law-firm-diversity-survey/.

[2] “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).

[3] “Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region,” Landslide Magazine (September 2020).

[4] Gaucher, D., Friesen, J., & Kay, A. C. (2011). Evidence that gendered wording in job advertisements exists and sustains gender inequality.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(1), 109–128.https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022530.

[5] Smart, Bradford D., Ph.D. Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People. Portfolio, 2005.

[6] https://ipo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/IPO-Practical-Guide-to-Diversity-and-Inclusion-Version-2-Sept-2020.pdf, p. 62.

[7] Id. at 60.

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.

 

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