Harrity Named in Top 10 for Patent Bots Quality Scores

Harrity & Harrity has been named in the Top 10 for Patent Bots Quality Scores for the second consecutive year. Harrity received top scores in the following categories:

#2 of Firms with 500+ Patents Issued (96.2)
#1 Tech Center 2100 (100.0)
#1 Tech Center 2400 (99.5)
#1 Tech Center 3600 (99.5)
#3 Tech Center 2600 (99.6)
#6 Overall (96.2)

Click HERE to learn more.

 

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.

 

Harrity’s Rocky Berndsen Recognized in IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists Annual Listing

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

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

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

About the IAM Strategy 300 Nominations

(Source: IAM Media)

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

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

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

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

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

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About the IAM Patent 1000
(source: IAM Media)

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

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

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

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

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

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Harrity Ranked #2 in Patent Bots Quality Scores

Harrity & Harrity has been listed as a top-ranking firm in Patent Bots’ recently released Quality Scores report.

Overall, Harrity ranked #2 out of 802 firms reviewed for the Patent Bots Quality Scores report, with an average score of 98.93/100 across 528 issued patents, which was also one of the largest sample sizes recorded. Patent Bots Quality Scores are based on the average number of errors found in issued patents. Scores are calculated using automated patent proofreading to process issued patents and included all issued patents for the year ending March 31, 2020.

Harrity ranked #1 in the following technology centers:

  • Computer Architecture and Software (99.38)
  • Networking, Multiplexing, Cable, and Security (99.92)
  • Transportation, Construction, Electronic Commerce, Agriculture, National Security and License and Review (99.41)

Harrity additionally ranked 2nd in Communications (99.91) and 9th in Semiconductors/Memory, Circuits/Measuring and Testing, Optics/Photocopying, Printing/Measuring and Testing (96.28).

To view the full rankings, visit https://www.patentbots.com/firms/.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Harrity Continues to Expand, Adding Four Patent Attorneys, Two Law Clerks

Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a leading patent preparation and prosecution law firm, is pleased to announce the addition of four highly skilled patent attorneys and two law clerks to its legal team. This includes Joseph Lentivech, a former Administrative Patent Judge with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Marine Corp. Veteran, who the firm announced last week returned as counsel.

“We are excited for this seasoned group of superstars to join our team and assist the firm in continuing to provide excellent customer service to our Patent 300 clients,” said Partner Paul Harrity. “It’s great to have Joe back as he brings highly valuable experience and insights through his recent work as a USPTO Administrative Patent Judge that will greatly benefit our clients.”

Patrick Hansen, based in Raleigh, NC, specializes in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications in electrical, computer, and mechanical technologies.  Hansen has represented petitioners and patent owners in post-grant proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.  He utilizes his comprehensive understanding of the industry and extensive legal experience to build high quality patent portfolios.

Joseph Lentivech, based in Mobile, AL, specializes in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications in electrical and computer technologies, including telecommunications and computer hardware and software systems.  Lentivech returns to the firm, where he was a patent attorney for four years, after working as an Administrative Patent Judge at the USPTO, where he decided appeals from adverse examiner decisions in patent applications directed to electrical and computer-related technologies and business methods.

McCord Rayburn, based in Charlotte, NC, has significant experience in all aspects of patent preparation and prosecution for U.S. and international applications, including leading teams of patent attorneys to efficiently obtain high-value patent protection.  Rayburn brings extensive technical knowledge and international legal experience, including the coordination of inbound U.S. national stage patent application filings for foreign corporations with global patent portfolios.

Bret Tingey, based in Raleigh, NC, focuses his practice on patent preparation and prosecution for inventors in mechanical and electrical technology fields.  He began his legal career with a specialty in IP litigation and wrote memos and briefs, including those for submission to the United States Supreme Court.  He primarily focuses on patent preparation and prosecution, applying his litigation experience to every patent that he drafts or prosecutes.

Sora Ko, based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, is a law clerk specializing in patent preparation and prosecution before the USPTO. She has experience in different aspects of patent prosecution, including assisting with the preparation and prosecution of patent applications related to computer software, telecommunications, networking devices, and mechanical devices.  Ko previously served as Editor-in-Chief of The University of Richmond Law Review and worked as a summer associate at Harrity & Harrity before joining the firm full-time.

Abigail Troy based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, joins Harrity as a law clerk specializing in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications with a focus on computer hardware and software, telecommunications, computer networking, business methods, and consumer products.  She is a former Primary Patent Examiner at the USPTO, where she worked for nearly a decade examining patent applications directed to mechanical devices, including jewelry and fasteners. Troy also worked as a training assistant in the Patent Training Academy and as a technology center trainer in TC 3600.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

 

Joseph Lentivech Harrity Counsel

Former USPTO Administrative Patent Judge and Marine Corp. Veteran Joseph Lentivech III Rejoins Harrity as Counsel

WASHINGTON (December 5, 2019) – Harrity & Harrity, LLP is pleased to announce that Joseph P. Lentivech III, a former administrative patent judge with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), has returned to the firm as counsel. He was a patent attorney at Harrity & Harrity from July 2010 until late 2014 when he joined the USPTO.

“We are thrilled to welcome Joe back to our firm,” said Harrity & Harrity Managing Partner John Harrity. “Joe brings highly valuable experience and insights through his recent work as a USPTO administrative patent judge that will greatly benefit our clients.”

Lentivech will be joining Harrity’s patent application drafting team, where he will draft patent applications for the leading technology companies in the world.  He will also oversee all PTAB appeals at the firm.

As an administrative patent judge, Lentivech served as a member of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the USPTO. The PTAB conducts trials, including inter partes, post-grant, and covered business method patent reviews and derivation proceedings; hears appeals from adverse examiner decisions in patent applications and reexamination proceedings; and renders decisions in interferences.

Lentivech also was a patent attorney at Brouse McDowell L.P.A. before his earlier stint at Harrity & Harrity. Prior to his law career, Lentivech served with the U.S. Marine Corp., most recently as a captain/artillery officer.

Lentivech received his J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Akron School of Law and his Bachelor of Science from State University of New York at Buffalo.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

John Harrity, Harrity Team

Law360 Law Firm Leaders: Harrity & Harrity’s John Harrity

Law360 (October 16, 2019, 2:04 PM EDT) — John Harrity has served as managing partner of Harrity & Harrity LLP, the patent law firm he founded in 1999 with twin brother Paul Harrity, since 2016. During that time, the law firm’s revenue has grown by 127%, profits have gone up by 167% and the attorney headcount increased by 100%.

Here, Harrity discusses how his law firm has streamlined and automated the patent application process a la McDonald’s, why lawyers are not paid based on origination credits and why charity is such a big part of the firm’s culture.

How is your law firm different from a traditional law firm?

There’s a lot of ways that we’re different. From the very beginning, we’ve had this focus on quality. People talk about quality in our field, but one of the things we like to do when we talk about something is we want to make sure that it’s measurable. From the very beginning of our firm, my twin brother and I, we started with the traditional question: Why us? Why would anyone send us work over the thousands of firms doing patent prosecution and preparation? After some discussion, we honed in on quality. We implemented a couple of procedures, one was adopted from my brother’s former firm, Finnegan, and the other we created on our own.

We made sure everything goes through a very thorough second attorney review. It’s all about expectations here. Attorneys know that when they hand something in to me, there’s a certain level of quality that’s expected. And when we send things out to clients, there’s a certain expectation. When we send it to an inventor or in-house counsel, we’re going to send something that thoroughly, accurately and technically describes your invention and in our eyes is ready to be filed.

It’s tracking some statistics in relation to that to see: Are we succeeding or are we failing? How often, when we send out a patent application to an inventor or in-house counsel, do we get “looks good” [in response]? That’s our level of expectation. Going back to the beginning of the firm, so over the course of 20 years and having drafted over 5,000 patent applications, 67% of the time we’ve gotten a “looks good.”

The other [quality procedure] is writing style. I liken it to McDonald’s. Why is McDonald’s successful? Every McDonald’s you go to in the United States and you order their premier burger, the Big Mac, it’s going to have the same look, the exact same flavor every single time. And it’s going to come out in roughly the same amount of time. Our uniform writing style works exactly the same. Individual companies have preferences for how they want their patents to look, often the attorneys that work internally have individual preferences. We have a uniform writing style for every single attorney and every single company so that when they come to our firm, regardless of the drafting professional, they’re going to get their uniform writing style every single time.

Your firm has eliminated origination credits. Why have you done that and what kind of impact does it have?

Let’s think about origination credits. When you look inside these firms that have origination credits, what you see inside these firms are law firms within a law firm. You’ve got all of these partners with their origination credit, rowing in different directions. When you look at my firm, every client here is the firm’s client. We make business decisions about whether to bring on a client and whether to keep a client. Our firm’s mission is to be the No. 1 firm in the world doing what we do. We do patent applications and prosecution and we just do it in the electrical and mechanical space. I can tell you, every single individual at my firm, we’re all rowing in the same direction. Since we opened up 20 years ago, every single client has been the firm’s client. I might manage some of them and be the face to our firm for a particular client, but it’s the firm’s client, it’s not mine. That’s why we can be so agile, and move so quickly in the field, because we’re all rowing in the same direction.

How does the law firm then figure out how to determine whether a particular lawyer is successful?

We track some statistics internally. Every patent application that’s drafted at my firm, every response to a rejection from the patent office that’s drafted, goes through a second attorney review. And if I’m the reviewer, I fill out a scorecard and I’m grading this application or response on a little over a dozen different categories. This gives feedback to our attorneys. You can see your statistics for the year, you can compare them to last year. If you’re struggling in a particular area of drafting a patent application, don’t you want to know what that area is? There’s a quality score that all of our attorneys have.

There’s also a production element. One of the things we do is we pay our attorneys for production. We’ve experienced, in the lifetime of this firm, the same thing other firms experienced. The pricing of patent applications continually went up from 1999 until it plateaued for four to five years and then we started seeing it dip and it’s come down almost all the way to 1999 numbers. Back in 2013, one of our clients decreased their prices and we had a discussion internally and said, this is a wake-up call. We can walk away from the client and say we only do work for top-paying clients. If we do that, there will be less and less companies willing to pay top dollar and every firm in the United States is going to be lined up fighting for that work. The other route, the one we chose, is: Let’s get efficient. I put [the patent application process] in steps. Which of these steps must be performed by an attorney? All of the other steps, I hand those off to support staff members. And then, at the beginning of this year, I said: Let’s start automating some of the stuff the support staff is doing and let’s start automating some of the stuff the attorneys are doing.

2012 was before our efficiency journey. Our top drafting attorney drafted 54 patent applications that year, second place was 42. Last year, we had four attorneys draft more than 90 patent applications. We had one attorney in December draft 19 patent applications. This year our automation tools have rolled out. We have an attorney this year who is on track to draft 150 patent applications.

Let me tie that back into pay. You join our firm and when you’re assigned a patent application to draft, you’re given a number of hourly credits. If the hourly credit is 40 hours, you get that same hourly credit regardless of your actual time spent on it. So if you spend 40 hours, you’re getting hour-for-hour credit. If I can get you efficient, without sacrificing quality, down to 20 hours, now you’re drafting two patent applications. If I can get you down to 10 hours, then in that same 40 hour period you’re drafting four, which means you make four times as much money. The big producers at our firm make what partners make at other firms.

What tasks and processes have you automated?

One simple one I‘ll tell you about is form filling. There are certain forms that need to be filled out when you’re filing a patent application. And these forms were taking our staff about 15 to 30 minutes. Now it takes them about five seconds to fill them out — it’s being populated based on our docketing system.

You had a massive heart attack in 2016 at age 49, how has that impacted the way you operate your law firm?

Let me start with charity. I had this health scare back in 2016 and it really set the firm on a different course. I was in intensive care for eight weeks. It took me a couple of months after that to actually get back to the firm. I became hugely service-focused and that bled over to everything we do at the firm now. Harrity for Charity, that’s our giving back initiative. We’ve committed at the partner level to give 5% of profits to our partner charities. Those are the American Heart Association, that was my health scare, I had a heart attack; Inova Children’s Hospital; UNICEF; and Zero, which is the fight against prostate cancer. What makes Harrity for Charity infinitely better than the 5% coming out of partner profits is every single employee at my firm is committing a portion of their paycheck to one or more of these partner charities. Service is hugely important to us.

On the diversity side, we started our diversity journey kind of late in the game. We started our firm in 1999 and we started diversity efforts in November, 2015. At the time we started the conversation, we were 8% [ethnically] diverse at the attorney level. We implemented our Rooney Rule 2.0. What we’ve done is this. For every single position at my firm, support staff included, when we interview a white male for a position, we will interview a non-white male for that same position. Fast forward three years and we’ve gone from 8% diverse to 30% diverse today.

The newest thing we did is our minority firm incubator. It is a unique, innovative program. We’re willing to spend the time and money to make this thing successful. What we’re doing is creating minority-owned firms, female-owned firms that are replicas of our firm. We’re going to teach them what we do here and spin them off into their own firms. What makes the program a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is we’re going to line up companies that will commit to give work to these minority-owned firms. Accenture has already made that commitment. The biggest pain point any time you start your own business is: Where am I going to get the work? We’re going to get [top patent-owning] companies to make that commitment to try them out.

They’re completely independent. They’re with us for three years; the fourth year, they leave our firm to start their own.

By Aebra Coe
Editing by Katherine Rautenberg

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

 

Flexibility for Lawyers, Clients Helps Harrity & Harrity Stay Competitive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.