I am a patent lawyer. My practice is mostly patent litigation, though I also do some work in what's called "patent prosecution," which is the process of preparing patent applications for inventors and negotiating with the patent office to get patents issued. I have always avoided talking too specifically about my work here. It's a bit of a loss to GOAT, because I have a lot of ideas about patent law that I sometimes want to write about. The trouble is that those ideas often arise from issues that I've considered in the course of client work, and I don't feel right about tipping those issues on a public website, even in a distanced, abstract way. It's not that difficult to connect this website with my professional profile, and I do not want even indirectly to give opposing counsel a tool for guessing at our legal theories, or by criticizing aspects of patent law to hand them ammunition for attacking the doctrines on which we rely.
I bring up my work today, though, because there is news about it. At the end of this week, I will be leaving the law firm at which I have worked since I finished law school more than three years ago.
In some ways this is a big change for me. The firm I am leaving is a general practice firm with some 250 lawyers. My new firm is a 20-lawyer intellectual property boutique. On average I'll probably be working in smaller teams, and I'll probably have more responsibility. But the cases too will be smaller, and so budget considerations may result in some cases in less freedom to explore my own ideas. And it remains to be seen whether I'll enjoy those differences. Over all, I felt mostly that I needed a change. My mind and my soul were beginning to stagnate, and when the opportunity for this change arose, after much soul-searching - over a month of hard, anxious thinking and talking - I finally decided to take the leap.
So, over the next couple of months I'll be learning a new practice, new colleagues, a new commute. I'm feeling hopeful, but also a little sad at leaving behind the many things that were good about my old firm - many comfortable relationships, interesting clients, a few friends. I'm content, though, with this opportunity to gather data about a different kind of legal practice, and maybe come a step closer, at 33, to figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.