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Author Topic: Patent Agent Lateral after less than a year?  (Read 1038 times)

Conquistador

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Patent Agent Lateral after less than a year?
« on: 09-27-17 at 02:44 pm »

Hello,

I need some unbiased advise. I've been at my first law firm job for slightly less than a year. I've been having some issues with the associates I work under. In short, I'm pretty sure they don't want me there and personally just haven't liked me since day 1, but won't go into further details right now. I do like my partner a lot and they have told others at the firm that they were very happy with me, but the more I work directly for the associates I can see the initially all positive viewpoint of the partner being tarnished.

I have this recruiter I worked with for over a year to get my current job. They are pretty experienced and connected so I tend to take career advice from them outside of actual legal practice. They are counseling me to lateral because you can't fix it when people don't like you and saying that even if you do good work or please the partners, the environment is going to lead to my ultimate failure there. I'm worried they just want another payout for getting me rehired and that since I like everything else about the firm other than these few rough relationships maybe it could work. What do you think? should I listen to the recruiter?
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midwestengineer

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Re: Patent Agent Lateral after less than a year?
« Reply #1 on: 09-27-17 at 04:53 pm »

Hello,

I need some unbiased advise. I've been at my first law firm job for slightly less than a year. I've been having some issues with the associates I work under. In short, I'm pretty sure they don't want me there and personally just haven't liked me since day 1, but won't go into further details right now. I do like my partner a lot and they have told others at the firm that they were very happy with me, but the more I work directly for the associates I can see the initially all positive viewpoint of the partner being tarnished.

I have this recruiter I worked with for over a year to get my current job. They are pretty experienced and connected so I tend to take career advice from them outside of actual legal practice. They are counseling me to lateral because you can't fix it when people don't like you and saying that even if you do good work or please the partners, the environment is going to lead to my ultimate failure there. I'm worried they just want another payout for getting me rehired and that since I like everything else about the firm other than these few rough relationships maybe it could work. What do you think? should I listen to the recruiter?

I would definitely interview with other firms.  Firm culture varies hugely.  You have hit the one year mark which markedly increases your value.

As an agent, you will never likely have a vested interest in staying with a particular firm so do not get too attached.  If you want to maximize your salary you will need to regularly move and be willing to move firms.
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UVAgal4

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Re: Patent Agent Lateral after less than a year?
« Reply #2 on: 09-29-17 at 10:04 am »

I think a year or less looks bad. Of course, if you were really unhappy there, then I would say move but if you think you can stick it out for another year at least, then you should.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Patent Agent Lateral after less than a year?
« Reply #3 on: 09-29-17 at 10:30 am »

I think a year or less looks bad. Of course, if you were really unhappy there, then I would say move but if you think you can stick it out for another year at least, then you should.
Yes, if you can make it 2 years, that looks good on a resume.  And, sorry to say, but less than a year looks like you have a problem.  Sure, you can explain it in an interview, but you might not even get to that point.  And even if you do, it would sound like you're complaining, even if it legitimately was a bad situation.  No one wants to hire a complainer. 

And it sounds like you worked really hard, and struggled just to find the job you are in now, right?  Don't get in the habit of firm-jumping early on.  Before you know it, you'll have 3 different firms in 3 years, and then your resume really is a giant red flag.  And if you quit now because you don't like the firm, you may jump at the first other offer you get, which isn't how you want to choose another firm.  You want to choose a firm you want to go to, not the only one that will take you.

Remember, you plan to do this for like 30 years, right?  What's another year, if it will give you experience and marketability?  You are expensive to train.  Some day you will realize just how expensive you were to train.  Unless your mental health/sanity are in jeopardy, stick it out a bit longer.  And if your mental health/sanity are in jeopardy, realize that you may need to switch career paths, not just firms.

As always, good luck!
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Conquistador

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Re: Patent Agent Lateral after less than a year?
« Reply #4 on: 10-04-17 at 01:42 pm »

Thanks for your input.

What if the firm and practice group you end up lateraling to is of significantly higher prestige/ranking? Does it still look like a bad move on your resume to move that early?
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fewyearsin

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Re: Patent Agent Lateral after less than a year?
« Reply #5 on: 10-04-17 at 05:47 pm »

Thanks for your input.

What if the firm and practice group you end up lateraling to is of significantly higher prestige/ranking? Does it still look like a bad move on your resume to move that early?
By all means, if you can lateral to your dream job, DO IT!!! And Congratulations!!

But, if you're switching firms just to switch firms, that's where you want to be careful.  Every firm has pros and cons.  Even the more "pretigious" firms have the con of usually a lot more hours required.  Be careful going to a general practice firm with a patent group - sometimes patent prosecutors are looked down on because they struggle to hit their hours (even though they usually have a much better collection/realization rate).
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examiner_bio

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Re: Patent Agent Lateral after less than a year?
« Reply #6 on: 10-07-17 at 04:46 pm »

It doesn't hurt to quietly interview and get all the facts on other places.  I just started at my 3rd firm with 3 years now in the field.  I disagree that a firm/year is bad because the environments at each firm are very nuanced.  At my first two firms, either attorneys left to start a new practice or clients left because rates were too high - so it depends on your reasons.  If another firm really wants you, because of your background, I have found they care less about how many firms etc. 

In my view, if you are meeting your hourly goals and the partners like you, I wouldn't worry much about the associates.  I'm in a similar situation, but it's a person who is of counsel and not an associate - the person shouldn't be in patent law, but I must work with them and please them as best as I can.  I think you will find this anyplace you go.  In your case, since the problems are with associates, keep a ear out if they will be promoted or not.  I have seen associates do many things and very few stick for 4+ years.  Another thing to try is to attempt to improve communication.  I have found that after awhile of being in the field, most internal issues come down to communication.  You could try to improve communication over the next year, and if it remains poor, explore options.
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