When business clients look for a law firm they need to realize that well-known, legal mega-factories may not necessarily meet their needs.
Smaller firms, which operate as “boutique” law practices, may be a better fit. This is particularly the case with patent law.
“Boutique doesn’t necessarily mean tiny but specialized,” Adam Seitz, a founder and partner at Erise IP, which has offices in Kansas City and Denver, said in an interview with InsideCounsel.
Erise IP started with seven attorneys, and soon will have 15 attorneys, as well as four technical advisors.
“We focus on patent law,” Seitz said. That includes many cases involving patent litigation and patent prosecution. For instance, he has represented clients, including well-known companies, across the United States and before the International Trade Commission.
Having worked at a larger law firm earlier in his career, Seitz said that when dealing with bigger firms, clients, and the attorneys at those firms, lose a lot of the traditional client-lawyer relationship. There is less focus on client service.
The larger law firms encourage growth “for growth’s sake” Seitz said, with another key focus being “profit for partner.” The large firms also try to get as many clients as possible.
These larger firms often grow through a series of mergers, and develop practice areas where there is likely profit.
At Erise IP, attorneys are hired individually. In addition, clients are provided IP representation with a strong focus on: strategy, execution and management. Erise IP builds relationships with clients, where there is a commitment to trust and individualized attention.
It is true that in some fields of patent law, such as the lawsuits between Samsung and Apple, hundreds of attorneys are involved in the legal battles. Clients often need the resources of larger firms.
But when dealing with non-practicing entities, (patent trolls), who sue to get settlements or licensing fees, engaging boutique law firms make sense for clients.
Boutique law firms will provide a more reasonable fee structure to clients, too. That is because they have lower overhead, provide efficient service, and clients deal with a smaller number of attorneys and a single technical analyst. The boutique law firms are more flexible and are not stuck to the billable-hour system.
Erise IP has proven itself to many larger companies, which are among its clients. These include Sony, Ford, Garmin and H&R Block.
And its reputation has led to many highly recognized lawyers joining the firm. Several of them have been named Super Lawyers on highly competitive lists. Some, too, are key leaders in their fields. One example is Jennifer Bailey, partner at Erise IP, who recently led a panel at the America Invents Act Post-Grant Patent Practice national conference. Bailey specializes in post-grant review of patents and patent prosecution in the electrical, computer software and electromechanical arts. She is also the president of the Association of Intellectual Property Firms, an international association of law firms that devote a majority of their practice to intellectual property law. In addition, Erise IP represented Garmin, which got a victory from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in the first ruling under the inter partes review.