Expand Your Network by Empowering Your Digital Presence Virtual Event

Join ChIPs NextGen Speaker Jessica Aries on Thursday, October 20th from 11am to 12pm PDT for a webinar focusing on how professional women can strategically prepare for a conference. The one-hour seminar will discuss the importance of cleaning up your digital brand, preparing your self-story, and getting clear on your goals at the conference to successfully expand your network, grow your influence, and build lasting relationships.

While, ChIPs NextGen Summit attendees will hear Jessica present in-person, this webinar is open to all ChIPs members interested in becoming empowered in their digital presence.

To register for the webinar, click here.

Perspective of a Junior Associate: How Pro Bono Work Enhances Practice

For two-and-a-half years, I had the unique opportunity to work with a team of junior associates and partners on a Section 1983 pro bono case in the Northern District of California. Our client alleged he was falsely arrested in 2016 on an accessory-to-murder charge and spent three-and-a-half months in jail for a crime he did not commit. The defendant, a seasoned Walnut Creek Police Department detective, represented to a judicial officer that he had GPS data showing our client and the murder suspect’s phone GPS locations mirroring each other. After reviewing the case file, it became obvious that he did not have GPS data, only cell site location data, a much-less-accurate form of location information.

As a junior associate with no expertise in cell site analysis, I was tasked to challenge a digital forensics expert with over 15 years of experience on his conclusions made during my client’s investigation. Unlike mock depositions, this was a real case, involving real people, with real potential consequences. I learned how to prepare for a deposition both substantively and logistically, use exhibits, think quickly on my feet, and actively listen to a deponent’s responses. But the most valuable lesson came from a mid-level associate who coached me to purposefully pause, think, and reframe in order to maintain my composure and confidence so I could craft better questions and elicit better responses from my deponent.

A year later, the defendant detective moved for summary judgment. With two weeks to prepare, the partners entrusted me and three other junior associates to write the opposition to the motion, a task we had little experience with. After several rounds of edits and guidance from the partners, we filed an opposition brief we were proud of. The partners then let us know that we would also be arguing this motion before Judge Gonzales Rogers. None of us had ever argued a motion in federal court before, or any court for that matter, but I realized how fortunate I was as a junior attorney to have the opportunity to argue a motion I drafted in federal court. Getting on my feet and arguing before a judge was an invaluable experience.

Finally, as third-year associates, our pro bono case was going to trial. Looking back, I learned more in the months preparing for trial and during the trial than I could have imagined. I directly examined and defended a key witness, our client’s fiancée, and gained understanding of our client’s experience and the impact the arrest and subsequent incarceration had on him and his family. The partners taught me and my teammates how to prepare for a trialsetting up a war room, immersing ourselves in filings, and learning all the case details no matter how small.

Overall, I feel lucky to have had substantive learning experiences at the beginning of my career. If you had told me, during my first year of law school, that I would be taking depositions and speaking before a court during my first three years of practice, I wouldn’t have believed you. My advice to the incoming classes of associates would be to get involved in a pro bono case where you can write motions, defend depositions, or argue in court, because there is no substitute for hands-on, practical experience.

Written by Janelle Li-A-Ping, Associate Winston & Strawn, LLP

Statement Regarding Courtroom Opportunities For Newer Lawyers

Courtroom opportunities for relatively new attorneys, particularly those who practice at larger firms or in more complex areas of the law, can be hard to come by.

I encourage the active participation of such attorneys in all court proceedings. Based on my experience, these newer lawyers are more than up to the task, and they can effectively handle not only relatively routine matters (such as discovery motions), but also more complex matters (such as motions for summary judgment, evidentiary hearings, or the examination of witnesses at trial).

In an effort to increase advocacy opportunities for newer lawyers, I will relax the usual requirement that only a single lawyer may present an argument, and will allow a more experienced lawyer to “back up” a newer lawyer in the examination of witnesses so long as doing so will not unduly prolong the proceeding, not prejudice the opposing party, and not result in undue “double dipping”. Newer lawyers who actively participate in evidentiary hearings, including examining a witness at trial, should be accompanied and supervised by a more experienced attorney. The Court will regulate the proceedings to make sure that in the end, all sides of an issue get a fair shake.

Of course, all lawyers are expected to meet _the high professional standards emblematic of our Court. Attorneys appearing in court are expected to be appropriately prepared, regardless of experience. For example, an attorney who is arguing a motion for summary judgment is expected to be thoroughly familiar with the factual record and the applicable law. In short, all lawyers should know and understand the “rules of the road”.

I would ask that all attorneys appearing in court have a degree of authority commensurate with the proceeding that they are assigned to handle. For example, an attorney appearing at a scheduling conference ordinarily must have the full authority to propose and agree to a discovery or trial schedule and any other matters reasonably likely to arise at the conference, to address and argue any then-pending motion, and to discuss the status of any settlement discussions.

I have implemented this approach for more than five years, and have been uniformly impressed with exceptional in-court presentations by newer lawyers. Our more experienced lawyers are encouraged to engage their newer colleagues in advocacy opportunities in our Court. I believe that they will be inspired and energized by doing so, as I have been seeing those efforts in action.

Counsel are encouraged and welcomed to seek additional guidance from the Court as appropriate particular c es concerning the scope or application of this statement.

Mark R. Hornak

Chief United States District Judge

Dated: July 2022

The 2022 ChIPs NextGen Summit Coming to San Francisco

Join the next generation of female leaders in tech, law, and policy for the 2022 ChIPs NextGen Summit on October 26, in San Francisco!

The NextGen Summit empowers women in the first 15 years of their legal career. Along with the opportunity to connect with current and future leaders, the Summit will include sessions, panels, and workshops that prepare future women leaders, support gender inclusion efforts, and facilitate best practices in IP law.

Among other topics, sessions will include:

  • Fireside Chat with the Honorable Kathleen O’Malley
  • Breaking Barriers: Advanced Advocates Who Shatter Glass Ceilings
  • Internal Politics: Behind the Scenes with Partners and In-house Counsel
  • How to Use Social Media to Advance Your Career
  • Fireside Chat with Wei Chen: Blazing a Trail and Maintaining Balance

For more information on the 2022 NextGen Summit or to register, click here

Perspective on Pitching From a Junior Associate

For junior associates like me, pitch development is an under-appreciated but critical part of legal work. Pitches require the entire team to be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the legal issues of a case and present that knowledge in a succinct form. Pitches also typically have a quick turnaround time from beginning the project to finalizing presentations, so pitch development is a great way to gain experience working under pressure in a form that might be less daunting than billable work.

For me, a pitch begins with legal research into the issues of a case. Clients typically look for the fastest way to resolve their cases, so research usually focuses on motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment. This focus provides the means to expand proficiency with these types of motions, as sometimes juniors are not onboarded into cases until it is clear these motions will not succeed. Often these pitches present legal issues I am not familiar with, so I have to quickly gain a basic understanding of how cases work in a particular legal field. It is a very exciting and stimulating way of gaining an understanding of new types of work without having to get bogged down in too many procedural complications.

Aside from research, pitch work also presents the opportunity to put junior associates on the radar of other associates and partners we juniors may not typically work with. The fast-paced nature of pitch work presents an opportunity for us to show we are able to meet tight deadlines, complete thorough research in a short period of time, and turn in great work product while working under pressure. The more-senior lawyers are usually very appreciative of the effort that goes into pitches, so it is a great chance for junior associates like me to expand our network and make a good impression on people who can help us in the development of our careers.

Written by Dave Bujarski, Associate Winston & Strawn, LLP