A trend is occurring in the practice of law where fewer cases go to trial therefore fewer opportunities exist for young lawyers to have their day in court. “Stand-up” courtroom experiences are crucial for the career development and advancement of the next generation of lawyers, and will ultimately benefit their clients and further the legal profession. Judges and other legal professionals across the country are speaking out about the need to give more junior lawyers opportunities and some have changed or are changing their standing orders or case-specific orders to encourage those opportunities. There is also thought that by providing more opportunities for junior lawyers (of both genders and all ethnicities), we’ll help balance the playing field for women and minority lawyers.
At the ChIPs Women in IP Global Summit held in Washington D.C. in October 2015, a couple of the ChIPs Advisory Board members including Kathi Vidal committed to “less talk, more action” when it comes to leveling the playing field for women in law and technology. The idea for the ChIPs Next Gen initiative was born out of Kathi’s preparations for the ChIPs Summit and she announced the initiative on stage. Since its inception, the committee has grown with representatives from the judiciary, corporate space as well as with Next Gen and experienced patent litigators. The committee is working closely with the Federal Circuit Bar Association, the Federal Judicial Center, individual Federal Court judges and the ChIPs board members to advance its objectives.
The Committee recognizes that the work we are doing today builds on Judge William Alsup’s years of commitment to this issue. For the last seventeen years, at least 100 junior lawyers have benefited from Judge Alsup’s practice of guaranteeing oral argument, as opposed to having issues submitted on the papers, on any matter when a lawyer within her first four years of practice will argue. As Judge Alsup noted in the Fall 2015 ABTL Report: “In my experience, young lawyers have performed at least satisfactorily and, more commonly, very well during oral argument because they have typically prepared the papers (and, if the truth be told, may know the record and the case law better than their seniors).”
This blog is a resource for junior attorneys who are searching for more speaking or “stand-up” opportunities in court, for the partners and clients who support those opportunities, and for the judiciary. The blog provides the latest standing orders, news, and developments in this area. If you are aware of orders or initiatives that have not yet been posted, please email [email protected]. To find out more about other ChIPs’ initiatives or the next Women in IP Global Summit, visit: http://chipsnetwork.org/.