Associate attorneys at Erise are inquisitive and unafraid to dig into new and complex technologies. They have scientific backgrounds but pursued intellectual property law because they excel at problem-solving challenges that build and protect our clients’ IP portfolios.

We sat down with two associates who recently joined Erise to learn more about their practice. Lydia Raw has been an IP attorney for more than five years and focuses on patent litigation. Lane Adams is a recent law school graduate who started with Erise last summer.

Here’s how they got into IP law, what their daily tasks are, and why they love working at the firm.

How they got here

Lydia wanted to become a patent attorney since she was in high school. While in high school, she had the opportunity to compete in science fair competitions, placing at state and advancing to national and international competitions. At one of those competitions, she was inspired when she heard a patent lawyer describe their job and Lydia started plotting her path. She took Advanced Placement classes, earned a B.S. in chemistry in three years, and then earned a full-tuition scholarship to attend law school.

“When I heard a patent lawyer explain what they did, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said. “I loved science, but actually working in a lab doing the experiments wasn’t for me. I just wanted to present, analyze research papers, and write the analysis. I love talking to people about their research, asking questions, and delving deeper into what they’re studying and why.”

Lane became a patent attorney for many of the same reasons but took a different path to Erise. He earned a B.S. in biochemistry and was working as a research technician before deciding to enter law school. He also became interested after hearing an IP attorney speak about their job and realizing it aligned with his personality and strengths more than working directly in the biomedical field.

What they’re doing

One of Lydia’s favorite parts of the job is that she gets to do something new nearly every day.

“There’s always a new challenge,” she said.

Depending on the stage of her cases, her tasks vary. At Erise, associates play a key role throughout litigation. Lydia might be drafting a complaint, handling discovery, taking a deposition, working with expert witnesses or crafting arguments for summary judgment. But while no day is the same, there is one constant: Asking questions.

“Discovery is key in every case, and the best way to get discovery that is going to help your client is to be unafraid to constantly ask questions,” she said. “Nearly every case has something new—different technology, different patents, different products and different parties. You’re trying to find the documents and witnesses that will help you link it all together and prove your case.

“And once you have that evidence, you can’t forget your audience. At the end of the day how are you going to present your argument to a judge or a jury with absolutely no background in the technology at issue in the case? You may have spent months or years immersed in the company documents and technology area, but they’re starting from zero. How do you explain key issues in language that will make sense to your audience?”

Lane has assisted on a variety of matters and practice areas since joining Erise, including patent litigation, IP licensing agreements, and trademark and copyright prosecution.

Research is a big part of Lane’s duties. One aspect of litigation he assists on is invalidity contentions, in which Erise is looking to invalidate a patent that’s been asserted against one of its clients. If he can successfully argue the patent is invalid, the threat to the client is eliminated.

Lane says he is enjoying learning about the strategy involved in litigation.

“It’s a chess game, laying pieces down,” he says. “This is our strongest position, but we have this fall back position. We have all these other different strategies that we can employ. Sometimes you give up an argument because it might play into the opposition’s strongest argument against you. So you make a different argument to take that away from your opponent.”

Lane says it’s been an immersive education working at a firm devoted to intellectual property law. He finds it easy to ask questions of colleagues, whether they are shareholders or analysts.

“There’s just so much information around you,” he said. “You can do your research and have a question, and you’ll get confirmation from people who have done it 100 times before.

“We have a refining process that makes our work product better because we have this depth of knowledge.”

Why they love it

Lane enjoys having a flexible schedule that allows him to sometimes work late into the night and then get a later start the next morning. He can also adjust his schedule during the day so he can meet his wife at the gym to lift weights together.

While he can work from home, there’s a bonus to coming in the office.

“We have great snacks,” he said.

Lydia also appreciates she can work from home whenever she needs to, like when a water main unexpectedly broke and shut down her two-year-old daughter’s daycare location.

“When it comes to family-life balance, standards are set from the top,” she said. “Partners will say they are going to be in late today because their kid is sick and they are helping their spouse, and they take the time to make sure they make it to their kids’ sporting events.”

While work-life balance was one of the reasons Lydia joined Erise last year, so was the caliber of clients the firm works with.

“That was the one thing I didn’t want to give up, because I still wanted to be working on complicated, interesting cases,” she said. “And I wanted to stay in the Midwest while doing it.”

Lydia also appreciates the collaboration at Erise.

“Ideas from everyone on the team, from analysts to the shareholders, are treated similarly,” she said. “We all want to do the best work, and we all trust each other to do that. That’s the focus.”

**Lane is a licensed Missouri attorney but is not yet licensed in Kansas