- On July 23, 2017
If you missed the panel I moderated, IP Career Management: Growing with Business & Technology, below are 5 key points made by panelists Mark Brazeal (CLO Broadcom), Mallun Yen (RPX Board member), Judge Lucy Koh, and Bijal Vakil (partner, White & Case).
- Path to success zig zags. All the panelists started in completely different areas and did not anticipate they would be in their current roles now. For example, Mark Brazeal began as a litigator before working internationally and switching to technology transactions. He changed firms and picked up Broadcom as a client. He then went in-house and later became CLO of Broadcom.
- Partner with your client. When your client first meets you, you need to show immediately your commitment and understanding of business. Make their priorities your own. Mallun Yen credits Cisco GC Mark Chandler with the teaching “never sound like a lawyer!”
- Attitude is (almost) everything. To be given a chance, you have to convey a positive attitude and point to a track record of success. People should be able to connect the dots and see whatever field you want to move into is a natural fit. For example, Bijal Vakil began his career as a bankruptcy lawyer but wanted to move into IP litigation; so, he started working with IP lawyers at nonprofit events. They had to get to know him and understand his skills and promise before introducing him to an IP firm, which he joined.
- To switch to the business side, recognize the skills you already have that translate well to business. Mallun noted lawyers already have many skills necessary to work on the business side, e.g., negotiating, persuading, reading people, thinking critically, and assessing businesses models.
- To decide whether it’s time to move on, think about whether you are both challenged by your work and supported there. If not, life is too short to stay miserable. Even if you are happy where you are, imagine if you are at the end of your career whether you would have wished you tried something else. Also, to assess the magnitude of risk, ask yourself if you can go back to your old role — the stakes are low if you can.