As lawyers we all know the importance of keeping our licenses current, but what we hate are all the boring continuing legal education webinars (CLE) we must endure to renew or bar cards. Often, these sessions are boring and irrelevant to our practice areas, so many of us feel it’s nothing more than checking a box. Truth be told, we, don’t in fact, usually learn anything new at all. Instead, many of us look for CLEs in fun, tropical locations to make up for the boring substance. If you’re a trademark attorney, what if you could engage in trademark training that is practical, useful to your practice without ever leaving your house? And what if it could change not only how you approach your clients but also impact your bottom line? Sounds perfect, right? Well, it exists, you just have to know how to find it to be sure you are investing your time and money wisely. For any attorneys who aspire to practice trademark law before the USPTO, practical trademark training is critical to making a trademark practice successful. Trademarks are too important to your clients to try to learn the nuances of trademark law on your own. There is too much at stake, and if you’re a solo practitioner, you will likely want a support network as you learn and grow your practice.
Being a solo practitioner is challenging
According to ABA data, solo and small firm attorneys make up approximately two-thirds of all practicing attorneys, and today new law school graduates often choose the path of entrepreneurship over joining a firm. Ten or twenty years ago most solos were not solos necessarily by choice, but often because circumstances dictated it. There was a certain stigma attached with being a solo then that is not present among practitioners today. Today, larger firm attorneys envy the freedoms that solo and smaller firm attorneys possess and often wonder if their grass isn’t greener. Technological advances and the ability to more easily promote your firm on social media have leveled the playing field. Case management software, docketing software and other tools and resources are no longer only affordable by Am Law 200 firms.
Seek out trademark training early
However, solo and small firm attorneys do not always have access to the same research materials or in-house training, so for these attorneys in particular, it is of paramount importance that they invest in trademark training and even general business and financial training and/or technology training to automate their practices. Running a trademark firm is challenging. For solo and small firm attorneys, seek out practical trademark training solutions whenever you can and preferably ones that are CLE certified. By investing in trademark training early, you will shorten your learning curve, prevent costly mistakes, increase your confidence, and drop more profit to the bottom line. As a solo or small firm practitioner, you don’t have the luxury of wasting your most precious resource – time. There is no substitute for learning the right way to practice at the outset and avoiding setting up bad habits. Equally important to solo and small firm practitioners is (1) the ability to develop a deep bench of other practitioners so they can refer their clients and (2) joining community or network of like-minded colleagues with whom they can brainstorm. These, of course, are the major advantages to being a part of a law firm of any size. When you have colleagues, you have an instant team you can turn to for recommendations, help and assistance.
Invest in your career and trademark training
For young associates at medium and large firms, the advice is the same. Do not wait for your firm to train you. Take responsibility for your own career from day one. Ask questions of everyone you are working with but understand that your partners are far removed from the day-to-day of practice – their role is more focused on client management and strategy. Even if your firm will not reimburse you to attend CLEs and other trademark training programs in which you have an interest, invest in yourself and in your career and pony up the money. Just like law school, these courses are an investment. Of course, if your law school loans loom large, it may be scary to invest more, but any knowledge you amass will only make you more valuable to partners and clients and help advance your career. There is never a downside to investing in additional education to help you elevate your substantive knowledge. And when you invest in trademark CLEs, you fulfill your CLE requirements and learn valuable skills you can implement on the job.
Introducing Trademarkabilities – a trademark training academy for lawyers
How do you find trademark training courses and networking groups? There are a number of great networking groups – you’ll have to find the one that works best for you and your business development goals, but for any trademark attorney, the goal is to meet other attorneys that can refer you work. Always start with your local bar association. They will likely have training CLEs as well. Get out and meet people in person. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. There might be other options too. One such option is Trademarkabilities, a comprehensive trademark training academy for lawyers. Our CLE-certified course teaches attorneys how to represent clients confidently before the USPTO. Our approach combines industry knowledge with direct client experience to provide actionable strategies, practical tips, and ongoing support so you can master the entire trademark process. We show you step-by-step, screen-by-screen how to handle all the relevant forms before the USPTO, making our course unique. In addition, we offer a community of like-minded attorneys to provide additional support and group mentorship to help you build your practice along the way.
Stacey C. Kalamaras is the founder and lead instructor of Trademarkabilities®, an online trademark academy for lawyers, whose mission it is to prepare lawyers to be confident and effective practitioners before the USPTO. Stacey started Trademarkabilities to share her passion teaching the law with the next generation of lawyers and help them become practice ready lawyers. Contact us at: email@example.com.
Stacey is also a seasoned trademark attorney and currently works in-house as Senior Counsel for a multi-national candy company. She previously owned her own solo trademark practice, which she scaled and sold. She has been recognized by her peers for her outstanding knowledge and service in intellectual property law.