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August 17, 2022 - MoFo Life, MoFo Pro Bono

Patent Boot Camp: Developing IP Litigators and Training Well-Rounded Lawyers – Lucy Huang

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“We’re not just training you to be the best IP litigator, we’re training you to be the best trial lawyer.” Bita’s words stayed with me after my interview and were a large part of the reason I chose MoFo. Partners in the IP litigation program focus not only on developing IP litigators but also on training well-rounded lawyers.

One of the program’s signature events is the Patent Boot Camp, which was held in the San Francisco office this year. The Patent Boot Camp was a full-day event that included trainings and socials. After the breakfast mixer, where we met IP litigation summers from every office, we made our way into a conference room to begin our training, led by Palo Alto partners Eric Pai and Roman Swoopes. The training started with a run-through of the patent litigation stages. After a lunch break, we moved on to practical exercises, where we looked at an actual case and worked in groups to draft parts of interrogatories, requests for admission, and more. Many of these skills are integral to every type of litigation.

My favorite part was when we swapped our drafts with another group for them to respond with objections; it felt like a real interaction between opposing counsels. We wrapped up the training by simulating an important stage of patent litigation, claim construction. We were asked to construe the term “normal size” in a manner that was favorable to us but also reasonable, and the exercise made me realize that every ordinary word could be disputed in litigation.

I believe that learning comes from doing, and I loved that this Boot Camp provided me with plenty of opportunities to do.

Aside from formal trainings, I gained many learning opportunities from doing substantive work that were parts of ongoing cases. For each assignment I submitted, I received detailed feedback on how to improve and lots of encouragement to keep writing.

Moreover, the partners gave me a chance to present my findings live on video, where I could field questions about my analysis from the team and practice my oral presentation skills. Additionally, I was invited to attend internal meetings for an ongoing case, so I could learn how a case was run in real time. All these development opportunities made me feel that the program was not just about learning how to research and write, but also about integrating me into the IP litigation team.

The IP litigation team is a tight-knit group. In the LA office, we have weekly practice group lunches on the patio, and the partners visit associates’ offices often to check in on their wellbeing. As Alex often says, “We like to take care of our own.” This was certainly my experience this summer working in MoFo’s IP litigation group, where everyone took me under their wings to not only train me, but also get to know me and invest their time and energy to help me advance my career.