IP Legal Secretary/Admin. Part Time, Flexible Hours, Work from Home (Anywhere)
QR Code Link to This Post
compensation: Hourly contract rate to be determined.
employment type: part-time
Patent and Trademark Legal Secretary/Administrator. Part Time, Flexible Hours, Work from Home â€“ Anywhere
IMPORTANT: Please do NOT apply unless you have PATENT or TRADEMARK EXPERIENCE
The nation's top firearms specialty IP firm needs a legal secretary/legal admin/office manager to support a growing firm. The ideal candidate has at least some familiarity with firearms technology and is enthusiastic about becoming an expert.
This is not an ordinary legal secretary/admin position. This is the core position that involves managing all the information flow of a thriving law firm. It is part Master Administrator, part Office Manager, part Docketing Expert, part Client Relations, part IP Paralegal and lots of Information Management.
You must already be familiar with the processes for obtaining and maintaining patents and trademarks, because learning to use our docketing system requires an understanding of how these things work. An experienced IP legal secretary probably has the needed knowledge, even if you haven't run a docketing system. If you love learning and mastering new systems and software, and managing and organizing important information, then read on.
This boutique IP practice recently celebrated 25 years of success, and our growth means we're ready to add a key player to our amazing team. Even though we're a "virtual law firm" with people all over the nation, we truly enjoy each other and have fun doing outstanding legal work. This practice is unusually entrepreneurial, creative about marketing, and we're by far the dominant law firm in our very specific technology niche--It's mostly mechanical, but our clients in the firearms industry are a special breed that not everyone fully appreciates or understands.
We all have growing families that are our top priorities, and we all work at our own homes in different parts of the country. We often confer by phone, Skype, or screen sharing, and we all take vacations as often as we should--sometimes bringing the work along and sometimes leaving it at home. No one cares if you're wearing flip-flops or sitting on a beach when you work, or checking the oven or feeding the dog when we're on the phone. It's not unusual to hear a child's voice in the background on a call, which is a good reminder of why we work so hard.
Everything is "in the cloud," including our US Mail, accounting, files, and customer relationship management. The only papers we touch are the registration certificates that the PTO sends us, and they go straight to our clients. The only equipment you'll need is your own computer with good internet access, and a reliable voice connection.
As the firmâ€™s founder and owner, I've been practicing patent and trademark law for nearly 30 years, with degrees from top schools and a base of outstanding clients that really appreciate all we do for them. The team includes a â€œManaging Partnerâ€ with whom youâ€™ll also work closely. Sheâ€™s an attorney and executive who has been handling many of the responsibilities listed in this position, and our growth means she and we all need your help. You will shadow her and be able to perform every aspect of her responsibilities when fully trained.
Our staff includes several talented patent associates with whom I work with on patent applications drafting and responses, as well as an experienced trademark attorney that handles infringement issues. We also have an experienced trademark paralegal and an experienced patent paralegal who handle all the trademark and patent filings. A marketing and automation systems specialist who keeps us running smoothly and other outside specialists including web marketing and I.T. wizards round out our staff. My main role is with legal strategy, marketing, client relationships, and management. I also tend to answer the phone when clients call.
This legal secretary/admin/office manager position is the hub of it all. You're teaming with someone who held the position for years, on systems that work smoothly. You'll work with all of us and have frequent contact with my wonderful clients. You'll be a friendly and professional personal point of contact, and the steely-eyed precision machine that keeps us running like a top.
The core of the position is to be the ringmaster of the communication circus. All emails that come in from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, from clients, from other team members, and from our marketing sources need to be analyzed by you. You'll then act as needed, recording and storing information, generating other communications, and operating our docketing, accounting, and other systems.
As our new Legal Secretary/legal administrator, you'll be doing some or all of the following--all with suitable training and supervision. You need to love this kind of detailed systems work:
Patent and Trademark Docketing:
* Receive via email U.S. Patent and Trademark Office communications and identify them by type, and enter them into our docketing system. You won't need to analyze a trademark or patent rejection, but you will need to know the difference between a Missing Parts notice, a Final Office action, and a Restriction Requirement, for instance.
* Using our existing email templates, you'll send copies of the communications to our clients and to the appropriate people in the firm.
* Generate weekly docket reports using our docket software system (one you probably haven't used but will be trained on) and distribute them to the team.
* Based on the docket reports and using standard templates and established schedules, you'll send emails to clients and to the team reminding them of upcoming deadlines and actions due.
* You understand that precision is critical, and like an airline pilot who knows that hundreds of lives are in his hands, millions of dollars can be lost by a simple clerical error or "brain fart."
* Manage our Salesforce client relationship management (CRM) software, including ensuring that all client email communications are properly archived.
* Manage the new client acquisition process including logging lead data in Salesforce, responding to inquiries, sending physical and email marketing materials, and scheduling and conducting follow-up tasks.
* Focused follow-up by email and phone on selected target prospects, such as those who have said they need our services, but are too busy to take the next step. You'll enjoy the thrill of landing a new client because of your own efforts. It's not cold-calling, but it requires a tenacious attitude and a confident and charming professional personality.
* Edit and format monthly firm newsletter in MS Word, including maintaining addressee spreadsheet and emailing to printer (no envelope stuffing). MS Word skills are preferred at the intermediate level of using "Styles" and wrapping text around photos. Use Wordpress to post my articles on blog (complete training and instructions provided for all responsibilities).
* Generate and maintain spreadsheets showing client acquisition trends.
Billing and accounting:
* Manage our invoicing, using our Freshbooks online system. You'll enter billables for large projects, and will enter attorney time based on codes you'll find when you're copied on a attorney-client email.
* Monitor the invoicing system, and diplomatically remind clients by phone and email about overdue invoices (nothing challenging or confrontational).
* Monitor and manage via the web our Earth Class Mail receiving system in which physical mail primarily including checks is received and scanned remotely. Based on the mail, you'll update our accounting system to reflect payments, and generate communications to alert the team that a retainer has been received and a project may begin.
Legal document prep and filing:
* Format MS Word and PDF documents provided by clients that disclose inventions into formats accepted for filing as provisional patent applications.
* File provisional and non-provisional patent applications on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website based on documents generated by other team members.
* File other simple matters on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website including payment of patent maintenance fees.
* Generate and maintain written checklists on all of your main responsibilities (they already exist as resources to help you get started) so others can step into your role as we expand. Every year for a few days I'll take over your job without your help, and will rely on YOUR written procedural checklists to do your job.
* Assist with preparation of "cease and desist" letters regarding potential disputes.
* Learn to file standardized infringement claims with Ebay and other online retailers.
* Excel spreadsheets are used for lots of things. You need to be solid on this.
* Basic image editing for generating patent images, trademark specimens, and marketing images.
* Managing outsourcing resources such as freelancer.com to enlist outside experts for graphic design, coding, large data processing or collection, and other projects.
* Be able to Google any question to solve any problem.
* Assist attorneys and paralegals with all aspects of patent and trademark practice, and learn all you can to expend your skills and value.
You do not need to have experience and expertise in all of the above areas, and you'll get plenty of training and tools. But PLEASE DO NOT APPLY if you don't have significant experience with either patents or trademarks in a professional setting. If you are expert at docketing patents but not trademarks (or vice versa) that's probably OK, but if you don't have a good feeling for how U.S. Patent and Trademark Office response deadlines, renewals, and maintenance works, then this isn't the position for you. One critical core of this position is PATENT AND TRADEMARK DOCKETING. This is not just another generic Legal Admin job. A legal secretary with significant IP experience might be ideal, and no particular certification or education is required.
Also, if you are a skilled patent or trademark paralegal (or even lawyer) then you are not necessarily overqualified, and we may have other great work for which you will be compensated accordingly. But don't take this position hoping you'll be promoted from these essential management responsibilities. If you think all the items above are mostly "boring stuff" then please don't apply. While growth might cause this position to be segmented in the long run as we are doing now, the ideal candidate is attracted to the current position, and would be happy in it for the long run.
The most likely scenario for your growth and advancement (besides getting REALLY good at your responsibilities and earning big raises for your productivity and indispensability) would be your focusing on certain areas you particularly enjoy and learning about, and us hiring others to assist with other areas that aren't as fun for you. Docketing will always be the core, but another area like marketing, finance, or publishing could be shared or transferred to someone else as we grow.
These skills are not required, but I'd like to know if you have them:
* PCT practice
* TTAB practice
* Patent prosecution
* Patent or trademark litigation support
* Firearms technology familiarity
* Desktop Publishing, Wordpress.
* Google Adwords
* Graphics, Photoshop
* Web design, development
* Ecommerce applications such as 1 Shopping Cart
* Other marketing skills
Even though you'll enjoy ultimate flexibility with your hours and home-office attire, details and diligence are critical. Your work will receive suitable review and I'm happy to provide strategic consultation on many projects, but you'll enjoy plenty of independence. You'll also be expected to follow our detailed "best practice" procedures and use the systems that helped us become successful.
If you're a free spirit who likes to do things your own way on intuition and instinct, then this is definitely NOT the position for you. The same goes if you're an "old school" type who is comfortable doing things the way they've always traditionally been done. But if you're more like a test pilot who relishes the challenge of learning and mastering new systems, and appreciates the discipline of a precise checklist before each mission, then you're our type--and if military, defense, and firearms aren't your cup of tea, then we definitely aren't either. If your mission in life is to catch your boss' little mistakes instead of him catching yours, then you're ideal.
Besides a mature and disciplined approach to work, we maintain a fiercely ethical approach to business and working together. We're honest and fair with clients and with each other, and family and faith come first. No one here ever got in trouble postponing a meeting because of a family crisis, and we even have this kind of close "family" relationship with many of our clients, who are in a close-knit industry of mostly family businesses.
The ideal candidate could very well be a stay-at-home parent who intends to continue to grow and advance in their career for the long run, and not lose touch with their skills. The position may also be well-suited for someone looking to drop from full time to part time, perhaps in conjunction with a relocation with a retiring spouse, or a change in family situation. If you're happy in a little cabin by a creek in the mountains, this might be ideal as long as you have reliable broadband service.
This position is NOT a good fit for anyone looking for short-term work between full time jobs, during a temporary business lull, or with only a few years until retirement--this is a long term career position with no limits on advancement. I like to say that if you grow and advance enough to justify tripling your pay, I'll celebrate along with you.
If you have an existing consulting business providing these services for other clients, that's fine. You might even have a part-time job with time left for this position. If you have a full-time job, you definitely don't have time for this on the side, except maybe for a short transition while we verify that we're right for each other before you give notice. Or maybe you'd like to start up your own consulting business and make us your cornerstone client and perhaps even have your own employees. Honestly, if you end up firing your other clients and working exclusively with us because the rewards and enjoyment justify it, it wouldn't be the first time that has happened in this practice, because some people have already found this firm to provide their dream career path.
You'd most probably be a 1099 independent contractor, but if made sense for you to be a W-2 employee, we can discuss that. I'm always open to suggestions that begin with: "I have an idea that will help me without costing you any extra..." Your compensation should be suitable for you to pay your own employment taxes and retirement contributions. If you're the primary wage-earner hoping replacing a full-time income, and medical and retirement benefits, then this probably won't cut it. But if you have other clients, part time work or business, or can get clever with the savings that working at home can provide - like staying home to provide your own childcare or homeschooling, then this could be a good fit for you. And don't forget to do some online research and check with your accountant about the tax benefits of running your own business.
The workload is fairly consistent with some variability, but half-time is a good estimate, and in the long term that can either grow, or we can add others like we added you. You won't be tied to working 5 (or 7) days a week, but it works best when you're keeping up with the work most days, and able to respond quickly as occasionally needed.
Reality check before you apply:
1. You MUST have some patent and trademark experience. We discard all resumes that donâ€™t feature this prominently.
2. This is a part time contractor position, not adequate for a primary wage-earner who needs medical benefits.
3. This is an administrative position, not a paralegal or lawyer position. It might end up paying as well because of the critical responsibilities, but you must truly love this kind of administrative detail work.
To be considered for this position, please follow these instructions precisely:
1. Email us via the Craigslist email relay:
a. Include your resume in the body text of an email (not an attachment)
b. Include a brief statement summarizing why you think you're well-suited to the job, especially all trademark, patent, and docketing experience.
c. Include your compensation expectations, both initially during your training and adjustment, and in the long run after you are fully settled in and trained on our systems and procedures.
d. Fill in the blanks: "My ideal number of hours for week would normally be ___ to ___ hours per week, and I could handle ___ hours per week max during peak times."
e. Optional: You may include an employment reference relating to past patent or trademark work, preferably including a brief written endorsement (e.g. "Jane has been functioning at the level of a junior trademark associate for 4 years"). We understand that you may wish to defer this until we're deeper into the process after round 1, and the lack of a reference will not count against you.
2. After sending the email, phone 240-356-8418 and leave a roughly 1-2 minute informal voicemail identifying yourself and explaining another factor about you (not in the email summary) that suits you for the position.
If this sounds like the perfect position for you - a dream come true - then you're probably the one we're looking for. We look forward to hearing from you, and of course all inquiries will be treated confidentially.