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Michael J. Berchou

Partner, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP

Years in current role: 6

What has been your biggest success over the past year?

We have had some significant wins in Inter Partes Reviews at the Patent Office, but I think our biggest success this year has been the continued growth of our IP practice, both on the litigation side and the prosecution side. We brought on and will be bringing on more talented attorneys at a time when the competition for associates is very challenging.

What are your expectations for the rest of this year?

As we transition back to the office post-pandemic, we are finally seeing a return to some sense of normalcy. I think the hybrid model most of our attorneys have adopted is working well from both a job satisfaction and productivity perspective. I am hopeful that our firm will continue to evolve and that attorneys and practice groups will find the right balance.

What advice would you give someone starting an intellectual property practice right now?

The best advice I received when I started in IP 20-plus years ago was to develop a broad-based practice and familiarize myself with all aspects of IP — not just prosecution, but litigation — and not just patents, but trademark, copyright and trade secrets. Not only will it provide an opportunity to find your passion, but keeping my hand in a variety of matters has kept my practice more interesting over the course of my career.

If you could practice one area of law that you haven’t practiced in your career, what would it be and why?

While I get an opportunity to try IP cases in federal court every few years, I would love an opportunity to handle more trial work. I think a state-based trial practice provides more opportunity to try cases and conduct hearings.

What is one personal goal you have for the next year?

To spend meaningful time with every client I have lost touch with as a result of the pandemic.