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Can patent attorneys work from home
Technically, in any job, anyone can work from home to some extent if they so wish. The more accurate question, then, would be whether patent attorneys can substitute the typical office shift in its entirety by working from home.
There is no definitive answer to this question. Working from home largely depends on the type of job one takes up with different positions allowing different levels of flexibility. Below are the major job options in the sector and the extent to which they can accommodate a work-from-home arrangement.
Working in a legal firm
Legal patent firms present the least chance for working from home. Law firms are traditionally very orthodox, and despite the gathering momentum of the work-from-home debate, many law firms have still not yet even begun considering such a possibility for their staff.
You might get more leeway to work from home if you are lucky enough to get employed by maverick partners who only care about getting the job done. Otherwise, work from home stints will come down to the extra work you will occasionally carry home on evenings and weekends.
To paint a clearer, more representative picture of the situation on the ground, if you get an entry or middle-level position, the workload is more likely to eat into your personal time and blur the work-personal life balance than it is to actualize any considerable probability of working from home.
Working in the legal department of non-legal firms
Highly innovative companies set up departments to deal with the acquisition of patents, and infringement litigation. If you get to work in such a company, you will enjoy more flexible work hours meaning that you can sneak in the occasional work-from-home shift if the company’s policies and work culture allow.
The increased flexibility comes from the seasonal workload. Sometimes, there will be a lot of work, and at other times, not so much. During the low seasons, the probability of getting the green light to accomplish the little that has to be done from home is more pronounced – especially, if you are the department head or a high-ranking employee.
Working for the USPTO
Concerned with evaluating patent and trademark applications, the United States Patent and Trademark Office requires expert legal minds with a technical orientation just as much as patent law firms to deliver. If you land a job with the USPTO, working from home is simply not in the cards given that it is a federal agency.
Reporting to work daily is a must, unless on holidays and preapproved off-days. If you are a high ranking employee, you may manage to tweak your schedule a bit, but certainly not enough to work out of the office often enough to validate any work-from-home claim.
Working as a solo-practitioner
By far, being a solo practitioner actuates the highest flexibility to work from home. You will be comprehensively in charge of your schedule meaning that you can work from home as often as you wish.
However, work dynamics will see to it that working from home 100% becomes an impossibility. Unless you live in a very geographical convenient location, you will have to meet clients elsewhere, for instance. In short, you will simply be based at home with the job occasionally necessitating working away from home.
Solo practitioners who start out by embracing the home-base approach, after they have prospered to a certain degree, eventually get an off-home office, or convert their homes into fully-fledged offices the location is conducive.
Is working from home effective?
The work from home debate begs another query: is it more efficient and feasible to practice patent law from home or from an office? Again, the answer is subjective and dependent on an individual. If you are highly disciplined, structured and organized, you will be able to work from home effectively.
Even better, you will save on both commute cost and time and enjoy other work-from-home perks such as spending more time with your family, eating home food which is cheaper, working in a serene environment, customizing your work schedule in a way that maximizes performance, etc.
On the other hand, the opposite holds true, and this is the category in which many people fall. The connection between the office and working and the home environment and relaxing tends to be too strong for many to overcome, which leads to challenges in performance levels.
In conclusion, it is possible to work from home as a patent attorney, provided you opt for the solo-practitioner option. Otherwise, there is no escaping the conventional office shift. But even then, the growth trajectory of your practice may demand acquisition of commercial office space in due time as a home-base does not make the best impression or embody the capability message that high-level clients seek. Only a stellar track record and a superior value proposition can offset this disadvantage. To learn more about patent law, explore pandapatent.com.