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Bernard J. Knight, Jr. is a career coach and counselor, and is a licensed professional mental health counselor in Washington, D.C. He is also an expert witness available to testify and consult on matters of patent office procedure.
Bernie was a partner practicing complex patent litigation in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP from 2013-2017. Prior to joining McDermott, Bernie served as General Counsel for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from 2010 to 2013. As General Counsel of the USPTO, he led the development and legal review of the regulations implementing the new Inter Partes review, post grant review, business method review and derivation proceedings, as well as the regulations changing the United States to a first-inventor-to-file system. Bernie previously served as Acting General Counsel of the U.S. Treasury at the height of the financial crisis. From 2001 to 2006, he was Deputy General Counsel for the USPTO. Bernie began his government career in 1991 at the Department of Justice, Tax Division, where he served for 10 years.
Bernie is experienced in handling all IP matters, including patent, trademark and copyright issues. He has advised on intellectual property cases before the United States Supreme Court and provided oversight on patent and trademark cases before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the district courts.
Bernie is a frequent speaker before trade and bar associations, such as the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the American Bar Association and the Federal Circuit Bar Association.
Bernie is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Illinois, Texas and before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He also has been granted recognition by the USPTO to appear as counsel in inter partes proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
We must communicate effectively to be helpful. If the client isn’t listening because our delivery is ineffective or off-putting, it doesn’t matter that our legal opinion was brilliant because they will not be listening. Every interaction counts. Here are 13 tips to improve client communications.
Great lawyer managers spend time to master the skills required for the job, and being a lawyer manager requires more leadership skill than legal knowledge. Great leaders know how to motivate people to achieve goals over a sustained period. This requires understanding each team member’s legal abilities and motivators… Managing a team of lawyers who are brighter and more educated on a topic than the manager can be difficult. It takes a manager with a lot of self-confidence to feel secure. Yet, the best legal managers always seek to hire lawyers who are smarter and more knowledgeable about certain topics.
When I give talks on emotional intelligence, I usually get the following question: “I have an employee who is brilliant, but I just can’t promote her.” When I ask why, I get a response that goes something like this: “She offends either management or her colleagues by blurting out the answer or stating the answer in a way that others in the room feel put down. The universal concern is that the employee or associate is not aware of this behavior and how it affects others. She often has been promoted in the past because of her intelligence. Yet, that intelligence alone is not enough to go higher up the corporate ladder or make partner.
Unconscious bias prevents law firms, corporations and Government agencies from hiring the best talent and retaining that talent. Bias against those that are not in the majority group generally is not intentional. We are all biased no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation or other differentiators. Thoughtful legal managers develop a strategy to help recognize the existence and minimize the effects of unconscious bias. This requires acknowledging that it exists and then developing procedures to help minimize its effect. The result is not only a more diverse and inclusive workforce, but one that is more productive and innovative.