J.D. Candidate, UC Hastings, College of the Law, Present
James Egan – My Experience
The adjustment to remote learning and working has been a difficult task, however, my associates at Lloyd & Mousilli have been very helpful in making the process as simple and easy as possible. My first week I was tasked with drafting a memorandum on a case Lema is in the process of litigating. The memo was to focus on whether a co-defendant would be able to remove a case filed in state court to federal court once the defendant was served. This was a topic I was familiar with from my civil procedure course during my 1L year, however, this memo required me to delve deeper into the topic.
Charlotte assisted me in getting access to the information needed to become familiar with the case. I read the briefs and motions from both parties of the case to grasp a full understanding of the issue at hand. I had never read a case dealing with trade secrets so I was intrigued by the new information and laws I was learning. The most challenging aspect of this assignment was researching outside of Westlaw and Lexis. In law school, our research mainly revolved around those two sites but Lema made sure to let me know that it was crucial to look for information outside of those avenues. I realized that to really delve into the research you need to find the hidden details and this takes some patience. For instance, on a few sites, the place of incorporation for the defendant was listed as California, however, once I looked into their tax forms, I found that it was actually in Delaware. This taught me to always double and triple check my sources because some things are not easily detectable.
My second task was assigned by Feras and was more on the transactional side of law. This was an interesting experience for me because I had never done anything transactional. My task was to look over a contract and detect the terms that were specific to the company and change them into more general terms so that the agreement could be used for multiple clients. Essentially Feras wanted it to be a template. Megan assisted me a lot in this task because I was unfamiliar with this type of work. She was very understanding and patient with me which I greatly appreciated. I would say that this type of task was more tedious because it required a great attention to detail. This was a task that required multiple people to look over because it is easy to miss something. Overall this is something that is essential to know how to do in the legal field and although tedious, I am happy that I have a better understanding of the transactional aspect of the legal field.
My best advice I can give is to triple check your sources when researching because it may seem like the answer is right in front of you but that might not be the case. As future lawyers I think our ability to delve deep into our research is what differentiates us from other professions. Also do not hesitate to ask for help. I could have saved myself more time if I had initially clarified some things with Lema or Feras and I wish I had asked more questions in the beginning. When I asked Megan for assistance with the contract she was very helpful and I appreciated her clarifying any confusion I had.
This week I had to learn how to balance my work with my personal life which was a challenging task. My closest cousin was getting married and I wanted to make sure I was there for her but also needed to set time aside for my work. This is one of the many positive things about having the benefit of being able to work remotely and it made me realize how much of a blessing it is to have that option.
My first task was a different memorandum assigned to me by Lema. This topic was one that I was more unfamiliar with so it required more extensive research on my part. This memo focused on pressure wound cases in Texas. I was asked to research different cases involving pressure wounds in Texas, the elements needed to prevail, facts involved in the cases, deciding factors and verdicts for each case. I enjoyed this assignment especially because I had no prior knowledge of pressure wounds and it was interesting and shocking to see what hospitals were required to do and how many of them were able to get away with harming their patients. This memo was a little different for me because I wasn’t necessarily defending any party but it was more of a general research paper. I liked learning to go about a memo in a different type of format while being completely neutral in my writing.
My second task was assigned to me by Feras and involved the drafting of an article and operating agreement for PLLCs in Texas. I was asked to research and write an article about PLLCs in Texas. I appreciated this assignment because I think it is crucial to be aware of the different types of business entities a company can choose from. I had heard of LLCs but had never heard of a PLLC and I am grateful to now know the difference between the two. I was intrigued to research the different advantages and disadvantages the various types of entities had to offer. I was also tasked with drafting a sample operating agreement where I was given a PLLC agreement from a different state. I had to really read the agreement carefully because there are many laws that differ from how Texas deals with PLLCs. This was another assignment that dealt with more of the transactional side of law and required much more attention to detail.
My advice is to figure out how to balance your work life with your personal life. I know that many attorneys who have children and families have learned to adjust their time to be able to get their tasks done. This is a learning experience and everyone will have something different that works for them. For me, I would try and get as much work done as possible so that I could reward myself with family time. Being able to spend more time with family was what drove me to get as much work done as possible. I would set time aside in the mornings and late at night where I had less distractions. Lema gave me some constructive criticism about how in the real world deadlines are much shorter than what we are given in law school and this has been a difficult but doable adjustment. I am grateful for getting the real world experience now so that I am better prepared for the future.
The third week was busy and exciting. I came into the week with an article on SaaS agreements and nothing else. I knew I could get the article done by Wednesday since it was the only assignment on my plate. However, that quickly changed. Feras mentioned we would be receiving drawings for a design patent on a makeup organizer at the end of week two. Once that was received, my task was to write up the specification. This would be my first time writing a specification only after reading about 30 of them while writing the article on design patents. We expected to see the drawings on either Thursday or Friday. However, they came on Monday.
I made the personal decision to focus on writing the design specification and put the SaaS article on hold. I had about half of the SaaS article done when the specification was ready to be written. Writing a design patent specification isn’t hard, but it’s necessary to make sure I was using the correct terms of art. There was an older specification with the formatting already done for me. Having the ability to copy that saved me well over a couple hours. Every document I needed for the specification was saved in google drive, and the inventor did an excellent job explaining her product. The biggest challenge for me was writing the descriptions. There are specific terms that MUST be used to describe the drawings. Since it is the only way to explain a drawing in totality, I needed to do right. I finished the draft within a couple of days and sent that over to Feras for review. I received revisions Friday, and finished those immediately. I then turned my focus back to the SaaS article. Losing my train of thought made getting back into a complicated subject matter tough. There are a ton of small details in agreements that must be followed and are hard to explain in business terms. Regardless, I was able to get the ball rolling again and wrote to about two thirds of the article. Jonathan reached out and needed two responses to office actions done by the end of the week, so I transferred my energy to those. These office actions were a 2(d) and 2(e)(1) refusal. I started by working on the 2(d) refusal but realized it was going to be a significantly harder argument than the latter. I decided to solely focus on the 2(e)(1) article and finish it one day. The argument was easy to make, and the Examining Attorney’s reason was outrageous. I talked with Jonathan over the possible 2(d) arguments he was thinking about and found that there were some solid solutions. I was able to finish up that response over the last part of Thursday and Friday. Week four was about getting the SaaS article done. Jennifer also reached out about writing a CBD article in week four. Those are the two items on the docket. Overall, it was a mentally challenging yet SUPER fun week of work. I learned arguments I could make throughout my career. I am getting better at these responses and my hope is to now get faster!
DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK QUESTIONS. I sat there for roughly 2 hours brainstorming arguments when I could have reached out to Jonathan and spent those two hours writing. Even if you do not use the arguments given, it will trigger other potential points. Lastly, make sure to communicate with others on what work is coming your way. As the clerkship gets going, you’ll have more and more projects. Being able to say, “hey I need to finish X first then I can get to it. Is that alright?” is a great way to communicate your workload and organize time in an appropriate manner.
This week’s goal was to focus on getting the articles done and sent over. Beginning the week, I had to finish the SaaS article assigned by Feras and the CBD article assigned by Jennifer. Courtronic is in the process of having their SaaS agreements finalized and buttoned up, so the purpose of writing the article is to familiarize myself with the document. We also had a meeting with Food Lens regarding a cancelled trademark.
Writing the SaaS article, or at least finishing it, ended up taking longer than I expected. When researching the fine points of an agreement, there is a quick realization that there are many different variations. In order to write a clear and concise article, I would need to look through as many as I could find online and find the commonalities between them. There are a few articles out there that pathetically mention some details, but not a single one gives a concrete in-depth analysis of the required details. Writing a button tight SaaS agreement is important to prevent litigation and close any potential liabilities. I spent a good amount of my time early that week completing the article and was able to get that sent over to Feras. Next, I needed to write an article regarding the CBD industry. First and foremost, the law surrounding CBD changes every day based on municipality and state. Realizing this, I focused primarily on the federal requirements and had anecdotal examples for states and cities. A two-fold analysis was required which was quickly learned. There is the “manufacturer” and the distributor. Each has a particular set of requirements which could easily be classified as hoops and bureaucratic messes. There are documents after documents after documents. It was interesting learning the intricacies of the industry, especially one that is changing so rapidly and is growing at such an impressive rate.
When writing an article, spend most of your time getting the research down. The worst thing you can do to yourself starts writing and realizing that it is wrong or different based on geographical location. Write smarter and not harder. That goes with memos, responses to office actions, and any other writing deliverable. When writing a memo, get all the information you think you could need before beginning. Dive deep into the assignment and give it all your energy for the next few hours. Providing quality advice is easy, but doing it efficiently is much more difficult. Practice that skill whenever you get an opportunity.
I ended the previous note on a strong note getting all of my backlogged assignments done. I was ready to get my toes back into client facing work and begin to focus my energy around new responses to office actions. Jonathan mentioned we had a couple more for this week at the end of last week, so I went in ready. Furthermore, I knew there would be assignments that would come in periodically.
The week started off with writing my first litigation focused memo. What an experience that was. In law school, you are given three weeks to a month to write one. In practice, that is shortened to the end of the day (at the most). The memo was regarding Texas state cases which found irreparable harm in a temporary injunction for a trade secret question. I consider myself fairly proficient at using Lexus, but they decided to play a cruel joke and completely redo their website starting on Monday. The act of “word” and “word” was the same but the interface was completely different. There were three strong cases that analogized well with the litigation present, so I wrote the six-page memo that night and sent it over first thing in the morning. I asked Jennifer to absolutely rip into it when she had a chance, so I could learn from the experience. She provided excellent feedback that taught me a lot about future memos. First, memos should not be six pages. They need to be more clear and concise with everything well organized and directly to the point. Writing that memo, and having the information implemented into motion, was a pretty cool achievement. In law school, they kind of teach you the practical skills, but doing them and getting tangible results is awesome. Next, Jonathan sent over an office action on a 2(d) refusal. 2(d) is a likelihood of confusion in which the factors are derived from du Pont. The first two are the most relevant in a 2(d) question which is the similarity of the marks and similarity of the goods or services offered. The question here was for both. The mark in question is the exact same as the cited-mark, so I focused all my energy on differentiating the services offered. I made the argument that they are so dissimilar that in no way could anybody get confused between the goods or services offered.
Ask for clarification on the deadline for projects if you are not sure. Urgent can mean within 30 minutes or by end of the day. Simply knowing the deadline helps with time management especially when there are other meetings and deadlines coming up. Communicate with the attorney who sent you the task or will need the deliverable. Lastly, ask for the most honest and constructive criticism. A lot of what you will do is new, and it will not be perfect. The only way to get better is to learn from the mistakes you make.
Week six was my last week before school started, so I knew it was time to ask for as many projects as I could before slowing down. There were still a couple office actions that needed to be finished and some edits around a couple of articles. As I began the week, there would be more projects coming my way.
I focused my energy on getting my office action arguments tailored. The arguments made by the Examining Attorney was strong in relation to the proposed mark and the cited mark. More so, there was a legal hurdle that needed to be overcome. The mark in question was focused on a CBD item which means there are certain requirements in the description to get registered.