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Fetured Job Of the Day
Fetured Job Of the Day

Litigation Attorney with 2-6 years of experience

Syracuse office of our client seeks litigation attorney with 2-6 years...
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Date Posted: Jun 17, 2018

Employer:   BCG Attorney Search

Salary: Not Specified


277 South Washington Street, Suite 500 ,
Alexandria, Virginia - 22314



Other Offices


Staff Size : 73
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Firm Culture:  This is an autocratic, archaic, patent prosecution mill where attorneys are treated as a commodity. This firm has a very high attorney turnover rate for many reasons, which include trying to comply with an undefined "O&B format", no access to internet tools that are more efficient than the archaic tools provided, and little or no client interaction. Form and response time are valued over substantive work, i.e., they care more about punctuation, typos and getting a response out within arbitrary time limits (that are before the PTO deadlines) and don't even check if the substance of the response (as dictated by the foreign client) is correct. If you are a female attorney, this is NOT the law firm for you! The firm is run by middle aged, white men who have no idea of what it is like to manage a job, home and family without a stay at home wife.
Work & Hours: The requirement is 1800 per year. With the mentoring/review process this firm imposes, it will require 2200+ hours to make this requirement.
Salary & Benefits:  Salaries are low. Benefits are minimal.
The Interview process:  The process is a sham. You will meet only "happy" people who will sell you on he virtues of the firm.
Overall Impression:  Work here if you a first year associate who needs the experience, and then get the hell out after one or two years (or as long as you can stand it...)


Firm Culture:  This firm is not family oriented at all other than the false display of their annual Christmas parties that do include the children and company picnics. However, that might be the best time spent with your families within the time of employment with the firm. I agree with the prior review that the firm is not suited for those working mothers.
Work & Hours: Strict work hours. You must be at your desk at the start of your work hours. Cigarette breaks are limited to twice a day and within two time intervals. Drive by during the mid 10 AM hours and 2 PM hours...sure bet to see a bunch of employees near the parking garage entrance...oh also, you weren't allowed to smoke in front of the building. Lunch hour is strictly 12PM - 1PM unless your hours are varied from the norm 8:30 - 5:00 PM. Overtime hours will feel mandatory not on a volunteer basis.
Salary & Benefits:  If you feel that you are well deserved of extra money, it is all on you to complain...if you go over and beyond their expectations they will most likely give it to you. But only on the basis of writing memos stating why. Benefits are very minimal.
The Interview process:  The interview process may have changed drastically. However, make sure the offer they stated at the interview is what will be paid. They tried to lower my salary by 2,000. I had to correct them.
Overall Impression:  This is a sweatshop but once they are on your resume with a long period of employment, most firms are fairly impressed. I'd say to start off here since they will hire anyone with no experience for low pay. They will work you like a dog, but in the end, it'll be worth it to leave. This is basically boot camp for beginners.


Firm Culture:  you like old ex-military men with zero social skills breathing down your neck? this is the firm for you. as earlier poster stated, your work product is not what's valued. you just need to abide by the "self-imposed" deadlines, be in the office on time, eat when they allow you to, and smoke when you're told you can. effective prosecution of patents is unimportant. nor is efficient prosecution. be ready to make friends with the garage cashier and security officers at the PTO - you'll be there 3 days a week conducting pointless interviews after pointless interviews. oh yeah, you get reimbursed a whoppin' $1 for driving to and from the PTO!
Work & Hours: i can't say the work hours are ridiculous, b/c they're not, unless you're on a litigation case, which you won't be, b/c those don't exist at oliff. core hours are 9-5, and don't be late. chances of you leaving at 5 is usually zilch b/c the person reviewing your work won't get to it until maybe 6pm. 5 iterations and 12 spellchecks later, you're good to fax it out.
Salary & Benefits:  they're catching up with the world in first year salary, but good luck getting a raise in subsequent years. your advancement is not based on how much money you bring in. it's on how well you do work in their "style". benefits suck. if they're touting direct deposit, they must not have much else to brag about. if you want health coverage for a spouse, you're gonna be screwed.
The Interview process:  you'll meet the oliff lifers, and no one else. lifers will tell you how open door the place is, and that's what sets them apart. that's total BS. after you meet the lifers, and assuming you get invited back, that's when the fun begins. you get grilled by some partners the next day.
Overall Impression:  want to work for a firm where employees are treated like 8 year-old kids? this is the place for you. oliff is fortunate to have the few large clients they do. i'm still confused as to how they keep these clients given the work product. want to worry about job security each fall when new associates roll in? this is also the place for you. if oliff is your only option, well, count your blessings, b/c you've screwed up somewhere and these guys are at least willing to pay you acceptable money. if oliff is not you're only option, run and don't ever look back. pass it on.


Firm Culture:  Don't be fooled by BS about the firm's 5 person "Executive Committee." This firm is run by a megalomaniacal despot and the EC is nothing more than a rubber stamp for his edicts. Firm culture can be summed up with one word, "FEAR!" Associates live in perpetual fear that they will be fired at any moment, because frequently that's what happens. In 2008, the firm turned over 37 associates. There are only 80 lawyers in the entire firm.
Work & Hours: The firm is mainly a prosecution sweatshop. There is a small litigation practice, which is run exactly the same way as the prosecution practice, because the firm does not recognize the difference between prosecution and litigation (or prosecutors and litigators, for that matter). You will have no client contact, other than sending out a slew of faxes to your clients (everything is done by fax, the firm does not believe in email). You don't really need to burden yourself with knowing how to use Word, because the firm requires its associates to DICTATE all letters. Yes, every associate has a dictaphone (with tapes) in his/her office. Yes, this is an IP firm who can't let go of fax machines and dictaphones.
Salary & Benefits:  Salary is below market for large firms, but not outrageously low. Benefits include free parking and then the standard basic package at any firm. But, here are a few quirks that they won't tell you in the interview. Associates are not permitted to have internet access at their computers. Associates are not permitted to send emails outside the firm; if you have an email that needs to go outside the firm, you send it to the communications center and they will send it out. ALL incoming emails are read by the communications center and then forwarded to their intended recipients. That's right, if you get a job there and a friend sends you an email, it is read by the firm before you get it. Employees are not permitted to use cell phones in the building. All employees are required to take lunch from 12-1. When you first start at O&B, you will be given an ancient desktop PC that will take 20 minutes to boot up in the morning and will crash if you try to open a PDF larger than a few MB. If you survive for a few months, you might get a slightly less ancient one. Eventually, you may get one that is actually usable. Forget about laptops. Forget about blackberries. They do not exist.
The Interview process:  You'll meet with the hiring partner and the head of the group that you would be hired into. Then you'll meet with the "executive committee," which basically means 5 people will be at the table facing you, 4 of them will be doing nothing while Oliff grills you for 15-20 minutes. You will not meet with any associates or staff. You will get NO insight into the culture of the firm through this process.
Overall Impression:  This is a place that people go when they have no other options. You should treat it that way. In other words, if you can find something else, anything else, including a job at Taco Bell, you should take it. O&B will expect you to look professional (business attire M-Th and business casual on F) and to function as a professional in your work, but they will treat you as anything other than a professional. They don't trust you to have internet access or email access. They don't trust you to use a cell phone in the building. There is no reward for excellent work, only fear of being ripped a new one in front of the entire professional staff if you make a mistake. If you insist on giving this firm a shot, check your personality at the door. The firm will issue you one. It is the "O&B Personality" which is to say that you are expected to become a Jim Oliff clone. If you excercise your own judgment, you will be told in no uncertain terms "that's not how we do things here." There is ONE way to write a letter; the Oliff way. There is ONE way to interview an Examiner; the Oliff way. There is ONE way to draft an application; the Oliff way. So, there is only ONE way to stand out as an associate; to do everything the Oliff way and not get fired. If you survive long enough, they figure you must be doing a good job. Not that it will ever mean making partner...there is no partnership track.


Firm Culture:  I'm sorry, it's not that bad.

The Cons - The managing partner frequently holds meetings where he tells the firm to "be careful," and stop making typographical errors. I admit, this can be a bit annoying. The firm as a whole hates little mistakes but seems willing to put up with more substantive errors.

Pros - They are constantly teaching you from the moment you walk in the door. A new attorney here said "I learned more in the past month than I did in the past year at my previous firm."

My take on it - I'll take getting scolded for typos as long as I'm progressing in my career.

Work & Hours: I get out at 7:00pm on a typical day. I never work weekends.
Salary & Benefits:  Below market on both accounts.
The Interview process:  They're only trying to see whether you are a social freak. The "firing squad" of the executive committee is actually pretty calm. They don't "grill" you, they just talk to you. Again, not that bad, quit whining people.
Overall Impression:  There are two types of people who work for O&B - the ones who absolutely hate it and make the situation worse on themselves, and the ones who make fun of the first type for being a bunch of whiners. I guess I'm in the latter category.


Firm Culture:  Incompetent Attorneys, Very nasty, rude people. Don't waste your time with them. They'll milk you very every cent and you still won't get a patent.
Work & Hours: Horrible Sweat Shop
Salary & Benefits:  Horrible
The Interview process:  Nasty as above, they hire attorneys that have barely passing GPA's in law school. The flunkies. The ones that barely got their Bachelor's Degree in Engineering and went to non-competitive schools.
Overall Impression:  They are incompetent. The attorney's are completely clueless on how to get a patent. They think if you sent 900 RCE's they'll get a patent, wrong...


Firm Culture:  Awful. People are afraid of each other, the firm. No one is happy here, including the attorneys and support staff. They are very inflexible on how they operate, and have very stringent rules.
Work & Hours: Not that bad. However, you will be working every minute of the day. The firm takes a job and places obstacles in front of you at every juncture.
Salary & Benefits:  Good
The Interview process:  Don't believe anything that is told to you during this process.
Overall Impression:  Do not work here unless this is your only option.


Firm Culture:  These are the facts:

The firm has an extremely high turnover rate - Something on the order of 170 or so attorneys have come and gone from this firm of only about 50-60 attorneys including partners over the last 8-10 years. Some of that turnover is because people cannot stand it at Oliff and leave on their own. Most of that turnover is by design as young associates are often asked to leave the firm within a very short period of time (i.e. they fire a lot of associates frequently). The firm treats associates as replaceable commodities.

The firm likes to keep their attorneys on their toes - Oliff has a "bad fax" system. This means if you get a communication by way of email or facsimile from a client that is in any way negative, asks a question, asks for clarification, asks for a change in strategy, or corrects a typographical error, the communication is often designated as a "bad fax." A copy of the "bad fax" is placed on your chair in the morning, your boss's chair in the morning, and sometimes his boss's in the morning. You then have to drop what you are planning on doing that morning when you walk in and immediately explain to your boss how and why you made a mistake that caused the "bad fax," explain to your boss's boss how and why you made a mistake that caused the "bad fax," and possibly have to explain to a senior partner how and why you made a mistake that caused the "bad fax." Attorney "bad faxes" are tabulated and stored, even if resolved, on a spreadsheet.

The firm likes to make their attorneys feel bad about themselves - Usually about once per quarter the senior partners like to stand in front of the firm and yell at all the attorneys about how bad they are and about how many mistakes they made. Senior partners will also put the mistakes made by associates anonymously onto the overhead projector so that everyone can see what the clients are complaining about. The senior partners will even go so far as asserting they are/were perfect and that there was a time when they didn't make mistakes. These talks have increased in their frequency until the "bad faxes" stop.

They feed you - The firm holds a mandatory firm luncheon every Wednesday to have attorneys make presentations on recent I.P related court decisions. Attorneys are assigned a recent case, have to review the case (without getting firm billable credit), write a brief, give a brief oral presentation, and then are often asked questions by partners. Don't worry though, the firm does feed its attorneys during these luncheons by providing Domino's Pizza, stale sandwiches, or a "hot lunch" on a three-week cycle.

No cell phone/no Internet policy/no email - The firm bans cell phone use in the office (close your door). The firm also does not allow Internet access to its associates but for the patent office website and a couple other government sites. There is one PC on every floor that has full Internet access. Associates are not allowed to communicate directly with clients. Associates are not allowed to send emails from their firm accounts. All emails must be approved and sent by a mentor (senior or mid-level associate or partner). Any communication sent to a client will not have an associate's name on it. It will always have a senior partner in the signature block. Associates do not have much, if any, client contact. This is by design.

Open channel phones- The firm has an open channel phone system. If you are in your office, you hear "beeeep" and someone starts talking. This not only breaks your concentration, but also means that if you are speaking with someone in your office, once that beep occurs, the line is open to the other side for the caller to listen in.

Dictation- The firm prefers its attorneys dictate everything and send it to a word processing department. While this has its place, it is not always the most efficient way to finish work product. The firm is not very flexible on this (but again you can close your door).

Work & Hours: The firm has a "core hours" policy from 9-5 with a one-hour break at noon. As an associate you will be there for many more hours than that, but you best be there at 9:00 or before to check in with the receptionist regardless of whether you were at work until midnight the night before. Otherwise, your late arrival, even by a minute, also ends up on a spreadsheet that is reviewed. Don't miss that hour lunch, and don't come back late from lunch. Don't get stuck doing work through the core one-hour lunch from 12 pm to 1 pm because, otherwise you missed lunch.

They will tell you they are flexible and understand that people have appointments and to just let them know if you need to leave. But, be careful.

On average most associates are there from about 8:30-6:00 pm and usually take the full hour lunch. The day is fast paced and jam packed with work. Very few attorneys have to work weekends. You can usually utilize almost your entire day for billing if you are efficient because the workload and systems are there to help you do that.

Salary & Benefits:  Lower than market according to NALP. But what is market these days anyway? The average associate lasts 6-8 months, so save what they give you.
The Interview process:  Don't believe anything they tell you in this process. They do not have a partnership track, they don't do much litigation (or at least enough to substantiate the claim that will be made that patent prosecutors will eventually be moved to their litigation department), and they don't care about developing young associates. Partners are made when the managing partner says it's time.
Overall Impression:  People are not happy at Oliff, people are always trying to leave, and few employees respect the senior partners based solely on the way they treat people.

If you have other options in your job hunt, go there.

Oliff will train you to know how patent prosecution works, and that can be taken with you anywhere. Just understand that Oliff is likely not a final destination in your career and take it for what it is.

For the most part, the above discussion also relates to support staff. They too take blame for mistakes, have the same "core hours," have the same cell phone/internet/email policies, and also have a similarly high turnover rate.

Is the person that said "I'm sorry, it's not that bad" is still with the firm?


Firm Culture:  FEAR
Work & Hours: Strict
Salary & Benefits:  Bad
The Interview process:  Ha!
Overall Impression:  DO NOT WORK HERE!


Firm Culture:  The firm is a training ground for all. Excellent mentoring.
Work & Hours: Plenty of work.
Salary & Benefits:  Salary is comparable with other firms. Benefits in this day and age are a blessing.
The Interview process:  You will be interviewed by numerous people. This is normal in any organization. You will be pressed to answer important questions relating to the position you are applying for. This is also normal. If you get the job you will find this firm to be one of the better ones.
Overall Impression:  Good firm, very professional people, good training environment, smart management, all around great place to work.

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Primary Practice Areas

Intellectual Property - Litigation,Intellectual Property,History & Philosophy, Securing Intellectual Property, Evaluating and Exploiting Intellectual Property, Litigating Intellectual Property, Services and Communications, Commitment To Continuing Legal Education, Supporting Our Community.

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