In today’s business world, forward-thinking business leaders at small and mid-sized companies understand that they must develop and deploy IP strategies that will grow their company’s intangible asset base. As an IP Strategist and owner of an IP strategy and consulting service (more info here: www.jackiehutter.com), I know that to accomplish this bold objective, the first question must necessarily be whether the company should hire someone as permanent in-house IP counsel, or whether they engage outside IP counsel on an ongoing basis. Regardless of which option they choose (and they realize they must choose), the result for the company is significant expense in the form of headcount cost and/or outside counsel legal expense.
Let’s assume that your company has decided to take the plunge and engage either in-house or outside counsel to direct and deploy a business-focused IP strategy. How do you know who to hire if you know little about IP law? Indeed, how can a non-expert expect to be able to evaluate the expertise and skills of an IP lawyer? In short, the information costs of hiring an IP lawyer are very high—likely so high that, as a business leader, you are effectively unable to learn to what is necessary to make an informed selection of the best IP counsel to allow your company to effect your IP business strategy. In view of this challenge, you may resort to the “old-fashioned” way of hiring a lawyer—you call people you know for recommendations. In this typical method of hiring legal counsel, you may resort to hiring someone you know personally or someone that you trust knows.