We are thrilled to announce that Harrity4Charity is matching donations up to $50,000 made to Patent Pathways™ through Giving Tuesday! This is a monumental step towards amplifying our impact and driving meaningful change in the industry.
At Patent Pathways™, we are steadfast in our commitment to diversifying the patent bar. Our work has been making waves in the industry, but we believe there’s more we can achieve together. The Matching Campaign is a golden opportunity for us to multiply our efforts and create a lasting impact.
Here’s why your participation is crucial:
Lead by Example: Your participation as members of the patent community and advocates of Patent Pathways is vital. It sends a compelling message about your commitment to diversity in the patent field. By contributing, you inspire others to recognize the importance of our cause and encourage them to take action.
Amplifying Our Reach: Your support enables us to extend our reach to more aspiring patent professionals. This campaign is a unique opportunity to change lives and reshape the future of the patent bar.
How You Can Make a Difference
1. Donate Today: Visit our Matching Campaign donation page here or use the PayPal app and search @PatentPathways to make your contribution. By donating, you are directly funding essential resources like PLI Patent Bar Prep Courses, Patent Bar Exam Fees, and career matching programs for underrepresented individuals in the patent industry. Remember, every dollar you give will be matched by Harrity4Charity, doubling the impact of your donation.
2. Spread the Word: Help us raise awareness by sharing information about our Matching Campaign on your social media platforms. Use the hashtag #DoubleImpactPathways to engage your network and inspire others to join our cause.
The Patent Pathways™ Matching Campaign is more than just a fundraising initiative; it’s a movement towards creating a diverse and inclusive future in the patent industry. Your support, enthusiasm, and dedication are the driving forces behind this campaign. Let’s come together to make this vision a reality and open doors for countless individuals dreaming of careers in the patent field.
Thank you for being an integral part of this journey and for being the change-makers the world needs. Together, we will achieve new heights and make the inclusive patent bar of tomorrow a reality today.
“Now, today, I know that many of our law firms are companies. They’re slashing DEI budgets. We’re getting attacked on the legal fronts from a Supreme Court decision that actually doesn’t even relate to the corporate programs we’re involved in. But people are trying to make hay out of it. So we’re facing a lot of resistance to these programs and what we’re trying to do. But that doesn’t mean that we have to stop investing our own time and energy into these really important and meaningful programs. On the contrary, I would say, it’s more important than ever that we continue to go continue to keep going. Someday, I think I’m fairly certain we’re all going to look back at how programs like Patent Pathways™ and ADAPT changed our profession forever. And my hope is that all of us can identify and recognize what’s important, because I’m here to tell you that the bus is here, and there is a ticket with your name on it.” – Jeremiah Chan, Meta
The pressing issue of diversity and inclusion in the patent field is not just a topic of conversation; it demands action. A compelling statistic that drives this point home is that there are more practitioners named Michael registered in the sector than there are racially diverse women. The stark reality of this situation underscores the need for concrete steps to foster inclusivity, particularly in interviewing and hiring practices.
Recently, the Patent Pathways™ Employment & Inclusion Committee hosted a webinar on Fostering an Inclusive Workplace: Interviewing and Hiring Best Practices. We were fortunate to be joined by Jeremiah Chan (Meta), Anupma Sahay (Reed Smith), Rachael Rodman (Ulmer & Berne, LLP), Reggie McGahee (Reed Smith), Ritu Singh (Dinsmore & Shohl), and Elaine Spector (Harrity & Harrity). These incredible speakers provided valuable insight on their own experiences as minorities in the patent field, biases they have both faced and unconsciously held, and tips on how employers can work to be more inclusive.
A common theme throughout the advice offered in this session is that incorporating multiple perspectives in the hiring process is not merely a good-to-have feature but an absolute necessity. When an interview panel is diverse, encompassing various genders, ethnicities, experiences, and specialties, the evaluation of candidates becomes more balanced and nuanced. Homogeneous panels can inadvertently perpetuate systemic biases, thereby narrowing the talent pool and limiting the breadth of perspectives within the organization. It’s not just about having diversity on paper; meaningful inclusion enriches the entire decision-making process and opens the door for underrepresented voices.
Training for unconscious bias is an essential part of preparing interview panel members. While overt biases are often easier to identify, it’s the unconscious biases that tend to slip through the cracks. For instance, “similarity bias” can occur when interviewers subconsciously favor candidates who share their alma mater, hobbies, or even musical tastes. Another example is “confirmation bias,” where interviewers, consciously or unconsciously, seek out information that affirms their pre-existing beliefs about a candidate. Regular bias training not only brings these subtle inclinations to light but also provides actionable strategies for mitigating their impact on the hiring process.
Structured interviews offer another layer of fairness. In such a setup, each candidate is asked the same questions in the same sequence, and their answers are evaluated against a predefined set of criteria. This approach eliminates much of the subjectivity inherent in free-form interviews, creating a level playing field for all candidates. It directly counters biases by offering a more standardized and objective evaluation process.
Transparency in the decision-making process is also crucial. Providing candidates with a clear outline of the evaluation criteria not only makes the process more understandable but also adds a layer of accountability. When organizations are transparent about how they make hiring decisions, it creates a culture of openness that benefits both the employer and potential employees.
But the effort to improve inclusivity shouldn’t stop there. Additional strategies can offer further enhancements:
1. Blind Resume Screening: Anonymizing resumes during the initial screening process can help mitigate biases related to gender, ethnicity, and age.
2. Skill-Based Assessments: These focus on the candidate’s ability to perform job-specific tasks, thereby offering a more objective measure than a resume or interview alone can provide.
3. Involvement of Current Staff: Enabling different staff members, not just senior leadership or HR, to be part of the hiring process can offer diverse perspectives and minimize individual biases.
4. Post-Interview Debriefs: Structured debriefing sessions that require panel members to articulate the reasoning behind their evaluations can substantially reduce the scope for subjective or biased judgments.
Ultimately, the push for diversity and inclusion serves a dual purpose. Ethically, it’s the right thing to do. Strategically, it positions organizations for greater innovation and adaptability. Diverse teams are better equipped to tackle complex problems, innovate, and drive organizational success. In the patent field, where innovation is the currency, the need for diverse and inclusive hiring practices is not just a moral imperative; it’s a business necessity.
Watch the full webinar here:
Want to get involved? Check out these useful links below!
Raenetta Ellison, a participant in the Patent Pathways program, has shared her unique journey in a recent video. With a background in law and science, Raenetta was seeking a way to integrate these two fields. The Patent Pathways program provided her with the perfect opportunity to do so.
After being admitted to the bar in 2019, Raenetta found herself contemplating how to merge her science background with her law degree. Initially, she had pursued law school to enhance her writing and critical thinking skills, unsure if she wanted to practice law as she was working as a policy analyst at the time.
However, her law school journey introduced her to the fields of Food and Drug law and pharmaceutical patent law. These courses sparked her interest and led her to consider how she could integrate her science background into law. This reflection led her back to patent law, prompting her to delve deeper into the field.
In 2020, Raenetta began attending webinars and joined two bar associations focused on intellectual property and patent law. It was during this time that she discovered the Patent Pathways program. Intrigued, she applied and was accepted into the program.
The Patent Pathways program provided Raenetta with a comprehensive and detailed view of patent law. She said, “It’s done a great job of giving me a very broad view and also a very detailed view of what’s entailed in patent law.”
Raenetta’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of the Patent Pathways program. It highlights the program’s ability to provide a comprehensive understanding of patent law, making it an ideal platform for individuals seeking to integrate their diverse backgrounds into the field.
Raenetta’s positive experience speaks volumes about the program’s value. Her story serves as an inspiration for others, especially those with backgrounds in law and science, to explore the opportunities that patent law offers. Her journey underscores the program’s potential to facilitate career transitions and open up new pathways in the patent field.
Aliya Kingwood, a participant in the 2022 Patent Pathways program, has shared her transformative experience in a recent video. A graduate with a technical background, Aliya was unsure of her career path until she discovered the Patent Pathways program. The program, she says, has not only provided her with a clear career direction but also a sense of purpose and a network of supportive professionals.
Aliya’s journey began when she learned about the Patent Pathways program through a patent basics course offered at her school. At the time, she was in between jobs and unsure about her future. The program seemed like a promising opportunity, so she decided to take the leap.
The Patent Pathways program provided Aliya with a mentor and an online course to prepare her for the patent bar exam. The program covered the cost of the course and the registration for the patent bar exam. Additionally, it facilitated interviews with multiple law firms, leading to an offer from one.
Now a technical specialist, Aliya is set to take her bar exam next month. She expressed her gratitude for the program, stating, “This whole process has really allowed me to hone in on a particular field with my degree, and I’m forever grateful.”
The program has not only given Aliya a career path but also a stable income, which she believes will open up many opportunities in her life. She also appreciates the network of professionals she has gained access to, stating, “I have a network full of people that I can use and call on when I need.”
Aliya also touched on the impact of her career on her family, particularly her child. She believes that her journey will positively influence her child and inspire others to explore the patent field.
In her closing remarks, Aliya emphasized the need for more awareness about the patent field. She believes that increased knowledge about the field would lead to greater inclusion. She said, “I feel like this field is so undervalued or not too many people know about it, and I feel like if more people knew about it, then I’m pretty sure you will see more inclusion in the field.”
Aliya’s story is a testament to the transformative power of the Patent Pathways program. It’s a shining example of how the right guidance and opportunities can help individuals find their path and contribute to a more inclusive patent field.
“Going through this program gave me just enough information and confidence to believe that I can be successful in this field and move forward in it.”
The Patent Pathways™ program has been instrumental in paving the way for its aspiring patent law professionals. One such individual is Ashley-Marie Sutherland, a former participant whose journey through the program has led her to a promising new career as a patent examiner.
Ashley-Marie shares her experiences in this year’s Patent Pathways™ Opening Session, featured below:
Ashley-Marie’s impressive academic background includes a Bachelor of Sciences in Biomedical Science, a Master’s in Public Health, and a law degree with a concentration in Intellectual Property Law. As a first-generation law student, she was on the lookout for opportunities that offered hands-on training, mentorship, and interactive learning to enhance her knowledge and skills. Her search led her to the Patent Pathways™ program.
The program appealed to Ashley-Marie for several reasons. As an African-American first-generation law student, she was seeking support and guidance. She found this in the Patent Pathways program, which not only offered resources in her chosen field of patent law but also had a strong commitment to diversity, something that resonated deeply with her.
The Patent Pathways program provided Ashley-Marie with the support she needed during her journey. From interview preparation to patent bar prep, the program was there every step of the way. The sense of community within the program was another crucial aspect, with Ashley-Marie forming strong bonds with her peers and mentors. This network provided her with a safe space to ask questions and seek advice, which was invaluable to her learning process.
One of the most significant benefits of the program was the exposure to job opportunities. The program regularly sent out job postings, keeping participants informed about potential career paths. When the patent examiner opportunity was presented, Ashley-Marie seized it. Despite the interview process being different from what she had prepared for, the program was there to support her, helping her navigate the unfamiliar terrain of government job applications.
The Patent Pathways program continues to pave the way for aspiring patent law professionals, providing them with the tools they need to succeed. As Ashley-Marie’s journey demonstrates, the program is more than just an educational resource; it’s a community that nurtures growth and fosters success in the field of patent law.
LaToya Holmes, a participant in the 2022 Patent Pathways program, has shared her enriching journey in a recent video. With a background in computer science and over 20 years of experience in systems and test engineering, LaToya was looking for a career transition that would allow her to work remotely while leveraging her technical expertise. The Patent Pathways program provided her with the perfect opportunity.
LaToya’s journey into the Patent Pathways program began when a cousin informed her about the program. The program’s aim to sponsor 20 women to take the patent bar exam resonated with LaToya, who was contemplating her next career move after two decades in the defense subcontracting industry.
Upon acceptance into the program, LaToya embarked on a summer-long training to prepare for the patent bar exam. The program paired her with two mentors who guided her through the training and helped her with assignments.
The program also facilitated interviews with law firms that matched her background. Each participant in the program was paired with different law firms for interviews. The firms then offered positions based on their needs and the participant’s suitability.
LaToya was paired with a law firm based in San Diego, California. She describes the experience as “perfect” and speaks highly of her time with the firm, which included a week-long stay at their beachside office during the holiday season.
Reflecting on her experience, LaToya said, “It’s been a great experience ever since… it’s been an excellent experience since.” She also spoke about the program’s impact on her career transition, stating, “When I heard about Patent Pathways, it was the perfect transition opportunity for me.”
In her closing remarks, LaToya encouraged others to consider the patent field, especially those with a technical or science background. She emphasized that the field is a great option for career professionals looking for a transition, even if they choose to do so later in their careers.
She said, “I would definitely, if I was you, look into the field… it’s a wonderful field. If you’re a techie, science background, definitely something I would recommend you looking into.”
LaToya’s story is a testament to the transformative power of the Patent Pathways program. It highlights the program’s ability to facilitate career transitions, provide mentorship, and open up opportunities in the patent field. Her journey serves as an inspiration for others, especially women in tech, to explore the opportunities that patent law offers.
And, she adds, “If you don’t want to do it right away, you can be a career professional, like me, and transition into it later!”
Michelle Flowers, a participant in the 2022 Patent Pathways program, has shared her inspiring journey in a recent video. With a background in civil engineering and a decade-long career in contract compliance for renewable energy developers, Michelle was introduced to the Patent Pathways program by a friend. This introduction marked the beginning of a transformative journey that has reshaped her career aspirations.
Michelle’s career has always been intertwined with the technical world. She works with renewable energy developers, designing wind, solar, and storage farms, and prepares the necessary reports and contracts for connecting these farms to transmission lines. This experience, she believes, aligns well with the requirements of the Patent Pathways program.
The opportunity to join the Patent Pathways program came unexpectedly. A friend, aware of Michelle’s engineering background, recommended the program. Intrigued, Michelle signed up and was soon accepted after a couple of interviews. She recalls her surprise at the swift process, saying, “I thought this was going to be like a year from now, but I just figured, why not? What do I have to lose?”
Interestingly, this wasn’t Michelle’s first encounter with patent law. As a freshman in college, she had an idea she wanted to patent but found the process complicated. When the opportunity to join the Patent Pathways program presented itself, it was the third time patent law had crossed her path, prompting her to pay attention.
Throughout the program, Michelle has been supported by two mentors who have encouraged her during moments of doubt. She admits there were times when she questioned her decision to switch careers and start from scratch. However, the encouragement from her mentors and her determination to fully commit to this new path have kept her going.
Michelle’s journey has now led her to consider law school, a decision influenced by her experience in the Patent Pathways program. She believes that patent law is a great fit for her and is eager to continue her journey in this field.
In her closing remarks, Michelle emphasized the impact of the program on her confidence and belief in her ability to succeed in the patent law field. She said, “Going through this program gave me just enough information and confidence to believe that I can be successful in this field and move forward in it.”
Michelle’s story is a testament to the transformative power of the Patent Pathways program. It highlights the program’s ability to open up new career paths and instill confidence in participants, enabling them to envision and pursue new career goals. Her journey serves as an inspiration for others, especially women in engineering, to explore the opportunities that patent law offers.