INTA 2022: Hershey and Keltie lay out best comms practices
Managing IP is part of Legal Benchmarking Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX
Copyright © Legal Benchmarking Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

INTA 2022: Hershey and Keltie lay out best comms practices

Azhar Sadique (L) and Kara Zioba (R)

Azhar Sadique and Kara Zioba delved into the complexities of in-house-private practice relationships and how to best manage them

Simple miscommunications could permanently sully otherwise friendly and fruitful relationships between law firms and in-house legal departments, speakers at the INTA Annual Meeting in Washington DC told delegates today, May 3.

Azhar Sadique, partner at Keltie in London, and Kara Zioba, global intellectual property manager at the Hershey Company in Colorado, kicked off their session called ‘The Art of Communication and Transparency’ with a mock phone call to show how such a miscommunication could happen.

Zioba told Sadique that her budget was $10,000, but he heard $110,000.

“The problem is that once that miscommunication infiltrates the system, it’s hard to get back,” Sadique told the audience, noting that the first interaction between a law firm and client should be in writing and be a lot clearer and transparent than what he and Zioba acted out.

The pair went on to discuss some best practices for communication between law firms and their trademark clients to help avoid similar situations.

Efficiency needs

Zioba said it was important to her and her company to have efficient external partners. “They need to be responsive and be good email communicators,” she said. “It helps when counsel put their thoughts into bullet points and detailed summaries at the top of the email.”

“My company has such a high volume of iconic brands across the globe that we need efficient counsel,” she added.

External counsel should also endeavour to fully understand their clients’ businesses, noted Zioba. She pointed out that the better lawyers know the ins and outs of the business, the more they can contribute to said business’s strategy.

“At that point, they become true business partners,” she said.

Sadique added that this enhanced level of communication could be more easily obtained since the pandemic, noting that private practice and in-house counsel were far more accustomed to speaking over video conferencing platforms than before COVID.

Cost comms

Law firm lawyers should also be more up front about cost, said the speakers.

Zioba noted that law firms should give more work to their trademark administrators, rather than have partners do it. Funnelling more work to these professionals would help them develop professionally, she reasoned, while decreasing prices.

“When it’s a simpler task like renewing a contract, it’s difficult to justify that work being done by partners,” she said.

She added that it would do law firms well to embrace different kinds of cost structures too, such as fixed fee or hybrid models.

“It’s important for firms to offer their clients creative cost structures and understand the cost pressures they face,” she said.

The INTA Annual Meeting is being held this week at the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

INTA has postponed its planned Annual Meeting in Dubai, but the organisation should think carefully about whether it wants to go there at all
The firm has named its new managing director after its former Asia head resigned earlier this year
As law firms explore how best to support clients at the UPC, members of the UPCLA network believe they have found the best of both worlds
The Industry Patent Quality Charter hosted a conference in which it discussed the importance of granting high-quality patents
Julia Holden explains why, if she weren’t in IP, she would be directing and producing live English-language theatre
The impact of the recently agreed treaty may be modest at first but is likely to become more significant over time
Meet the esteemed judges who are assessing the first-ever Social Impact Awards
Lawyers debate whether the Supreme Court’s ruling helps maintain confidence in the trademark system
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
The group of lawyers, which includes seven IP partners, say they were impressed by ArentFox Schiff's wide-reaching experience
Gift this article