Five minutes with … Paul Keller, Crowell & Moring
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Five minutes with … Paul Keller, Crowell & Moring

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Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP practitioner about their life and career

Welcome to the latest instalment of Managing IP’s ‘Five minutes with’ series, where we learn more about IP practitioners on a personal as well as a professional level. This time we have Paul Keller, partner at Crowell & Moring in New York.

Someone asks you at a party what you do for a living. What do you say?

I’m in conflict resolution surrounding issues involving technology. 

Talk us through a typical working day.

Usually responding to emails before my feet hit the floor. Addressing any issues raised by opposing counsel during the day, listening and responding to the needs of my clients, considering what additional value I can bring to my relationships and the firm, and attending to the growth and development of my associates. Walk the dog.

What are you working on at the moment? 

A number of trade secrets and patent infringement matters, spanning technologies from data transmission to copper mining, recycling to tax calculations, and transportation tech.

Does one big piece of work usually take priority or are you juggling multiple things?

It changes over time. At any one instance, one particular fire may require more of my attention than the others, but that cycle can quickly change and another fire takes over.

What is the most exciting aspect of your role and what is the most stressful? 

The most exciting aspect of my role is when a third party, a judge, or a jury decides that our position is the correct one. This can be on issues as small as a discovery dispute and as significant as a jury trial. Regardless, when it happens, it is exhilarating. The most stressful is all the other times before that decision.

Tell us the key characteristics that make a successful IP lawyer.

Listening, responsiveness, critical writing skills, and curiosity. 

What is the most common misconception about IP?

That you need to have a science degree to do the job. It helps, certainly, but it is not a prerequisite.

What or who inspires you?

My colleagues and family inspire me almost every day – from their own accomplishments and teaching me new skills, to setting the aspirational goals even higher.

If you weren’t an IP lawyer, what would you be doing?

Managing a high-end boutique hotel somewhere in Europe.

Any advice you would give your younger self?

Step out of your comfort zone earlier. You’re a kid from the Catskills – you’ve got a lot to see and do, so get started.

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