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Reflections on a path to the Presidency

Over the past several weeks, I have been asked innumerable times how I rose through the ranks of AIPLA to become the organization’s President

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The simple answer is that AIPLA is a meritocracy; it appreciates and promotes its volunteers.

Many years ago – although it seems like just yesterday – I was a junior associate attending an AIPLA Annual Meeting, where Ken Krosin, Chair of the AIPLA Patent Litigation Committee, started talking about publishing a summary of Federal Circuit decisions. He had lists sorted by subject matter, so I picked the shortest one – double patenting – and got involved by summarizing those cases. I guess I did a decent job because when the idea to follow a new case called Markman was raised, the next Chair of the Patent Litigation Committee, Mark Abate, said, “Jeff, why don’t you form a sub-committee.” Later, when I suggested that the subcommittee ought to put together a White Paper to help judges deal with Markman, people jumped on board and it was eventually published in the AIPLA Quarterly Journal.

The point is that AIPLA recognizes and values ideas, and welcomes volunteers. Those initial efforts led me to become Vice Chair and then Chair of the Patent Litigation Committee, which led to a seat on the Board of Directors, and now, here I am as President. It’s the path that every President before me took, and the ones that those after me will likely follow as well. I assure you that the journey has been filled with wonderful, invaluable experiences, and I have been in the company of people who have become lifelong friends and colleagues. More directly, let me say that if I can do it – you can do it too.

By the way, if people want help in getting involved, AIPLA has a great mentoring committee that will set up one-on-one mentors. And there are many committees that would be of interest, based upon areas of practice. In short, like so many other opportunities in life, AIPLA can be what you make of it. So who knows? In a few years I may be sitting at my desk and reading your musings as President of AIPLA.

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