Sidebars Podcast | Stephanie Sanders: Mastering Authenticity Without a Plan

Stephanie Sanders is currently the global patent operations chief at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. In this role, Stephanie is responsible for ensuring that the firm’s IP teams continually improve their patent prosecution practice and enhance their efficiency. Stephanie’s career journey includes the roles of patent examiner, patent attorney, law school career counselor, and IP training manager at a boutique law firm.

Originally from Long Island, NY, Stephanie earned a BS from Binghamton University, the top-ranked public university in New York, where she majored in computer engineering. She then attended law school at George Washington.

Although Stephanie claims to not have had a career plan, she was always attuned to her natural strengths, her interests, and her principles. Thus, even without a plan, she was able to blaze a trail that led her to a string of great jobs – each a better fit than the previous one.

In this episode, Stephanie shares her nontraditional journey in the legal profession, the opportunities that can be found if you keep your eyes open, and the strategies that have allowed her to home in on authentic, perfect-for-her positions in patent law.

Highlights include:

  • No career plan? No problem! (02:59)
  • The blinking cursor leads to a college major (04:19)
  • How to randomly fall into engineering, and love it (05:21)
  • Capitalizing on natural strengths (08:13)
  • Feeling like an ugly duckling and floundering (11:19)
  • A fed-up mother and a new career in patent law (13:24)
  • Landing in the Patent Office and receiving great patent training (18:02)
  • Pivoting again to law school and battling imposter syndrome (20:55)
  • Finding out that practicing law in BigLaw isn’t a good fit (30:36)
  • Being good at your job but feeling like a failure (39:50)
  • The drawbacks for women attorneys in firms without strong female leadership (43:34)
  • Judging a job by the fit, not by the prestige (48:30)
  • Finding an even more perfect job in the classifieds (52:37)
  • An ugly duckling turns into a swan (53:33)
  • Being authentic and genuine as a young attorney (55:52
  • When doors open and great offers start coming your way (59:17)


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP on:

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