The 10 Attorney Types at IP Conferences

by Jackson Walker

Jackson Walker

Having worked the intellectual property conference circuit for more than 12 years, I am frequently reminded of the apt Bon Jovi lyrics:  “It’s all the same. Only the names are changed.” 

Indeed, over the years I have been fascinated by the consistency of attendance at IP conferences, with the same characters showing up year after year.  While the names of these attorneys change from event to event and year to year, the ten species below are remarkably predictable. Do any of these sound familiar?

1. The In-house Counsel:

This attorney has become increasingly scarce since the budget cutbacks that began around 10 years ago.  When this attorney is able to obtain the internal funding required to attend a conference, s/he can be elusive because s/he rarely attends the welcome reception and invariably attends a special private dinner for in-house counsel rather than attending those offered by the conference.  Further complicating matters, this attorney does not wear nametags (or “inadvertently” has it turned around so the backside is forward facing), does not have business cards and is well versed in evasive maneuvers.  The most effective way to locate The In-house Counsel is to either: (1) try to speak with them after they have finished speaking on a panel; or (2) look for the attendees who are wearing business casual attire.

2. The Business Card Collector: 

This outmoded attorney behaves as if the prime directive of conference attendance is to collect the most business cards.  Like those employed to distribute pamphlets on the streets, The Business Card Collector acts as if s/he is paid for every business card s/he brings back to the home office.  Fortunately, this attorney does not want to get bogged down in an extended conversation (for fear it would reduce the business card count), so encounters with this attorney are mercifully short.

3. The Intake Attorney: 

Seemingly oblivious to the concept of reciprocity, The Intake Attorney makes frequent trips to conferences in the United States soliciting prosecution work from locals.  As the name suggests, work comes in, but never goes out.

4. The Kevin Bacon Game Player: 

From the second you meet, The Kevin Bacon Game Player will pepper you with questions about your prior work and educational experiences until a common connection is identified.

5. The Vendor: 

In a ballroom full of socially-challenged IP attorneys nursing their drink at the welcome reception, you are delighted to find someone to speak with who is charming and witty.  And it must be your lucky day, because your new friend initiated the conversation.  Then comes the reveal . . . All is not lost, however. On a going-forward basis, you can avoid future sales pitches from The Vendor by not answering your phone when the caller ID reads “unknown” and then deleting the inevitable follow-up email that is sent moments later.

6. The Name Dropper:

This predictably loud attorney litters their conversation with references to famous clients, well-known judges and high profile attorneys whom they consider to be friends.  This tactic, while obnoxious, is often well received because it is at least somewhat more interesting than hearing similarly boring stories involving low profile protagonists.  If you are lucky, you may even get to hear The Name Dropper mention the name of someone who is not only attending the same conference, but is within earshot.  Such a magical moment will not be soon forgotten.

7. The Premature LinkedIn Connector: 

This attorney is closely related to The Business Card Collector.  Rather than waiting to send a LinkedIn invitation after they have met you a few times and laid the appropriate groundwork, The Premature LinkedIn Connector will send you an invitation after the most cursory encounter.  In his/her zeal to rack up a large number of contacts, this attorney will even send connection invitations to those they have never met before (in which case you may also be dealing with The Vendor).  This attorney is oblivious to the fact that his/her behavior results in you having an internal debate about whether or not to accept the invitation, advise LinkedIn that you do not know this person, or just do nothing.

8. The Social Media Junkie:

Before even showing up at the conference, The Social Media Junkie advises everyone in his/her network that s/he will be attending.  Once at the actual event, Social Media Junkies are so busy taking pictures, posting, re-tweeting and monitoring their social media applications that they do not actually speak to anyone in person or remember anything discussed at one of the sessions.

9. The Rainmaker: 

In many ways, The Rainmaker is the polar opposite of The In-house Counsel.  The Rainmaker not only attends the welcome reception and conference dinners, but can also be found in the hotel bar both before and after these events.  This well-dressed attorney prominently sports the conference nametag (even when not attending conference events) and has an unlimited supply of business cards. From The In-house Counsel’s perspective, this attorney is The Vendor, but without the charm or wit.

10. The Rookie:

The Rookie is attending a conference for the first time.  As such, The Rookie feels obligated to attend not only every networking event (including the pre-session breakfast), but every CLE as well.  After 3-4 days of hard-core conference activity from dusk to dawn, The Rookie goes home exhausted and looking like s/he returned from war.

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.

© Jackson Walker | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Jackson Walker

Jackson Walker on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.