Action points for patent practitioners

  • Embrace automation and AI – identify which tasks can be done by software and AI and set up systems so that skilled workers are focused on tasks of real value to clients. This requires thinking about investing in or licensing in the relevant technology, training, management, recruitment and effective communication with clients.
  • Focus on diversity – ensure that you have a programme in place to ensure that you are able to hire and retain talent that reflects the wider society in which you operate. Clients will increasingly demand this, especially in the United States; but, even if they do not, having a diverse workforce will enable you to offer better advice and attract top-quality staff.
  • Promote your practice – in a more competitive world, demonstrating the value you add will become more important. That means more than just occasional case updates or newsletters; clients will expect sophisticated and original thought leadership, tailored presentations and customised solutions. You will need to find a way to offer this while retaining profitability.
  • Adopt flexible working – to retain good staff, you will need to offer flexibility including sabbaticals for travel or study, provide opportunities to develop skills and experience and incorporate remote or non-standard working hours into your business.
  • Be more like a business – identify and solve the problems that clients face, whether they are traditional legal problems or related ones, by using people with diverse skills and qualifications and working with other trusted providers. In some cases, this may involve changing the corporate structure of the firm.
  • Develop data work out what data you have or can build, and what value the analysis of that data can bring to your clients. This may require investing in tools and staff, but the benefit will be more holistic and practical advice to clients – and potentially new business opportunities.
  • Identify the growth opportunities – you cannot rely on existing work continuing to grow, so explore new avenues. These could be new industry sectors, other areas of law (data protection, trade secrets) or emerging geographical markets. In some cases, this will require consolidation or cooperation with other firms.

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