September 9th, 2010

Brent C.J. Britton

Intellectual Property Lawyer

Shareholder, Gray Robison P.A.

MIT Media Lab Graduate

Author of Brent C.J. Britton blog

Today we’re tweeting with Florida intellectual property lawyer, U of Tampa adjunct professor and MIT Media Lab graduate @bcjb

  1. @bcjb thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @bcjb?
    @bcjb is loving husband, doting father, scientist, musician, speaker (overcooked ham), lawyer, entrepreneur, bon vivant
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    IP, technology transactions, venture funding, M&A. I help people start companies and keep their IP and contracts in order.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Mostly entrepreneurs in tech startups, but also some large, worldwide companies. Almost always tech or media or art.
  4. An interesting mix (tech, media & art I mean). What’s the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    My top 3 legal issues: be honest in all things, audit your IP portfolio, use the most well-written contracts available
  5. What then do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    It varies, but we have to have a realistic conversation about legal fees. Innovators require nontrivial legal budgets.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    I work for a large, Japanese co (cannot name it) that sends me around the country lecturing on legal risks…
    In 1996 I wrote one of the first website development deals for a large television network against Major League Baseball
  7. Sounds like interesting work…. Why do your clients hire you?
    I work to keep great reputation for high quality and customer service. Happy clients are best marketing.
  8. Indeed they do. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    I do both IP and corporate work. Currently the IP is vastly outpacing the corporate. Lots of patents; not a lot of M&A.
  9. How did your life as an engineer prepare you to help clients as an IP attorney?
    As a software engineer, I found the law to be a hackable, noisy, rule-based system. Contracts a little computer programs.
  10. That’s very interesting description of the law…. I like it. What’s the next big frontier of IP law?
    Both patents and copyrights may need slight modifications to suit modern standards. Open source rocks.
  11. This one’s less tricky (maybe): how do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    “I help people start new companies, products, and services. I’m where the new stuff comes from.”
  12. You blog at “Brent C.J. Britton” (http://bit.ly/a2PouT). What is your blogging strategy? How do you decide what to blog about?
    I have a blogging strategy? =] It’s totally random. I try to blog monthly, but often fail. Wish I could do better. Too bz.
  13. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    Early 2007 I think. Same objectives. Stay connected, entertain, educate.
  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    It’s kinda like asking what is impact of telephone. It’s how clients find me and talk to me now.
  15. You’re a shareholder in a 200-lawyer firm. How does your firm’s leadership view your active Web 2.0 participation?
    With cautious optimism.
  16. Hard to argue with results…. Let’s switch gears: What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Multi-jurisdictional practices. No one only has clients in a single state. I happen to be licensed in CA, NY & FL, but…
    …geographic locus is becoming less and less relevant to commercial and legal activity. Hard for lawyers to deal.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Fewer firms, more solos referring and exchanging work, lots of online-only atty-client relationships, more ADR, all online.
  18. The answer to this one might be obvious, but what would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I would try to make a living speaking, writing, starting companies of my own, and playing classical piano. =]
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    As one who drank deeply of life, who made other people happy, and who loved his wife and kids beyond comprehension.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Family. I speak, write, start companies of my own, play classical piano. =] Also I am learning violin with my 3yo daughter.
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    My heart goes out. Hang in there. Try to diversify your expertise. Do what you love.
  22. And our final question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Don’t borrow to pay tuition. Take Ethics. Skip class once in a while.

Smart advice. Thanks for the interview; I enjoyed tweeting with you very much.

The pleasure was entirely mine. But I am disappointed we did not out-trend #fatstrippernames. =]

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