April 27th, 2010

Douglas J. Sorocco

Director and Shareholder, Dunlap Codding

Author of Phosita intellectual property law blog

Former Chairman, Board of Directors of the Spina Bifida Association of America

Today we’re tweeting with @douglassorocco, Oklahoma City IP attorney by day, crusading do-gooder by night

  1. @douglassorocco thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @douglassorocco?
    I’m a mashup of tech geek, chemist, patent atty, photog, woodworker, husband and father. Also passionate about volunteerism.
  2. Don’t think any interviewees have described themselves as “mashups” before…. Tell us about your law practice.
    It’s always interesting – I work with the most creative, eccentric, innovative and passionate people. My day is rarely dull.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    My clients are concentrated at opposite ends of the spectrum – either very large legacy companies or start ups…
    All are typically looking to disrupt status quo – either with new technologies, fresh innovations or wicked cool ideas.
  4. Interesting. And what’s the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    Predictability and no surprises – law is never predictable and that is true in IP and tech law more than anywhere. Constant change…
    My goal is to be as solid as possible – no surprise bills, no surprise deadlines, nothing silly that would make life harder.
  5. Am sure they appreciate that. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    “It’s a partnership” and “How can I make you a hero?” – 2 things that convey my respect for what they do and my ultimate goal.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    I represent @pictometryintl – the challenge of keeping up with fast paced technology and being a shepherd of their tech and brand.
  7. Sorry, distracted looking at @pictometryintl website…. Cool stuff. Why do your clients hire you?
    I give a damn and take respons. If I say it – I do it & keep my word. I am a real person with a life outside law. Approachable.
  8. What’s the next big frontier of IP law? Who will be most affected by it?
    Social media (what else?) – int’l enforcement. Virtual innovation. How does a constitutional principle evolve for Internet era?
  9. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Laying groundwork for end of recession – pinpoint focus on innovation and protecting it. Market differentiation…
    Not historically “typical” – but in this econ, a laser focus on deriving value from the innovation and & IP is big key component.
  10. Tell us about your work as Chair of the Spina Bifida Association of America. What was your greatest accomplishment?
    As an indiv born with spina bifida – truly rewarding to see young people growing up with hope for a better, more inclusive, life…
    From a policy perspective – increasing the knowledge of folic acid in decreasing incidence of spina bifida in U.S. & abroad…
    And making sure – every – woman of childbearing age knows to take that folic acid prior to conceiving.
  11. Kudos for your efforts. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I help protect reputations and creativity. I work with inventors to facilitate the transition from white board to marketplace.
  12. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    I believe it was in 2008 – although my tweets were sparse. Wanted to engage in the convo. Now – basically have same goal …
    …to engage and converse with people I would not otherwise come into contact with. My own global “brain trust”.
  13. Makes sense. You blog at Phosita (http://bit.ly/f6Oe (expand)). Who do you write it for? Why should they read it?
    Started 1/2004 – it is the “People” mag of IP info. Goal was to have fun – info, simple IP explanations, and snark. =)
  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    Significant – i.e., meeting people, developing long term mutual friendships, and a referral network of people I trust and trust me…
    Same as with a local “face 2 face” network – but everyone is spread around world. #ignitelaw talk about it http://bit.ly/aSdJvT (expand)
  15. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    ~ 15% – a lot of support to our young professionals to do it – e.g., @emilyecampbell – supporting @igniteokc, @swokc etc.
  16. Time well spent…. Let’s switch gears: what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Pressure on “big firms” from smaller, regional firms – e.g., we can compete with coastal firms even though we are in OKC …
    okc’s low cost of living equals lower costs and our “real people” culture makes us enjoyable to work with…
    We do things big firms can’t b/c of their rigid structure. Our clients feel like we live across street and have “skin in the game”
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Different! =) Boutique firms and solo attorneys will be the envy of the profession – efficient , decisive counseling – no memos!
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    Something in the arts –an architect or photographer. Maybe a cabinet maker etc. Useful or practical wares. =)
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    I cared and left world with more than I took. I loved and was loved. I had a lot of fun and I had the biggest mancave in world…
    Finally – that I wore out my body and was on the last bit of energy when I waved goodbye!
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Sleep! I travel a lot (60%) – so, I enjoy my home time – reading, wrestling with toddler son, and a beer with my wife on our porch.
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Do the unthinkable – if “is is always done this way” do it differently and promote the hell out of it…
    Clients are looking for the “wow” – be your own boss. Read folks like @nipper, @jmattbuchanan, @matthoman, @ipstrategist…
    They have struck out on different paths and created a place for themselves in the world. They provide value by being different.
  22. And our final question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Read a business book! Nothing will be easy – and someone will do what you do or want to do for less and in a better way…
    If you treat law like any other business (innovate, client/customer service, good product, delight) you will succeed & be useful. =)

Great advice. Thanks very much for tweeting with me; I enjoyed interviewing you very much.

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