Matt Buchanan has another great posting about the Embedded Patent Attorney, but he makes one comment with which I differ. Near the end of his post, he suggests that any attorney with could be “embedded,” regardless of their specialty. I think the patent attorney has much more propensity than any other specialty.
The reason is that the patent attorney, more than any other legal specialty, tends to touch the core of a business. While it is important–if not imperative–that general practice lawyers for securities firms, retailers, construction contractors, etc., need to understand and know their client’s businesses inside and out, those lawyers always handle ancillary issues around the business.
The patent attorney is unequaled in needing to know the minutia of a business’s products, sifting through that minutia to find the business’s core elements, and forming multifaceted business strategies to protect those core elements. All other legal disciplines handle albeit important issues, but rarely do they handle the core elements of the business.
One measure of a person’s contribution is the number of people who are touched by the person’s work. When a dentist fills a cavity, one life is touched. Contrast that to a patent attorney who influences the bottom line of a company and all its employees, but also every one of the customers of that company as well as the competitors of the company. I cannot think of another legal discipline that has such a consistently large sphere of influence.