Monthly Archives: March 2011

Triple Event Thursday (3/31): Cloud Computing Panel, Biotech Networking & Women and Open Source Panel

Don’t have enough on your plate?  Rather sip on wine and nibble on apps instead of cooking dinner?  Here are three events this Thursday (3/31) to improve your awareness of cutting edge issues and expand your network at the same time:

  • SCU’s High Tech Law Institute and Biotech Law Group is hosting a free wine and cheese networking event from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.  Join other private practitioners and in-house counsel in the life sciences, biotech and biomedical fields for a casual gathering in the Wiegand Foyer of the SCU Arts & Sciences Building.

RSVP to Jeff Smyth at by Wednesday (3/30).  More info here.

  • If you’re already on the SCU campus, stick around for Cloud Computing:  A Multi-Disciplinary View From Technology, Business and Law in the Multi-Purpose Room of the  Bannan Engineering Building.

Panelists Bernard Golden (CEO of Hyperstratus, Cloud Computing Advisor to CIO Magazine and author of Virtualization for Dummies), Riaz Karamali (Corporate Practice Partner at Sheppard Mullin), Jeremiah Cornelius (Security Architect in VMWare’s Technology Partner Alliance) and Steve Riley (Technical Leader in the CTO Office at Riverbed Technology) will discuss technical issues, business benefits, and legal implications of cloud computing and how each of the disciplines can benefit by working closely together.

Networking with wine and hors d’oeuvres at 5:45 p.m., followed by a presentation and discussion from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.  Register and more information here ($8 IEEE Members; $12 Non-IEEE Members; free to SCU laws students).

  • If a female focus is more your thing, check out Women & Open Source:  What’s In It For Me? hosted by Symantec in Mountain View from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  (Don’t miss the wine and “heavy appetizers” from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.)!

Panelists include Cat Allman (Open Source Programs Office, Google), Elizabeth Krumbach (Linux Force),  Alison Chaiken (MeeGo) and Beau Lebens (WordPress) and Janet Fouts (social media coach, speaker, author, & entrepreneur) will moderate the program.

Whenever you use Firefox, WordPress, Chrome, or Wikipedia- you’re using Open Source (whether or not you realize it). There’s probably a lot you don’t know about the benefits of seeking out and using this kind of software. When looking at software applications, you may be able to save yourself money and/or wow your boss by suggesting a low-cost Open Source alternative to more familiar programs. Many of us use WordPress- but perhaps you didn’t realize it’s a complete, highly reliable content management system with a lot of features and plug-ins.  One concern we have is that there aren’t many women active in the Open Source community. During this lively panel discussion you’ll meet some amazing women who are actively involved and one man who feels the community would greatly benefit from a more diverse group. You’ll also learn about careers and business opportunities in Open Source.”

Register here and more information here ($10 SDForum members; $25 Non-members;  $0 Platinum members).

Why I Like Being a Lawyer

My last post was about “Why I Don’t Like Being a Lawyer.”

In the interest of fairness, here’s what I do like about being part of the profession, alongside quotes from the “classic” movie Clueless to help make my points.  (I know I said that film portrayals of lawyers are completely inaccurate, but arguing out of both sides of my mouth comes naturally).

  • Lawyers, judges, law enforcement – or anyone really – don’t intimidate me. Having done everything from conducting criminal grand jury investigations to winning showdowns with pompous, blow hard civil litigators twice my age and half as qualified, to me the legal system is not the abstract mystery that most laymen regard with cautious curiosity.  Plus, I know I can usually argue my way into or out of anything – including returning the Dior sunglasses that have been sitting in my trunk for over a year to the store, no questions asked.

Mel (Cher’s father): You mean to tell me that you argued your way from a C+ to an A-? 
Totally based on my powers of persuasion, you proud?
Honey, I couldn’t be happier than if they were based on real grades.

  • I like being my own boss. As much as I complain about life as a working mom in my Dilemma Diary, it sure beats punching the clock and having someone dictate when I take my breaks and for how long.  Even though the  job is 24/7 , if I need three hours to hit the Neiman Marcus Midday Dash or go home to see my kids, no one will bother me as long as I meet my deadlines and am taking care of business (whenever that might be).

Cher I felt impotent and out of control. Which I really, really hate.

  • It’s nice to be part of a traditional “profession.” I enjoy being part of a *somewhat still* respected occupation.  So the profession still suffers from an Old Boys’ Club syndrome, but being part of something that has roots steeped in rituals and rites from days of yore makes you feel like you’re a part of something more.

Josh (Cher’s ex-stepbrother): Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? 
Cher: No. Why, does it sound like I do?

  • Most people are afraid of me. Say you’re a lawyer and no one will mess with you.  Period.

Cher: Daddy’s a litigator. Those are the scariest kinds of lawyers. Even Lucy, our maid, is terrified of him.  He’s so good he gets paid five hundred dollars an hour just to fight with people, but he fights with me for free ’cause I’m his daughter.

  • It pays. Okay, not every attorney earns six figures, but chances are if you wanted to, you would be able find good paying work as a lawyer.  And if all else failed, you more than likely would be able to parlay your skills into another decent career and still bring home some sizeable bacon.

Josh: I was thinking about looking into environmental law.
Mel: Why? You want to have a frustrating and miserable life?
Cher: Oh, Josh will have that no matter what he does.

  • You can make a difference. Sometimes you’re keeping the streets safer; sometimes you’re saving the environment, a company or a life; and many times you are fighting for what’s right and making it happen.  That’s a powerful reward in and of itself.

Cher: It’s like that book I read in the 9th grade that said “’tis a far far better thing doing stuff for other people.”

Today’s verdict: It’s too soon to throw in the towel.  (And I clearly need to grow up and out of the 90’s).

Free IvyExec Webinar on Networking with Passion and Purpose Today

If you haven’t found them yet, IvyExec is a job search site aimed towards ivy league and other high caliber professionals that offers pre-screened executive opportunities from top tier employers.  IvyExec also offers professional resume help and informational webinars, like this one today (3/22) at 3:30-4:30 p.m.:

Join Ainka J. Fulani for “Networking with Passion and Purpose,” where she’ll discuss networking with impact and authenticity.

Fulani, an Executive and Personal Coach with the Life Performance Coaching Center in San Francisco, owns BreakThrough and runs workshops, facilitates teams and provides one-on-one coaching to professionals.  She holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Wharton.  More information and register here (no need to be a member).  The recorded webinar will be provided to all who RSVP.

Free INTA Webinar on Parallel Imports and Customs Seizures in the EU

Join Klaus Hoffmeister (Head of the Central Intellectual Property Unit of the Federal Customs Administration, Germany); Peter Sannes (National  Coordinator of IPR, Netherlands Customs Administration);  and Christian W. Liedtke (Linklaters LLP, Member of INTA’s Parallel Imports–EU Subcommittee) for a free one-hour interactive webinar moderated by Nick Beckett (CMS Cameron McKenna LLP, Chair of INTA’s
Parallel Imports–EU Subcommittee) on how to protect your brands from the threat of parallel imports on Thursday, March 24, at 8:00 a.m.

For more information on INTA’s webinar “Parallel Imports and Customs Seizures in the EU:  A trademark owners blessing in disguise?“, go here.  To register click here.

Free Networking Event: A Portrait Presentation for NDCA District Judge Ronald M. Whyte

Network with attorneys from the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology, the American Inns of Court, the San Francisco Bay Area Intellectual Property, the Federal Circuit Bar Association, SFIPLA, Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology after the Portrait Presentation for the Hon.  Ronald M. Whyte at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow (March 18th) at The Fairmont Hotel San Jose .

No registration required.  Reception to follow presentation.

Why I Don’t Like Being a Lawyer

Just when I thought I was achieving some sort of work-life balance, or at least getting over some of my working mom guilt, opposing counsel reminded me today why I don’t like being a lawyer.  Forget my dilemma whether to be a SAHM or stay in the workforce:  today’s encounter makes me rethink my whole decision to stick with a legal career period.

Dealing with an East Coast (insert explicative here) lawyer on the phone and in e-mails over the past few days, I have had the distinct pleasure of of being yelled at, belittled, spoken to in condescending tones, called a liar and anything else unpleasant you can possibly imagine.  I’m a civil litigator, so I suppose occasional run-ins with (insert same explicative here) attorneys is just part of my job.  But my tolerance for these discourteous exchanges is wearing thin.

Yes, you could say that as a litigator, I am paid to argue with – even yell at – people, but the best lawyers know that civility trumps rudeness and pettiness in the long run.  All of my mentors have practiced this way and I, myself, subscribe to the same philosophy.  The problem is you can’t pick your opponents.  You hope that you’ll be paired against a worthy adversary, but more often than not you are faced with a pompous idiot who wants to argue until he’s blue in the face.

On days like today, I think of all the other things that I would be happy doing instead of sitting at my desk on the receiving end of some ridiculous, infantile rant to which my recent opponents are so often prone:  editing, writing, designing, decorating, running my own stationery business.  All of these other professions would still allow me to be a role model to Jane, even though technically, I might not be a “professional.”  With all the career choices available to women nowadays, who’s to say that being a doctor or a lawyer is a far superior career than any other.  I do enjoy being part of a traditional “profession,” but perhaps not enough to keep at it.  At least not in my current role.

Today’s Verdict: Quit altogether.

Free St. Patrick’s Day Lunch with Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader

Fancy a free lunch with Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Randall Rader on St. Patty’s Day?

The High Tech Law Institute of the Santa Clara University School of Law is sponsoring a panel discussion with Judge Rader, Colleen Chien, Assistant Professor at SCU Law, Marta Beckwith, Director of IP Litigation at Cisco Systems, and Julie Stephenson, Chief IP Counsel at Synopsys, on Thursday, March 17th, between 12:00-1:00 p.m. in SCU Law’s Bannan Hall (Room 127).

More information on “A Conversation with Chief Judge Randall Rader, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals:  Patent Law in a Global Worldhere and register here.

See Jane Go To Work

Today, while Jane and I were playing quietly in her room and Sam napped in his room next door, Jane matter of factly picked up her Tweety Bird Easter basket from last year, slung it over her shoulder like a purse, and stated,

I’m going to work.  I gotta go to the ofsup [aka office].  See you later.  You stay home.  I’ll be back!

Then she turned on her heels and left me staring at the empty doorway.

Childhood mimicking blows my mind sometimes.

My first emotion after Jane left the room was sadness for my poor little girl who has known me to leave her every weekday since she was 14 weeks old.  Then I felt guilt for not staying at home with her.  (And then more guilt for feeling guilty when I know I’m supposed to stop feeling guilty for everything).  And then I felt what might best be described as disgust for the whole situation and perhaps a little resentment over the fact that I even have to choose between my career and being a full-time mom to my kids.

But when Jane returned to the room with her Tweety Bird “briefcase” and smiled,

“I’m back.  I’m home now!  I went to the ofsup.  I love you!”

and gave me a big hug and kiss, I felt proud.

Holding her Tweety briefcase, Jane had an air of confidence and the look of someone who knows who she is.  She walked with a purpose and beamed with self-assuredness.  Best of all, she looked happy.  And that made me happy.

For one, I was happy to know that she has a professional role model.  But most importantly, I was happy that leaving her every day has not been the death of her – and might even be an inspiration.

Her play acting reinforced to me that not only has she accepted the daily routine of our lives, but that she also knows Mommy has another – equally important – identity besides being a mom to her and her brother.  She sees that I am not a one-dimensional person:  sometimes Mommy stays home to play, sometimes Mommy takes time out to play with her friends, and sometimes Mommy goes to work.

Today’s verdict: Being able to provide my daughter with a multi-faceted female role model is satisfying enough to assuage my working mom’s guilt for the time-being.  Whether I need to set this type of example while Jane is only 2 and Sam is not yet 1 years old is a question I’ll leave for another day.

Free Stanford Webinar with Professor Sarah Soule on Resolving Gender Differences in the Workplace

Do the differences between men and women negatively impact companies and their employees?  If so, how can we resolve those differences in order to become more productive and better enjoy our working environments?

Professor Sarah Soule at the Stanford Business School will discuss these questions and more during a one-hour free webinar, “Gender Differences in the Workplace:  Working Toward Solutions,” on Friday (3/11) at 9:00 a.m. (PST).

Other topics include managing gender dynamics and building the business case for gender diversity.

Register here: and find more information here: