On August 6, 2020, Bloomberg Law quoted Justin Pierce on his experiences being a Black intellectual property lawyer in the United States.
According to the article, the rarity of being a Black intellectual property lawyer in the United States hits home for the 1.7% of attorneys who fit that description.
In particular, say Black lawyers who have broken through, people are surprised they can speak the language of patent law and that many of them have attained scientific and technical knowledge.As a junior associate, before going on to co-chair Venable LLP's IP division, Pierce recalls hearing the trope about being "really articulate" from a potential client. Pierce said that occurred after an in-person presentation to a group of executives at a potential client company regarding a patent case. Beyond their behavior and comments being offensive, he said, they showed that "they made no effort in the past to seek out or meet with attorneys like me."
Now, he said, corporations need to "put their money where their mouth is" and stop claiming they can’t find Black IP lawyers for a case.
"There are a number of talented African American attorneys, men and women, who for years now have represented clients," said Pierce, the former chair of the IP section of the National Bar Association, the largest national network of predominantly Black attorneys and judges. "When I hear that nowadays, my answer is, 'That's an excuse. You’re not looking hard enough.'"
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