A Tour of Duty: Symbus Provides In-House Secondment Trademark Attorney Services

I am pleased to announce the new Symbus “secondment” services. If your trademark team needs an attorney on location to assist with a special long term project or to provide coverage for an employee on family leave, consider contacting me at Symbus Law Group.

U.S. attorneys are often unaware of the concept of secondment attorneys although they are widely used in the U.K. and Europe. The term secondment derives from the days when the British army officers were given temporary assignments outside their regular regiment. The practice benefited the new regiment that received an additional set of hands and a fresh perspective from an experienced officer. In the legal world, this practice means that an experienced attorney from a law firm that offers “secondment” services can be placed in-house on a temporary basis. The attorney can then assist with complex projects and provide client support “in the trenches” and often do so with minimal supervision and training on the part of the hiring manager. When the project is completed the “secondment” attorney returns to her law firm work with a greater understanding of the company’s business and legal needs and can now work more effectively and efficiently with the company on a traditional basis.

Companies requiring special coverage for any of the following situations often use secondment services:

• An attorney on maternity or sick leave
• Long term projects, such as global trademark recordal assignments or name changes
• Global search and filing of a new brand
• A legal department that wants to bring their trademark portfolio in-house but does not need full-time trademark counsel
• Assistance with setting up in-house trademark operations
• Switching to a new trademark management database

How does hiring a secondment attorney differ from hiring a temporary attorney from an agency or borrowing an associate from a law firm? For projects requiring specialized skills and knowledge, such as for intellectual property matters, temporary attorneys from agencies rarely come with the necessary experience to “hit the ground running”. The hiring manager must often train and closely supervise the attorney. Once the project ends, even if the attorney has been of great assistance, the nature of temporary work is that the temporary attorney is unlikely to be available the next time the hiring manager needs an attorney since such attorneys are often on other projects or have taken permanent positions. For these reasons, the time spent training and supervising the temporary attorney usually does not provide a long-term benefit. Likewise, borrowing an associate from a law firm can be an inadequate solution since traditional law firms often insist on billing the attorney at an hourly rate and often will only provide an associate with one or two years of experience. The hiring manager is left to provide training and supervision. To make matters worse, particularly for specialized intellectual property work, even the less experienced associates at traditional firms are often billed at hundreds of dollars an hour. For these reasons, hiring a secondment attorney is often the preferred solution for addressing temporary in-house legal assistance needs.

Symbus Law Group now offers secondment services to companies seeking trademark attorneys to work on a temporary (long term or short term) basis in their offices or ours. Secondment services can be on a 1-5 days/week basis for anywhere from 1 week to 6 months. Call me and we can discuss a cost-effective strategy for addressing your needs, either on an hourly basis or at a flat rate. Symbus trademark attorneys are available to work at in-house locations in the greater Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Ventura county, California areas. For more information, contact me, Teresa Anzalone, at 610-420-7731, or by email at tanzalone@symbus.com.