Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Harry Korn, ex-patent attorney

In the January 17, 2011 premiere of Harry's Law we learn that Harriet “Harry” Korn (played by Kathy Bates) was a patent attorney fired from her position after losing all interest in it. In the January 24 episode, we learn that "Harry" was making $600,000 per year.

The nakedwithoutlipstick blog wrote:

Let me explain: patent law is very niche. You spend all of your time in federal court, and engrossed in 35 U.S.C., the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Federal Rules of Evidence. Nothing else matters in patent law. (It's not clear from the preview whether she was a patent litigator or a patent prosecutor, but I'm going to assume a litigator because a patent prosecutor (patent attorneys who write patents) would be even more absurd given the scenario of the show, because they never go to court unless its to testify as a witness in a patent litigation trial.) Therefore, you have absolutely no knowledge at all of criminal law, criminal procedure, or criminal law in state court. I've been to state court exactly twice in my career so far. Patent attorneys have no reason to go there. State court is very different from federal court. Now, maybe the kid is up on federal charges. That remains to be seen. My point is that the last time most patent attorneys had anything to do with anything criminally law related was in a law school class. You can't just wake up one morning and decide to be a criminal defense attorney other than in David E. Kelley's brain. Now, I can appreciate wanting a change, and lawyers do switch areas of specialty in real life, so a lot of how this goes down and the believability of it is going to be in the writing.

But, why couldn't he do a legal show about a patent attorney? Why are we always stuck with family law and criminal law on television shows? Why does the patent attorney have to switch over to the apparently much more exciting field of criminal law? Why does she have to leave patent law because it's "boring"? Why does a "successful patent attorney" have to work as a lawyer anymore anyway? Why is an attorney with 32 years of experience getting fired? Shouldn't she be a partner by now?


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