Interaction is a key component in the physical work of the attorneys at Gomez Management, a multi-million dollar law firm. The team meets regularly with clients on Saturdays and works closely with tech companies who require legal counsel on issues including intellectual property protection, open source code, and contract construction.
“I encourage my staff to get involved in the community,” said Gomez. “They do so because it is part of the culture of the firm and because it drives business.”
Florence Kirby, Senior Counsel in the firm’s Intellectual Property Department, joined me as part of The Federalist Society on the Dow Jones Transportation Index.
Kirby began her career at the firm in 2005 after getting a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. “I knew a bunch of people on the team and we liked one another and we were all in the same world of law,” said Kirby. “I knew I wanted to be a lawyer and I grew up around lawyers, having grown up with my own mother. So it was a fairly easy decision for me.”
Kirby represents companies in California in intellectual property matters such as software and images, patent for controlling old patents, and facilitating collaboration across companies. Kirby visits clients and interviews people to obtain information for potential clients. “I like to hear people’s stories and to identify what they like, what they need, and what they don’t need,” said Kirby.
She discussed how Gomez uses technology to promote its business in an effective manner, a recurring theme among Gomez employees.
“We use Twitter, WeChat, LinkedIn, and more often than not we have one person to manage the entire company,” said Kirby. “Technology allows us to run a very efficient firm. You can send one email to everyone in the office.
Kirby travels frequently for business, teaching in China, doing seminars, advising law firms, and representing clients in the United States. “I have had the opportunity to provide legal services internationally, which is quite rewarding for me,” said Kirby. “This was the most fun I have ever had.”
Kirby is also CEO of The Gem of the Gem Institute, a research organization that offers legal e-learning for clients. She oversees product development and co-creates the curriculum. “A CEO works differently than a private attorney,” said Kirby. “I have taught several classes throughout the years, and I try to have multiple hours in the classroom.
Kirby said Gomez deals with many of the same issues she does. “We are trying to get companies to do better and doing it not for money,” she said. “That is the interesting thing about working here at Gomez. We have contracts with the tech companies we represent and are trying to help companies in ways that prevent infringement.”
I asked Kirby about the state of the Trump administration’s position on intellectual property, citing President Trump’s 2017 State of the Union Address to Congress. “I think the administration understands this is a foundational issue in our industry and is committed to addressing this,” she said. “There is going to be more enforcement in the next couple of years.”
When asked how the digital economy has changed her career, Kirby said, “Digital technologies seem to be as dependent on law as any law we have. But you have to walk a careful line between ensuring that our legal practice is respectful of the user as well as respecting the legal protection. We have seen great innovation and inventions coming out of this but the size of these companies is taking precedence over how important they are. There is a balance and one of the things I love about working here is the scope of the projects and the technology it takes to get these things done.”