By John Pavolotsky
Hello! As some know, I am the new chair of the Intellectual Property (IP) Law Section. My goals as chair are community, engagement, and value. In support of the first two, and perhaps the last one as well, I hosted our first virtual Office Hours with the Chair on October 6, 2023, noon–1 p.m. Pacific. For those who joined, thank you! It was great to see many familiar faces and some new ones as well, with members Zooming in from California (of course!), New York, and Italy, among other places, I am sure. Office Hours will be held on the first Friday of each month, from noon–1 p.m. Pacific, except in November, when we will have our Annual IP Institute.
During our first Office Hours, I presented slides on the IP Section, My IP Section Journey, the IP Section Annual IP Institute, the IP Section Mix and Mingle, Webinars, Interest Groups (standing committees), and New Matter, our quarterly IP Section journal. Before diving into the slides, I asked participants to introduce themselves. The IP Section has 4,000 or so members. I know some, but there are many more who I do not know. The genesis for the Office Hours was partly my desire to get to know our members, where they are, what they want, what is valuable to them, and so on. Of course, meeting in person is preferable in my view, but given the size of our state and the general distribution of our members, this is not always possible. As I presented, I responded to questions from the chat, and at the end, I opened up the call to a general discussion. One typical question: How do I become (more) involved with the IP Section? Easy. Join an Interest Group (IG) or two! Our IGs serve as the backbone of our section. Our programming comes from the IGs. Our executive committee leadership generally comes from the IGs and so on.
One of the byproducts of virtual office hours is that members get to meet each other in a relaxed setting and share information. Yes, virtual networking is somewhat of an oxymoron, but we can still identify our shared interests and meet people with whom we can continue building professional relationships offline. As mentioned, the next office hours will take place in person at our IP Institute. Attendees can reach out to me in advance, or I can reach out to attendees if so desired. For future office hours, the format will be essentially the same, with the first 10-15 minutes on new developments, programming, and opportunities to become involved, followed by a general open discussion of IP law issues, practice management, or, if desired, extracurricular activities, such as my hiking club.
I encourage other section chairs to implement regular office hours and anyone interested in IP to dial or log into ours!