We had the good fortune of connecting with Samar Shah and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Samar, what do you attribute your success to?
One of the most important factors behind my personal success as an attorney, and the success of my law firm is to be radically outcome driven. We strive to turn legal questions into actionable steps that a client can perform to protect themselves or to avoid liability. That may seem like a normal thing to offer, but it is insanely difficult to get it right in the world of legal.

My practice focuses on intellectual property law and patent law in particular. We help clients protect their intellectual property and turn that intellectual property into business assets. It’s a great job, but the problem with this area of law is that it can be incredibly complex—and their is a ton of ambiguity in our case law. Every question could have 10 different “right” answers depending on your particular circumstances, the competitive space that you operate in, your goals, etc., and many questions don’t have any “right” answers at all!

So, as you can imagine, it is easy to slip into “lawyer mode” when you are talking to entrepreneurs about the best way to protect themselves and their businesses. It is easy to say that, well, “it depends,” or “that may or may not happen.” Entrepreneurs often don’t understand (and rightfully shouldn’t have to understand) legal nuances. They want clear answers so that they can run their businesses effectively while protecting themselves or avoiding liability. That’s where we come in.

We strive to keep outcomes as our North Star. A lot of legal questions can present opportunity for interesting legal analysis. But, clients and entrepreneurs are not interested in legal analysis. They are interested in outcomes and recommendations. So we reorient ourselves to the question of “what are the best way to drive certain outcomes” and work backwards from that to the client’s legal issue. This may seem intuitive, but you wouldn’t believe the number of clients who come up to us and tell us that working with us has been a completely different experience from working with other lawyers. We are very outcome driven, and start our analysis there. Some lawyers may think that we work backwards, but I think it is the secret to our success.

What should our readers know about your business?
We are a patent focused law firm. Unlike many firms that broadly practice in many different areas of intellectual property, we are razor focused on one singular area of law, which allows us to be true subject matter experts. In short, we live, breath, and eat patent law!

In addition to being true subject matter experts, I am particularly proud of how we structure our teams to get the best outcomes for our clients. We do this by combining strategy and expertise in a way that I haven’t seen before in our field. Generally, we staff all of our cases with at least two attorneys. One attorney focuses on writing the patent application, and the other attorney focuses on patent strategy. You may think that one attorney can do both jobs, but, in practice, it is a whole lot harder that it would seem.

If you want to write a good patent application, you have to really get into the weeds in terms of how an invention may work. But, when you are in the weeds, it is very difficult to see the forest for the trees (in this case, you may miss the bigger picture questions like who is going to be infringing this patent, or how is someone going to design around this patent, etc). In another example, it is often very difficult for a person who wrote a 50 page patent to edit their own work (there is a reason book authors hire editors), because some separation from the project is healthy and important. Also, it gives the strategy attorney the time and mental headspace to think through how a patent will be used by the business, how to maximize its value, and how to strategically position the patent to make it more desirable (during a fundraising round, or during an acquisition, for example). For this reason, we staff two practitioners on every case. One who is incharge of drafting, and one who is responsible for broader strategy. We have found that this is the best way to consistently output high quality patent applications that not only protect our clients’ inventions but also protect against potential copycats, non-infringement theories, and potential attacks against the patent.

I would love to tell you that figuring all of this out was easy and logical. In reality, it took a lot of courage to get to this point. For example, when I first started this firm, a lot of my friends and colleagues would approach me and the firm to help them with contract issue, a family law issue, etc. They wanted to retain me and pay me for my time and effort. This money was particularly attractive when I first started my firm and worried about whether I would have enough work to support myself and my family. So it took special courage to say “no” to that paying work. I knew that if I wanted to be a top-tier patent attorney, then I would have to stay hyper-focused on patent law, and not get distracted by other areas of law, which may provide income and financial stability in the short term, but would prevent me from reaching true expertise in the long run. In the long run, that turned out to be right call, but it wasn’t easy in the short term. If you are in the same boat, hang in there, and continue to perfect your craft to become the best version of yourself possible—it will pay off!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta is an amazing city—there is always something going on, no matter what you enjoy doing. If I was hosting friends for a long weekend, we would definitely start at Tin Lizzy’s in Midtown for drinks and live music. From there, we would move to Vortex for some burgers and brews, and then to the Fox Theater. Over the weekend, we would definitely check out the Flying Biscuit. I am a big photography buff, so we would probably check out West midtown to take pictures of old warehouses and interesting architecture, and maybe even the beltline and the Ponce City market. Oh, and I would most certainly take my friends to Cafe Agora post midnight for some the best falafels I’ve ever had! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate this Shoutout to my sister and brother in law, Grishma and Gaurav Batra (owners of The West Venue: https://shoutoutatlanta.com/meet-gaurav-grishma-batra-owners-of-the-west-venue/).

I, for some reason, always thought entrepreneurship would entail a ton of work and a lot of sacrifices in terms of time with the family and the quality of relationship with my kids. But watching Grishma and Gaurav hit it out of the park with their businesses, without sacrificing quality relationships with their friends and family has been truly inspirational.

Also, Shoutout to Shoutout Atlanta for their coverage around entrepreneurship and small businesses! We all have mental roadblocks around money and entrepreneurship, but seeing others succeed, succeed in business and life, and the positive impact small business can have on our community has made all the difference in how I perceive entrepreneurship.

Website: https://www.shahiplaw.com/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shahsamar

Twitter: https://twitter.com/samarkshah

Other: https://legallessons.com/

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