As a patent litigator in the firm of Robins Kaplan in New York City, Miles Finn ’09 (HUSL) often tries to find ways for clients to avoid litigation when they believe someone is infringing on their patent.
“Everybody knows that patent litigation is expensive and time-consuming, so people like to find other ways to help them achieve their goal,” he says. “At the end of the day, we may need to be ready to litigate, but we help people figure out what courses they should take, and then we help them take them.”
Finn came to patent law with a background in science. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Minnesota and worked as a scientist and engineer for 15 years before going to law school. Although he does not consider a science background essential for a career in patent law—a number of his colleagues at Robins Kaplan have liberal-arts backgrounds—he does consider it helpful.
While he likes the application of science to his work, however, his primary enjoyment comes from the intellectual challenge of law itself. “There’s a battle, a struggle. But it’s not a free-for-all. There are rules, and it involves complicated arguments. So if you’re willing to take a position and figure out what underlies your opponent’s position and try to pull away at a thread here and a thread there to get the whole thing to collapse… Some people enjoy that and I happen to be one of them.”