Trademark attorneys, like many other attorneys, have to deal with a variety of administrative and repetitive tasks in the course of their substantive legal work. Though a trademark attorney should have the final say on substantive trademark issues, there are many supporting positions that help busy trademark attorneys manage their trademark dockets and practices. Below are some of the roles that help manage a trademark practice and trademark docket.
Trademark Docket Clerk or Docket Coordinator
Because there are many important deadlines for trademark attorneys to manage, and because missing even a single deadline could cost an attorney hundreds or thousands of dollars, accurate docketing is critical. Docketing clerks generally help track deadlines, log extensions, and organize data to ensure that filings are up-to-date. Trademark clerks generally do not need extensive trademark or even legal backgrounds, but they must have strong organizational and time-management skills. Full-time docketing clerks are most commonly retained by law firms or companies that have significant trademark portfolios. The median salary for a docket clerk is approximately $36,000 per year.
A trademark secretary often acts as both an administrative assistant and a trademark manager. This person is generally tasked with managing the plethora of documents that trademarks require: applications, forms, responses, and the like. This role is often filled by those new to trademark and/or legal work. Trademark secretaries frequently interact directly with clients, so good verbal and written communication skills are crucial for this task. Trademark secretaries sometimes help manage trademark dockets and deadlines, especially when aided by technology such as trademark docketing software. The median salary for a trademark secretary is approximately $43,000 per year.
Trademark Paralegal or Legal Assistant
Valuable assets in any law practice, paralegals are especially critical in trademark practice. Working alongside attorneys, paralegals not only interact with clients and manage trademark deadlines, but they also often assist with other aspects of trademark law. Paralegals frequently research existing trademarks, find relevant case law, and prepare for trial proceedings. Though they cannot represent clients in court, trademark paralegals often perform most other functions a trademark attorney might be required to do. Like other trademark paraprofessionals, paralegals often help attorneys manage their trademark deadlines so that filings do not lapse. The median salary for a trademark paralegal is approximately $47,000 per year.
Docketing software can often dramatically reduce the personnel costs associated with trademark support. Basic software often calendars deadlines, send reminders, and keeps documents organized. Alt Legal’s software also automatically detects filings, adds them to the attorney’s docket, keeps files organized and accessible by firm staff and (if attorneys agree) clients, and provides simple tools to complete trademark applications effortlessly. Using sophisticated trademark software is helpful for both trademark administrators and attorneys. Software makes filing and managing IP portfolios simpler and less risky for administrators. It also allows many attorneys to reduce administrator training costs (for example, they can sometimes use a docket clerk instead of a paralegal), reduces administrator turnover by reducing administrators’ stress levels, and increases accuracy and efficiency. Effective software can reduce key filing errors and make trademark filings more efficient for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. Starting at just $75/month, Alt Legal’s software is an indispensable tool for any trademark practice.
Of course as with any legal transaction, it’s important that only licensed attorneys engage in the practice of law.