Going West: AWA and Haug Exchange Programme

AWA IP attorneys are crossing the pond to build relationships and work alongside top US IP firm Haug Partners LLP in Manhattan, NYC

It has been a successful beginning for the budding exchange programme between the two IP law firms AWA and Haug Partners LLP.

Following a pilot project and discussions involving European Patent Attorney and Partner Joacim Lydén (AWA) and Intellectual Property Partner Ben Natter (Haug Partners LLP), AWA’s European Patent Attorney Simon Markström from Jönköping (Sweden) was the first man to embark on the journey.

Building bridges

“It is important to have a good relationship with your partnering firm. The only way of building relationships is by spending time together. Normally, getting to know each other can take years as you only get a few time slots here and there. With this Exchange Programme, you work together every day and really get to know each other,” explains Simon.

During his three month stay in the US, Simon has been involved in meeting with clients as well as social activities with Ben and his friends.

“It works well for both firms. We went for dinner just the other night, and one of our foreign colleagues attending specifically wanted Simon’s contact information. It is an added benefit. Good things come when two networks mingle,” says Ben.

Both IP attorneys agree that to serve clients in the global market, good relationships and contacts are key. Spending actual time together beats phone calls and video conferences, and cultural differences are easier to understand in person than via email correspondence.

“I feel more confident cooperating with a colleague I know and trust,” says Ben.

The fact that Ben and Simon are similar age has been an additional bonus.

“We grow together as attorneys, both professionally and privately.”

I have gained priceless insight into working as an attorney in NYC.
-Simon Markström, European Patent Attorney at AWA

Studies and work

In addition to building bridges across the pond, Simon has taken the opportunity to complete the USPTO Registration Examination. He passed the exam two weeks before returning to Sweden.

Passing the Patent Bar Exam means that Simon would be allowed to represent clients before the USPTO if he was a US resident or a US citizen.

“I have no plans of moving here permanently though. For me, it’s just a seal of quality.”

It has been a given for Simon to keep in touch with his clients back home and continue helping them, even when in a different time zone. This has meant coming in early in the morning to his temporary US office to speak with his Swedish clients before they leave for the day.

Working together

For Simon and Ben, the AWA and Haug Partners Exchange Programme is so much more than just sitting and learning. It is about working together, bouncing ideas off each other and getting an insight into other cultures and ways of thinking.

So what have they both learned?

“I have learned that Simon works with his headphones on”, says Ben and laughs.

“Also, I have learned that he has a very good work-life balance.”

Simon adds:

“It is big difference in work pace if you compare the US to Sweden. In Sweden I come in early in the morning and leave in time for dinner, not like many New Yorkers that comes in later but works until midnight or so.

“I have my wife and two children here. I want to spend time with them and they want to spend time with me. I guess keeping all these parts running smoothly has been the toughest challenge for me in the US.”

I love New York

Making time to do things with his wife and two young kids has remained a priority for Simon, although he confesses that his average work day has between 10-12 hours.

“We have really enjoyed our stay in NYC, specially knowing we only had these three months. Although it is a little bit more crowded than Jönköping, we love it. We wrote a to-do list when we got here and I think we’ve checked off everything except for going up the Statue of Liberty. A highlight was a helicopter ride over Manhattan.

“Overall, it has been a very positive experience. It’s always good to have a change of scenery and get to know a new culture. I have gained priceless insight into working as an attorney in NYC.”

Ben is also content with the outcome of the first visiting attorney from AWA.

“It has been a pleasure to have Simon at the firm and get to know him. We are very happy with the programme. It has also been a great benefit having foreign expertise in the office.”

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