Principal Lawrence Jarvis Featured in Law.com Q&A Series "How I Made Partner"


Fish & Richardson Principal Lawrence Jarvis was recently featured in the Law.com Q&A series "How I Made Partner," where he emphasizes the importance of asking for help to avoid burnout.

Read the full Q&A at Law.com (subscription required).

How I Made Partner: ‘Learn When to Ask for Help or Assistance,’ Says Lawrence Jarvis of Fish & Richardson

"I have found that your work quality suffers and attorneys experience burnout when attempting to take on too much. Communicating to partners or more senior associates that you need help goes a long way in preventing future problems."

Lawrence Jarvis, 34, Fish & Richardson, Atlanta
Job title: Principal
Practice area: Patent Litigation
Law school and year of graduation: Northwestern University School of Law, 2015

How long have you been at the firm?

I first started at Fish as a summer associate in 2014. I began full time as an associate at Fish in September of 2015.

What was your criteria in selecting your current firm?

I chose Fish because of its reputation in IP litigation and its commitment to the development of its associates. I knew going into law school that I wanted to do patent work and ultimately become a partner, so it was important to me that I go to a firm where I would receive excellent training and experience. I was lucky to have met associates and partners at different law firms practicing patent litigation and prosecution before attending law school, including at Fish. I also did some research on firms using various media publications (including The American Lawyer) before and during my first year of law school. I really liked the attorneys that I met from Fish, and through those relationships and my own research into other law firms, I determined that Fish would be a great place to build my long-term career. The Fish attorneys I met during that phase continue to support and mentor me to this day.

Were you an associate at another firm before joining your present firm? If so, which one and how long were you there?


What do you think was the deciding point for the firm in making you partner? Was it your performance on a specific case? A personality trait? Making connections with the right people?

I think it was a combination of multiple things and not just a single deciding factor. Substantive knowledge is a necessity. Developing relationships with colleagues inside of the firm and with clients is critical and has made a huge difference in my career trajectory. And, in fact, my relationships inside the firm have opened doors to numerous opportunities to engage with clients and demonstrate my substantive knowledge and skills. I then cultivated my reputation by capitalizing on these opportunities and delivering results, thereby building trust and confidence in my abilities.

Who had or has the greatest influence in your career and why? Please provide name, job title and a brief explanation.

There are far too many people to name here. I am very fortunate to have developed strong relationships with multiple partners at different offices across the firm and each has been helpful in my career development by serving as a mentor and/or sponsor. The training and mentorship throughout the years has been invaluable to me along the way. Some of these partners placed me in roles that increased my visibility and interaction with clients, which enabled me to develop client relationships. Others gave me case roles with significant responsibility early in my career, which enabled me to develop my skillset and build my reputation. The confidence and trust that others had in me from the start of my career empowered me to develop into the attorney that I am today.

What advice would you give an associate who wants to make partner?

It goes without saying that hard work and substantive knowledge are necessary to make partner. From the outset of your career, focus on building your reputation while also trying to seek out and determine which partners are willing to mentor and/or sponsor you, as those are the attorneys who will ultimately vouch for you to join the partnership. The partners who mentor and/or sponsor you will also help you identify areas for further development and provide you with advice to assist in your advancement as an attorney. Becoming a subject matter expert or go-to for partners and/or clients will be invaluable to you as you build your reputation. It is critical that you consistently demonstrate your abilities with partners and others within your firm so that they will trust and value you as a colleague and see you as a partner.

When it comes to career planning and navigating inside a law firm, in your opinion, what’s the most common mistake you see other attorneys making?

Failing to seek help or communicating an issue before it is too late. Learning when to ask for help or assistance is critical to sustaining yourself and your practice. I have seen associates repeatedly make the mistake of not asking for help, resulting in mishaps that create entirely avoidable problems. I think the majority of attorneys strive to do their best, but everyone needs help at times. For example, it is imperative to say “no” to new tasks in situations where you are underwater with other matters. I have found that your work quality suffers and attorneys experience burnout when attempting to take on too much. Communicating to partners or more senior associates that you need help goes a long way in preventing future problems.

What challenges, if any, did you face or had to overcome in your career path and what was the lesson learned? How did it affect or influence your career?

One of my biggest challenges has been time management. As many in this job know all too well, it can be stressful. You find yourself thinking about matters long after you leave the office or stop working for the day, and stressing over work outside of the office can negatively impact your personal life and health. To improve my time management, I began creating schedules for myself for both my personal and professional life. For instance, I map out a plan of action for various work- related tasks each week on Monday. I also focus on making time to partake in recreational activities that improve my physical health and help me sleep better.

Knowing what you know now about your career path, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I would encourage myself to enjoy my final year of law school even more by spending more time in the legal clinic. I really enjoyed working in my law school’s legal clinic, as it allowed me to gain experience in the courtroom with oral arguments and interacting with judges. As I have become more senior in my career, I realize how valuable that stand-up courtroom experience in law school was for my development as an attorney.

Do you utilize technology to benefit the firm/practice and/or business development?

Yes, I do. I use various technologies available within the firm to maximize the efficient use of my time, including using non-traditional legal search tools that take advantage of AI. I also use social media to communicate with clients and colleagues.

How would you describe your work mindset?

My work mindset is to serve my team and clients to the best of my abilities. My focus is always directed to helping my team assist our client in achieving their desired result. I enjoy helping my team identify and develop arguments that could win a case. This usually entails taking a hands-on approach and working collaboratively with my colleagues throughout a case because I prefer being deeply involved in strategy and execution. My aim is to be viewed as a trusted advisor who not only offers the correct advice, but takes into account client needs and wants.

Reprinted with permission from the July 3, 2023 edition Law.com© 2023 ALM Global Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or [email protected]