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Paralegals on secondment: a cost-effective solution to the IP talent crunch

Published on 24 Jan 2024 | 3 minute read
Experienced patent paralegals are in high demand

Experienced patent paralegals are in high demand, so IP-owning companies are not always able to recruit the talent they need. At the same time, many in-house IP teams are coming under pressure to reduce costs in the current economic climate. Employing a full-time patent paralegal may be outside of some budgets.

This constrained environment – with both a talent shortage and cost pressures – is driving increased interest in temporary or part-time employment of paralegal talent. Rouse’s office in Sweden is a trendsetter in this practice, having provided clients with paralegal services on secondment for more than 25 years.

“Law and patent-attorney firms are traditionally averse to outsourcing their talent to customers, but we have been very successful with this model. Our first patent-paralegal secondment was with a large Swedish industrial company in the 1990s. Today we have multiple clients using this service,” says Rouse Deputy General Manager Sweden, Behdad Assadi.

“It’s not easy to find experienced patent paralegals – particularly in Europe. Our people have been very good at knowing their tasks and handling our clients’ business properly,” he adds.

In safe hands with experienced paralegals

Rouse Patent Paralegal Shirin Assadi has worked on secondment to companies in various industries, including steel and automotive. Over a career of more than 25 years, she’s done assignments in Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan and South Korea.

“Our paralegal service is convenient for the clients, as they can specify the duration and the extent of the secondment,” says Assadi. “Some companies take us in for just one or two days a week, while others may prefer full-time involvement. We’re very flexible.”

Rouse paralegals provide all the IP-administration services that companies need, including filing applications, managing annuities and renewals, and providing litigation support. Much of this work can be handled through Rouse’s own case-management system, which all our paralegals are skilled in using. We also assist in digitising physical archives to improve accessibility and security.

Didem Hacirasit is another Rouse patent paralegal who works on secondment assignments. She is one of the longest-serving employees in Sweden, having started out as a legal administrator some 25 years ago.

Hacirasit currently balances two secondment assignments. Since 2015 she has worked with an automotive company and continues to provide support for one day each week. Most of her time is now spent with a power-equipment multinational.

“I’ve been in my current secondment role for more than three years now,” she says. “We always work as part of the in-house IP team, supporting the client however they need. We have so much experience in this field that we can support with training junior paralegals too.”

Carina Welin is also a key member of Rouse Sweden’s paralegal team. She has more than 20 years of paralegal experience and is a specialist in IP related to design rights. The IP department of a premium automotive brand requested Wellin on secondment specifically for her knowledge in that field.

Growing global interest in paralegal secondment

Many of the companies that use paralegals on secondment are building on their longstanding client-attorney relationship with Rouse. But this is in no way mandatory – some clients start working with Rouse by hiring a paralegal on secondment.

With Rouse Sweden now becoming more closely integrated into our global organisation – following the acquisition of Valea in December 2022 – we are looking to replicate this successful secondment model in other markets too.

“We foresee a lot of potential in growing our secondment business, especially during these economically uncertain times. This is a way for clients to have skilled paralegal resources at a manageable cost,” says Deputy GM Assadi.

“Rouse aims to be a full-service business partner to IP clients the world over. Our experienced paralegals are wonderful ambassadors for the company and play a key role in building relationships with in-house IP teams,” he says.

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Principal and Patent Attorney
+46 733 811517
Principal and Patent Attorney
+46 733 811517