Myers Bigel, the largest independent patent law firm in the Carolinas, is celebrating the impressive career of co-founder Mitch Bigel as the respected legal professional prepares to leave active practice at the end of 2017.
During his tenure, the firm has grown from 160 clients in its first six months of operation to serving more than 1,500 clients over the last 20 years.
“It’s hard to come up with anything Mitch hasn’t been involved in here. The firm is as much his vision as anything,” current Managing Partner Jim Cannon said.
“Not only is he a really capable patent attorney and client manager with electronics, software and communications technologies, but Mitch is also good at seeing how organizations should work, and how a successful firm should be structured so you have the people you need with the skills they need to provide quality service to your clients,” he added.
According to Mitch Bigel, he started the firm in the model of a patent boutique. It has continued to operate as a non-leveraged law firm where experienced partners as well as newer members of the legal team work with directly with clients writing patents within a structure where attorneys manage themselves to do the right things.
“We’ve got a great group of people now, everyone’s working in the same direction — it’s a very cohesive group,” Bigel said, adding, “I feel like what we did 20 years ago has stood the test of time.”
Bigel began practicing patent law in 1982, serving as a patent agent, corporate patent attorney and intellectual property law counsel for IBM Corporation. He received his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering Degree, cum laude, from City College of New York and his Juris Doctor Degree, with high honors, from the National Law Center, George Washington University.
Bigel’s legal experience has included membership in the North Carolina, New York, and District of Columbia Bar Associations; practicing before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; President of the Carolina Patent Trademark & Copyright Law Association; Chair of the Economics Committee of the American Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law section; and Chair of the Law Practice Management Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. His reputation has been proven in the quality of the patents he has written, in addition to being recognized by peers and legal industry leaders via numerous awards and accolades throughout the years including:
– Senior Statesman by Chambers and Partners in 2017
– 2016 Top Rated Lawyer in Intellectual Property Law by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell™
– The Best Lawyers in America® (2007-2017)
– Best Lawyers® 2011 Intellectual Property Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Raleigh, 2012 Litigation Intellectual Property Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Raleigh, and 2015 Patent Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Raleigh
– IAM Patent 1000-The World’s Leading Patent Professionals (2013-2015)
– Super Lawyers (2006-2013)
– Martindale-Hubbel® AV Preeminent Rating (2003-2014)
– America’s Top Patent Prosecutors (2012)
– Business North Carolina Magazine’s #1 patent and intellectual property lawyer in North Carolina in 2002 and 2003, based on a poll of North Carolina lawyers
– Business North Carolina Magazine’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame
Throughout his 20 years with the firm, Bigel has many accomplishments to point to, with the ones closest to his heart being the strong client patent portfolios that Myers Bigel has helped to grow. “When we first started working with Samsung they weren’t the major power in the world of consumer electronics and were new to patent system in the U.S. We played a part in them becoming a world class company — that’s something that makes me proud. I would say the same thing about Cree: they were much smaller, the LED revolution had not happened, and we did some of the early patents that were cornerstones of their patent assets,” he explained.
The decision to retire at age 64 sits well with Bigel, who plans to move with his wife up to Washington, D.C. to live near their daughter. “I’m just ready. I feel like I wanted to go out at the top of my game; fortunately I’m still healthy and happy, having recently celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary which is my greatest accomplishment,” he said.
As Bigel moves into retirement, the transition of client accounts and other responsibilities has been seamless, Jim Cannon said, with the co-founder’s influence continuing to guide the firm.
“We’re going to keep going in the direction Mitch pointed us from the start, with the hallmarks of the firm being high quality work, really good client service, and doing it here in a place that is hotbed of technology. If we do good work, and produce quality patents in a timely manner, more work will continue to come,” he said.
“I admire him the most for his work as Managing Partner. Every action he took every policy he put in place or encouraged was in the best interests of the firm and not his best interest. He did a lot of selfless things — he could’ve organized the firm differently to benefit him more but he didn’t. The structure of the firm, the location of our building and the layout of our offices, attorney/client responsibilities, training, all those things he did in a way that put the firm first,” Cannon said, adding, “It’s a great ideal to have, but it’s not easy to do, yet Mitch did it.”