"It feels wonderful to be in a job that understands that employees are people and that allows us to grow and stretch, when able, and go slow and steady, when needed. It makes me feel valued as a person."
Reputation led Cassie to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but what has kept her here for the past nine years is the “unparalleled work-life balance.”
Creating her best path
She explains that a few law school classmates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill worked at the USPTO and raved about what a great place it was to work. After accepting an offer from the USPTO to work as a trademark examining attorney, “the flexibility, ability to do important and impactful work, and the kindness and collegiality of colleagues” convinced her to stay. “It feels wonderful to be in a job that understands that employees are people and that allows us to grow and stretch, when able, and go slow and steady, when needed. It makes me feel valued as a person,” she says.
Cassie focused on intellectual property in law school and initially worked as an entertainment attorney at a top international firm known for this practice area. But her passion for the law and marketing, along with a desire for a more congenial environment, convinced her to transition to trademark law, and specifically to seek out employment at the USPTO. She emphasizes, though, that there is no single ideal career path for trademark examining attorneys, because different offices may be looking for different skill sets. “The best path to take is to learn to do work on your own, how to set and reach your own production goals, how to keep yourself motivated, and how to be a collegial and collaborative colleague,” she asserts.
Finding a perfect fit at the USPTO
This northwest D.C. resident knew from the start that USPTO employment is special; not only can she structure her days to best address her family needs, but she received in-depth training when she first joined the agency. Her experience in the Trademark Academy was “amazing,” she says, adding that, “My law firm experiences had been ‘learn on the fly,’ and it was very stressful! The academy provided a chance to slow down, to focus on learning the skills and getting to know your colleagues and the agency before jumping in. The front-end investment in its examiners is unique to the USPTO, and I believe it pays dividends for everyone.”
A growth mindset
Cassie appreciates investment in employee development, so it’s no surprise that she has mentored three people herself. “I love helping a new hire understand the great place they’ve landed!” she says. As a trademark examining attorney, Cassie examines trademark applications for both legal soundness and administrative compliance, taking time to walk customers through the process. In combination with her current docket, she is also working on a detail authoring senior leader speeches.
Cassie says she intends on remaining at the USPTO long-term: “The work-life balance culture is unrivaled in the legal world, or anywhere else for that matter! I see myself at the USPTO for the remainder of my career, and it’s exciting to know there are different opportunities for growth and change.”