@22Twts Interview With @ErikJHeels

Today, we’re tweeting with @erikjheels: lawyer, electrical engineer, columnist, Red Sox fan, former Air Force Captain and more.

By Lance Godard

First published 5/14/2009; 22tweets.com; publisher: 22 Tweets.

Erik J. Heels.

Trademark, domain name, patent lawyer and more.

Founder, Clock Tower Law Group.

Avid blogger.

MIT Engineer.

Today, we’re tweeting with @erikjheels: lawyer, electrical engineer, columnist, Red Sox fan, former Air Force Captain and more .

  1. @Erikjheels, thank you for joining us today on 22 Tweets. Tell us: who is @Erikjheels?

    Trademark, domain name, and patent lawyer; MIT ’88. Red Sox fan, music lover, author. See http://www.erikjheels.com for details.

  2. Tell us about your law practice.

    @ClockTowerLaw helps startups acquire and defend US and foreign trademarks, domain names, and patents. This is our 9th year.

  3. What type of startups do you represent?

    @ClockTowerLaw‘s clients are mostly high-tech startups, and 3 clients have been acquired by public companies, which is nice.

  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting your clients?

    #Twittersquatting, the equivalent of cybersquatting. Trademarks are being hijacked on Twitter and other social networks.

  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?

    There are good and bad lawyers at big and small law firms. We like to think we’re good lawyers at a small law firm.

  6. Your track record supports that statement…. What was the most significant client representation you’ve had?

    All clients are significant. But http://RightMedia.com was acquired by @Yahoo, http://Inceptor.com by http://Verizon.com.

  7. Agreed. Why do your clients hire you?

    Because we understand how IP works in the real world. We understand entrepreneurs because we’ve started our own companies.

  8. Hard to argue w/ that! How are you and your firm responding to financial difficulties your clients may be experiencing?

    Our established clients are doing fine in this recession. For new clients, we offer http://www.freetrademarksforstartups.com.

  9. How did your life as an engineer prepare you to help clients as a patent / trademark attorney?

    Like other @MIT_alumni, I learned how to break complex problems into smaller solvable ones. IP law is a lot like engineering.

  10. That’s an interesting perspective. What led you to found your own law firm, @ClockTowerLaw, in 2001?

    I was fortunate to be able to ride out Web 1.0. When that wave crashed (or bubble burst), I decided to be a full time lawyer.

  11. Your resume reads like an adventure novel. What’s the next big adventure you’re planning?

    Most technology that is foisted on lawyers sucks. I’m going to spin out a software project or two to try to fix that.

  12. Look forward to hearing more about that. How do you market your practice?

    I believe in a balanced marketing portfolio. A little bit of everything. Twitter is hot now, but it’s not the be-all end-all.

  13. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?

    I get up at 5:30am each day to do stuff like this Twitter interview. Probably an hour per day before I get to the office.

  14. Time well spent…. You’ve been blogging since 1987 (not a typo) at http://bit.ly/oNAlP. What keeps you going?

    I do add legacy stuff to my blog, hence the 1966-present copyright notice. I enjoy writing, so blogging is a good fit for me.

  15. You’re clearly actively engaged in social media. Who should read your blog / follow your tweets / subscribe to your feed?

    I don’t really care who reads my blog or tweets. I write for my own edification. If others benefit from it, that’s gravy.

  16. Beyond general branding, what’s been the impact of your social media activities on your law practice?

    Since launching http://www.freetrademarksforstartups.com via Twitter in 11/2008, we’ve been adding one new client per week.

  17. Wow. That is impressive. Let’s switch gears: what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?

    Learning to speak Plain English. The @creativecommons copyright licenses are a good example of anti-legalese legal writing.

  18. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?

    Smaller firms in the AmLaw 100. More focus on international issues such as PCT for patents, Madrid Protocol for trademarks.

  19. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?

    I’d teach startups to grow by using balanced marketing portfolios. In my spare time, I’d be rocking with http://www.mcatsband.org.

  20. Looks like you’re doing some of that already! How do you want to be remembered?

    @ErikJHeels was a good friend.

  21. Other than rockin’ with the MCats band, what do you do when you’re not working?

    Hacking with computers, writing, baseball, and seeking the perfect Hammond B-3 sound on my keyboard.

  22. Last question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?

    Be yourself. That’s what my mentor (Tom Bohan of http://mtcforensics.com) told me. Be yourself, and you’ll be fine.

That’s great advice. Thank you very much for answering our questions today; this was a great twitterview.

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This is a transcript of an interview of @ErikJHeels by @22twts that took place on Twitter on 05/14/09. Reprinted by permission of both parties. Erik J. Heels is not a new media guru. Neither are you. On Twitter he is @ErikJHeels.

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