Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear Reviews

Updated Apr 10, 2020

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3.5
80%
Recommend to a Friend
79%
Approve of CEO
Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear Managing Partner Steven Nataupsky (no image)
Steven Nataupsky
52 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Conversely, associate billing rates increase every single year, so associates have less and less time to complete particular tasks(in 9 reviews)

  • "The annual quota is 1750 hours, but again these are BILLED hours, not BILLABLE hours(in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Great Summer Associate Experience"

    5.0
    Former Employee - Summer Associate in Irvine, CA
    Recommends

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Social events with associates and partners

    Cons

    None, overall great experience. Returning for my 2L summer.

    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2020-03-11
  2. Helpful (1)

    "Unprofessional staff and lack of confidentiality is rife in SD Office"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     in San Diego, CA
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear

    Pros

    Great benefits and staff gifting! They’ll hand out gift cards often and offer awesome PTO! On your 10th year and every 5th year thereafter they give out a $8k bonus. The Attorneys are great to work with and the Partners are respectful. Staff have plenty of downtime to socialize and work is quickly redistributed for anyone who finds they fall behind, ensuring no one is overburdened.

    Cons

    IP Assistants are famous for being unprofessional and disrespectful to one another and even their Attorneys, creating a very unpleasant working environment and there is no confidentiality! Your professional and personal business is openly discussed by the two Receptionists, Mailroom, IT and facilities staff in open offices and reception areas for everyone to overhear. There are few opportunities to move up, so your only option if you want to progress is to leave! The management themselves tend to be unethical and will take care of their own. They are aware of some serious issues going on, but prefer to take a “wait and see attitude”. You are in your own if you are having problems with harassment and staff disputes. I agree with reviewers who say the Firms best reviews are based on historical events that no longer apply.

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    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2020-01-22
  3. Helpful (1)

    "great"

    5.0
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Former Employee - Clerk 

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    awesome, great donuts, superb bagels

    Cons

    none, zilch, great place, much fab

    Continue reading
    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2019-11-08
  4. "Good place to work"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant 

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits

    Cons

    Might have to deal with some...not so friendly people, but that's everywhere you go.

    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2019-09-16
  5. "Generally a good firm"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Irvine, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    There are some very skilled and talented people at Knobbe. Strong emphasis on educating and sharing knowledge.

    Cons

    Do not expect a performance-based bonus.

    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2019-07-26
  6. Helpful (11)

    "Prosecution Recruits Beware"

    1.0
    Former Employee - Associate 
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Shorter and more guaranteed partnership track (traditionally) relative to other large firms. Due to the fact everyone has STEM degrees (except trademark attorneys), the firm has a better culture than most biglaw firms (IMHO). Good docketing system and macros. A number of educational lunches on patent prosecution/litigation strategies and changes in IP law.

    Cons

    Glassdoor reviews describing the horrorshow of Knobbe’s billed system have nearly beaten the horse to death, so I will render the coup de grace succinctly. Once upon a time, biglaw firms were relatively uninterested in patents, client budgets for patent applications and prosecution thereof were high relative to billing rates, and the life of a Knobbe associate was a merry one. Fast forward to the present. Billing rates have gone up to those of some biglaw firms (or even higher). Client budgets have largely remained the same – or in some cases, have gone down, as prosecution became commoditized. Biglaw is now gobbling up the best clients. And yet the billed system, that charming relic of a bygone era, remains. And firm continues to market itself as a lifestyle firm with a quota requirement of only 1750 (hours BILLED to the clients, not the billable hours you work and record). To be fair, it is a lifestyle firm for some in litigation who are the “chosen ones” and fed enough, as most of their work is billed out and there is no real distinction between billed and billable systems. There are also some fortunate prosecution associates with good clients (read: you can *gasp* bill out all your work), particularly those working on less technically difficult inventions. The remaining are left languishing within a system Kafka would find too absurd or ghastly to make a setting in of one of his stories. Tasked with plenty of high-volume low-budget work in a billed system is akin to quenching your thirst on a desert island by drinking seawater – not a pleasant or sustainable endeavor, and altogether infuriating when watching more fortunate colleagues inexplicably served margaritas feet away. Moreover, there is a disconnect (and an ignorance of such as disconnect) between the technical difficulty of the invention and the budget, which leads to a baffling treatment of technically advanced associates that is not congruent with other firms (e.g., my prior firm provided special bonuses for Ph.D. attorneys). I will not belabor all the unhappy dimensions of the Knobbe billed system and the perverse incentives it engenders (scroll down to the other attorney reviews for that) but will touch on one amusing aspect I did not see noted. The more honest partners will note the impossibility of meeting client/partner expectations with the quoted budget but will cheerfully note that work that can be (more fully) billed will eventually spring forth from this dung fertilizer assignment. Now - ignore the absurdity of associates performing free substantive work as business development - and note that in these circumstances such future lucrative work is likely dealwork or litigation – which, alas, our poor prosecution associate can find himself excluded from. The denialism of the firm regarding this archaic model borders on the delusional, in spite of the tremendous attrition of associates (just read the recent Law360 article for “The Firms that Lost the Most Attorneys in 2018) and visit Knobbe website and derive the pathetic upside-down Partner:Associate ratio yourself). My fellow associates who make above quota have their own complaints. One told me a “bonus” of $100 per hour over the billed quota when the pay was way below the market is a joke. While the compensation is initially similar to other biglaw firms, the base salary does not increase yearly at a similar rate, nor do associates receive yearly bonuses (except for the discretionary $300(!) Christmas bonus). Thus, pay differential relative to your biglaw colleagues becomes quite vast once you are several years in. Fortunately, prosecution associates can lateral to biglaw relatively easily so far due to volume of work product generated and Knobbe’s reputation as a prosecution shop (the same cannot be said of litigation associates, at least without dropping one or more class years, due to their insufficient training).

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    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2019-06-20
  7. "Lots of work. Lots of work."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Irvine, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The people were really great.

    Cons

    The work was not great.

    Continue reading
    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2019-03-01
  8. "IP Assistant"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Benefits and easy to take time off

    Cons

    Right now there are a lot of changes makes staff feel uneast

    Continue reading
    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2018-12-17
  9. "Decent place to work"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant 
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great benefits 7.5 hr work day Abundant PTO and care time Endless resources

    Cons

    Impersonal office environment People don't really talk too much to each other unless you've been there from the beginning.. so it makes for uninteresting work days. Workloads are distributed unevenly. Some people are extremely busy while others are able to slack off on regular basis.

    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2018-08-14
  10. Helpful (21)

    "Doesn't Have What Other Firms are Offering"

    1.0
    Former Employee - Associate 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Good industry reputation (although largely based on the past).

    Cons

    It’s really crazy that the Kool Aid around this place is that they fixed biglaw. It is a sort of communism fixed capitalism situation. I went into traditional biglaw from this place and it could not feel any better. The quirks of this place really hold them down in my opinion. For example, making people partner after their 6th year sounds great, but making a bunch of people partner who have no work and have never shown they can bring in work is not smart. You end up with a bunch of “partners” doing Office Actions themselves. Billed hours are another example. It is routine at this place for partners to get clients by promising ridiculously low budgets and then cutting the associate’s time. Since an associate only gets credited for “billed” hours they end taking the burden from the partner taking low budget work. The compensation issue is also huge. Sure, they tell you they are only 10k below market. But that is only base salary for the first year. As the years go on the gap gets much bigger, add in Cravath bonuses and a few years down the line you are about 100k behind. Oh, but you are sticking around to make partner? Guess what, a starting partner is making MUCH less than a senior associate at a Cravath scale firm. For whatever reason, Knobbe doesn’t have the high quality work anymore. If having a constant stream of work and getting credit for all your time is what you expect from a firm, then steer clear of Knobbe.

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    Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear2018-07-01
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