Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear Reviews | Glassdoor

Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear Reviews

Updated October 20, 2017
69 reviews

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3.6
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Steven Nataupsky
49 Ratings

69 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Paid Time Off supports a work-life balance; flexible work schedule (in 8 reviews)

  • Great benefits, people are freindly (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Conversely, associate billing rates increase every single year, so associates have less and less time to complete particular tasks (in 8 reviews)

  • Padding time happens at every law firm--including Knobbe (I can guarantee it) (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Excellent PTO and Flexibility for Staff Members"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Paid Time Off supports a work-life balance; flexible work schedule

    Cons

    Minimal opportunities for advancement; low-average pay for the IP community


  2. "Docketing Agent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Friendly environment, good working conditions and benefits, good training and development resources

    Cons

    Management could do a better job of equalizing workloads

  3. "Overall a good place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Excellent benefits. They had a lot of staff appreciation days. Whenever there was a meeting it was catered, if you had to work late you could order dinner in as well.

    Cons

    The different departments could be really cliquey. I, personally, felt alienated by my coworkers because no one liked the person I was assisting. When I needed to get coverage for days off, I would have to ask several times before someone would finally agree. It is a litigation law firm, so you are expected to work long hours when needed.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Employees not valued"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    7.5 hour workday with 8.0 hour workday pay

    Cons

    Used to tout themselves as a "lifestyle" firm that cared about it's employees well-being (which includes worklife balance, family obligations, etc.) but are harrassed by admin for the way you use your own accrued PTO time. (its supposedly at your discretion without consequence) Particularly if it's used in small/short increments so you can attend your childs events, doctor appointments, personal appointments or to extend a weekend (usually due to burnout). They want you to use your time in "large chunks". I've heard of employees being told they "took all this time off and have nothing to show for it" when their time was used for children's events or care sick children. It may even end up on your review. But there is nothing in the firm's employee manual stating this is a no-no.

    Advice to Management

    Spend more time acknowledging your employees accomplishments rather than focusing in minor defects or errors. Value your employees by valuing the things that are important to them such as family instead of nit-picking for their use of PTO to attend to family matters.
    Corporate Admin needs to be more proactive in finding out what's really going on in their satellite offices. Especially those that are seemingly "perfect" (San Diego). The employees are quiet for a reason. They are afraid of retaliation because they've seen it happen on numerous occassions. Try implementing a truly anonymous written (non-computer generated) employee satisfaction survey that asks the pertinent questions about how they feel as an employee working in that office and what can be improved. you might be surprised.


  5. "Great Job."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Attorney in Irvine, CA
    Current Employee - Associate Attorney in Irvine, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Billable hours are lower than all other big law firms.

    Cons

    Nothing to say yet about cons.

    Advice to Management

    Nothing to say yet about this.


  6. "Working at Knobbe"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Intelligent, nice people, interesting work

    Cons

    Not a lifestyle firm, not for slackers


  7. "Intellectual Property Clerk"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Everyone at the firm is collegial whether it be an IP Assistant or Partner.

    Cons

    None that I could think of other than the fact that I left for better pay.

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Patent Prosecution"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    1) There are some very knowledgeable, top-notch patent prosecutors here who are unafraid to experiment and try new things. Their findings are added to the wealth of institutional knowledge at the firm.

    2) The prosecution work here can be a lot more varied than the work at other firms. You’ll do more than just draft applications and office action responses every single day.

    3) The huge burdens placed on associates quickly results in them out-pacing their peers at other firms in terms of experience and knowledge.

    4) It appears other prosecution firms know this and love poaching Knobbe prosecution associates. This does not seem to also apply to in-house opportunities.

    Cons

    1) The industry-wide cost of preparing a patent application has not increased in over a decade. In many cases, the fees for patent prosecution have gone down due to increased competition and the undercutting of billing rates.

    2) The billed system burdens associates instead of partners, who often accept low-budget work (that other firms would at least reconsider) in order to receive origination credit. High billing rates and low prosecution budgets lead to a lot of cut time for associates.

    3) The low budgets would be serviceable if the firm would adopt the perspective that patent prosecution inherently involves a lot of high-volume, low-margin work and set rates accordingly.

    4) Instead, the firm has repeatedly raised billing rates, but the rate increases are not consistent across the board and are the greatest (percentage-wise) for associates.

    5) Under the billed system, a 20% increase in billing rate can equate to a de facto 20% increase in the hours that the associate needs to work despite the stated 1750.

    6) When all is said and done, 1750 billed could be the equivalent of about 2000-2400 billable.

    7) It is also difficult for associates to obtain litigation work (e.g., to make it easier to hit hours), with rare exceptions.

    8) Associates also routinely do a lot of non-billable work that has no effect on the 1750 billed quota.

    9) The firm is unwilling to spend on technology, even if it would increase productivity. Everyone is still using archaic monitors, even though 27”+ widescreen monitors are quite cheap and partners continue to tout that profits-per-share are at all-time highs.

    10) Many other firms manage to pay their associates more while somehow charging lower billing rates. Even assuming an associate makes partner at Knobbe, the associate would need to have spent over a decade at the firm to catch up in equity against an associate that took a more-typical route in BigLaw (e.g., wash out after 5 years and go in-house).

    11) There is an industry trend towards embracing the commodity-like nature of patent prosecution work and remote work firms are quickly becoming the norm. A non-trivial source of competition in the future will be the BigLaw-trained solo practitioners working out of their garages and delivering work product of comparable quality – all while working less and making more.

    12) If you have a competing offer from a more traditional, white-shoe general practice firm I would recommend taking that instead. You’ll enjoy more transparency and will still have the opportunity to lateral to Knobbe later on if desired.

    Advice to Management

    It is almost predatory to be selling young attorneys (who don't know any better) on a 1750 billed system without divulging budgets and billing rates. That kind of obfuscation is not much different from lenders advertising low teaser rates while packing the loan term with hidden fees, balloon payments, and cross-collateralization clauses.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Attorney"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    good for staff positions, very balanced on work life for staff. Good benefits and work life balance when you first start out as an attorney.

    Cons

    It is commonly said that there is not a glass ceiling here ... it's concrete. This firm has brutal, brutal partner reviews where you go in front of all of the partners for an oral review (in one room) once a year where they can publicly rip on you. Sitting outside waiting for your review is like sitting in a funeral parlor. I have never seen anything so inhumane. The stress levels get so high right before reviews, which is during the holiday season, it is unbelievable. Additionally, while they have good benefits to attract junior female attorneys, they typically hire male Mormons out of proportion to the population. The males receive much better coaching and training in developing a book of business. The females are promoted, but because they were not developed in the same manner, by the time they get to be senior attorneys, or partners, they start lagging behind. There are VERY few women who retire from the firm as partners (can count on one hand), and the ones that do get to senior levels spend years in angst about whether they are about to get cut before they retire. They keep raising the partner's rates beyond their ability to keep up so that they can cut them. There are no levels at which someone can just pause and hold their rate and book of business in balance. Because of the deficit in sharing business with female partners as opposed to the favored males they must use their quota credits to keep afloat rather than taking time off from work, further increasing the stress load.

    Advice to Management

    REVISE your inhumane and psychologically unbalanced review procedure. Pay more attention to what it takes to retain senior female partners through their entire career.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Overall a Great Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The firm really touts the importance of a healthy work-life balance. We receive tons of perks, social events and freebies.

    Cons

    Internal management needs some work and often operates with a small business mindset. There's no true HR and issues often get swept under the rug.

    Advice to Management

    Please apply rules and policies fairly and justly across the board. Even to those who have seniority.


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