Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear Reviews | Glassdoor

Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear Reviews

Updated March 15, 2017
63 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.4
Star Star Star Star Star
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Steven Nataupsky
45 Ratings

63 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work/Life balance is also great (in 7 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)

  • The annual quota is 1750 hours, but again these are BILLED hours, not BILLABLE hours (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Opportunities for moving up are favorable"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant in Irvine, CA
    Former Employee - Assistant in Irvine, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good perks, management treats staff well, loved my department and we worked cohesively with each other, lots of independence and freedom to do my job and make improvements, lots of moving up which shows a good deal of loyalty, great pay for part-time employees.

    Cons

    Operates like a "big-law" firm, clique-y office environment (but pretty standard for big offices)

    Advice to Management

    Did not get to interact with upper management much during my time there


  2. "Ups and Downs but overall a great place to work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Staff in Irvine, CA
    Former Employee - Staff in Irvine, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear (More than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly staff and attorneys. Great benefits. Fun firm-wide functions. I loved waking up to go to work.

    Cons

    Sometimes, management didn't listen to suggestions from staff.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your staff. This is a fantastic firm to work for.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Best Company (Firm) to work for"

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

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

    Pros

    They treat their staff and assistants very well! It is not all about the attorneys, like many firms. They give great benefits, and they have "Staff Appreciation Week", they have many socials many times a year where they give out gift cards and food, they have a Christmas party (casual, during work time...but some company's do not even do that). Most of all, when they win a case, the Managing Partner will take notice and send e-mail to firm notifying them of ALL (attorneys to assistants) who won that case!

    Cons

    For staff, not much room for growth.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great work environment, not great if you're looking for professional growth."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Clerk in Irvine, CA
    Current Employee - Clerk in Irvine, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The company makes a point of investing in their employees, with lunches, parties, casual days, craft fairs, and gift cards. They offer competitive salaries and, if you get a favorable review, you get a decent raise each year. The attorneys, for the most part are very nice and respectful.

    Cons

    There isn't much of an opportunity for professional development. Most of the people in higher positions stay for 10+ years and those who wish to move up are stuck in the same position. Your job duties never change, and with IP always developing and changing, you lose touch with the industry and field because you have little chance to move up and are pigeon-holed.


  5. "IP Assistant"

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

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good people, good benefits, great place to work, competitive, independent workload, diversity, loyal and understanding of employees needs

    Cons

    It has grown to be such a large firm that it often times feels like you are a small fish in a big pond.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Really great place to work!"

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

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

    Pros

    Great benefits, great work environment. The company gives out gift cards/gifts and puts on special events a few times per year.

    Cons

    Employee pay/raises should be based on ability and contribution to the company instead of tenure at the company. Lesser employees are paid higher wages than more capable employees simply because they have worked at the company longer.

    Advice to Management

    Perhaps be a little more flexible and allow an extra position or two to be filled to reduce overall workload on the departments.


  7. Helpful (15)

    "A Tale of Two Practice Groups: One Great, One Miserable"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Knobbe's two main practice groups, patent prosecution and litigation, are essentially two separate firms that just share some resources.

    Knobbe is a fantastic place to do patent prosecution. As an associate, you will have opportunities to be work with talented and caring partners on a wide array of technologies. You will receive great training and have a realistic chance of making partner and having a great career here. When you hear senior partners talk about Knobbe's special culture, this is the group they are talking about.

    Patent litigation here is largely miserable for associates. But if you are one of the fortunate few who makes it to partner, life can be great (see Cons section for the reasons why you probably will not make partner). You have a 1750 billable hour requirement and no business development obligations. Cases are often staffed only with partners and associates are brought in as an as-needed basis to do the work that partners do not want to do (e.g., doc review, routine legal research, etc.) There is no pressure to push down work, so meeting the billable hour requirement is easy as long as there is enough work.

    Cons

    As a prosecutor, the biggest con is the "billed hours" system. Most prosecution work is done on tight budgets. It has become increasingly difficult to meet these budgets at our billing rates because our rates have gone up (to accommodate the litigators) while the budgets have stayed flat. That means you will need to self-cut a lot of your time and that partners will also likely cut off more of your time. Plan on working about 2000-2100 "billable" hours in order to reach the 1750 "billed" hours quota.

    Litigation here is miserable for the majority of associates. The litigation group is like a country club. Eligibility is largely restricted to white people. But even if you are white, you still need existing partners to like you enough to give you work, and there is only enough substantive work for 1-2 associates per class year, even though at least a dozen new attorneys join the firm each year hoping to be a litigator. It is pretty much just a popularity contest. You also have to be in the OC office. It's unfortunate that the 1st chair lawyers at the firm, who are not involved with staffing cases, don't see what is going on. These people are part of the "Old Knobbe" group that would probably make some changes if they knew what was happening.

    If you aren't a part of the club, forget about it. Associates switch to prosecution, leave on their own, or are asked to leave. The non-favored associates largely just do document review and legal research on cases. No true litigation skills are developed. When these associates leave, the partners just tell themselves that the attorneys were no good anyway or were just chasing money at larger firms.

    If you read some of the older reviews on Glassdoor about Knobbe, you'll see that these issues have existed for a long time.

    Advice to Management

    From my view near the bottom of the firm, it's unclear if management really cares about the concerns detailed in this review. Profits are high and the partnership seems happy.

    But if management actually wants to grow and diversify its litigation group, it needs to start making mid-level and junior litigation partners start doing more business development, pushing down work, and training a broader group of associates. They cannot just rely solely on the most senior litigators and prosecution group to bring in business. Under the current system, there just isn't enough work to go around which creates the country club-type system.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Great company, many benefits"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IP Assistant Clerk in Irvine, CA
    Current Employee - IP Assistant Clerk in Irvine, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    There are a lot of staff appreciation events, and everyone feels like a family in the office. It's a big office, but everyone gets to know each other really well.

    Cons

    The office is really structured, there is a strict dress code, but we do have casual jean Fridays. Some people cause drama but otherwise a great office.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "From a Staff Person's Perspective (Not Attorney)"

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

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits that include enough PTO days to help you keep good work-life balance. Most of the staff supervisors are family people. So they are understanding and accomodating in that regards. They're supportive of your growth if you express a desire to grow in the company, which can include tuition assistance for classes in your area of work.
    They try to continue to show appreciation to their staff with social events, random gifts, holiday gifts, and such. It's a fairly friendly environment, but just as any job/company, there's always those few that try to ruin it for you, but at least enough friendlies here to outshine those few.

    Cons

    As the company gets larger, it gets easier to feel lost in the mix, like you're just another unrecognized employee, but that just goes with companies getting larger. What makes it hard though is that more and more attorneys come off as unapproachable. They're rather intimidating, which is unfortunate because they're the ones we're working for.


  10. Helpful (11)

    "The reality is..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff in Irvine, CA
    Current Employee - Staff in Irvine, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are good.
    Double flat screen monitors are nice.
    Air conditioner in the summer is wonderful.
    Great ergo office equipment and chairs.
    Conference rooms are upgraded with new technology.

    Cons

    Management is spread too thin.

    Advice to Management

    Recognize the firm is a large law firm. Stop trying to brainwash employees into thinking the firm functions with small firm ideologies. There are some wonderful qualities associated with being a large law firm...and yes, this may mean you may have to spend more money to equip your departments with adequate staffing. Recall that your marketing department was composed of one person running it (with a child development degree- 2005). However, you finally gave your Marketing department the attention they needed and you staffed your Marketing department
    with over 6 qualified people- and growing.

     My advice is to recognize you're a large law firm and give each department within the firm the same attention and dedication you did with your Marketing department...especially to the profit making departments.


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