Linda K. Stevens is an intellectual property litigator and counselor at Schiff Hardin. She has extensive experience in resolving – both inside and outside of the courtroom – intellectual property and other commercial disputes.
What do you find the most interesting about your practice?
While I try all kinds of commercial disputes, I have handled a large number of employee raiding and departing employee matters involving trade secrets, non-competes and non-disclosure covenants. These cases are always interesting, as they often involve allegations that information has been taken, usually via e-mail or the copying of electronic files. The computer forensics and e-discovery issues are fun. These cases are usually on a fast track, involving a motion for a TRO and/or preliminary injunction, and expedited discovery. So you’ll get an entire trial’s worth of work condensed into a few weeks or months. The pace is fast, but these cases are never dull. If commercial litigation can be compared to trench warfare, this type of case is like the shoot-out at the OK corral.
What makes a good lawyer?
Listening to the client and hearing what the client’s goals are — both the goals for the litigation and its broader business interests and goals. And understanding how each “battle” fits into the larger litigation picture. Sometimes a compromise regarding one small battle helps you win the war.
What is the biggest legal news right now, and what is its impact?
The economy, and its impact on the demand for, and provision of, legal services. Clients want to reduce their legal spend, and they want more certainty regarding their legal costs. Firms’ ability and willingness to help their clients accomplish their goals and at the same time find a way to reduce legal costs will dictate which firms do well in this economy and which firms falter.