Most lawyers don’t take a bar exam nearly two decades after they’re first admitted to practice. But that’s what patent attorney Brian Lefort had to do in order to get admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales. Having a license to practice there benefits his clients because for many of them, it’s a large market for their products outside the U.S. But while the benefit is easy to understand, the process of getting admitted in the U.K. was anything but. Lefort had to spread the process of studying and taking the exams over a few years, since he was working at the same time.
“I really wasn’t around a whole lot,” said Lefort, a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels. In addition to his admission as a solicitor, he’s also admitted to practice in the European Patent Office, which means he can get patents for clients in both regions. “I was spending my nights staying late, working at the office studying.” He motioned to several file boxes in the corner of his office, saying, “I had a stack of boxes at least that size full of paper and binders and things that I would work on.”