How Lawyers Work: Erik Pelton, Trademark Expert for Small Businesses and Bike Geek

In this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we hear from Erik Pelton®, founder and lead attorney at EMP&A, PLLC in Falls Church, Virginia. Erik started his career as a trademark examiner for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and from there launched his own boutique trademark law practice. Whether it is a solo practitioner or an international corporation, Erik and his team strive to make protecting company brands both easy and affordable. 

You can follow Erik on both LinkedIn and Twitter.

What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?

My bike: I often ride to and from work.
SiriusXM: for my music.
NitroPDF: for creating and managing PDF files for USPTO filings.
FireShot: a browser plug-in for capturing webpages to use as evidence for trademark filings.
“Tracker”: a custom docketing software built for our office. a web tool that I had built that generates automatic daily status change reports for thousands of trademark filings that I am monitoring.
Outlook: because most client interactions after initial call are done via email.

What does your workspace look like?

I own a small office townhouse less than a mile from my home.

How do you keep track of your calendars and deadlines?

I have built my own internal trademark docketing system that monitors deadlines. I also spend time every Monday entering all deadlines generated in the prior week into Outlook tasks as a backup. I also write deadlines of different types in different colors on dry erase calendars covering the next four months in our central office hallway—and this is my most important tool as it allows me to visualize days, weeks, months; big projects and small projects; vacations and travel; and more.

What is one thing that you listen to, read, or watch that everyone should?

Million Dollar Consulting by Alan Weiss. This book features the best resources about charging for value, not for time, that I have ever found. It also provides great tools for marketing and becoming a thought leader. And it is not written by a lawyer or for lawyers, so it is much more enjoyable to read!

What is your favorite local place to network or work solo?

My favorite place to work solo is on my back porch when no one is home, and I can hear the sounds of the neighborhood, enjoy fresh air, and tune out phone calls and emails for some time to get work done. My favorite local place to network is my wife’s restaurant (owned with her brother), Clare and Don’s Beach Shack which is across the street from my office. It has great food, great beverages, a large outdoor patio, and lots of other local business owners and friends around anytime

What are three things you do without fail every day?

Check upcoming deadlines; think about where my next client will come from; read with my kids (recently, the Little House on the Prairie series).

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Jess Birken

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