ExxonMobil IP chief explores role of in-house counsel

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– Richard F. Phillips, chief Intellectual Property counsel for ExxonMobil Chemical Co

Oct. 25, 2011 Richard F. Phillips, chief Intellectual Property counsel for ExxonMobil Chemical Co., outlined the ever-changing role of an in-house lawyer and told more than 40 Law Center students that the key to a successful career is mastering the ability to spot an issue and then applying rapidly evolving law.

“The responsibilities of an in-house attorney are always changing,” Phillips said during a Monday evening presentation hosted by the Intellectual Property Student Organization. “Laws evolve especially in intellectual property, but the issues remain the same. I have found that the most valuable thing for young lawyers to possess is an ability to spot the issue. Master that and you all will have a long career.”

Pairing his B.S. in Nuclear Engineering with his J.D., Phillips joined ExxonMobil in 1982. He has been chief attorney in some capacity for the company for more than 12 years. “Careers are a winding path,” Phillips said. “I encourage you to take risks and find what best suits you. It may take some exploring to find your niche.” He is also a member of the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation Board of Directors.

The visit was part of a series hosted by IPSO. On Thursday, Oct. 27 the organization is hosting “Fine Arts and Copyright: Paul Morico from Baker Botts” at noon in BLB 209. Other scheduled events include: “Bio - patents and Gene Patents” featuring University of Houston Law Center Associate Professor Greg Vetter on Nov. 3 at noon in BLB 240; and “A Day in the Life of a Partner” with UHLC alumnus Russ Chorush from Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP on Nov. 15 at noon in BLB 209.

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