Law360 featured partner and tech sector leader Annette Hurst in this in-depth interview, in which she discussed the firm’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, the unique challenges for an IP trial lawyer in the current environment and her personal approach to using tech to help her navigate the new normal – including capitalizing on her passion for gaming and Virtual Reality technology.
In the “Trial Recess” interview, Annette told the publication how she’s used her knowledge of tech and science to guide Orrick’s Covid-19 task force since the early days of the pandemic. She also pointed out that tech and telecommunications industry clients were at the forefront of collaborating on solutions to new problems.
“The very first Bay Area closure order, I got pinged within moments by a client saying, "What does this mean for us?" Annette said. “As an IP lawyer especially, I think we're very well suited to fill those roles in the firm, and help the lawyers in the rest of the firm be able to deliver a great deal of value to our clients.”
Annette, who has handled an array of high-profile IP cases, including representing Oracle in its copyright fight against Google and Williams-Sonoma in a trademark showdown with a Multinational Tech Company (U.S.), also described the many challenges of litigating remotely. She noted that the difficulty of conducting jury trials is likely to result in greater reliance on arbitration. “Clients still have important matters that they need to have resolved,” Annette told Law360. “A lot of matters (were) settled before the pandemic and a lot of matters are still being settled during the pandemic. But that's still going to leave some number of cases where parties simply cannot resolve their differences on their own, and they need a third-party decision maker.”
In the interview, Annette also revealed that her involvement in VR has paid off from a personal standpoint, recounting the VR birthday party she hosted for 50 people. “I use a lot of the cutting-edge technology in my own life. I've always been a gamer and I have a [virtual reality] headset, and that has been one of my real escapes during the pandemic, it's been a lot of fun to use,” she said. “I think that’s actually one of the things that has helped keep me sane these last few months.”