Patent Practitioners Find Work-Life Balance at HFZ

golf ball with hanley flight & zimmerman logo with text that states work life balance is essential

Hanley Flight & Zimmerman is fortunate to work with the best. To do that, the firm was intentionally structured to give its employees time to recharge from the significant work they perform for clients and create space for personal and family obligations.

Brandon Dube, a patent attorney who prepares and prosecutes U.S. and foreign patent applications in the mechanical and electro-mechanical arts, recently discussed how he finds work-life balance at HFZ.

The main way is through planning and scheduling. In addition to having the flexibility to work remotely at home or in the office, practitioners at HFZ — patent agents, engineers and attorneys — can handle matters at their own pace as long as deadlines are met. Deadlines are usually set out months in advance, giving practitioners ample time to manage their schedules.

“As long as a practitioner meets their deadlines, they can easily make time for their families and interests outside of work,” Brandon said.

In his case, Brandon is an avid golfer and wants to get on the golf course as much as possible during the summer.

“When the weather gets warmer, I’ll often take advantage of my flexible workload by starting my day a couple of hours sooner so that I can wrap up earlier in the afternoon to golf,” he said.

Most of HFZ’s clients also maintain traditional work hours, so urgent matters such as client calls or emails outside of normal working hours are rare. There is also a good mix of collaboration between the practitioner and overseeing managing partner, as well as strategy calls with the client, so that expectations are set and understood in advance of deadlines. HFZ also evaluates workload distribution across the firm, a team-based approach that not only reduces strain on employees but results in a superior work product for the client.

Also, for attorneys, HFZ’s yearly hourly requirement is easily attainable through a normal work schedule. Brandon also says the firm’s founders lead by example in taking time from work for their families, travel, and hobbies.

“From my experience, the typical practitioner at HFZ can maintain traditional workday hours with few late-night emails or weekends in the office. It is rare that a practitioner would ever have to delay a life event because of work,” Brandon said.

While HFZ employees can find flexibility in their schedules, it doesn’t reduce work quality. HFZ represents six of the Top 25 U.S. companies who earned the most granted patents from the USPTO in 2022 and was recently ranked as one of the top five large law firms in the country for patent quality by Patent Bots.

While at work in the office, HFZ employees can take advantage of a company-paid membership at an on-site gym that also offers amenities such as fitness classes. On special occasions, lunch is catered to the office in the HFZ Cafe, which doubles as a communal gathering space. HFZ also routinely plans social outings such as bowling, Top Golf, baseball games, and river boat tours.

While HFZ is flexible with remote work, the firm continues to prioritize a modern and comfortable office space for in-person work. The firm is planning to move into a new space at 10 S. Wacker this year that will provide even better views of the city.