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Meet Our Talent

Brad Riel

Computer/EE Technology Specialist

“After three years with the Firm, I can say it was never boring. There was always a new and exciting challenge waiting for a solution. The Firm's solutions work, accomplish results and represent the highest of industry standards. I had the chance to develop and grow as a result of the patenting work that I handled which had a truly global impact.”

What did you like most about working in Osaka?

The Denki (i.e., EE) team had a really good team spirit and it was easy to get along with my colleagues. All of the international staff members are in similar situations when starting at SY, so there is very little pretentiousness amongst the co-workers. Colleagues usually come from a wide range of countries, so it is a great opportunity to meet and make like-minded friends across the globe. The local staff and professionals are also very thoughtful, fun, and friendly, which results in life-long friendships and frequent returns to Japan.

What sort of work did you get and was it challenging?

My days were fast-paced and I had numerous deadlines to meet. The type of work and level of responsibility transitioned and grew over time. On first arrival, we went through a training program which introduced us to US and international patent law fundamentals. Following the formal training, most training was on-the-job, with additional learning materials being available in the Firm library and the online knowledge management database and share folders.

Specific tasks often included reviewing patent applications that were rejected by the Japan Patent Office and developing a strategy to get them allowed. Such review and strategy preparation was originally overseen by senior colleagues and one of the patent attorneys. As time passed and I deepened my understanding of Japanese patent law, oversight was reduced until eventually I was overseeing and mentoring several junior members. My mentees include fresh entry level graduates, just like me when I first started. Other tasks included things such as preparing patent applications, preparing non-infringement analysis, preparing freedom-to-operate opinions, and the like.

What has been your fondest experience in Japan?

Sightseeing around the country. While Osaka itself is not well-known for its sightseeing hotspots, it is uniquely situated to provide easy access to all of the great spots, including Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Tokyo, and Hiroshima.

How did you cope with the stresses of working and living in Japan?

Getting out all over the Kansai region and Japan – beach BBQs, hiking trails, travelling to all corners of the country, snowboarding regularly, working out at the gym, hitting up all the onsen resorts, and of course frequenting some of the local "izakayas".

What was the most difficult aspect of adjusting to work in Japan?

Outside of the office there was some language adjustment but one can get by with no more than a few choice Japanese phrases and words. Indeed, there were many situations when Japanese strangers went out of their way to provide assistance, whether it be for finding the right train, ordering the right food, or purchasing the right suit. Inside of the office language adjustment was not an issue as many -if not all- of the colleagues I worked with were fluent in the English language.

What advice would you give to entry level recruits?

It's truly a unique and rewarding experience and an excellent start to career in patent law. Make no mistake though—working at SHUSAKU YAMAMOTO is not a cakewalk. However, with challenges come reward, and the Firm is one of the best establishments I have seen for recognizing and rewarding talent and effort. And, you can be sure that the skills you will learn for managing time, dealing with stress, and communicating effectively will significantly benefit your future endeavors, especially if those endeavors include the subsequent practice of law.

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