Featured Alumni: Matthew Hollander
What is your fondest memory of your time at Farella?
My fondest memory is watching employees from our client, Volterra Semiconductor, erupt in cheers after a jury found in their favor on a patent case. I was put on the case just a few months before trial because a key member of our team was leaving the firm. It was an intensely-litigated case, culminating in months of very late nights in the office—but it was such a special moment watching how excited our client was to win. I also got some great experience going to trial (which is exceedingly rare on a patent case), and more importantly, I forged some great friendships at work along the way.
How did Farella help you get to where you are today?
Farella really helped me grow as a lawyer in two important ways:
First, I joined Farella after 4 years at another law firm in part because I heard it was a great place to join if you were looking for substantive experience from the get-go. That certainly turned out to be the case. At my prior law firm I worked on some very interesting issues, but they were often discrete projects, and I had limited involvement in overall case strategy. But at Farella—starting with the very first case I had with John Cooper representing an international law firm on a complex malpractice case—I was really given the opportunity to play a key role in running cases, developing case strategy, and client interaction.
Second, I was fortunate to work closely with so many great lawyers at Farella. It’s important to work with people whom you can learn from, and Farella has no shortage there. To name a few attorneys who made a great impression on me: John Cooper, Grace Won, James Morando, Jeff Fisher, Bob Holtzapple, Rod Thompson, and Eugene Mar. It’s hard not to grow as a lawyer when you have so many great mentors to learn from.
What do you like most about what you do in your current job?
At Fitbit I manage Fitbit’s worldwide IP litigation, and I am currently handling several other types of litigation, including federal securities litigation, and shareholder derivative litigation. Here’s what I like most:
First, I enjoy the breadth of issues I’m exposed to. As outside counsel, I often focused on only one or two significant matters. Now, I’m often handling more than 10 at a time, both in the US and internationally. While at times I certainly miss being able to dig in more on cases, I find it very valuable to get broad exposure to a lot of different issues across different judges and jurisdictions, as it really helps me understand the best strategies for resolving disputes.
Second, I feel lucky to work with so many great outside counsel across my matters. As I said, I love learning from people, and I am constantly amazed at how many outstanding lawyers there are in our community, all who bring unique skillsets to their cases.
Third, it’s great working for a company where I am inspired by the mission and the product. As an in-house counsel, you have an opportunity to really understand and be a part of the business in meaningful way, and that’s something that I really enjoy.
Which of your accomplishments makes you the most proud?
Being a dad to three amazing children.
What is the most valuable lesson you learned while at Farella? How has this lesson impacted you post-Farella?
Focus on the winning arguments, and make them simple to understand. There is always the temptation to make every point you can, but ultimately you are the most successful if you streamline your arguments and make them understandable for a judge or jury who will be focusing on the case for much less time than you have. That’s something I think about on every case as we are developing our strategy.
What piece of advice would you give to [attorneys] starting their legal career?
Don’t burn yourself out! It’s a stressful profession, and as zealous advocates for our clients, who are dealing with complex and important issues, it can be very easy to fall into a pattern of prioritizing work over yourself and family. While at times that’s a necessity, if you want to have a long and rewarding career, it’s important to focus on a healthy work-life balance.
What is your favorite hobby and how did you get into it?
Running. It’s something I had always hated, but I decided I wanted to get in better shape about two years ago, and somehow I’m still at it. I love the combination of challenging myself, collecting and analyzing my stats (go Fitbit!), and feeling healthy.