A book review of Protecting Trade Secrets Before, During and After Litigation authored by Chris Scott Graham, by S. Merchant of The National Law Review / The National Law Forum LLC was recently published in The National Law Review:
Protecting Trade Secrets Before, During and After Litigation is attorney Chris Scott Graham’s insider’s guide on the inner workings of trade secrets cases stemming from his twenty-five years of practicing law and serving as chair of Dechert law firm’s trade secrets practice. With its meticulousness and straightforwardness, the book reads like a bisection between an exposé on the professional life of a litigation attorney and Trade Secrets for Dummies. Mr. Graham takes the perspective of legal counsel when handling such a case and explores the impediments they will face, the circumstances they must take into consideration and the particularities of common trade secrets issues.
Trade secrets misappropriation, most commonly relevant in cases involving technology in a business setting, is a specialized area falling within the umbrella of intellectual property law. Yet Mr. Graham refrains from waxing technical and instead presents a narrative, starting with the initial meeting with a prospective client, the trade secret owner, to the measured steps required in litigation, to seeking post-judgment equitable relief. The guide penultimately concludes with a how-to on crafting contractual provisions advantageous to the trade secret owner and developing an auditing process to determine whether businesses are adequately protecting their trade secrets. As a bonus, the guide culminates with an appendix containing a sample stipulated protective order for litigation involving trade secrets with helpful footnotes providing further pointers— the cherry on top indeed, particularly for new attorneys branching into this area of the law.
Most significant is how the guide blends the theory of intellectual property law with a healthy dosage of pragmatism, as Mr. Graham takes on the challenge of getting into the nitty-gritty minutia of being an attorney in this field. For instance, in the context of identifying factors that render a case unfavorable for trade secrets litigation purposes, the guide delves into the art of composing pre-suit demand letters, including the level of detail needed, specific language to use when listing the demands and the proper tone to use so as to not risk appearing “cavalier.” Later, in an analysis about selecting a venue for litigation, the guide launches into an exhaustive list detailing over twenty determinants to take into account.
A point of emphasis in the guide is how to effectively counsel clients throughout the litigation process, and the practical aspects of the guide extend to this discussion as well. Mr. Graham remains precise in his directions of how to navigate clients, from tactfully extracting the confidential nature of their trade secret to calculating their return on investment in relation to their litigation budget. It appears that the trade secrets practitioner must morph into educator, risk analyst, business owner, appraiser and confidant—we may have missed that course in law school on how to accomplish all this but Mr. Graham succeeds in filling in the gaps.
At thirteen chapters and a total of 310 pages, including citations and an index, the guide manages to succinctly delineate the entire litigation process in trade secrets misappropriation cases. Along with intellectual property law, the guide incorporates contract, civil procedure and tort principles in its chronicle of the litigation process. A notable and perhaps unorthodox facet of the guide is how it portrays the dynamics of being an attorney in this field with utmost realism. As Mr. Graham himself states, his work is analogous to a law firm “whiteboard session…with everyone brainstorming to identify potential pivotal points on the issues at hand.” After examining the guide, one can see that when it comes to trade secrets litigation, it’s all in the detail.
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