Brandon Leavitt is the Managing Partner at the Leavitt & Eldredge Law Firm, a full-service law practice that focuses on intellectual property. The firm specializes in various forms of intellectual property law (IP law), including copyrights, patents, trademarks, and IP litigation services tailored to inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs. His journey into law was unconventional, initially venturing into biochemistry before pivoting to law, driven by a knack for detailed arguments and a desire for engaging career paths. Brandon’s professional achievements are notable: securing multi-hundred million dollar federal contracts, reducing intellectual property costs for a multinational nonprofit, and ensuring regulatory compliance for a Fortune 50 company. Passionate about helping small businesses, he has experience working with a federal patent judge, serving as a lead editor for a business and entrepreneurship law journal, and securing venture capital for a tech start-up. Brandon is licensed to practice in Texas and has a background in biochemistry, adding a unique perspective to his legal expertise.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- What does Leavitt & Eldredge Law Firm specialize in?
- Brandon Levitt shares his journey from biochemist to lawyer
- Big moments and key milestones of Leavitt & Eldredge Law Firm
- Entrepreneurial mindset in law firm growth
- The importance of taking a calmer, more passive approach to law
- The value of working towards a resolution with opposing counsel
In this episode…
Can a background in science enrich a law practice? How does a scientific mindset contribute to legal innovation and success?
According to Brandon Leavitt, a biochemist turned lawyer, integrating his scientific background into his legal career has been transformative. He shares that moving from the structured world of biochemistry to the dynamic field of law highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary skills. Brandon credits his scientific training for his analytical rigor, which he applies to dissect complex legal issues with a distinctive perspective. He believes this fusion of precise scientific methodology and creative legal strategy has been integral to his success in intellectual property and business law, as well as in innovating the delivery of legal services.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, Chad Franzen speaks with Brandon Leavitt, Managing Partner at Leavitt & Eldredge Law Firm. They talk about Brandon’s unconventional path from a scientist to a leading attorney, his innovative approach to growing and diversifying the firm, and how his scientific background has provided a unique edge for understanding and protecting intellectual property. Brandon also shares insights on the entrepreneurial mindset essential for law firm success.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Chad Franzen on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Brandon Leavitt on LinkedIn
- Leavitt & Eldredge Law Firm
- Richard Eldredge on LinkedIn
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential.
To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition.
You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know but likely don’t.
Chad Franzen 0:13
Hi. Chad Franzen here, one of the hosts of Share Your Voice where we talk with top notch law firms and lawyers about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, delivering tailor made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. Gladiator Law Marketing uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com where you can schedule a free marketing consultation. While working as a biochemist Brandon Leavitt saw his world getting smaller and smaller, so he decided to become a lawyer. Instead, he was trying to find employment during the recession and couldn’t find a lawyer who was willing to take a chance on him. So he abandoned the traditional route and created his own ecosystem of legal support services tailored to inventors, creators and entrepreneurs. Hey, Brandon, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
Brandon Leavitt 1:12
I’m doing well. Thank you.
Chad Franzen 1:13
Hey, so you are with a Leavitt & Eldredge. Tell me what you guys do.
Brandon Leavitt 1:18
So we are an intellectual property law firm. We started off doing primarily patents. My partner Richard Eldredge, founded the firm. I joined him a few years later, and we started to expand into trademarks and litigation and really just build services that support inventors and creators and artists as they’re trying to get themselves started. Or maybe they’re already started. And they want to grow. So basically, we protect ideas and brands is, is what we do.
Chad Franzen 1:49
I talked a little bit about your story in your intro. Let me we’ll get back to that in just a second. How and when did you know you wanted to become an attorney? You were working already?
Brandon Leavitt 1:58
I guess. Yeah. I mean, I was a pretty avid participant of speech and debate in high school, I felt like I had a knack for it. I was pretty successful in the competition’s. I also really loved science. And I figured in high school, I was either going to be a scientist and I was going to cure cancer, or I was going to be you know, a lawyer like on Boston Legal or, or one of those TV shows you see. And I had a very supportive chemistry teacher. And she kind of steered me into that direction. And so I went to college, as a biochemist, always wondering if I’d made the right choice. And then, you know, biochemistry is a very fulfilling career, but there are aspects of it that that I was unaware of when I chose that path, that that really weren’t the right fit for me. You know, you specialize in something. And, you know, you learn more and more about less than less. And that’s not why I wanted to be a scientist, I wanted to learn more and more about lots of things. And you spend years of your life failing, right? You test this, it fails, you test this, it fails, you test this, it fails, your entire job is to fail long enough that maybe you can write a paper about it. And you might just get lucky and succeed, right. And then on those few lucky ones that succeed, the very next thing is they call the lawyers and the lawyers come in, and they don’t have to deal with all the losses. They just, they see happy scientists, they see excited people who want to start some big thing. And I thought to myself, well, that looks a lot more fulfilling than than what I’m doing. And they’re going to learn more and more about lots of things they might do, you know, oilfield drilling in the morning, make up in the afternoon and toys and the, you know, the next day, their their world was expanding, and mine wasn’t. And they’re, you know, they’re also some family considerations that that led me to choose the career change. But I figured I can use my biochemistry background, and become a lawyer for scientists and went to law school with that goal. Intellectual property was a focus and an emphasis of mine. Turned out I had some I really bonded well with other aspects of law like trademarks, and copyrights, and those were all really well integrated as well. And so my initial goal of being a lawyer for scientists then expanded to, to really just if you’re creating anything, if you have any kind of content or idea or invention, or brand or product or whatever. That was kind of the niche that I found.
Chad Franzen 4:42
So you, you know, I talked to a lot of attorneys, they they they were working somewhere else, they got bored, they went to law school, they ended up becoming a lawyer and lived happily ever after. You kind of have that story, but you all yours was a little bit more kind of complicated, maybe nuanced than that. Um, you had, you know, you went to law school? How did that go? And then how did you kind of your transition into the to the legal industry was maybe not just, you know, looking for a job and finding one.
Brandon Leavitt 5:12
Well, I mean, I, because I had a career before I was a lawyer before I went to law school. And that path was less traditional, right? I mean, a lot of people go to law school, their political science majors, their English majors, they know how to write an essay. Maybe they interned for clerked at a law firm somewhere, I was a guy with test tubes and beakers, and I was, you know, researching, you know, bacteria inhibition of of Amino glycosides and a 16x binding site of ribosomes. I mean, it didn’t translate very well that in in any obvious ways. And so I was a bit behind the learning curve. And I also had a wife and I had children, and I needed to make sure I could provide for them. And there was that distraction. And so, you know, going to law school is inherently difficult. You You think you’re the biggest fish in the pond, and then you upgrade the pond. And that’s college, right? And then you upgrade the pond again, you think, Okay, well, that might have been the biggest fish in the pond. I’m swimming with sharks, and sharks eat fish, right. So I was not a very successful law student, if we’re being honest, I wasn’t able to give it my full attention. And I started from behind the learning curve anyway, I thought, I’m probably not going to be a very good lawyer because I can’t out compete these kids. They they work harder, they work more efficiently. And they’re getting more done. And, and so my GPA wasn’t impressive enough to get attention from the big law firms, which was that everybody tells you, hey, you should go to big law work there for a few years, start your own thing, that option was always going to be a difficult one for me. And then it happened to be 2008 to 2011, we’re in the middle of the Great Recession, not even the good law, students are getting work. So I took this big sacrifice, I walked away from an income, I took on all this debt, I’ve got mouths to feed, and now I’m guaranteed to graduate without a job. And that was a very frustrating time period for me. And nobody’s nobody’s willing to give me a chance. I mean, you don’t you hire the guy at the top of the graduating class, you don’t hire the guy at the bottom. Right? Self esteem issues, everything that comes with that. But I took the bar, I passed the bar, I took on a client here, I took on a client there, I’m working in all these different fields just trying to pay bills. And over time, what happens is, because I’m a scientist, and I can experiment, I know how to, you know, do root cause analysis and and try certain methodologies all of a sudden, not in law school. But in my career, that background came back to me. And I was able to build up piece by piece, a very unorthodox practice that worked for people who couldn’t find lawyers that could handle their type of work. And so piece by piece, I was able to cross pollinate, crossbreed and, and build this up and essentially build up that ecosystem. I learned something from Wells Fargo, I learned something from government contract, and I learned something from all these other entities and put that together. And then the next thing I knew I had a practice, and I had clients and and we were off to the races.
Chad Franzen 8:29
So when you while you were doing that kind of that cross pollinating process, were you getting income as a result of that, or did you have to do other things?
Brandon Leavitt 8:40
Well, it was more I did have to do other things. I was moonlighting for a while. I stopped moonlighting. When I joined my partner, Richard Eldredge, we became the Leavitt Eldredge law firm after that. He had been, he had taken the more traditional route, he worked at a law firm, got some experience, started his own, quickly found that there was more work to do that he could handle. I’m Moonlighting, and he finds me and I’m doing work. And because I have been in the pits for so long, scrapping and brawling, and doing anything I can to survive. The quality of my work was different than a lot of my peers who didn’t have to go through that. And, and he noticed that he gave me more and more and more, and it got to a point where I said, Look, you’re you’re one aspect of what I’m doing. I can’t give you any more time than I am. And he says, Well, why don’t you just join me and let’s just do this full time. And that’s how that union time came about. But there is something to be said about taking somebody who is hungry, and dedicated and motivated, and forcing them to use all of their skill sets to build something lean and efficient. I found myself very quickly in negotiating rooms and courtrooms with people who were 2030 years older than me underestimating me expecting that you know, I’m I look like the guy who’s interning at their law firm, not the guy who’s supposed to be sitting at the other side of the table. And we all have access to the same rules, we have access to the same laws. But I’m approaching it much more methodically and efficiently. And I’m hungry. And so I’m beating these people and and I’m surprising them, and ditches doing a really good job for our clients. And that and that makes our love that makes her love from growing more.
Chad Franzen 10:23
Yeah, that’s awesome. How did you go about getting clients than when you were kind of when it was kind of a moonlighting thing?
Brandon Leavitt 10:30
Well, I mean, you just, you know, it starts off very basic, you know, somebody at church has a daughter who wants to open a restaurant and she doesn’t have any money, she can’t go to the big law firms like, what can you do? Well, let’s, let’s figure it out. Let me I get off of work at 8pm. Tonight, let’s let’s let’s do this. And, you know, from eight to 10, you know, and then she’s successful. And she, you know, she has an opening and she says, Hey, this is my lawyer. And then people say, Well, I’ve got ideas. And, you know, it builds like that, a lot of word of mouth until you’ve got enough revenue to advertise for yourself. And then there’s advertising that comes in as well.
Chad Franzen 11:05
So you have been with Leavitt and Eldridge, you guys have been partners for how long?
Brandon Leavitt 11:10
I think I joined the firm full time 2014.
Chad Franzen 11:14
Okay, so it’s been almost 10 years, nine years. What, during that time, are there some kind of big moments or milestones that you look back on and like those, those were turning points, or even that you were just kind of really proud of?
Brandon Leavitt 11:29
I mean, it’s always a good feeling when you win at litigation. You know, the firm was just patent drafting. That’s all they did. And I joined and I started them, I started working on patent drafting. But then I realized, again, this is the science in the background there. But I’m thinking, you know, there’s, there’s a lost opportunity cost, in not having other services at this firm. If somebody is going to come to me with a patent, that means they want to have a price. If they want a product, that means they probably have a brand, they need trademarks, why don’t we open up a trademark practice? Well, we don’t know anything about trademarks? Well, that’s fine, I’ll figure it out. Right? I’ll figure it out, let’s let’s, let’s offer these services really cheap for a while until we know what we’re doing. And then and then we can bring the rates up to market rates. But if they already trust us for the quality of work we’re doing for a patent, why would we? Why would we encourage them to go find somebody else and build trust with them, when we can just leverage that trust and do trademarks? Well, if they’ve got trademarks, and they got patents, that means they probably have a business have they formed their business? Let’s do LLC, let’s do Corp. So they’ve got that they’ve got employees, let’s do contracts, employment agreements, and and it just keeps building and building and building from there. And so all of a sudden, the value of a patent isn’t, you know, the value of a client who walks in the door isn’t just a patent, it’s a patent. And then there’s a certain percentage of chance that they’re gonna go for a trademark, or a certain percentage of chance, they’re gonna go for an LLC. And there’s a lifetime value to that patent that encourages us to kind of continue to the relationship. And if I’m offering these other services, maybe maybe somebody is going to come in not because they have a patent, because they have a trademark, they wouldn’t have talked to us in the first place. But now they’re going to talk to us because we got a trademark practice. So I was really proud about how we’ve been able to build that up. And our growth has only been limited by our ability to find good people for me to hand these things off to. So we’ve been growing a litigation practice the last couple years, because we have all these 1000s of patents and trademarks that we’re managing, and we thought to ourselves, at some point, somebody’s gonna get sued, and we don’t know how to litigate. So are we going to hand off this client that we’ve been taking care of for years and years and years because we don’t know how to help them on a problem that we anticipate they might ask them day. So we taught ourselves I taught myself litigation, no mentors, no trainers. I remember you want a fun story. I remember my very first trial was a federal trademark trial. And and it is not normal for a lawyer to start in federal litigation. They start state level litigation, county level litigation, Judge Judy stuff sometimes, and or they’re at a large law firm, and they put their time in 1015 20 years before they ever see the inside of the courtroom. And here I am. I’ve never been a lawsuit before. I’m figuring out as I go, my clients got all these warnings and disclaimers that they’re getting me real cheap, and they’re getting me cheap for a reason. Right. And this judge has a reputation for being a particularly strict and demanding and uncompromising individual. He’s famous in this area, for there was once a juror who skipped jury duty, and he sent the bailiffs after her and and brought her in, like bound into the courtroom so that he could find her and sit her down in the chair for the trial like this is the kind of judge that was rule went over my very first trial. Wow. And because of my patent background, my trademark background, I knew the law on how to represent my client. But I didn’t know the procedures and policies, the way courtroom etiquette works. So I get my witness on the stand. I asked him a question. Objection sustained. I don’t know why I got objected to I don’t know why it was sustained. So I asked him, I asked it a different way Objection sustained. About 1015 minutes later, I can’t get a word in edgewise without being objected to and it being sustained. And finally, this judge stops when he says, Mr. Levitt, I hate to ask this on the record. But how many trials have you had? And I said, Your Honor, this is my first trial. He says, No, I’m not talking about federal trials, I want to know how many trials you’ve ever participated in. And I said, Your Honor, this is my first trial. And he was a lot kinder, he was a lot kinder after that, and the judgment that came out of that trial was a very fair one that my client was very satisfied with. But it was just growing from there. Once you do that, you don’t have to be so scared, you learn what you do wrong, you get better. You start winning trials, you start winning cases, you start arguing nuances to the law, that, that, that the kinds of things that might show up in a textbook someday, and and you’d be very proud of that work.
Chad Franzen 16:17
It sounds like you not only brought a science background, but kind of an entrepreneurial spirit. I think most people who aren’t entrepreneurs, think that, okay, I don’t need to be an expert, or I need to hire an expert. And then we can do this, you’re gonna like, let’s start this, let’s add this to our business. And we’ll just figure it out. And that’s what a lot of entrepreneurs would tell you, you should do. Like, don’t don’t worry about like, having everything nailed down. Do you feel like, you know, obviously, that served you guys?
Brandon Leavitt 16:46
Well, it has we’ve, I think, when I joined the firm, within the first five years, we grew 800%. And I haven’t, I’ve stopped, I’ve stopped tracking. And it’s been some years since then. But we went from two cowboys out in the west just kind of shoot from the hip doing the best they can, to staff of over I think we’re over 12 staff members at this point, you know, four or five attorneys and, and, and the rest of support staff. And we’ve got enough to keep everybody fed, we’ve got enough to keep busy and our clients are very satisfied. Stick around.
Chad Franzen 17:25
Did you Have you always had that kind of mindset of like, I’ll start to kind of generate my own revenue by just figuring things out on my own. No.
Brandon Leavitt 17:35
Unemployment and student debt gave me that attitude. I talked about brawling in the pits, right. Like, I never saw myself as an entrepreneur, my dad was an engineer growing up, he told me that, you know, business owners, they take a lot of risk. And I’m generally very risk averse. But when you’ve got mouths to feed, and nobody’s you know, the world owes you nothing. That was that was one of the biggest life lessons was, hey, it’s not enough that you’re smart. It’s not enough that you work hard, the world doesn’t owe you anything, you got to go build something from the dust up if they’re not gonna give it to you. And and that gave me a certain mind for business a certain skill set that a lot of my peers don’t have. And it rewards me many times over both in the development of the of the law firm that I’m the now the managing partner of but, but also in my success as a litigator as as a as a drafter. It. It’s, again, that cross pollination, right when I don’t have to I surprise people, I walk into the courtroom, I make arguments that they don’t expect, because they were conditioned to follow a certain line of thinking they were conditioned to go down a certain pathway of, of citation, copy, paste, you know, just plug in the facts and data’s I draft everything from scratch tailored to that client situation that client’s needs. I’ll look up all the judgments that this judge has made, and I’ll quote the judge right back at himself, right. Like it’s a different approach than what is traditionally understood by most attorneys who take take the other route. Very nice. So no, I didn’t I didn’t have a an entrepreneurial mentality that I could recognize until I was roughly 2728 years old, and trying to figure out how to feed my family.
Chad Franzen 19:24
What are some of your kind of do you have like daily rituals that you find to be most important?
Brandon Leavitt 19:33
I wouldn’t say I have a ritual per se but I have learned that from about 9am till 5pm. My time is not my own. Clients will call employees have needs, buyers occur, and it’s my job to deal with all of that. And so if I want to actually get anything done, that resembles being a lawyer or or something proactive to what I’ve actually, you know, done this career path be. It happens before the hours of 9am or after the hours of 6pm. So I’ve got a staff member that helped me manage that time. But I do come into the office early so that I can get my stuff done. And I will leave the office in the afternoon, you know, for a run or a workout or a long lunch, just kind of recover and I’ll come back to the office later in the afternoon. And that’s, that’s how I compartmentalize some of the managerial and administrative needs of being a lawyer with the actual lawyer.
Chad Franzen 20:38
I have one more question for you. But first, tell me how people can find out more about Lebanon Eldridge.
Brandon Leavitt 20:44
Well, if our marketing strategy is up to par, it should be as simple as typing in my name online. My partner Richard Eldridge, you type in patent lawyer, Dallas patent lawyer, Texas. I mean, we should be coming up in the results. You know, my email Brandon at US law proz.com, the website US law proz.com. There’s a plurality of ways that you can find us online. Okay, sounds
Chad Franzen 21:14
good. Hey, I last question. It sounds because of your kind of unique path. Maybe you didn’t have like your traditional mentors or whatever. Maybe you did. But what uh, what would you say is either the best or the worst piece of advice you have received that you can think of?
Brandon Leavitt 21:31
Well, it’s a little crass. Go for it. I’m in Texas, some of the lawyers are old and salty. All right. And I remember I was at a, because you’re right. I didn’t have mentors. I didn’t have that. So I make sure to go to legal conferences. And I talk to people who have been in the industry for 2030 years, I talk to people who’ve been judges and I try to I try to glean knowledge and information that way, because there’s nobody else to teach me. And I remember years ago, I met this lawyer. And he was asking me about my cases. And I told him about this one case, and I’m this intrepid young guy, and I’m telling I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this, I’m going to get after him this, I’m going to file this. And he sits there and he listens to me for 15 minutes. And he says, Let me tell you a story, young man. He says there were once two bulls on a hill. And they look down and there is the whole herd of cattle. And the young bull says, let’s run down there, we’re gonna grab ourselves a bowl, and we’re gonna have our way with. And the old bull looks at the young bull. And he says, Why don’t we walked down, and we can have them all. And I know it’s a crass story. But it taught me that in the law, if you take a calmer, more passive, less aggressive approach, you can usually get results, you can get just as good or better results for your clients for a lot less effort, a lot less stress, a lot less resources. I have strong objections to lawyers in our industry that forget that being an advocate doesn’t mean you have to be adversarial does not mean rude and, and disruptive. And, you know, there’s, there’s, it doesn’t have to be combative. That’s what I’m trying to say. You don’t have to be an adversary who’s combative you can be, you can be accommodating, and you can still do good for your client. And sometimes you’ll do better for your client if you’re working with the opposing counsel towards a resolution, rather than just stopping them at every single point of the way and make their lives as difficult as possible. And they will usually but not always reciprocate tight and your clients will almost always be better for it.
Chad Franzen 24:00
Yeah, very nice. Thanks for Thanks for sharing that. That wasn’t that bad. Hey, Brandon has been great to talk to you. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Great stories, and I really appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Brandon Leavitt 24:13
Chad Franzen 24:14
So long, everybody.
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