This Week's Paralegal RTW ~ Yvonne Bender

Yvonne Bender is a Patentanwaltsfachangestellte {an IP paralegal} located in Karlsruhe, Germany. She is employed at Lemcke, Brommer & Partner Patentanwälte mbB. She brings readers insight on the paralegal profession in Germany.

PRTW: Why did you choose the paralegal profession?
YB: This is an easy question; my mother is also an IP paralegal.

PRTW: How does one become a paralegal in Germany?
For a Patentanwaltsfachangestellte, you attend a three year long education at a patent attorney’s office and have school lessons to complete. Each educational program is specific to the type of paralegal - patent, corporate, etc. Each paralegal has their own set of skills. Since I am a
Patentanwaltsfachangestellte, I can only work at a patent lawyer’s office, not just any lawyer’s office.

PRTW: What advice would you give someone interested in choosing the paralegal profession?
YB: Think carefully and consider whether this profession is something for you.

PRTW: What do you think will change in the paralegal profession in Germany in the next five years?
I believe that the Internet will change the entire legal profession. Copyright issues and streaming services to name a few.

PRTW: Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to become a paralegal.
My mother, she is also a Patentanwaltsfachangestellte.

PRTW: What is a “typical day” like in your shoes?
YB: Ooo that is long. Lots of paper, online filings, creating files, submitting patent applications, reminding clients of deadlines, responding to notices, drawings, or ordering new labels, and paying annual fees.

PRTW: What do you find most challenging about being a paralegal?
YB: The varied activities.

PRTW: Name a highlight in your career.
YB: My presentation at the Chamber of Lawyers in March, 2014.

PRTW: How do you deal with stressful situations?
YB: Breath in. Relax. Sort my priorities. Sports after work. ☺

PRTW: Do you possess any certifications? If so, what are they?

YB: Yes. The Paralegal Clerk letter. This is the registration from paralegal school that shows the three year-long education has been successfully completed.

PRTW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 
*Haste makes waste*

PRTW: What's your favorite quote?
If you can not fly, run; if you can not run, walk; if you can not walk, crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep going. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

PRTW: What skills should a paralegal learn today?
YB: It depends on the subject area; but in any case paralegals should learn how to manage stress and possess office management skills.

PRTW: If you could change one thing about the paralegal profession what would it be, and why?
YB: I am not sure, maybe the money.

PRTW: If you weren't a paralegal, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
I don’t think that I would do any other work; I love my job. It has an flow for me. Maybe, if office life bored me, I would do something with dogs.☺

PRTW: In the United States, paralegals have a variety of career options to specialize in, from patent law to elder law to technology law to criminal law. Do you have this option in Germany? If so, what is your specialty?
YB: Yes. My speciality is the same as in the USA - patent law and civil law.

PRTW: Why did you choose this specialty?
YB: I find that patent IP is for me the interesting speciality; I am not interested in civil law but in the designs patents and trademarks.

PRTW: In the United States, paralegals can be employed in different sectors, such as private or public sectors. What sector are you currently employed in?
YB: Private.

PRTW: Do you believe paralegals employed in each of these sectors possess different skillsets? If so, what are they?
YB: Maybe. It’s like the difference when you work at a patent attorney’s office (have private individuals and companies as a customer) or if you are working at a firm (for example, chemical industry) and have internal customers.

PRTW: In the United States there are rules about what a paralegal can and cannot do. For example,  paralegals cannot do the following: 1) give legal advice, 2) set legal fees, or 3) appear in court on behalf of a client (in most instances), among other tasks. Are there any tasks paralegals are not allowed to perform based your country’s laws?
YB: Yes. It is the same as in the United States; we cannot give legal advice or set legal fees.

Yvonne can be reached via email at  or on