Overview

Introduction

McNeill Baur is the ultimate haven for patent attorneys seeking maximum flexibility. The firm is fully remote and allows attorneys to set their own billable-hours goal, which results in associates who are very pleased with their work-life balance. And while the firm prioritizes the needs of attorneys and staff, it certainly isn’t lacking in the quality of work and caliber of clients served. The firm is well regarded for its IP work, even despite its relatively young age.

Firm Stats


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Total No. Attorneys (2021)


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Featured Rankings

Best Midsize Law Firms for Hours...

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Base Salary



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No. of U.S. Offices



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No. of International Offices



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Major Office Locations

Bala Cynwyd, PA...

Vault Verdict

McNeill Baur is a unique firm that offers a fully remote environment for associates focused on patent work, so it’s no surprise it seeks candidates with IP experience and a science background. Associates find their colleagues friendly and helpful, but they agree the social aspect is limited due to the remote nature of the firm. Conversely, they are incredibly pleased with the work-life balance the remote set-up offers, which is amplified by the ability to set their own billable hours—this provides the ultimate flexibility aside from inevitable client deadlines. The firm’s compensation structure, based on hours billed, is overall viewed favorably, with a few minor concerns outweighed by appreciation for the flexibility it provides. Associates agree there is no shortage of interesti...

About the Firm

Focused on patents in the life sciences area, McNeill Baur is home to nearly 20 lawyers as well as a team of patent agents, patent prosecution coordinators, and technical specialists.

Patent Focused

McNeill Baur was founded in 2014 by Rebecca M. McNeill and Amelia Feulner Baur, PhD The intellectual property shop provides life sciences patent prosecution and counseling to a range of clients, ranging from large companies to startups. Many of the firm’s lawyers have advanced science degrees and boast experience in myriad scientific areas—from biochemistry and gene mutations to immunology and microbiology to ribozymes and virology, and more. The firm assists clients with all aspects of patent prosecution as well as patent opinions, due diligence investigations, patent appeals, and USPTO pr...

Associate Reviews


  • “People at the firm are friendly with each other, but interactions between associates/counsel are limited due to the nature of the firm (remote) and work (small projects, usually involving one partner and one working attorney). It takes special effort to get to know other associates/counsel, which is fine, but it's just not very social.”
  • “Even though we are virtual, people often communicate by email and Teams. The firm has social events online and even send fun packages to use during the social events. The attorneys also have an interest in helping each other succeed. It is not a competitive environment.”
  • “The virtual firm setting does not allow for much social interaction. We have routine attorney lunch and learn sessions and routine firm retreats. While my overall experience with the firm has been generally positive, it can be slow and sometimes difficult to get to know people when all interaction is by teleconference where it is hard to gauge how people are reacting and responding to you.”
  • “Highly professional yet friendly environment with limited to no politics. Bi-monthly socialization via Zoom during the pandemic. Mostly interact via phone, text/e-mail, or Zoom calls.”
  • “The partners (I have worked with almost all of them) are wonderful mentors and take the time to teach me the intricacies of patent prosecution. I receive pearls of wisdom almost daily. I don't know too many details about the firm's performance, finances, and internal promotion scheme, but I feel like I know enough. My understanding about internal promotion is that it is very flexible. …”
  • “Partners are friendly with the associates/counsel and treat them as capable employees and adults with their own lives. I've never experienced rudeness or unprofessional treatment. Communication about things like performance, promotion, and expectations/budget for particular assignments could be clearer/more transparent.”
  • “Nearly everyone at the firm works remotely, and the annual firm retreat was canceled due to COVID last year. We are not given ‘state of the firm’-type updates on a regular basis. However, each associate works fairly autonomously, so I personally have not felt like any lack of transparency has been detrimental.”
  • “The partners provide all the resources we need to do our job and plenty of good work. I have no idea about firm performance or finances or who is getting promoted and who is not. This does not bother me. If I have a need or desire to know in the future, I will ask. Formal reviews occur once a year, and the process is not terrible; it is better than most of the companies I have worked for, but it is not the best I've seen. Most partners will occasionally provide on-the-spot positive feedback. …”
  • “The flexibility of the hours is a major benefit of the firm. The firm not only tolerates, but encourages, lawyers to choose their billables and hours worked. Sometimes the hours come and go, though, and there is wavering between more billables than desired and not enough work to meet the billable target.”
  • “The firm provides the ultimate in flexible schedules, though of course clients and due dates are not always flexible. I have been able to ask for and get more work when I need it. I am also able to say that I am too busy to take a new project without worrying about that being held against me.”
  • “Incredibly flexible, remote work environment. Can individually set billable-hour standards and request more or less work as best fits each individual.”
  • “The firm is a bit different from many firms in that we are paid a certain amount for each hour we bill—the associate positions are not salaried positions. I have found that I really like this model so far.”
  • “I am very happy with compensation structure. I appreciate the flexibility in the model. I am comfortable with my billing rate and feel fairly compensated. I also have no concerns about discussing issues about my compensation, should they arise.”
  • “The hourly compensation is fair, but unlike many large firms, time spent on training, firm events, and client development do not count for compensation purposes, which disincentivizes these valuable activities. The firm is clear upfront that bonuses will be very small, but it is not clear on what the criteria is. …”
  • “I spend most of my time on substantive legal work. We have experienced support staff to deal with things like docketing, graphics, etc.”
  • “I always get work when I ask for it. I spend most of my time on prosecution, but have plenty of application drafting, diligence projects, FTO work, and some contract review. I appreciate the variety.”
  • “I feel like all my assignments are high-quality and interesting. I am given a great mix of substantive and less-substantive work so that I can balance out my day and work efficiently. I love that I always have something substantive to work on when I'm feeling like tackling a tricky legal issue, but also enough non-substantive work so that I can still bill on a sleepy afternoon when I'm not feeling up to a thought-intensive task. …”
  • “Every month, the associates fill out a report where we can request additional and specific types of projects or work (including work with new partners, etc.). There is no shortage of interesting work.”
  • “McNeill Baur was already a completely virtual firm before the COVID-19 pandemic! The transition was, of course, exceptionally smooth. I will take a moment to note that I have greatly appreciated the firm's choices of programs. We have Outlook, Microsoft Word, Adobe, and all the usual things like that, but the file management system is one that I had not encountered before: NetDocs. I really like it—it is much faster and more user-friendly than the system I used at a larger firm.”
  • “Our firm has always been virtual, so they were well-equipped to deal with COVID. The firm provides everything I need to work efficiently at home (two monitors, wireless keyboard and mouse, laptop with docking station, headset, etc.).”
  • "The firm provides free counseling through its Employee Assistance Program, through Guidance Resources. I haven't used these resources personally yet due to time constraints, but I have definitely thought about it and am glad they are there.”
  • “I'm not sure of what formal services are offered, but we have a dedicated HR specialist that informs us of new benefits that the firm offers. She is also very easy to contact when I have questions about wellness options. I do know the firm offers paid sick and safe leave, and when various events happened throughout 2020, they sent emails encouraging anyone who needed help to contact our HR specialist.”
  • “The firm was founded by partners seeking the ability to do great work while balancing the needs of a personal life, and I feel that benefit is offered completely to everyone who joins. If you need to take time for personal matters, it is given. I do not worry about repercussions for putting family first. The firm also offers little things like access to Calm.com, wellness seminars, and an employee assistance program.”
  • “… I think the firm's flexible virtual model helps with wellness more than anything. I exercise so much more than I did when I was at a large firm. I can easily go to medical appointments. I have time to take care of myself.”
  • “We do fairly frequent attorney lunches where someone presents on a relevant topic. I have found these incredibly useful for training, and I have learned a lot. I also receive frequent and helpful feedback from partners on my work.”
  • “Much of the mentoring/training occurs on an ad hoc, informal basis, with individual partners who take a little extra time to provide feedback or to point out specific ways they tend to do things (whether looking things up, drafting applications, [spending time] on each type of task v. asking for more guidance, etc.). This type of training/mentoring is fine in theory, but it varies widely among individual partners.”
  • “There is less formal training than at a large firm, but they make up for it with informal training and mentorship. I prefer that way since the training is then tailored to my practice, and I don't need to spend a lot of time on unnecessary training that is required.”
  • “New attorneys have an assigned mentor, monthly training meetings, and continued feedback on projects throughout the year.”
  • “I feel very good about my long-term prospects here. There is no cliff to my knowledge. I want to stay for as long as they will keep me, because I love this job.”
  • “If I was interested in becoming partner, I believe they would support me. I am currently counsel and have no plans to change until my children are older. They are also supportive of that. Regarding exit opportunities, we have good relationships with many large pharmaceutical companies, so moving in-house would be a real option.”
  • “My career goals are supported and realistic here. If I want to move toward partnership, the firm will help with that and support that. If I prefer to remain career associate, that choice will be equally supported.”
  • “I know individual attorneys do pro bono, but I am not aware if it is encouraged or there are incentives provided for pro bono hours.”
  • “A number of partners do pro bono work and encourage associates too, but the work is not counted as billable hours.”
  • “Compared to prior BigLaw firms at which I worked, the firm doesn't emphasize pro bono and doesn't have clear ways to engage in pro bono work. It would be nice if there were such opportunities to work on small pro bono projects.”
  • “The firm clearly embraces and respects diversity of lifestyles as reflected in how health/wellness and work/life balance are managed. We have room to improve in our diversity in race and ethnicity.”
  • “I am grateful beyond words for this firm's family-friendly policies. I have a toddler. The vast majority of the attorneys at the firm are women with children and they just get it. … I am so glad a place like this exists. I can still do high-quality, fascinating legal work and have a real family life. …”

Getting Hired Here


  • “I think former BigLaw associates specializing in patent prosecution and/or litigation are what the firm looks for. I did a mix of patent prosecution and litigation before joining, with a heavier emphasis on litigation. The firm was willing to train me to do prosecution!”
  • “The firm maintains a well-curated roster of top-tier associates/counsel. The hiring process was fully remote, in keeping with the remote nature of the firm. Law school, science background, and personality/fit were probably the key factors.”
  • “The firm requires that new hires have a science background since that is the kind of work we specialize in. They tend to look for experienced hires but do occasionally hire people with less experience and even some folks with just a science degree.”
  • “What type of work did you do at your last firm? Why are you interested in our firm? Are you OK with doing the types of work that we offer at the firm?”
  • “They ask how much you want to work, what your ultimate goals are (e.g., making partner or not), etc. For people who had experience (such as myself), they gave hypothetical questions and asked how I'd deal with them.”

Perks & Benefits