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WJA 2021: Anna Quinn

Anna Quinn says that the ability to make room for innovation within patent law is her focus as an intellectual property attorney.

Avant Law Group“I think that society is in a really scary place whenever people stop innovating,” she says.

Helping expand property law in the name of creativity is something Quinn gets to do every day at Avant Law, the firm the Missouri native co-founded in spring of last year. Previously, she spent more than six years as an associate at Lathrop GPM, the firm where she started as a technical specialist while still in law school.

Initially, she earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Kansas State University before she decided to pursue a law degree from Washburn University, where she now serves as an adjunct professor teaching patent prosecution.

She saw patent law as a path to incorporate her match and science background. It also allowed her to interact with people in a way that the sciences might not.

“I get to work with folks that have new ideas every single day,” Quinn said. “I come into work and it is something completely different than it was yesterday. Every day is very exciting. I’m working on innovative new products all the time and I’m constantly learning.”

She said she loves to see solo inventors or small startup companies succeed.

“Their cases aren’t always the most sexy,” she noted. “You don’t always see them on the shelf like you might with a multinational corporation, but getting to walk them through the process is really fun and exciting and they appreciate it so much.”

Quinn can certainly sympathize with the uncertainty that those entrepreneurs know so well. Opening Avant in April 2020 meant starting a law firm in the middle of COVID lockdowns.

“It is very scary,” she said. “You don’t know where your clients are coming from necessarily and it definitely takes a leap of faith to do that.”

Still, it worked out.

“But even with that being the case, we really hit the ground running and haven’t even had time to look back other than to be so thankful for [how far] we’ve come and really excited for the future,” she said.

According to her nominator, that future looks brighter with Quinn as part of Avant’s leadership.

“In a year when many firms struggled, she steered our brand new firm to solid ground,” they wrote. “In a year when many firms furloughed or laid off employees, our brand new firm retained every staff member.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021