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October 01, 2012

October 2012: Edward Marquette

Intellectual Property Lawyer Takes On the Challenge of Problem-Solving

“I like the challenge of solving the otherwise apparently insolvable problems,” says Edward Marquette, a partner at the Kansas City office of Kutak Rock, LLP, who heads its Intellectual Property Group.  Marquette focuses on antitrust law, trade regulation, licensing, distribution, and international technology development, particularly in China, South Korea, and Japan.  “I particularly like crafting development agreements, probably because, like a constitution, they are living documents that govern a range of complex intersections of technical, intellectual, and business relationships.  I love working with brilliant engineers and scientists.  The intellectual energy is exhilarating.”

Marquette is a cum laude Harvard Law School graduate.  He has served as Chair of the New Information Technology Committee of the ABA’s Intellectual Property Law Section. 

Marquette lost his vision in a hunting accident at age 17.  When asked what advice he would share with other lawyers with disabilities, he states, “they have to think smarter, work longer, try harder, be better, and do more than lawyers without disabilities.”  Despite being recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America for 15 years and named a Super Lawyer, Marquette still encounters bias and negative stereotypes that surround persons with disabilities.  For instance, recently, he was offered the opportunity to be a mediator, but that offer was withdrawn when counsel learned that Marquette was blind.  People view disability as inability. 

How does Marquette rise above these misperceptions?  “Magnanimity and generosity, coupled with brainpower.”  He learned from a dear friend that “lawyers, as officers of the court, should rise above that which is selfish, that which is petty, and that which is unbecoming for a true professional.”  

Marquette relies on technology to get the job done.  He uses JAWS, a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that allows users who are blind or have other visual impairments to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a Refreshable Braille display.  His iPhone has built in screen reading.  And, he has developed a system for comparing documents without the tedium of going line by line through a marked-up version.  Nonetheless, Marquette has faced some challenges in reconciling the promise of emerging technologies and security concerns.  “Accessibility software is outside the realm of sameness and therefore, causes a problem. … Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or even years to solve problems in a law firm with tight security when those same applications, on an off-the-shelf PC, could be installed and be operational in minutes.”