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Legal Assistant, Intellectual Property (Life Sciences)



Posting Date

November 11, 2022

Position type


At McCarthy Tétrault, we offer challenging and rewarding career opportunities and are delighted to have been selected for the tenth consecutive year in 2022 as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. Our culture is built on professional excellence, collaboration, innovation, thought leadership and entrepreneurialism. We embrace inclusion in all its forms and we provide the tools and opportunities to help our people develop to their full potential.

This position can be based out of Toronto. McCarthy Tétrault employees benefit from a hybrid work environment.

As a Legal Assistant within the IP department, you will be:


  • Drafting, preparing, formatting, and revising all client correspondence, including detailed reports of office actions.
  • Drafting, preparing, formatting, and revising all correspondence and submissions for Intellectual Property Offices in Canada, the US, and elsewhere, including the Canadian Patent Office and the Canadian Industrial Design Office (CIPO), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and WIPO, including office action responses.
  • Searching for and reviewing precedent documents to obtain relevant language for drafts, and then tailoring the precedents to suit the facts of each case.
  • Filing submissions with CIPO, the USPTO, and WIPO via fax, courier, and online tools, including generation of cover letters, fax cover sheets, and fee payment forms.

File and Time Management

  • Managing lawyer's practice, including all files in lawyer's portfolio.
  • Delegating tasks to appropriate IP group members, and carefully reviewing their work product to ensure proper completion of tasks.
  • Overseeing all Pattsy information by checking all docket entries, ensuring data are correctly entered and maintained, requesting changes and follow-up dates as needed, generating docket reports, and tracking all deadlines (official, internal, or client/external) and work progress in all active files to make sure due dates are met.
  • Contacting Intellectual Property Offices, including CIPO and the USPTO, to resolve basic issues on files such as inquiries and status updates on applications or changes to paperwork and follow ups.
  • Managing physical and electronic files for the IP group; ensuring they are current with all relevant documentation, submissions, and correspondence; bringing forward and pulling files as necessary for lawyer's attention.
  • Requisitioning new files; maintaining a record of all client files and client data, including contact information.
  • Managing file transfers and updates of client information for lawyer's files.
  • Coordinating daily practice of lawyer to ensure hard and soft deadlines are being addressed.
  • Ensuring lawyer's practice runs smoothly by handling routine inquiries.

Lawyer / Client Support

  • Coordinating client meetings, arranging for catering or audio-visual equipment as needed.

Mail, Fax and Phone Reception Functions

  • Answering the telephone, routing calls, taking messages, and providing routine information to callers.
  • Opening and routing incoming mail; distributing correspondence and other material to the appropriate party.

Financial and Administrative Functions

  • Processing all accounts for lawyer.
  • Working with lawyer and accounting department to ensure financial health of the files.
  • Liaising with billing assistants on prebills and invoices.
  • Reviewing all prebills for inaccuracies and errors prior to lawyer review.
  • Reviewing all invoices prior to issuance.
  • Managing client billing information, including special billing instructions.
  • Processing expense reports, outgoing fee payments, and incoming client payments.
  • Assisting with the preparation and finalization of time entry on a daily basis according to firm standards in preparation for Billing Assistant to process.
  • Working with Finance to coordinate new Client and Matter openings (KYC).
  • Coordinating activities with functional area staff (Office Services, Marketing, etc.), as needed.
  • Providing consistent backup support when assistants are absent; providing support to assistants who may be managing multiple tasks and/or difficult deadlines; and working proactively as a positive and productive member of the team.


  • Conducting searches for and downloading patents, trademarks, and designs, using foreign and domestic databases, as requested by the lawyer.
  • Working in a team environment, which includes sharing information and knowledge with team and occasionally supporting other legal assistants and other legal staff.
  • Performing a variety of routine tasks, as well as special projects.
  • Performing other duties as required.

As our ideal candidate, you will have:

  • Legal Assistant diploma or equivalent.
  • Minimum 5 years of experience as a Legal Assistant in an Intellectual Property group.
  • Depth of legal understanding and knowledge of IP laws, with ability to self-update in view of ongoing changes to IP legislation and practice.
  • Extreme attention to detail.
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills, with the ability to maintain a mutual comfort level while relating to clients, lawyers, and government agencies.
  • Strong time management and prioritizing to meet important deadlines with effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Exceptional organizational and multi-tasking skills, and proven success working under pressure.
  • An energetic, proactive approach with a can-do attitude.
  • Flexibility and adaptability in responding to changing laws and practices and constructive feedback; reliability and punctuality.
  • Empathy, with a focus on delivering high-quality client service (both internal and external).
  • Desire to produce work product of exceptional quality and drive to consistently exceed expectations.
  • A willingness to take on any task as needed to support the lawyer's practice.
  • High level of discretion and confidentiality.
  • Ability to work in both a team setting and as an independent under minimal supervision.
  • Problem-solving skills with the ability to visualize and deliver creative solutions.
  • Knowledge of Pattsy and iManage or comparable document management system.
  • Flexibility to occasionally work overtime.

As a member of the McCarthy team, you will have access to:

  • Outstanding benefits from day one, including insurance premiums paid by the Firm and wellness and technology reimbursements.
  • Competitive compensation, paid overtime and generous time off, including a day off to volunteer and a day off for your birthday.
  • A commitment to professional development and growth opportunities for our people at all levels, supported by a culture that fully embraces and encourages two-way feedback.
  • Strong community involvement and a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • A collaborative, cohesive culture that connects lawyers and business teams through collective purpose.

How to apply:

We invite you to submit your application to [email protected] We thank all applicants for their interest in McCarthy Tétrault; however, only chosen applicants will be contacted. We regret that we are unable to respond to individual inquiries about application status. McCarthy Tétrault is an equal opportunity employer that fosters an inclusive, equitable, and accessible environment. Please notify us if you require accommodation at any time during the recruitment process.