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Jason Schwent, Kelly Simon named 2014 Up & Coming attorneys

August 6, 2014

Jason Schwent
Jason Schwent
Kelly Simon
Kelly Simon

Missouri Lawyers Weekly has selected Thompson Coburn partners Jason Schwent and Kelly Simon as 2014 “Up & Coming” attorney award winners.

Jason is an intellectual property litigator and the author of the Patent Billy Goat blog; Kelly is an immigration attorney in Thompson Coburn’s Labor & Employment group.

The awards honor attorneys who are under 40 or in the first 10 years of their legal careers. Winners were selected based on their academic and career accomplishments, community involvement, and potential to make a difference in the profession, legal system, or the community. The 54 award winners will be honored Oct. 3 at a special ceremony at the Chase Park Plaza.

Jason Schwent is an experienced intellectual property litigator. In a legal climate where less than 5 percent of patent infringement cases advance to trial, Jason helped lead a client to a major patent infringement victory. The 2010 verdict for Bunzl Distribution was upheld by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in a precedent-setting decision. Jason draws on that trial experience to provide critical front-end advice on infringement actions. He also has counseled major corporations on open-source software and helped these companies evaluate any risks and create effective compliance programs.

Jason has developed a special focus on patent troll litigation, where multiple defendants face attack from a single non-practicing entity. In these joint defense groups, Jason collaborates with dozens of other defense attorneys and coordinates discovery efforts that ease the financial burden for clients.

Drawing on that patent troll experience, Jason earlier this year launched the Patent Billy Goat, a blog geared toward businesses under attack by non-practicing entities or “patent trolls.” (The blog’s name comes from the fairy tale goats who dared to challenge a bridge-dwelling troll instead of allowing him to extort a toll.) Jason has used the blog to break down the basic parts of a patent, offer tips for those faced with cease and desist letters, and explain why the best possibility for patent reform likely lies not with Congress but with the U.S. Supreme Court.

As Thompson Coburn’s first full-time immigration partner, Kelly Simon is a core member of the firm’s 10-person Immigration Group and guides clients through the complex maze of the immigration process. She helps all types of businesses and nonprofits secure residency and, eventually, citizenship for mission-critical employees. Kelly’s interest in immigration law sprung from her prior career as a staffer for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, where she worked directly on a variety of thorny immigration issues.

In her current role, Kelly frequently prepares immigration applications for scientists and researchers, distilling highly technical information and explaining exactly why an individual’s skills and area of research are essential to the petitioning university, hospital or private employer.

Outside of work, Kelly is active with a newly established nonprofit, Achievements Unlimited, that provides day programs for adults with autism and related disorders. This first-of-its-kind program in Missouri provides critical support, activities, and work experience for young people who have aged out of the St. Louis Special School District.