Quality Control: Intellectual property attorney forges his own applications


Christopher Quinn sees “quality” as the defining term for his firm but that term also extends to his personal life.

In 2002, he founded Quinn Law Group PLLC, an intellectual property law firm in Novi, and cites quality legal work as the reason for its successful growth to a staff of 28.

“We see our relationship with a client as a marathon, not a sprint,” Quinn says. “Our goal is to provide high quality legal services so clients stay with us.  We don’t have billable hour requirements for our attorneys because our focus is entirely on quality, not quantity.”

Patent documents are reviewed by at least two lawyers, plus a proof-reader and special computer software to ensure accuracy.

Quinn has always held himself to a high standard. He earned high grades as far back as high school, and liked math and physics. After earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering with honors at the University of Michigan, he became a manufacturing engineer at Ford Motor Co., and also worked in the powertrain and metal stamping areas at General Motors.

While attending law school, he clerked for a products liability firm involved in sport utility vehicle rollover litigation, and saw the intersection of engineering and law. He graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

“Engineering work is very interesting.” Quinn says. “As a patent attorney, I have the opportunity to practice at the interface between new technologies and the law. Of course, technologies evolve very quickly,
and the law changes as well, so the work is never dull.”

Typically, clients are mid-size and large, national and international corporations. They include the aerospace and auto industries as well as a wide variety of technology companies in many different technology areas.

Quinn has also found ways to apply his high standard of quality in his personal life. With heritage in the Penobscot tribe through his grandmother, he began learning more about Native Americans from a colleague. He visited the Lakota tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and found the living conditions deplorable.

“The Pine Ridge Reservation is the poorest community in the country,” he says. “The average life expectancy is 45 years. Sixty percent of the people on the reservation don’t have running water.  There are people living in old cars and sleeping under cardboard.  It is shocking to see.”

So Quinn has taken steps to improve the quality of life on the reservation. He and his wife Karen formed a nonprofit organization – Spirit Horse Connection – which is working to support native cultures and Native American horses, and is currently planning a housing project on the reservation. They introduced a Verizon executive friend onto the reservation, which resulted in the Verizon Foundation providing connectivity and other services to numerous native tribes.

Quinn’s work with Native Americans also led him to a deep friendship with a medicine man on the reservation. He learned the importance of horses in the Native American culture, and is reviving a breed of high quality Native American horses, in part to help call attention to the plight of Native Americans.

Quinn also learned that quality of life on the reservation has another dimension. In this unlikely place, he found the medicine man was interested in quantum physics because it aligns closely with the Lakota language.

“His level of commitment and service to his people is inspiring, and he convinced me that people are more connected to each other than we realize,” Quinn says. “Actually, we’re connected to all living things in some way.  This deep connectedness is a common theme of quantum physics, Lakota language, Lakota beliefs, and Christianity. Together, we are working on a book about quantum physics to explore these topics.”