GETTING TO KNOW: John E. Munro

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John E. Munro, an attorney with Harness, Dickey, & Pierce in Troy, grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago before attending the University of Illinois. After receiving his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and then his Master’s in Business Administration, he accepted a job working for Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, and worked for Ford for approximately seven years before deciding to make a change and pursue a career in intellectual property law.

After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law, Munro accepted a position in Chicago practicing intellectual property law in which he counseled clients in patent, trademark, and copyright law.  His career brought him back to Michigan when a position with Harness, Dickey, & Pierce became available that offered the opportunity to combine his automotive experience with his legal practice. He now lives in Northville.

 

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

What would surprise people about your job?

People may be surprised to learn that I interact with lawyers and other intellectual property professionals across the globe to obtain and enforce our client’s intellectual property rights. One of the most interesting cases I was involved in occurred in Russia where we asked local Russian police to investigate a third-party infringer for committing forgery and fraud at the Russian Patent Office.

Why did you become a lawyer?

I considered the career move after talking with a friend who thought it might be a good fit. One aspect of law that intrigued me then, and still intrigues me now, is that the law is constantly changing and continuous learning is a critical aspect of being a good lawyer.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school?

Give some thought to the type of law that you think you want to practice. You will not be restricted from practicing in other areas but it will help to talk to someone who practices in your area of interest. The practice of law varies greatly between practice areas.

What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer?

One of my proudest moments was defeating a motion for a preliminary injunction in a trademark dispute for a client. The magistrate judge’s report and recommendations did not come down in our favor so the deck was stacked against us. We were able to persuade the presiding judge otherwise.

What do you do to relax?

I unwind by playing with my 2- and 4-year-old kids. It may not always be relaxing, but viewing life through their eyes is truly refreshing.

What other career path might you have chosen?

I was accepted into the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program during college, and was fully prepared for a career managing nuclear reactors in the Navy after graduation. I was, however, disqualified from the program after only three days of Officer Candidate School when I failed the color vision test.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self?

Keep your eyes on the road! (Both literally and figuratively.)

What is your happiest childhood memory?

We would load up the family station wagon and drive eight hours to the Ozarks in Missouri almost every summer to visit my great-grandmother. Some of my fondest childhood memories occurred on those trips.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?

I try to take a camping trip every year with high school friends and one year we hiked to the base of the Grand Canyon. I don’t think many places are more awe-inspiring than that.

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?

I would like to learn to speak Polish.  My wife is Polish and speaks in Polish with her family.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I spent 7 months on assignment in Istanbul when I worked for the Ford Motor Co. It was an amazing experience.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?

Abraham Lincoln, Julius Caesar, and Leonardo Da Vinci.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

Make sure you save time for fun. You know what they say about all work and no play.

Favorite place to spend money?

eBay – you can find everything there.

What is your motto?

“Get busy living or get busy dying” – “The Shawshank Redemption” is one of my favorites.

What is the most unusual thing you have done?

I ran with the bulls in Pamplona and managed to keep from being gored.

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