I’ve been involved with Conexx for 22 years. I happened to hear at the time about one of the events that was being organized by Conexx, and I was intrigued that there was an organization devoted to developing business between US and Israeli companies and institutions. I didn’t know any such organizations existed. I attended the event, and was hooked.
Over the last 22 years that I’ve been involved with Conexx, I’ve held various positions within the organization. I began simply by attending different events, and I volunteered to serve on the Telecom Committee, which has now been subsumed into the Hi-Tech Connector. After a couple of years as an active participant, I ended up chairing the committee for a few years. As a patent/IP lawyer, I became more involved with the Professional Connector and I’ve served as Chair of that connector for the past four years. I’m also a long-time member of the Conexx Board, and as Chair of the Professional Connector, I serve on the Conexx Executive Committee.
In addition to my committee/connector work, I’ve also traveled to Israel with Conexx four times over the past 20 years, as part of various business missions. These trips proved to be an effective springboard for me into Israel early in my career, and they’ve allowed me to meet a wide variety of people in Israel in various industries – tech, professionals, government, etc. I now represent various Israeli clients with respect to US patent/IP legal matters, and I myself travel to Israel on business on my own at least twice per year. But the Conexx business missions gave me a great introduction to the business and technology industries in Israel, allowing me to further expand my connections on my own. In November 2016, I’ll be once again participating in a Conexx mission – the Conexx Israel Business Expedition, spending part of my time with others on the Conexx trip, while also meeting my own clients and contacts.
There are many worthy organizations in the community that have a strong Israel focus – AIPAC, AJC, FIDF, among others. However, Conexx stands alone as an organization that focuses on fostering economic and business cooperation between Israel and the US. While each organization plays an important role in strengthening Israel and its importance and leading role in the world, Conexx approaches this goal from a unique perspective. By strengthening economic cooperation between Israel and the US, and educating the community on the major role that Israel has in developing life-changing technologies and supporting jobs and economic growth here in the US, Conexx provides an invaluable service to its constituents. It’s truly a win-win situation, and together with other organizations provides a complete package that Israel needs in this fast-changing and turbulent world.
I’m a partner at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, a full-service law firm of 200 lawyers based in Atlanta, with offices around the country and world. I’ve been practicing patent/intellectual property (IP) law for the past 26 years, and I lead the firm’s IP Department, which includes 32 IP attorneys throughout our various offices. My clients range from small start-ups to large multi-national technology companies, as well as universities, in the US, Israel and other countries. I and my IP team assist our clients with the procurement of patents and trademarks, licensing, strategic IP portfolio management, proceedings in patent offices in the US and abroad, IP opinions and IP litigation. In addition to my full-time legal practice, I also serve as an adjunct professor at both Emory University School of Law and at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, teaching a software IP class since 2011.
Conexx has made a significant impact on my life, both personally and professionally. Israel has always been an important country for me and my family, and to be able to combine my personal connection to, and admiration of Israel, with my professional legal practice has been quite fulfilling. Conexx provided me the initial support that I needed to make a professional impact in Israel, and it continues to perform valuable work on issues that are important to me. During my travels to Israel, I frequently mention my long-term and close affiliation with Conexx, and it’s truly rewarding to hear from Israelis how important an organization like Conexx is to them.
Editor’s Note: Greg Kirsch was recently named Georgia’s Patent Law “Lawyer of the Year” for 2017 by the Best Lawyers in America, which is the leading peer-review based directory of legal practitioners. Only a single lawyer in each specialty in each community is recognized as the “Lawyer of the Year.” Attorneys who are honored as “Lawyer of the Year” have received particularly high ratings by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity. Conexx is proud and honored to have worked with Greg for so many years and we look forward to many productive and collaborative years ahead. Mazal Tov!