Pad Alce, Class of 2010
Alce is the Founding Partner of AI Patent Law, a patent law firm that focuses on building patent portfolios for startups and high growth companies with leading edge technologies. In this role, Alce works primarily on patenting artificial intelligence and machine learning tech, among other complex technologies, and represents various startup clients throughout Silicon Valley, Ann Arbor, Northern Virginia, Austin, and Charlotte.
Alce is a Board member and Social Innovations Resource Mentor for Queen City Forward, as well as a member/participant in CBI’s Leaders Under 40. He also volunteers on the Production Team for Elevation Church and as a soccer coach for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.
Alce received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from North Carolina State University. He received a Master of Business Administration from Campbell University and a Juris Doctor from Campbell University, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. Alce received a LL.M in Entrepreneurship & VC/PE Finance from Duke University School of Law.
Q: Tell us about your extensive experience in Patent Law. What is your favorite thing about this practice area?
A: My experience as a patent professional includes obtaining patent grants in more than thirty (30) technical fields of innovation, from hardware, software, and even including chemistry! The last half decade I have spent tuning my expertise in the most complex technology fields including machine learning/artificial intelligence, quantum-inspired computing, and cryptographic-based technologies. I love my field of practice and so, there are many things that I enjoy about it, however, choosing one, I would have to say that it is building winning patent strategies that attributes the most value to my technology startup clients for fundraising, acquisitions, and/or IPOs. My firm’s clients are THE best and building patent strategy allows us to interface directly with the CEOs and/or CTOs of our clients and do meaningful work. It’s amazing.
Q: How did Campbell Law School prepare you for your career?
A: When I began law school, I was very honest with my legal writing professors. I told them that I stunk at writing. I was an engineer undergrad and I focused my time on analytical work including math and sciences and made it my mission to skip out on any class that included too much reading and writing. Campbell Law honed my writing skills over the course of my first year in law school and by far, has been the greatest tool that I use every single day in my career, from phenomenal memo writing, to patent application drafting, email communications, etc. I cannot overstate the importance of effectively writing to communicate complex and/or meaningful ideas or expressions. While it is true that to be a patent attorney, a technical degree is required for understanding a client’s technology, advanced writing skills ensure that the technology is excellently communicated to parties of interest (e.g., the USPTO, the inventors, prospective investors, etc.).
Q: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment?
A: My greatest professional accomplishment has been taking a leap of faith and starting a successful patent law firm with awesome technology clients throughout the world. Ahead of the pandemic and starting AI Patent Law, I received multiple great offers from various firms throughout the country. Rather than accepting an offer, I was encouraged to take a bet on myself and take control of my career path. It was the best advice that I’ve ever taken. AI Patent Law has had 100% success in obtaining patent grants for all of its portfolio clients. I think that’s a pretty cool accomplishment.
Q: You are a founding member of the law firm of AI Patent Law. What advice do you have for students interested in opening their own law firm?
A:  Build trustworthy legal skills; that is, be able to do the task or job you’re given with high quality and efficiency. All clients want this;  Build your business acumen; high caliber legal work is as much about great legal work as it is about achieving great business objectives for your clients by virtue of trickle down, your firm.  Above all else, have empathy, empathy, empathy… This can be a great attorney’s most awesome super power! Empathy places you in the shoes of your clients, your admins, your adversaries, etc. If you can see from a stakeholder or client’s perspective, then you will be able to deliver work that matters to your clients and in a way that garners respect and trust from all those affected by your work.
Q: What does Campbell University’s motto “leading with purpose” mean to you?
A: “Leading with purpose” is an inspiring call to action to do meaningful work and have meaningful interactions on a daily basis. To lead requires that you set expectations and standards that others will follow; and to lead with purpose, adds a layer to leadership that allows for dutiful conviction in our actions and assurances that our leadership, by way of achieving meaningful work and interactions, will positively affect the people and communities that we serve. While purpose can add depth and meaning to one’s work, coupling purpose and leadership allows us to scale the effects of a positive purpose in the lives of others for many years to come.
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