1 – Q) Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A) We are an entrepreneur-focused law firm, made up of attorneys who are entrepreneurs ourselves. We know what it is like to start a business and have to make a lot of difficult and scary decisions for something that is important to you. We can help you make those decisions and build strategies for your business’ growth. We have locations in Mesa, Arizona and Tucson, Arizona.
2 – Q) Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A) Brint Hiatt: I’ve been involved in startups and tech since before getting into law in 2005. Back then, I was writing pitch decks and business plans, and making presentations to Angels and VCs for a startup video game developer and publisher. I successfully raised millions in equity funding. After law school, I wore many hats at the various startups I worked in by taking on responsibilities for operations, analytics, sales, marketing, business development, and finance in addition to the legal duties I had. I opened my own firm in 2017 because I wanted to be able to make a deeper impact, and build deeper relationships with entrepreneurs. That kind of energy feeds me. Besides video games, I have worked in various other industries both before, during, and after law school, such as operational business intelligence, government R&D, charity fundraising, and solar.
J.D., magna cum laude, 2012, William S. Richardson School of Law at University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship,cum laude, 2014, from Duke University Law School, Durham, NC
B.I.S., magna cum laude, 2009, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Licensed in Arizona and Hawaii
Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese
Burt Skiba: I am a licensed attorney specializing in intellectual property law with extensive experience in mechanical engineering. I’ve advised a wide range of companies in all manner of transactions involving intellectual property matters such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other IP related business counseling. My specialty is working with early-stage startups by helping them establish and implement their business’s intellectual property plan.
I have significant experience taking an invention from concept, through the design process, and ultimately turning that design into a patent application. In addition, I have extensive experience in trademark law and have helped businesses develop their brand and protect that brand once established.
During law school, I worked for the Naval Surface Warfare Center and a large law firm where I wrote multiple patent applications on a broad range of technologies. Prior to law school, I worked as a mechanical engineer for 11 years and had extensive technical experience with complex systems such as turbine engines, rockets, and missiles. While working as an engineer I received an MBA in Finance. I have used my engineering and business experience within our law practice to help my clients protect their ideas, processes, and methods and thus built value in their companies. Over the years, I have formed three startups of my own and so I know what it takes to protect your IP.
I spend my free time with my wife and four kids, coaching baseball and football, and taking my kids golfing.
J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law
MBA in Finance from Western International University
BSE in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University
Licensed in AL and District of Columbia
Clark Proffitt: I am a patent attorney certified in law, science and technology, that concentrates my practice in representing clients in a broad range of intellectual property and patent matters including counseling, prosecution, licensing, transactions, and business formation. I have broad experience in all aspects of intellectual property law and have performed trademark and patent prosecution for a range of technologies including medical devices and diagnostics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, software, semiconductor materials and electrical engineering.
I have significant experience before federal district courts, the Federal Circuit and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, the International Trade Commission and the U.S.P.T.O.
Prior to forming Accelerate IP, I was a Steve Lisa Fellow at Arizona State University’s Technology Transfer Office, and practiced for eight years at a boutique intellectual property firm.
I speak Spanish and served a church mission to the Latin community in Miami, Florida and served two months as counselor and assistant to Ashanti Ashram in Coimbatore, India in 2004.
In 2013, I fell off a cliff while hiking Zion National Park. This near death experience provided me with valuable insight into the kind of legal work I’d like to do in my career and solidified my passion for helping businesses and entrepreneurs.
J.D., magna cum laude, Certification in Intellectual Property Law, 2008, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.
B.Sc., Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Licensed in AZ
U.S. District Court, Arizona
U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit (2010); U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (2011)
Fluent in Spanish
3 – Q)What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A) We know that early on in starting a business is when it is usually at its most vulnerable, and yet at the most exciting. But that is when things are also most scary, because so many things can derail a business when getting off the ground, and many of those things are what a founder doesn’t even know that he or she doesn’t know. Having worked in startups for many years, we have encountered most of the challenges that entrepreneurs will face, and we have answers to help them avoid problems in the future while keeping their foot on the gas.
4 – Q) What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A) You need to learn how to accept that you will be wrong, and that you will need to adjust your course many times during the life of your business. Too often we judge ourselves like we did in high school or college, where we had only as much value as the total points that we got (or got marked off) on an assignment. We need to realize that it is OK to change your mind. We need to reprogram ourselves so that when we make a decision, we don’t believe that we are only as good as that decision. The fact that you were willing to make a decision and stick by that decision until new information came about that told you that you should make a different decision, and then actually make a new decision, means that you are more likely to be successful with your new business.
5 – Q) What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A) Belief in yourself, Decision-making, Flexibility
6 – Q) How many hours do you work a day on average?
A) As most of our attorneys have families with young children, we try to keep our work at work in order to allow our people to remind themselves why they work.
7 – Q) To what do you most attribute your success?
A) At HPS Law Group, we believe that we were put on this earth for the purpose of becoming the best version of ourselves, and to assist our clients to do the same.
8 – Q) How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A) To date, we have mostly worked through referrals, meaning that our clients like us enough that they want their friends and partners to enjoy the same level of service and quality.
9 – Q) Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?
A) We have been primarily self-funded.
10 – Q) What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A) You need to begin with the end in mind, and understand that without building sustainably from the get-go, you will never be able to enjoy the success you crave.
11 – Q) Where do you see yourself and your business in 5-10 years?
A) Our firm doubled or tripled in size, having helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams, being highly involved in their businesses.
12 – Q) Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A) There are a lot of really good companies to admire out there, and we admire the companies that are able to create a positive difference in the world while still achieving market success. Companies like Tesla, Facebook, Toms, Apple, and many others were founded not just to make money, but to make you think and act in completely new ways that created a lot of value for shareholders and for society in general. They flipped the script in their spheres of influence, and the world is richer for it. Each may have, and ultimately will have, its own set of problems, but they all prove that you can do well in the world while also doing good.
13 – Q) How important have good employees been to your success?
A) Having good people on your team is vital. Let’s face it, you could do it alone, but your speed, quality, and quantity of work, as well as quality of life will suffer as a result. It seems counter-intuitive, but you need to spend the time to find and train good people in order to save money in the long run.
14 – Q) How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A) When making a decision, you need to honor yourself by actually executing and putting enough effort into that decision to give it an honest chance of being a good one. However, new information will come up all the time, and that means you need to sprinkle your confidence with a liberal dose of humility to admit when things aren’t going the way you thought they would. Maybe that is due to new information that makes you realize that you need to shift. You need to look inward and learn to recognize if you want to give up because it’s hard, or if you recognize a better outcome is available by making a different choice.
15 – Q) What motivates you?
A) We love seeing people achieve their goals and make cool things happen. It gives us a lot of energy to be able to help individuals that are striving to make great things happen in the world. Along those lines, we love the idea that we are working to build an ecosystem that fosters entrepreneurship. We feel like we’re building something beyond ourselves.
16 – Q) What are your ideals?
A) We believe in the human spirit – that we are all capable of unlocking something greater inside ourselves.
17 – Q) How do you generate new ideas?
A) Being connected and involved. The more ideas you see, the more likely great ideas will come to you. It’s hard to be creative in a vacuum.
18 – Q) How do you define success?
A) One great truth about life is that there will always be another level that you can achieve, be it in wealth, business, health, relationships, etc. So, by definition, you can always get better at something. That means you need to take satisfaction in recognizing the value in what you are striving towards rather than unfairly judge yourself to somebody else.
19 – Q) How do you build a successful customer base?
A) You need to do something interesting that has actual value to customers, and then take the risk of actually telling people about it. A lot of entrepeneurs think they’re risking too much, and then get too scared to actually make the videos, get up on the stage, or make the phone call. In your business, you will hear “no” or “not yet” a lot more than you will hear “yes”, and you need to understand that you don’t need or even want everybody to say yes.
20 – Q) What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A) When we work with clients to brainstorm and improve what they are doing, and feel their satisfaction, it makes going through any negative moments worth it.
21 – Q) What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A) When we first teamed up, we worked together on a shared client, who absolutely raved about our service combination. It was a powerful moment that helped us to feel like we were on the right track.
22 – Q) What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A) We don’t mean to disparage employees, because many employees are incredible individuals, visionary even. You can work for somebody else and have a great vision of what you want for yourself, your family, and the world. But entrepreneurs’ visions have usually grown to a point that there is no room for that vision to exist under somebody else’s roof, and so they necessarily must take their vision somewhere else to allow it the room it needs to fulfill its potential. Oftentimes, the difference between an entrepreneur and a great employee is just timing, as the employee’s vision hasn’t grown that far yet where the person must go out on their own.
23 – Q) What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
A) It might be a buzz-word, but we have a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and it was established because we are innovative entrepreneurs ourselves. Innovators don’t do things the way they’ve always been done just because they’ve always been done that way and neither do we. Entrepreneurs take risks in order to find better outcomes for themselves and society. We risk our relationship with what we have now in order to build better relationships. There are few industries that could use entrepreneurship and innovation more than the legal field, so we are proudly innovating in order to provide better overall experiences and outcomes for our clients.
24 – Q) In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.