Inspiration: Here’s the incredible story of the blind lawyer working at Google

He’s a top Google executive


Jack Chen currently serves as Patent Counsel in the legal department at Google, which is focused on Google’s Social products.  He does several important aspects of Google’s legal procedures such as working with outside counsel to protect Google’s inventions, licensing and acquiring patents, and developing strategies to align Google’s patent portfolio with Google’s various business objectives, he meets with engineers to vet inventions, reviews outside counsel patent application drafts, and review responses to rejections from the Patent Office to mention but a few.


He is not your regular guy


The above outlined job-prescription is undoubtedly very important in Google, but surprisingly, the guy who executes this important obligation is blind from birth.

It will be essential to point out this important fact that physical disability is not the end of the world; in fact every challenge you encounter in life ought to be considered a stepping stone to your next breakthrough because you are not likely to reach that next level without overcoming that hurdle.


Inventor at heart


Jack Chen had been an inventor at heart since childhood. Jack not only created his own inventions, he became a successful patent attorney so he could help others in a bigger way.

Jack Chen said “As a child, I was an inventor at heart. I wanted to create the next new tool to help make my parent’s lives easier. For example, when we left the house in the mornings my mother would usually say something like, “Did I turn the stove off? Should we go back?” I wanted to create a way for her to turn the stove off from wherever she was. Nowadays, that can be done.” This and many more exuded the creativity in him.


He has his name on 10 patents!


He graduated with an MS in computer science, but got interested in patents while working for a start-up. He worked then with an outside counsel to create a patent portfolio of fifteen patents for the company. So he maximized his interest in inventing and was an inventor on up to ten patents. While working with the outside counsel, he gained a greater appreciation for law.

He said “I saw that law would allow me to work more with people than computers, something that I appreciated as an outgoing person. I decided to go to law school to invest more in law. After graduation from Fordham University, I worked as a patent attorney in two firms and then switched to an in-house position to gain a greater work life balance.”


He may be blind but He’s got focus


It’s all just a matter of pursuing your area of interest and not giving up on your dreams and visions, a philosopher once said “The world makes way for he who knows where he is going”. This is so true for Jack Chen. Jack Chen was prepared for where he was going, so when the right opportunity came, he just grabbed it. Affirming the saying that “opportunity awaits the prepared mind”.

Asides being hard working, Jack Chen is also down to earth and willing to learn from all. For such a guy, there can be no blocked path; his humility and open mind open doors.


For Jack, Learning is a daily journey

Jack Chen 3.jpg

Jack says “It is no exaggeration to say that I work with the most brilliant people on the planet. It is humbling to work with each person at Google because I learn from people continuously. Everywhere I turn there is someone who knows more about the law or engineering or leadership than I know. I’m also extremely fortunate to have landed with my current manager. He is a true people manager in the full sense of the term. He has continuously supported my extra needs, including special document formats for team documents, obtaining specialized computers and equipment, and even supporting the hiring of an assistant to help me be more effective in my job.”

In all, Jack is exceedingly industrious and forward looking, he tries his best all the time not always relying on other people for his needs but always trying his best to yield maximum output.

“The company develops the most cutting edge products, which comes with the added challenge of continuously finding ways of working with those technologies as a blind employee. This effort has been challenging, but none of these challenges has stopped me from contributing to my team and making a significant impact.” Says Jack.


Jacks advice for those interested in his field of work

My general advice for those looking for a career in this field of work is to address the elephant in the room from the get-go and frame your experience and abilities in your own terms.


In all, whether you have no eyes or you have ten eyes, whether you have one legs or ten legs; at one stage in life or the other, these values make or break us: Hard work, commitment, industry, focus, diligence determination. Want to achieve success? Stop whining and start winning.


If Jack Chen’s story inspired you, leave us a comment.

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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