David Mancino began his career as an electrical engineer at a series of aircraft engine companies. What a long, strange trip it's been.

These days "” as a patent attorney for Taft, Stettinius & Hollister "” Mancino finds himself working on about six patent applications at any one time (often medical devices, electronics, and software). He spends much of his time counseling clients on issues of intellectual property, including patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law and litigation.

"One of my favorite parts of this job is working with the clients," Mancino says of the inventors who approach the law firm with inventions they hope to patent. Clients run the gamut from Fortune 500 companies and research institutions to individual inventors.

Taft hired him in 2001 to start a patent practice. "The patent attorney career [was] a terrific opportunity to become a lawyer while using the technological skills and background that I had," he says, adding his technical degree is necessary to take the patent bar exam. (Mancino earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.)

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Mancino grew up in Cincinnati, graduating from Green Hills High School. He now lives with his wife, Shannon, and their four children in Madison Township.

"Being able to identify [clients'] different business issues and see their different business landscapes is a real fun part of the job," Mancino says. Part of his job is also to zero in on the inventions' unique aspects, or their "points of novelty" that warrant patent applications.

Developing the practices of less experienced associates is an important part of building the patent group, Mancino notes, but he also enjoys working with law students who come to the firm for internships and externships. For his interns, Mancino even tries his hand at mock inventions for them to research for their patentability.

"I'm 0-for-3," Mancino says. "The people who make these [successful] inventions have an aptitude for inventing things that I don't have."