Law School and Technology
October 7, 2005 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for law schools with programs on technology/intellectual property and it's connection to policy.

I know Berkely's Boalt School has a great program, but are there any other schools in North America that have similar offerings? (Any canadian school suggestions would be great, and I have heard about Ottawa's IP program). No I do not have a computer science background.
posted by phyrewerx to Education (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I meant Berkeley. Doh!
posted by phyrewerx at 9:42 AM on October 7, 2005

Check out the US News rankings for law schools with IP programs. You will have to pay to get all the info, but it might be worth your money.
posted by amro at 9:52 AM on October 7, 2005

Are you interested in general IP policy or something else? I think George Washington is good but I'm biased. For policy stuff, the schools in DC are probably good bets for geographic reasons if nothing else.
posted by exogenous at 9:54 AM on October 7, 2005

Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire (where I just graduated from) has long been known for its IP program, patent law in particular. More practical than policy-focused, however.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:39 AM on October 7, 2005

A touch out of my league personally but, since you didn't give us any GAP/LSAT limitations, there's always Lessig and crew over at Stanford's Program in Law, Science and Technology.
posted by leecifer at 10:43 AM on October 7, 2005

As it looks like you already know, Ottawa is the strongest Canadian school for IP law, particularly when it comes to policy. That's where I hope to go, or at least to transfer to after my first year.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:46 AM on October 7, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers everyone, my LSAT is compeititve and just below the median for first tier schools. GPA, not so well.

I'm actaully a little disappointed that Canada doesn't have too many technology and law programs.

Solid: where are you going now and where do you plan to apply?
posted by phyrewerx at 10:57 AM on October 7, 2005

It might be a good idea to talk to some IP attorneys to find out if they think that your choice of school matters. It could be that your best bet is to go to the highest ranked school you get into, then focus on IP when you get there. No matter where you go, you'll find all the basic IP classes, I'm sure, and you can also supplement your education through independent study and internships. With respect to internships, the choice of location might matter more than the school (presuming that the schools are evenly ranked): you'd want to go somewhere with businesses, nonprofits, or govt agencies doing the kind of work you want to do, so you can get interships there during your 2nd and 3d years.

Good luck!
posted by footnote at 11:51 AM on October 7, 2005

I'll repeat some advice I received when applying: Unless you're absolutely sure you want to work in IP, as in you've passed the patent bar or worked in the field in some capacity already, don't let your school selection pigeon hole your career. If you go to a good school, take the IP classes available, and do well, almost all doors will be open to you. If you go to a school with a specific emphasis in IP (but otherwise isn't as highly regarded as others you might be admitted to) and decide that's not what you want to do, you'll be explaining why in all of your interviews.

Not two months into my law school experience, my intentions are already beginning to drift... Of course YMMV.
posted by jaysus chris at 12:13 PM on October 7, 2005

Phyre: I'm not in school; I got my B.A. almost fifteen years ago. I just wrote the LSAT last weekend and plan to apply to schools in the week between I get my results and the usual deadline of November 1st.

I'm applying to UBC, all of the Ontario schools, Manitoba and UNB (the latter two because they are particularly lax in their admission standards, and transferring to a different school after first year is often easier than getting into the school you want the first year).

I am particularly interested in Ottawa because I want to be a copyfighter and it is the top school (UBC is fairly strongly-rated, I've read).

I am predicting 170+ on my LSAT based on the post-mortem on the Law School Discussion forum, but my GPA is quite low, and even with five years of legislative work experience I may not get into even a second-tier school like UBC or Ottawa. There's no point in my applying to UVic, that's for sure (and I'm not interested in aboriginal law, anyway.)
posted by solid-one-love at 12:21 PM on October 7, 2005

I too was all about IP coming into law school, but diversified my interests. Unless, as has been said above, you are already a patent agent and are going back in-house to a pharmaceutical or chemical company, don't specialize. Go to the best school you can get into.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 3:24 PM on October 7, 2005

George Washington University 's law school is well known for its IP program. I'd generally agree with jaysus chris though so don't pick a law school just because of its IP program.
posted by gyc at 3:48 PM on October 7, 2005

I am an IP attorney with a computer background but I never took an IP course in law school. Not one. Go to a good school where you feel comfortable. You may change your mind about IP while you are there. If you really feel the need to specialize thereafter, there are several IP LLM programs out there (e.g. Florida, Cardozo) and there are even a few IT/IP programs (e.g. John Marshall).
posted by madandal at 8:08 PM on October 7, 2005

Ah yes, on revisit I've got to agree with JC. I'm two months into third year and my career plans have by now changed about 15 times since I got to school. It really is shocking what becomes more or less interesting than you thought it would be when you get here. I wholeheartedly second the "go to the best school you can" advice. Good schools with not-so-well-known IP programs still ought to have a decent IP prof or two and if you're really all 'bout IP, you can likely get them to give you some good mentoring or directed research or research assistant work, etc.

I guess the caveat here is that I do know a dude who has an MIT graduate degree and was DEFINITELY going to be a patent attorney from the day he got here. He's one of very, very few people I can think of who has really stayed with exactly what he thought he was coming here for. And, to be honest, he chose a very good school that's not very well known for it's IP program and wound up with a great job so, even for that guy, choosing the right IP school wasn't all you might think it's cracked up to be.

The policy end of your equation is going to be the tough part, I think. The only people I can think of that specialize for a living in IP policy, per se, are law professors and that's a tough, tough racket to break into. Not being a real IP guy, I could be wrong about that and would welcome corrections from other mefi law-types but, to be honest, my suspicion is that most IP jobs involve actually dealing with patents, trademarks or copyrights, not making or recommending policy.
posted by leecifer at 10:46 PM on October 7, 2005

I'm surprised no one here has mentioned Fordham, a not-hard-to-get-into school that is generally assumed to be the best IP school in the country. Seriously! Folks from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc., regularly go there for IP conferences, workshops.
posted by kensanway at 3:04 PM on October 8, 2005

Ditto John Marshall for U of Chicago and Northwestern folks.
posted by MeetMegan at 11:03 AM on October 10, 2005

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