Current Student Spotlight: Rae Hintlian, 2L

Rae Hintlian is currently a 2L at Loyola, who intends to pursue a career in patent prosecution in San Diego or Denver. Patent prosecution is the process of writing and filing a patent application and pursuing protection for that patent application with the patent office. Rae attended Northern Arizona University and received her undergraduate degree in biology and a chemistry minor. During her work post-graduation with clinical research she was introduced to patent work, as related to drugs and pharmaceuticals. This sparked her interest in the legal field and a career in patent law. We recently had an opportunity to talk to Rae about her experiences in choosing law school, as well as her law school experience thus far.

Why Loyola?
Rae started her search for law schools by looking at schools with developed patent programs, most of which had classes but not programs that were actually dedicated to patents. Loyola had a patent focus, and she knew that was where she wanted to be.

What does Loyola offer for someone interested in an IP career
At Loyola, there is a wealth of resources ranging from librarians who can guide you in the right direction, including one who was a partner at a major IP firm, and professors who can help you network and find mentors. Chicago is a hub for patent law. This location, combined with the resources that Rae values at Loyola, allows her to be centrally located and thriving in her field of study.

IP experience have you had at Loyola
During her time at Loyola, Rae has had many different IP opportunities in a range of settings, including law firms, as well as a physical rehab center.

During her 1L summer Rae was able to work at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, which is a physical rehab center built at Northwestern University. The program is fairly new, starting in March 2017. They mostly center their work on patenting medical devices to help patients that have been in an accident, are disabled, or born with a medical condition in which they need assistance. Rae primarily worked with the patent prosecution department, alongside physicians to determine if their idea was patentable. She had the opportunity to write responses to actions from the US Patent and Trademark Office and perform patent searches. In addition, she even was able to do some compliance and regulatory work to gain exposure to other legal areas beyond patents.

Currently, Rae is employed at Zilliac Law working with trademarks and copyrights, which exposes her to another side of intellectual property law. However, since her interest is in patent prosecution, she has secured a job for the summer at Cherskov, Flaynik & Gurda, LLC., a law firm that focuses on patent prosecution.  Rae heard about Cherskov, Flaynik & Gurda, LLC. through a Loyola alum, and was able to connect with the firm by sending a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to them expressing her interest.

Interviewed by: Lily Ealey

Posted in Academic, Intellectual Property, Life at Loyola, Student Life, Student Spotlight | Comments Off on Current Student Spotlight: Rae Hintlian, 2L

Alumni Spotlight: William Cassin, JD ‘06

IP Alumni Spotlight: William Cassin
Head of IP for North America at thyssenkrupp North America, Inc.

One day, as you diligently work through engineering design calculations, your manager puts a competitor’s product on your desk and says: “Our competitor’s have product X in the market and we need to make a similar product. Find out if they have a patent on this product, and if so, how can we design around it so we don’t infringe their patent.”  If this scenario sounds familiar, your self-guided exploration of the merger of technology and law may have you contemplating a transition into the exciting world of intellectual property legal practice.  Loyola’s Alumni Spotlight is pleased to share an interview with William Cassin (’06) about his journey to Loyola University Chicago School of Law and beyond.

William Cassin is Head of IP for North America at thyssenkrupp North America, Inc., a $51.1 billion corporation with 158,000 employees in 79 countries. With headquarters in Essen, Germany, the company’s business operations include five areas: Components Technology, Elevator Technology, Industrial Solutions, Materials Services, and Steel Europe.  Mr. Cassin is in his fifth year with thyssenkrupp.  Prior to going in-house, he worked as a Patent Attorney in the IP Practice Groups at two of Chicago’s largest general practice legal firms.

What was your background before you went to Loyola?
I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  I worked as a product development engineer for a company that designed and manufactured network connectivity infrastructure solutions for eight years.  My roles included fiber-optic prototype R&D, high-performance data transmission connector design, and end-to-end network system production.  I was first exposed to patents by performing infringement analyses of competitor’s products and review of patent application claims.

What initial steps did you take to understand patents?
Provided the opportunity to review patents as a working engineer, I started by searching the web.  What constituted claims, what did it mean to “infringe” a patent and how was that determined.  I read everything I could find.  I began a process of developing educational resources that I have continued over the years.  These materials are now a valuable source of information I share with engineers in my current organization.  They provide an introductory explanation of patents that I would have found useful when I was in that role.

Was a law degree always part of your plan?
Not at all.  I knew a family friend who was a lawyer, but that was the full extent of it.  My interest in pursuing a legal education started with reviewing patents as part of my engineering responsibilities.  The more I learned about the nuances of patent law, and the more I helped my engineering colleagues design around competitor’s patents, the stronger my interest became.

How did you choose Loyola?
I selected the evening program and continued to work as an engineer.  I knew I was interested in practicing patent law, and Loyola offered a very compelling intellectual property program in terms of the course offerings.  In addition to classes on IP and Patents, I was able to take a class on Biotech/Pharmaceuticals.  I would definitely recommend taking advantage of the broad catalog of options available.  Additionally, I especially enjoyed the excellent opportunities Loyola offers in Appellate Advocacy and Pre-Trial Litigation.

What was your experience working at large general practice firms?
Thrilling.  Despite the overall number of attorneys at the firm, the full-service IP practice group functioned as a tight knit team.  The group consisted of twenty attorneys.  I was able to work on a wide range of issues, including patent prosecution, pharmaceutical litigation, merger & acquisition deal work, cease and desist letters for infringement, and trademark clearance, procurement, and protection.  With the ability to sample all areas, I was not required to function in a silo.

I discovered that technical writing came very naturally.  Inventor interviews were enjoyable and I was able to accurately convert the technical discussions into legal documents.

How did the decision to take an in-house position come about?
Quite unexpectedly.  I was very happy in the firm environment.  Although I had never sought out an in-house job, I was open to the possibility.  A fellow classmate from law school, working as a legal recruiter, contacted me with a position she thought precisely matched my qualifications.  The transition permitted additional scheduling flexibility for my family and reduced the number of late nights required.  It was the right move at the point I was at in my career.

Can you describe your current responsibilities?
In many ways, I am busier now than I was before.  thyssenkrupp is a large German-based multi-national conglomerate that is composed of over 400 separate companies internationally, and about another forty within the North American region alone.  The volume and complexity of tasks corresponds with this massive scale.  My group handles in-house patent and trademark prosecution, manages outside patent prosecution, conducts IP due diligence, drafts IP licensing and joint development agreements, provides litigation support, leads strategic IP decision making, and provides IP training to thyssenkrupp’s employees across the North American region.  The work includes patent applications and office actions on technologies ranging from mining equipment to elevator systems and automobile steering columns.  I am fortunate to come in contact with a broad base of technologies.

In my role, I am called upon to wear two hats.  I provide legal services as an attorney, but I am now additionally involved in delivering strategic business counsel.  I am active in determining the path forward for the company’s IP portfolio, assessing risks, evaluating competitors, and protecting thyssenkrupp’s important assets.

What are some of the unique aspects of working at a multi-national corporation?
The exposure to German and Chinese patent application processes through our foreign colleagues has been a wonderful learning opportunity.  For two weeks a year, the global intellectual property team gets together to understand the nuances of intellectual property law in different national jurisdictions, and to continue to try and improve our own internal processes in ways that will work across multiple countries.  Just as important as the technical and structural differences, we gain insights into the different IP prosecution strategies, styles, and techniques commonly utilized by our foreign counterparts, and the reasons why each approach is employed.

Any parting words of wisdom for IP orientated law students?
IP and Patents are truly fun.  You get the opportunity to be involved with the newest developments and inventions of your clients.  And for technology companies, much of their value is derived from the IP they own, making the role of an IP attorney an important one, whether you will be helping to procure patents on new inventions or via acquisitions, enforcing your clients’ patent rights in litigation, or providing counseling on IP strategy and helping development teams minimize infringement risk in new products.

Also, seek out what is new and different.  If you get a chance to be around patents, make sure you take a close look.  The same advice holds true in selecting courses.  Take advantage of the possibilities.  Get exposure to as much IP coursework as you can.  It will help you start to realize what aspects of IP law truly interest you.

Interviewed by: Ted Mahan, Juris Doctor Candidate

Posted in Alumni, Intellectual Property, Life at Loyola, Why Loyola? | Comments Off on Alumni Spotlight: William Cassin, JD ‘06

Student Spotlight: Ben Horwitz, Claiming Chicago for his own city

Third-year student Ben Horwitz came to Loyola with dual interests in trial advocacy and public interest work—two areas in which he’s taken every opportunity to learn. In the classroom, in the clinic, and in competition, “Loyola has pushed me to develop valuable skills and varied experience in those areas,” he says.

CHARMED BY CHICAGO: Raised on the East Coast, Horwitz has found what he calls “the Midwest experience” intriguing. “Chicago is a fun, exciting place to live with features that few other cities of its size can offer,” he says. “With the Daley Center just a couple of El stops away and the federal courthouse a few blocks farther, Loyola is on the doorstep of legal developments in this city and has a strong alumni network here. I appreciate the opportunities that going to school here has provided, and look forward to joining Chicago’s legal community after graduation.”

COURTROOM CHOPS: Horwitz holds a Philip H. Corboy Fellowship in Trial Advocacy—along with two other scholarships—and he and his team recently advanced from the Texas Young Lawyers Association Regional Mock Trial Competition to the National Competition. “Competing in mock trial competitions for Loyola my second and third years has been an immersive, challenging, and rewarding experience,” he says.

LEARNING BY DOING: “Loyola’s Community Law Center has allowed me to represent minors as a guardian ad litem and begin to develop interviewing and negotiation skills,” Horwitz says. “The clinic has also been a great opportunity to appear in court as a 711-licensed law student under faculty supervision.” He’s also participated in a variety of volunteer programs as a member of the Public Interest Law Society, and honed his writing skills on the Loyola University Chicago International Law Review.

FAVORITE PROF: Henry Rose’s Law and Poverty class was one of Horwitz’s favorites. “It was wonderful to see how passionate Professor Rose is about public interest law,” he says, “and to hear stories from his career.”

WE’VE GOT HIS BACK: “Loyola faculty and administrators are incredibly welcoming and supportive. The professors are enthusiastic and willing to answer questions in class and during office hours, and the administration is accessible and helpful in providing guidance,” Horwitz says. “While law school is a constant struggle to find the 25th hour in the day, it makes it a lot easier to know that there are people who believe in you and have your back.”

Posted in Academic, Center for Advocacy, Clinics, Corboy Fellows, Experiential Learning, Life at Loyola, Mock Trial, Student Life, Student Spotlight | Comments Off on Student Spotlight: Ben Horwitz, Claiming Chicago for his own city

Student Spotlight: Pete Kalenik, Creating safer communities

3L Pete Kalenik is earning a joint degree in law and public policy while balancing a full-time workload as a Chicago police officer and paratrooper in the U.S. Army Reserve. A recipient of the William F. and Kathleen Hynes Scholarship, Kalenik says receiving scholarship aid “provided me the freedom to continue serving our country, our communities, and Chicago’s citizens.”

EXPOSURE TO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES: “I absolutely love Loyola’s student body,” Kalenik says. “Its diversity helps us grapple with the most current, complex, and controversial legal issues in America.”

A CLASS THAT CHANGED HIS CAREER COURSE: Kalenik’s favorite course has been National Security Law. “Applying constitutional theory to the intersection of international relations and modern warfare has impacted my military career,” says Kalenik, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago before entering law school. “After more than 10 years of service as an enlisted paratrooper, National Security Law has motivated me to become a commissioned officer in the Illinois National Guard.”

HONING HANDS-ON SKILLS: Kalenik is taking full advantage of Loyola’s experiential learning opportunities. He has served as a judicial extern in the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Chancery Division and is currently enrolled in Federal Litigation Practice, under the supervision of the Honorable Virginia M. Kendall of the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois.

BUILDING BRIDGES: Prior to his law enforcement career, Kalenik taught and lived on Chicago’s Southside, as an AmeriCorps volunteer, while earning a master’s degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University. “As a Loyola Street Law instructor, I was able to educate students in the same community that I patrol as a police officer, which according to the Chicago Sun-Times is the most violent police beat in the city,” Kalenik says. “That experience allowed me to build bridges between the community and the Chicago Police Department, which previously, did not exist.”

DESCRIBING LOYOLA: Asked which words best describe his time at Loyola, Kalenik said, “We all serve.’”

NEXT STEPS: After graduation, Kalenik will enter Officer Candidate School in the Illinois National Guard and continued serving the Chicago Police Department as a Field Training Officer, responsible for instilling a sense of justice in Chicago’s newest police officers. “I will use my legal education to advocate for policies that make our families safer, while embodying the authentic leadership that Chicago desperately needs. As we all know, actions speak louder than words,” he says.


Posted in Academic, Experiential Learning, Externships, Financial Aid, Life at Loyola, Living in Chicago, Public Interest, Student Life, Student Spotlight, Why Loyola? | Comments Off on Student Spotlight: Pete Kalenik, Creating safer communities

Student Spotlight: Amber Carpenter, Exploring different practice paths

Second-year Loyola law student Amber Carpenter is a Philip H. Corboy Fellow in Trial Advocacy, president of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and a member of the Loyola Consumer Law Review. “What I like best about Loyola is the many opportunities it’s given me,” she says.

ON CHOOSING LOYOLA: Carpenter realized how much she valued Chicago-area family and friends during her four years at the University of Iowa, where she earned a BS degree in biology. She focused her law school search on Chicago. “When I came to Loyola for my first visit, I absolutely fell in love,” she says. “The friendly and helpful atmosphere gave me the family environment I was looking for in a law school.”

PI LAW/IP LAW: Carpenter’s areas of interest include public interest law and intellectual property law. “A career in public interest law will allow me to continue to fight for justice, and intellectual property combines my interest and background in science with the law,” she says.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN ADVOCACY: Last fall, Carpenter competed at Georgetown Law’s White Collar Crime Invitational, where her team advanced to semifinals. “Through my Corboy fellowship, I’ve sharpened my public speaking skills, learned the fundamentals of trial advocacy, and benefited from hands-on experience with the Federal Rules of Evidence,” she says.

CREATING A NETWORK: Loyola connectedCarpenter with the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP), a nonprofit that supports women of color through law school. “With the help of this program, I was able to secure a summer associate position at Marshall Gerstein LLP, a Chicago IP firm,” Carpenter says. Through her work with BLSA, “I now have a network of black lawyers throughout the country and have strengthened my own leadership skills,” she adds.

FAVORITE PROF: “You can see the passion Professor Cynthia Ho has for the law through her lesson plans and lectures,” Carpenter says. “She meets with her students to get to know them, and has taken personal time out of her schedule to ensure I understood certain topics—she’s guided me toward a career in IP.”

Full Story

Posted in Academic, Center for Advocacy, Corboy Fellows, Intellectual Property, Life at Loyola, Mock Trial, Public Interest, Student Life, Student Spotlight, Why Loyola? | Comments Off on Student Spotlight: Amber Carpenter, Exploring different practice paths

Student Spotlight: Pilar Mendez, A passion for health law and policy

Pilar Mendez, a 1L at Loyola University Chicago, wants to use the law as a tool to become a better advocate and policymaker.

Mendez holds a BS in public health from New York University and an MPH in global health p0licy from The George Washington University. “Given my public health and policy background, it’s beneficial to my career to better understand how the law works so that I can write effective legislation,” she says. “Learning the business and transactional side of health care is critical to this process.”

The fact that Loyola’s Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy was ranked #1 in the country in 2017 by Law Street Media and #6 in the country by U.S. News & World Report helped to solidify Mendez’s decision to attend law school at Loyola.

Experiencing racial disparities
Born in Hawaii and raised in both Honolulu and New York City, Mendez plans to concentrate her area of study on the intersection of health law and public interest law. Drawing upon her personal experiences of public health systems, she hopes to keep pursuing her passion for understanding and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health.

After experiencing persistent asthma attacks as a child, Mendez felt that her race negatively impacted her ability to receive equitable, quality care.  “The doctors treated my family with indifference—as if to imply that what they were doing to care for me was not in my best interest health wise,” she says. “It turned out that the actual location of our home caused my respiratory issues, and after we moved back to Hawaii, I never saw an inhaler again.”

Bridging the health care gap
Mendez decided early on that she wanted to use her education to find opportunities to bridge the health care gap so that everyone who sought medical assistance could receive a positive patient experience. She completed several health care internships during her undergraduate studies and was bitten by the policy bug in Washington, DC, after she began working for the U.S. Department of Human Services Office of Minority Health. There, she was surrounded by people equally committed to finding community-driven solutions that translated research into policy.

Life as a law student
Mendez is the recipient of a competitive health law fellowship with the Beazley Institute, as well as a merit scholarship that she says has been helpful in financing her legal education. While her first-year studies have kept her busy, she participates in activities outside the classroom as a section member of Loyola’s Health Law Society and a BARBRI student representative.

Asked if she has a favorite professor, Mendez declines to name just one. “Honestly, I learned so much from each of my professors this past semester,” she says. “But it was amazing to be a student in Dean Nina Appel’s last Torts course before she retired—we learned a lot about medical negligence, malpractice, and the effects of tort reform, which became an area of law I find interesting.”

She continues, “I love the fact that everyone at Loyola is so supportive and wants me to do well. The professors are extremely approachable and well-connected. In fact, I’ve received emails from faculty members who’ve offered to put me in contact with practitioners in the community or forwarded information about health care-related programs I might want to attend, just because they know I’m passionate about this area of study.”

Focus on the future
What’s ahead for Mendez? “As a lawyer, I hope to one day join the ranks of the few Hispanic women working on Capitol Hill who are creating a more cohesive and comprehensive vision of what it means to be healthy in America,” she says. “Linking social justice issues with policy to reduce health disparities will help shape our national agenda. It’s exciting to think about being a part of that.”

More Stories.

Posted in 1L Life, Academic, Health Law, Life at Loyola, Student Life, Student Spotlight, Why Loyola? | Comments Off on Student Spotlight: Pilar Mendez, A passion for health law and policy

Loyola appoints inaugural Reithal Professors of Law

Six distinguished legal scholars who are experts in their fields have been named Georgia Reithal Professors of Law at Loyola University Chicago. The inaugural professorships were established at the School of Law from a generous bequest left by Illinois attorney and Loyola law alumna Georgia J. Reithal (JD ’78) to support and further develop impactful research and scholarship that promote and enhance access to justice.

Reithal attended Loyola’s part-time evening Juris Doctor program and worked for most of her career as a labor attorney with Ameritech. She also participated in pro bono services that provided free legal representation to immigrants.

“We’re grateful to Georgia Reithal for this generous gift that will encourage, recognize, and celebrate our extraordinary law faculty scholars for their work to transform the ways in which law and regulation can better foster human happiness and well-being,” said Michael Kaufman, dean of the School of Law. “Her legacy will live on for years to come.”

The following Loyola faculty members have been appointed Georgia Reithal Professors of Law:

  • John Breen, JD, focuses his research on jurisprudence, law and religion, and the Catholic social tradition, and perspectives of law and justice.  He is currently at work on a book on the history of Catholic legal education in the United States.
  • John Bronsteen, JD, applies the findings of hedonic psychology to civil settlement, criminal punishment, and regulatory decision-making. His articles have been published in top journals across the country, including the philosophy journal Utilitas.
  • Samuel Brunson, JD, writes about theways the federal income tax affects discrete groups of taxpayers, with special focuses on investors and families. In addition, he researches and writes about issues with the administration of the tax law.
  • Jordan Paradise, JD, researches and publishes on the intersection of law, science, and technology.  Her primary focus is in the life science realm, examining legal and policy issues in the development and regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and innovations in medicine.
  • Matthew Sag, JD, focuses his research on the intersection of law and technology and law and economics. He is a well-known expert on copyright law whose articles have been cited in Federal Court cases and in briefs to the United States Supreme Court.
  • Nadia Sawicki, MBE, JD, focuses her research on health law and bioethics, with particular emphasis on the accommodation of personal and professional beliefs in a pluralistic society, tort law’s role in protecting patients from physical and dignitary harm, and state actions that interfere with health care providers’ best medical judgment.

The faculty scholars will assume the title of Georgia Reithal Professor of Law effective immediately.

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Spring Break in Law School

Hi all! Spring break: does it cease to exist after undergrad? NO! I’m settling back in from my spring break trip to California and will be sharing with you my tips to having a successful, stress-free law-school break. Initially, I was nervous to take so much time off from school, but I am glad I did. The warm weather and beautiful beaches were just what I needed to recharge my batteries. Although I brought school books along and had some studying to do, I was able to work it into my trip schedule and take advantage of everything Cali had to offer.

Planning Ahead
If you know you enjoy traveling during spring break, begin planning early. I love traveling and knew that by March I would want to get away from the cold Chicago weather, so in November I started researching places to go. Once I decided on California, I began tentatively planning everything, so I would have a rough estimate of the price. As a student-on-a-budget, I looked for deals on activities and constantly monitored flight prices.

I waited until December/January to buy my flights, because that is when my second semester professors released their syllabi. (I knew that if I had any huge projects due during or right after spring break, I wouldn’t want to go on a trip.) Once I was sure there were no major assignments due, I bought my flights and began the count down to break!

The weekend before I left, I worked hard to get my homework done, giving priority to classes with the biggest books so I wouldn’t have to bring them along. I knew I wouldn’t get it all done before I left, so I made sure carve out a couple of hours each day in California to do school-work. I planned to wake up early and get 2 hours of work done right away. That way, the rest of the day was left for fun.

In Paradise
My trip was AMAZING, I was able to do so many fun activities. It was nice to have most of the day to work on recharging my batteries. The morning homework sessions worked out great! Although admittedly I slept through a couple of sessions, I was able to get some assignments taken care of. It felt good to check things off my “to-do” list and set me up well for my first week back in school. I would recommend taking this approach to spring break, because it allows you to have a completely guilt free trip: you’re not only enjoying yourself, but also getting your assignments done!

About to ride horses through the Hollywood Hills!

Any Regrets?
If I could do it all over, I would only change one thing. Because I was so anxious to take full advantage of my week off school, I stayed in California as long as I could. I scheduled my flight to arrive back in Chicago at 11:00pm on Sunday, leaving me very little time to recuperate (I have a 10:30 am Monday class). I found that this stressed me out. The last day I just wanted to make it to the airport and didn’t take advantage of my remaining time. I think that if I had returned Saturday and left Sunday as a “buffer” day, I would have felt much better. That being said, everything worked out, so if you’re a daredevil: Sunday night return flights are do-able.

Break Away!     
If you enjoy traveling and have the means to do so, don’t let law school stop you. It is absolutely possible to be a responsible student while laying on a beach miles and miles away from campus. At the end of the day, it’s important to focus not only on your grades, but on your mental health as well!

Thanks for reading this week’s blog! If you have any questions about taking vacations during school, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Until next time—


Maria Black is a 1L at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  She is blogging about the journey of her first year of law school. To see all posts written by her search the Maria B. category on the right hand side.

Questions for Maria? Email with the subject “Ask Maria” and she will make sure to answer them in a future post.

Posted in 1L Life, Advice, Life at Loyola, Maria B., Student Life | Comments Off on Spring Break in Law School

Alumni Spotlight: Janea Hawkins, JD ’13

Janea Hawkins, JD ’13 was recently highlighted in the Washington Lawyer. “Hawkins would be the first in her family to enter law school, attending Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She was drawn to the school for its public interest focus and strong alumni base, and she enjoyed the supportive, tight-knit feel of the school’s community.” For the full article please click here.

Posted in Alumni, Loyola in the News, Why Loyola? | Comments Off on Alumni Spotlight: Janea Hawkins, JD ’13

Loyola University Chicago Law + IP = The Perfect Match for Me

Hi all! This week we’re starting with the basics as I narrate how my decision to go to Loyola lead to my interest in intellectual property (IP).

Why I chose Loyola University Chicago School of Law

While choosing law schools, I focused on the present and the future. I was looking for a school that I would enjoy attending every day, one with inspiring people that would make the trying times bearable. However, I was also thinking about my future career and finding a school that would set me up for success. At Loyola, I found the perfect hybrid.

Loyola was the first school I visited. I attended an admitted student day and was able to meet faculty and students. Everyone was eager to share their experiences and answer my questions, it made me feel at home. After every subsequent school tour, I found myself comparing the experience with my time at Loyola. In the meantime, I kept researching law schools, focusing on ones that had strong alumni-relations and job placement statistics. When it came time to make my decision, Loyola was the school that passed my balancing test and I made the decision to become a Rambler.

I am now in my second semester at Loyola and can confidentially say I made the right decision. I enjoy my classes and professors and am challenged to push myself every day. Additionally, I was blown away at how attentive and helpful my class tutors were. However, these were things I expected when I decided to attend the school. Loyola has exceeded my expectations, because it introduced me to the wonderful world of IP.

Early Exposure to IP

Like many new law students, I had no idea what area of law I wanted to pursue when I enrolled. My plan was to take a variety of classes (after the generally mandatory first year curriculum at all law schools) and pursue whichever one I liked the most. What worried me was that with that strategy, finding my “thing” would take a long time. Thankfully, one email from Loyola put me on the right track.

During the summer before I began school, I received an email from Loyola about their specialized legal writing programs. Through this program, students can get exposure to different areas of the law (like IP, as well as child law, health law, and public interest). At the time I had never heard of IP, so before applying I did some research, and I liked what I saw. I applied, was accepted, and am in my second semester of legal writing, fascinated by IP.

Loyola’s specialized legal writing program is unique and offers students a sneak peak into areas of law that most 1Ls don’t get exposure to. In my IP legal writing class, I have written patent and copyright legal memorandums and am currently working on a trademark trial brief. In addition, the problems are designated to be accessible for 1Ls without prior knowledge of IP, and without any prior scientific or other background. Because of this early exposure, I realized I truly enjoyed IP. I decided I wanted to learn more and chose to enroll in a second semester elective (another cool part of Loyola is taking a 1L elective!) that focused on patents, called: Global Access to Medicine: A Patent Perspective. In this small discussion-based class, we are learning about how patent protection on drugs impacts global access to affordable medicine.  These classes have been a great way to put a spin on “run-of-the-mill” 1L classes. Furthermore, at the job interviews I’ve had so far, every interviewer has expressed how impressed they are that I have had so much exposure to IP as a 1L.

Supportive Faculty and Endless Opportunities

As a first-generation law student, I was worried about not having the resources to make important decisions concerning my future in the law. Thankfully, at Loyola I have found unwavering support and valuable resources to help me make the right decisions for my career. All of my professors have expressed willingness to go beyond the classroom and help students navigate law school. Furthermore, when it comes to my future in IP, Loyola’s intellectual property team has been one of the most valuable parts of my experiences at school.

Specifically, Professor Cynthia Ho, who leads Loyola’s intellectual property program, has been an amazing resource since the first day I met her. She is supportive, well-connected, and dedicated to her students. Professor Ho not only answers my every law-school related question, but also forwards countless opportunities to me so I can further my IP exposure in the real world. These opportunities have included speed mentoring events, IP specific lectures, and IP conferences easily accessible within Chicago. These experiences have connected me to the IP world, and have been a refreshing way to learn more about intellectual property outside the classroom.

What can Law School do for You?

Choosing a law school is a very personal decision. I did a lot of research and visited every school I could before I made my choice. I urge you to do your research, visit schools. And once you have chosen a school, take chances. If I had not taken on the challenge of enrolling in a specialized legal writing class, I would have yet to be exposed to intellectual property, an area of law I can’t get enough of.

Thank you for reading this week’s blog post! Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any law school or IP related questions. Until next time—


Maria Black is a 1L at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  She is blogging about the journey of her first year of law school. To see all posts written by her search the Maria B. category on the right hand side.

Questions for Maria? Email with the subject “Ask Maria” and she will make sure to answer them in a future post.

Posted in 1L Life, Academic, Intellectual Property, Life at Loyola, Maria B., Why Loyola? | Comments Off on Loyola University Chicago Law + IP = The Perfect Match for Me