My highest priority when researching law schools was to find a school that would give me the best opportunities for a career in Intellectual Property (IP). I completed my PhD in chemistry at Purdue working on the development of a wide range of technologies for biomedical applications prior to coming to Loyola. In graduate school, I saw the many challenges that come with technology transfer and the need for people who understand both the scientific and legal sides of the process. I wanted to find a school that would allow me to build on my scientific background towards a career in IP, and patent law in particular. Now that I have completed my first semester, I can confidently say that I made the right choice.
Loyola Professors are Here to Help You Succeed The first reason Loyola is an excellent place to prepare for a career in IP is because of the culture of the entire school. It starts with the faculty members, who not only are all very well-respected in their fields but also care deeply about the success of their students. I learned this before even making the decision to come to Loyola. Following a visit to the school, I was put in touch with Professor Cynthia Ho after I indicated to the admissions office that I was interested in IP. Not only did Professor Ho talk to me on the phone for an hour and answer all of the questions I had about Loyola, she also put me in touch with current students and alumni and invited me to the Loyola IP reception where I got to meet even more students and alumni.
Throughout my first year at Loyola, all of my professors have been willing and eager to help students. For example, the professors provided extensive feedback through “ungraded” midterm exams for our benefit that had no impact on final grades. Since most law school classes have a single final exam that determines your grade, these are valuable for experiencing a law school exam in a low-pressure environment prior to the final.
Faculty also provide help beyond the classroom. This can include the process of finding a summer internship. Professor Ho was instrumental in helping guide me through this intimidating process. She reviewed my resume and cover letters, informed me of particular firms that would be a good fit, helped me build a network with attorneys at these firms, and provided advice for interviews. All of this has paid off. I’m now looking forward to working at McAndrews, Held & Malloythis summer.
Loyola Students Help You Succeed This culture extends to the students as well. While all of the students are driven to succeed, this does not lead to a competitive culture in any negative or hostile way. It was clear from day one that Loyola is a place where everyone works hard but is also a place where everyone is willing to work together to achieve success. A great example is when my daughter was born during fall semester a month earlier than expected. After word quickly spread of the great news, many students contacted me with their notes for the days I missed, and they offered to help me in any way they could.
The tutor program is another example of students working together to achieve success. Each 1L class generally has two tutors who are upper class students that did well in the class previously. These tutors hold weekly office hours where they review material, are available for questions by email, and provide feedback on exam-type essay questions that faculty provide for practice. While this is a similar concept to teaching assistants that exist for undergraduate science courses, this is not something that I observed at any other law school I considered. The input that the tutors have on the substantive material as well as their experiences at Loyola is invaluable.
Loyola’s Extensive and Enthusiastic Network of Alums A final comment about the culture at Loyola is that it extends beyond graduation. The alumni network of Loyola attorneys, particularly within the IP community, is incredibly valuable. Not only is it a large network of successful attorneys, but every person that I have met has been willing and eager to provide advice. I became aware of the prevalence of this network before ever committing to Loyola when I spoke with the alumni that Professor Ho put me in touch with. I was quickly able to set up a meeting with each person and not only did they answer all of my Loyola-related questions, but they were also happy to additionally discuss about a career in IP law. Since I have started at Loyola this fall, I have had numerous opportunities to interact with that strong alumni network, including an IP speed mentoring event and the 2019 IP Alumni Reception.
Loyola Provides the Opportunity to Learn IP from Day 1 of Law School Something particularly unique at Loyola is the ability to start learning about IP during your first semester with an IP-focused legal writing class that continues through the entire first year of law school. This class is taught by a practicing IP attorney, and provides the opportunity to learn essential writing and research skills centered around IP issues. This gives students a head start on some of the most important skills that will be used during internships and as an attorney after law school. Although all law students must take legal writing, I particularly enjoy the opportunity to take this class within the context of my desired practice area. Students interested in IP also have the opportunity to take a class in their first year that looks at how patent laws around the world can impact access to medicine. This course has given me the opportunity to see the legal side of various issues that I have spent a significant amount of time in graduate school looking at from a scientific perspective.
The culture at Loyola, particularly within the IP program, is unique and sets students up for success from day one, making Loyola an excellent place to prepare for a career in IP.
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2021