The Write Road to IP

As I attempt my first blog post for IP Bytes, I am reminded of the overwhelming sense of apprehension I feel every time I sit down to write. What if I don’t choose the right words? What if I bore my audience? Will I look back at this post as a seasoned 3L and cringe at my first attempt at blogging? These questions taunt me as I begin to write.

Aaron Burden on Unsplash

To get words on the page, I have to remind myself that the trepidation I feel at the outset of writing is a by-product of my creative process. Much to my surprise the writing process — with all its stressors and joys included — is what sparked my interest in Intellectual Property (IP) law, an area of the law that protects intellectual ingenuity via patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

Respect for the Writing Process
I’ve always had a deep respect for how people can creatively thread words together to create meaning that connects people. My reverence for the writing process is a by-product of reading classical literature. Reading works from authors, playwrights, and poets such as Homer, Shakespeare, and Woolf introduced me to the genius required to bring a story to life. A well-written piece of literature has the power to shift personal paradigms, evoke emotional responses, and invite differing perspectives. I gained a cursory understanding of the skill and ingenuity that good writing required by reading great works of literature, but had a deeper appreciation for the writing process once I attempted it myself. My admiration for great works of literature is what inspired me to write. Nevertheless, writing, like any form of creation, is a grueling task and a profound outpouring of an individual’s ingenuity. When people create they hand over a piece of themselves, which is something I find admirable. So how does someone like me, whose academic expertise in the ancient Greek and Roman writings which comfortably lie within the public domain (meaning the work is no longer protected by IP protections), stumble into IP?

Finding IP
My deep-seated reverence for the innovative aspect of the creative writing process is why I want to practice IP law. IP lawyers protect the product of one’s creativity at work. This involves the work of anyone – famous or not. Although I realize it now, I didn’t initially understand the connection between IP law and the creative writing process. In fact, my road to IP was filled with plenty of twists, turns, misunderstandings, and revelations.

After deciding to attend law school, I researched different areas of law. IP piqued my interest because it protects inventive work, which encourages creators to continue innovating. However, my hasty internet search of IP convinced me that IP law was reserved for attorneys with STEM backgrounds. Bummer. IP law’s commitment to protecting ingenuity still intrigued me, but I thought I was wholly out of my depth.

Tom Hermans on Unsplash

Not Just for STEM Majors!
In the spring before my first semester of law school, I attended a Zoom presentation for admitted students at Loyola led by Professor Cynthia Ho. She briefly presented on different areas of IP, which to my surprise included avenues for people without a STEM background. After the Zoom, I scoured the internet for more information about non-patent IP topics, like copyrights and trademarks. To my delight, these areas of the law would allow me to combine my reverence for innovation and my newfound love of the law.

Exploring IP as a 1L During my 1L year, I’ve been able to explore IP through various classes and extracurriculars. I’ve learned about the basics of patent and non-patent IP in the specialized IP legal writing course. This fall and spring class teaches principles in legal writing by engaging students in writing assignments for hypothetical clients with IP-related issues. In this class, we wrote about patent, trademark, and copyright problems, but my favorite assignment was a copyright issue where I wrote a trial brief for my imaginary client, a college football coach, whose famous halftime speech was published on a blog against his wishes. In the spring, I enrolled inProfessor Ho’s “Global Access to Medicine: A Patent Perspective” course, which explores the effect patent protections have on limiting access to affordable medicine. This class has taught me that patent issues aren’t just for people with STEM backgrounds. In fact, a lot of people in that class have a similar background as me!

I have also been able to explore IP through extracurricular activities. I joined the Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS). This has introduced me to 2Ls and 3Ls that share the same interest in IP as me. IPLS has hosted a variety of events throughout the year, such as a career panel. My favorite event this year was the speed mentoring event hosted by the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC), where I met many wonderful practicing IP attorneys based in Chicago. I’ve come to find that the IP community in Chicago is so friendly and open to chatting with people just starting their IP journey. I was fortunate to have many coffee and lunch meetings with attorneys I met from the speed mentoring event, and look forward to strengthening those connections.

As I look toward 2L and 3L, I am planning to enroll in other IP classes that will expand my understanding of this area of law, such as Intellectual Property Law, IP Litigation, Antitrust and IP Law, and the Trademark Seminar.

I am grateful for the experiences Loyola has afforded me to learn about IP and I look forward to gaining new experiences as I continue my law school journey.

Bailey Hammond
Assistant Blogger
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D. 2025