Law School

Intellectual Property Education in Canadian Law Schools.

Posted on by Sam Posted in Featured, Law School | Comments Off on Intellectual Property Education in Canadian Law Schools.

Barry Sookman recently blogged about intellectual property (IP) education in Canadian law schools. Barry explores whether law schools are doing enough teaching on the intellectual property front in a climate where IP plays an increasingly prevalent role in safeguarding innovation, and by extension, economic progress.  However, pressed on this issue, voices from schools lower on Barry’s list often lament their lack of funding or lack of prestige in attracting renown faculty. But this is no excuse.  All Canadian law schools are capable of the following:

  1. Inspiring the pursuit of IP law. I’ve noticed a general view amongst students that IP isn’t perceived as sexy as headlines-making, large-scale, mergers & acquisition transactions. What is more, many students hold the erroneous belief that in order to succeed, they must come from a technical background. These myths could easily be busted through role-models and an awareness of how a career in IP could unfold. Giving students something to aspire to can light a fire that overcomes many funding barriers regardless of how modest a law school’s resources are.
  2. Career Services Focus on IP.  One significant challenge with law school career services is that students are told they need to commit early to an IP boutique if they want to pursue IP.  IP boutiques offer the best IP training, students are told, but will pigeon-hole an aspiring lawyer to the IP path. In contrast, working for a large full-service firm will grant students more options down the road. This is a quandary that every law student remotely interested in IP wrestles with, and career services must dialogue about this issue with more thought and insight. My  personal view is that it is excellence that gives you options. If you are a stellar IP lawyer, you will find opportunities to migrate into ancillary areas of your interest. If you are mediocre, it won’t matter how diverse your experiences are at whichever full-service firm.
  3. Strategic scheduling of IP courses. It hardly matters if a law school has a smorgasbord of IP courses if those courses conflict with other compulsory courses such as Civil Procedure, Evidence, or Contracts. Law schools with fewer IP course offerings could strategically scheduling these courses to minimize (or remove altogether) conflicts, thereby increasing enrollment. While this may mean having a professor or two stay late to teach during evenings, it goes a long way to leveling the playing field.

Arguably, doing the above can be just as effective as adding more funding and faculty.

Interviewing: Throw Me a Hard One

Posted on by Sam Posted in Law, Law School | Comments Off on Interviewing: Throw Me a Hard One

This week, I helped represent my law firm at a career fair for law students at my school. Over a hundred first year law students showed up in pristine suits, looking to impress. Only two years ago, I was in their very shoes. Manning the booth for close to 2+ hours and speaking with dozens of students, I started to understand what it was like for interviewers during the law school recruitment process.  Too many law students play it too safe.

Interviewers are answering the same questions over and over again. They yearn for challenge, to be delighted from the monotony of parroting the same answers to the very same questions. Make it fun for them, and they just might remember you. Along the way, one might even discover answers to questions everyone else wanted to know, but was too afraid to ask.