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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.

The Final Stretch

Posted on by Sam Posted in Featured, Law, Life, Triathlon | Comments Off on The Final Stretch

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the end. There’s 3 more months to go, and I’ll be officially complete the JD/MBA program at the Western Lawand the Richard Ivey School of Business. Admittedly, the past 2.5 years have been a period of grueling hard work, of much failures, but also some triumphs. Still, I have loved these experiences all the same.  On the eve of the Spring semester of the JD/MBA, I’m reflecting on some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since I commenced law/business school. And it happens to come from an Ironman Triathlon friend’s blog, where he talks about Melanie McQuiad (a Professional Triathlete) saying:

Everybody trains just as hard as everybody else…How is it that somebody’s winning by minutes? All of that has to do with mental strength: being able to dig deep inside yourself and suffer more than everybody else.

I remember Miranda Carfrae, former Kona Ironman Triathlon Champion, said something similar.  She said most triathletes just aren’t willing to hurt to the next level, and that is why they never win. That sums up law school and business school; and likely sums up the practice of law to which I am headed. Most students are motivated; most students work insanely hard. So how is it that one some get ahead of others? I think it is all about digging deep; all about wanting it bad enough and willing to pay the price. I think back to a conversation I had with a Federal Court Justice last week.  He shared that through his many years interacting with students, any “B” student (that is, an average student riding the median) has what it takes to knock it out of the park; it’s just about how much they want it and how badly they are willing to apply themselves. The difference between a “B” and an “A” student — barring the occasional Einstein — just isn’t the margin of difference. It is about how badly one wants it is.

There are some lofty pursuits this year; from excelling during the Articling year to training for the Ironman Triathlon.  At the top, everyone is willing to work hard, but how many are willing to hurt?

It’s Not About the Camera

Posted on by Sam Posted in Featured, Life, Photography | Comments Off on It’s Not About the Camera

New to photography, I recently picked up a new digital SLR camera (Nikon D3200) while studying at the National University of Singapore. In search for beginner resources, I stumbled on the personal homepage of photography guru, Ken Rockwell, who says something incredibly insightful:

You finally realize that the right gear you’ve spent so much time accumulating just makes it easier to get your sound or your look or your moves, but that you could get them, albeit with a little more effort, on the same garbage with which you started. You realize the most important thing for the gear to do is just get out of your way. You then also realize that if you had spent all the time you wasted worrying about acquiring better gear woodshedding, making photos or catching more rides that you would have gotten where you wanted to be much sooner. (More found here).

Rockwell is referring to a common phenomenon where beginner photographers embark on a purchasing rampage, racking up numerous prime lens, wide-angle lens, and telephoto lens.  The irony, is that even the most basic digital cameras we have today is significantly better than the ones our photography legends used — guys like Ansel Adams. Yet, he managed to tease out landmark pieces of art.

Interestingly, this applies to almost every endeavour.  To guitarists wanting the latest Taylor or Martin guitar, to cyclists envying over the latest Cervelo or Bianchi, to coders wanting the latest MacBook Pro with Retina Display. These are all tools that will help to varying degrees. At the end of the day, it isn’t about whether to make an investment or not — but rather where one makes the investment. Do we spend it on equipment, or do we invest it in improving our skills?