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Akron Law’s IP program continues to make the grade

The University of Akron School of Law’s intellectual property program received an A minus from The National Jurist’s preLaw Magazine in its spring 2018 edition. Pictured here is Ryan Holte, director of Akron Law's Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology. (Photo courtesy of The University of Akron School of Law).

Legal News Reporter

Published: May 11, 2018

From its trademark clinic and externship offerings to intellectual property certificates and a center designed to facilitate the study and advancement of IP—those are some of the reasons The University of Akron School of Law’s intellectual property program received an A minus from The National Jurist’s preLaw Magazine.

The rating appeared in the spring 2018 edition of the magazine, with Akron Law receiving the same grade as Stanford, Vanderbilt and Villanova law schools.

“The ranking is very impressive, but even more notable when you consider that we received the same or a higher grade than some very heavy-hitting schools,” said Akron Law Dean Christopher J. Peters. “The ranking is based on a variety of specific and general factors that reflect the breadth of our intellectual property law curriculum.”

“One of the factors the magazine looked at is the fact that we offer an IP certificate to both J.D. students and non-J.D. students, who may be working in fields that require some additional intellectual property knowledge.

“We also offer a joint J.D./LL.M. degree in IP law to students, who can receive both degrees with 100 credit hours, just 12 more than the basic J.D. degree,” said Peters.

“One of the things that we are extremely proud of is the fact that in the last five years our students who graduated with either an IP certificate or from the joint J.D./LL.M program in IP have had 100 percent job placement.”

It’s not the first time Akron Law’s IP program has earned high marks from preLaw Magazine.

“In each of the recent surveys conducted by preLaw Magazine, the IP program has received an A or an A minus rating,” said Peters.

“We do an excellent job of attracting high quality students to our programs on our own, but recognition helps with recruiting. It’s also a good way for us to spread the word to prospective faculty members.”

Peters said Akron Law currently has seven full-time faculty members who teach intellectual property law courses and many more practicing IP attorneys who serve as adjunct professors.

Since August 2017, Ryan Holte, David L. Brennan Associate Professor of Law has served as the director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology.

“We offer more than 20 intellectual property courses to students,” said Holte “Beyond working through law school at local IP law firms, we also place students in internships and externships with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Summa hospitals, The University of Akron Research Foundation and the Cleveland Clinic technology transfer department to name a few.”

Holte said students could also gain IP experience working in the school’s Trademark and SEED (Small Entrepreneur and Economic Development) clinics, where they assist clients under the supervision of licensed attorneys.

“All of our programs are flexible so they can accommodate students who may be working in IP-related fields during the day and need to do their coursework at night.

“And they are very popular within the student body,” Holte said. “We now have 41 students enrolled in our IP Certificate program and 13 students seeking the J.D./LL.M. in IP Law with six more 1Ls having expressed interest and waiting this summer to decide.”

In addition to the many offerings for which the school was ranked, Holte said the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology also hosts a number of annual and semi-annual events that serve the intellectual property community, while providing students with opportunities to network with local IP professionals.

In March, the law school held its 20th anniversary Symposium on Intellectual Property Law and Policy. The daylong continuing legal education seminar featured retired Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel, who gave the keynote address.

“We also had panels with almost 20 speakers presenting on all areas of IP law to the audience of almost 300 at The University of Akron Student Union,” said Holte.

In addition Holte said the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology also hosts local IP practitioners, who attend free CLEs as part of the Oldham Lecture Series.

“We do a series of ‘Lunch & Learns’ that have included the general counsel of the J.M. Smucker Company and the general counsel of GOJO as well as the assistant IP counsel from Procter & Gamble, just in this last academic year,” Holte said.

“Our Office of Career Services has a variety of programs to assist students with IP jobs, including the ‘Lunch & Learn’ workshops featuring detailed practice area discussions from top IP counsel in Ohio, mock job interview programs, resume and cover letter drafting groups and meetings to prepare for IP-focused job fairs, including the Patent Law Interview Program held annually in Chicago.”