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University of Washington's School of Law

If you are interested in an intensive study of intellectual property law dealing with patents, copyrights, trade secrets, strategic technology licensing and trademarks. Then the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle may be just the place for you. Le talked to Uttra Choudhury about how first-year students at the UW School of Law are often surprised to learn that their objective is not to "learn the law" but rather to develop the intellectual tools to work as professionals
BY Uttara Choudhury |   13-03-2012

With environmental, healthcare and intellectual property issues making headlines, lawyers who can ably navigate the nuances of these specialties have become increasingly valuable. The UW School of Law has a great reputation for an outstanding intellectual property curriculum.

“Our professors are preparing our students to become competent practitioners and academics in an area of law that continues to evolve internationally,” said Mathiew Le, Director of Admissions & Financial Aid at the University of Washington School of Law, in Seattle.

Le talked to Uttra Choudhury about how first-year students at the UW School of Law are often surprised to learn that their objective is not to "learn the law" but rather to develop the intellectual tools to work as professionals. They gain experience in analyzing cases, statutes, and other legal materials, thereby learning the structure and operation of the legal system.

Does the UW School of Law require a personal interview or base their decision on a candidate's "paper" credentials?

Though the School of Law does not require a personal interview, admission decisions are based on a thorough evaluation of the applicant’s personal statement, academic credentials, resume, letters of recommendation, evaluations, and other important factors.

For too many years, applicants flooded law schools because they wanted to make the "big bucks". Others were pushed into the field by well-meaning parents who were also successful attorneys. Do you tell per-law students that they need to have better reasons for going to law school?

We strongly encourage students to think seriously about law school and the reasons why they’ve decided that law school is the best option for them both as an academic and professional pursuit. Students will go to law school for a variety of reasons some intend to practice law in the traditional sense and some simply want the legal framework to pursue other professional careers.  Law school, particularly these days, is not only a major time investment but a serious financial one and we work with students to think through those issues.

I believe the school’s Intellectual Property LL.M. program is very popular with South Asian students. Why study intellectual property law at the University of Washington?

As you mentioned, our IP program is particularly popular with students in the LL.M. program, but I would also add the J.D. program as well. Students should consider UW Law for intellectual property for the strength of the program. From patent law, where students can focus on biotechnology and the legal protection for computer software issues, to copyright law, where students can explore strategic technology licensing and even entertainment law, our professors are preparing our students to become competent practitioners and academics in an area of law that continues to evolve internationally. Moreover, the Center for Advanced Study & Research on Intellectual Property is renowned for its collaboration with organizations across the globe developing research and policy.

Since you advise many pre-law students can you spot the ones that do or don’t have the temperamental and psychological strengths required to be a successful attorney?

The legal profession consists of many practitioners with varying temperaments and psychological strengths. I meet many pre-law students at different stages in life and at different stages in the application process.  In evaluating candidates, what’s most important is that the student can demonstrate that they will succeed in law school academically. Equally important, however, students must also demonstrate that they are ready to take on law school. How the student presents their application, the choice of topic for their personal statement, and who they choose for their recommenders, gives insight into where the student is at with respect to their preparedness for law school.

Can you talk about the UW School of Law’s mentoring programs?

The mentoring program at UW Law is instrumental in ensuring our students succeed during their three years of law school. Before the students even begin the orientation program in their first year, students are assigned three mentors: a professional mentor, a faculty mentor, and a student mentor.  All three provide the academic and professional support as the student moves into the different stages of their legal education and career.

Do major law firms come to University of Washington to interview on campus?

Our Center for Professional and Leadership Development serves more than just a traditional career services office; they counsel and advise students to connect them with prospective employers from around the world. During the busy On-Campus Interview period in August, major law firms from in and out of the State of Washington interview our students ranging from the small to large law firms, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other sectors of the legal profession.

Does the University of Washington have any financial aid for international students?

We do offer scholarships to our domestic and international students. Our scholarships are made possible by our generous donors and alum who understand the financial impact that legal education imposes on our students. Though still considered one of the most affordable law schools in the country, we continue to be committed to offering as many scholarships to all of our students at the School of Law.



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