Thomas Jefferson School of Law continues to expand its academic and professional ties to Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union, by playing host to a delegation from those nations for an information session and reception.
On March 27, Associate Dean William Byrnes and Professor Jeff Slattery, along with TJSL student Bethany Wojtanowicz 3L and event co-organizer Lacy J Lodes ’08, addressed more than 15 Intellectual Property (IP) attorneys and academics from the former Soviet Union. The attorneys are traveling with the U.S. Department of Commerce - International Trade Administration through SABIT (Special American Business Internship Training) and came to Thomas Jefferson School of Law to participate in a Program titled INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS: TECHNOLOGY COMMERCIALIZATION.
Associate Dean for Graduate & Distance Education Programs William Byrnes discussed the benefits of doing business and studying law in San Diego by stating that “California is open for business.” Dean Byrnes went on to explain that San Diego County is number one in the United States for government contracting and is highly praised for its development in IP research and development.
By expanding its academic and professional ties with Russia, there is more opportunity for more Russian students to come to TJSL to study both IP law and different areas of U.S. law.
Dean Byrnes went on to discuss benefits that Russian students would gain by studying in San Diego and particularly at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. “We have a good program here,” said Dean Byrnes.
“Students can come here to participate in our one-year program to study law and learn the language. TJSL already has a lot of internationally focused programs. TJSL has formed ties with Russia right now at both Moscow State University and Siberia Federal University.” Dean Byrnes was referring to existing programs that have brought Russian students to TJSL for several years.
In his closing remarks, Dean Byrnes told the audience that he is proud of TJSL’s Distance Education Program, of which he is the director. “We use video conferencing and web conferencing to bring students and instructors from all over the world into one classroom by using TJSL’s incredible technology, “said Dean Byrnes. “I have 300 grad students every year that have never been to San Diego because of our Distance Education Program.”
Professor Jeff Slattery told the group how TJSL law students become acquainted with Intellectual Property law literally on their first day – during orientation – a practice that “makes TJSL different from every other law school.” By the time they reach their 2L year, “they are already immersed in IP law,” according to Professor Slattery. This includes a new summer IP Practicum – a mock law firm that allows the students to work on IP issues during the summer.
He also outlined the different clinical programs TJSL offers that allow students interested in IP law to get hands-on experience and development their practice skills. These include the Patent and Trademark Clinics, as well as the Art and Entertainment Law Project that is part of TJSL’s Small Business Law Center. Professor Slattery also spoke of the many excellent externship opportunities offered by the law school as well as the Center for Solo Practitioners, an incubator program for alumni to help them set up their own law firms.
Alumna Lacy J Lodes '08 did a fascinating presentation on everything that her degree from TJSL has allowed her to do in the intellectual property field, including working in sports, entertainment and celebrity law issues.
One area that Lodes discussed at length is patent protection when her U.S. clients market their products in foreign countries and how the laws differ from nation to nation.
“In one case we had to work with 36 different countries,” Lodes explained. “You can have one product and 36 different problems because the laws are so different.”
Bethany Wojtanowicz told the visiting attorneys of her great experiences being an Intellectual Property Fellow at TJSL.
“I came to TJSL for the IP program,” she said. “And it has been a really positive experience.”
“The event was truly captivating,” said TJSL Professor Steve Semeraro, who was the architect of TJSL’s Patent and Trademark clinic programs. “Those who haven’t seen William Byrnes and Jeff Slattery make the case for TJSL’s programs are really missing something.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, which organized the SABIT Program, was grateful for TJSL's contributions. (See the letter of appreciation)
The event was followed by a reception on the 8th floor.