When Mitchell students in the Intellectual Property Institute graduate, they’re finding that their job prospects are pretty bright. And you only have to look as far as the college’s alumni and its connection to the IP community to figure out why.
“Our local IP community is remarkably supportive and our board of advisors has been fantastic,” says Professor Ken Port, director of the Intellectual Property Institute. “They financially support the school and support our students by being mentors.”
Jim Baker ’03, senior intellectual property counsel at 3M, has demonstrated his commitment by serving as a mentor, a coach, and in the classroom. Baker coaches Mitchell’s moot court Giles Rich teams every year and co-teaches Mitchell’s IP appellate practice course, a pre-requisite for IP moot court participation. But his involvement doesn’t stop there. He and his wife Lana Perkins have established a scholarship through yearly financial gifts and an estate gift.
“The legacy I want to leave is the people legacy, law students whose lives I have touched in a positive way,” Baker says. “I want to be able to look back and see hundreds of young attorneys I’ve helped become better attorneys through my teaching, or my coaching, or through the Baker IP Law Scholarship.”
Baker has been a frequent mentor to Mitchell students, and as an adjunct professor, he provides another key link to the IP community.
“Adjunct professors give of their time, expertise, and knowledge, for not a lot of money,” says Port. “They get to see the new talent coming up and it’s always invigorating to talk with students who want to do what you’re doing. Frankly, we could not deliver our curriculum without the adjunct faculty. They are really dedicated to the education.”
Students in the IP Institute are often matched with a professional who is in their science field, exposing them to the specific details of the environment they’ll be working in.
“We don’t just throw a body in front of them who has a vague understanding of their field,” says Port. “We work to find someone in IP and in their science.”
The results speak for themselves. For the fall of 2012, patent-eligible incoming students (science and engineering students who can sit for the patent bar) are up 50 percent. And graduates are finding out they’re in demand. Port says he often hears from students who are trying to choose among two or three job offers. Those offers frequently come through connections they made during their time at Mitchell.
For many alumni, it’s a simple matter of treating students the way they were treated.
“I think alumni give back because while they were here, they knew people cared about them,” Port says. “They sense the value-added they received. It’s a personal thing. People won’t give to a law school just for the fun of it. They have to feel they got something out of it, and that the people there care about them.”