“If you build it, they will come.” And come they did.
The inaugural class of Finnegan IP University included a diverse group of over 80 students across 23 states, 57 universities, and 6 countries. Once a week for five weeks, undergraduate and graduate students pursuing STEM degrees gathered to learn from Finnegan attorneys about career opportunities in IP and about patent practice. For many, it was their first exposure to the world of IP.
Many students pursuing technical degrees do not know about or consider IP as a career option. That lack of awareness contributes to the pipeline challenge in the IP profession, which disproportionately impacts women and other historically underrepresented groups. As a firm full of lawyers who were engineers and scientists, Finnegan decided to change that narrative by doing what it does best—innovating, creating, and building.
Well before the pandemic, a team at Finnegan came together to explore innovative and creative ways to expose undergraduate and graduate students in sciences to the IP career possibilities as a technical specialist, patent agent, or as a patent lawyer. Eventually, Finnegan IP University was built. It would offer a free virtual series that introduced students to exciting career opportunities in IP and a preview of patent practice.
In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, Finnegan worked deliberately to outreach to schools across the country, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other underrepresented schools in lesser-tapped regions. The results were overwhelming. Over 100 students applied from over 60 colleges in 8 countries.
From February to March of this year, the inaugural class of 80+ students learned from experienced Finnegan lawyers about careers in IP, how they got started, and what it’s like to work as a technical specialist, patent agent, or a patent lawyer. They also learned about the nuts and bolts of the U.S. patent system, the various types of IP rights, the basics of drafting patent applications, and how to prosecute applications before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Importantly, students also met and networked with Finnegan attorneys for meaningful discussions and mentoring.
Another special feature of this program is that the students who complete Finnegan IP University program will be given priority consideration for career opportunities at the firm, receive a certificate of completion, and a badge to add to their resumes and LinkedIn profiles.
The first year of Finnegan IP University was a resounding success, generating a high level of engagement and interest across the country. Many students were excited to learn about the world of IP and an excellent career option. They get a head start in the IP profession, as a number of the students are currently applying for IP professional positions at Finnegan.
As a firm, we are delighted to have taken a meaningful step towards filling the pipeline and moving the needle forward to advance diversity in the IP profession. We look forward to future installments of Finnegan IP University to touch more students. Because we know that if we build it, they will come.
October 31 - November 2, 2022
October 17-18, 2022
September 15-16, 2022
September 10-13, 2022
July 27-29, 2022
July 11-15, 2022
June 22, 2022
June 16, 2022
June 15-18, 2022