Patent Law Externship

The Patent Law Externship has been temporarily suspended for the academic year, 2016-2017.

To view the latest brochure article, click here 

Through the Patent Law Externship, students have the opportunity to gain experiential training and learning in the complex field of patent law, which will facilitate their transition from law student to competent and productive practitioners. The Patent Law Externship is a great fit for third-year students, and qualified second-year students, who wish to pursue an intellectual property career focusing on the preparation, filing, and prosecution of patent applications. This placement furthers the Law School’s expansion of practical skills development opportunities by placing students for a semester at the law firm of Oliff PLC, a full-service Intellectual Property firm based in historic Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.

After undergoing extensive training by the firm, students will be expected to perform as first-year associates and will be given responsibility for a docket of patent cases. They will also benefit from the mentoring and guidance of practicing attorneys during their semester-long placement. Students will be required to adjust to the culture of a law firm environment and function professionally, and their performance will be critiqued by the firm during mid-semester and end-of-semester reviews.  

Program Offerings:

  • Development of lawyering skills, such as preparing responses to office actions, drafting amended patent claims, and preparing communications with clients.
  • Exposure to legal and ethical issues in context.
  • Development of an understanding of workplace issues such as time management, workplace culture, professionalism, teamwork, and giving and receiving feedback.
  • Experiential training designed to assist with career placement.
  • Promotion of self-directed learning.

Students will need to be in good academic standing, be eligible to sit for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) bar exam, and be selected by Oliff after an application and interview process.  Strong preference for students with undergraduate or graduate degrees in electrical, mechanical, or aerospace engineering. Students will be required to submit weekly journal entries covering the student’s experiences in the program and tracking their course-related time.  Student will be awarded 12 pass/fail credits for the semester-long placement. 

The Law School does not make living arrangements for selected students but can assist if requested.  Oliff cannot compensate students for their work but can provide a housing stipend equal to the student’s increased lodging expenses ( e.g., if  rent in St. Louis is $400/month but in D.C. will be $1200/month, O&B will provide $800/month to cover the additional out-of-pocket expenses related to the placement). 

STUDENTS: Click here to view information about the Patent Law Externship. This handout provides general information that will be helpful for you to know before registering.