Daniel Broaddus '18 grew up in southwestern Michigan. After a detour through the Ivy League, family connections brought him back to the Midwest and Chicago. While his background is in science (A.B. from Princeton, Ph.D. from Cornell, both in physics), law school lurked in the back of his mind, although he wasn't sure exactly how he'd bridge the two.
"About halfway through grad school," he recalls, "someone who had made the transition into patent law from research science came to speak at Cornell. Intellectual property stood out as a way to use my scientific background in an interesting area of law."
Chicago-Kent had what he was looking for: an excellent reputation for IP and an evening division, along with the flexibility to take some day classes. He moved to Chicago after being hired by Brinks Gilson & Lione to do patent prosecution.
"As soon as I started working in patents," he said, "I knew I wanted to make a career out of it." That made law school a must, but there were logistics to figure out. As a new father, he had to juggle work, family and school. Fortunately, he said, "all three things are committed to the other two."
The law firm allows him to adjust his schedule to make time for his family. At Chicago-Kent, he can mix day and night courses. He also takes classes during the summer.
"I try to keep my schedule from having peaks where I'm totally inundated," he said.
Two of his favorite professors, Alexander Boni-Saenz and César Rosado Marzán, don't even teach IP. "They're phenomenally skilled instructors," he said. "I definitely felt like I was getting the first string."
The same applies to adjunct professors. His Patent Office Practice class was taught by Bradley Hulbert of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP.
"That class was first-rate and taught best practices in the industry," he said. "I learned a lot even though I had considerably more experience than most students in the class."
Daniel likes patent prosecution because "it's like a private instruction session with some of the most talented individuals in a variety of technical industries." He enjoys taking the inventor's scientific explanation and translating it into "what is often called one of the most complex legal documents." He likes thinking ahead. "When a litigator takes this document and starts working with it 20 years down the road," he said, "what problems will they face, what will they want me to have done?"
He looks forward to practicing patent law.
"For people with a technical background, it's a way to have an interesting and balanced career."