Intellectual Property Externships

One of the ways in which IP certificate students may satisfy the Capstone Experience requirement for the IP certificate is by completing an IP Externship. This provides students with an exceptional opportunity to experience intellectual property practice in a real-life setting and to integrate and synthesize all of the concepts learned. Intellectual Property certificate students who participate in an IP externship will perform various attorney duties associated with intellectual property law at participating law firms. In the past, IP students have completed externships at large firms, corporations, government entities, and other institutions in the arts and technology fields in the Chicago area.

The duties performed by the IP Extern typically consist of, but are not limited to:

  • Performing legal research
  • The preparation of correspondence and draft briefs for use in court and other proceedings involving intellectual property issues
  • The preparation of patent applications (in part or completely)
  • The preparation of trademark applications (in part or completely)
  • Responding to office actions from the United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Responding to office actions from foreign patent and trademark offices from around the world
  • Reviewing patent and other technical information for clearance projects
  • Supporting general counsel, such as preparation of draft agreements or provisions thereof for the licensing and transfer of IP rights
  • Other IP tasks and duties as assigned

Depending upon the law firm and the structure of the externship, these projects may be assigned and supervised by a single attorney or a group of attorneys at the firm.

An example of some of the firms, companies, and organizations where students have completed their externships are:

  • Greer, Burns & Crain, Ltd.
  • Lawyers for the Creative Arts
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • UIC College of Medicine, Office of Technology Management
  • Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
  • World Intellectual Property Organization

The IP Externship Program is administered by Professor Vivien Gross under the auspices of the Legal Externship Program.

2004 IP Externship Student Testimonials

"Following law school, I plan to establish an intellectual property and entertainment law practice, and working as an extern for Lawyers for the Creative Arts has provided me with valuable, hands-on experience in both practice areas. I've participated in client interviews, drafted various contracts and license agreements pertaining to the arts and entertainment industries, and developed materials for a client-outreach program aimed at educating artists, songwriters, and producers on the legal aspects of the music business. The externship is teaching me to apply what I've learned in the classroom to real-life client situations and provides me with a better understanding of the some of the issues currently shaping the fields of IP and entertainment law."

—Rob Kouchoukos, 3L

"Landing an externship with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the U.N. headquarters in New York was a tremendous experience. Although WIPO is best known for its work as an arbitrator of international IP disputes, the organization also works to nurture the development and protection of IP in the least-developed countries. During the externship I did a lot of research and policy analysis. I was able to give the legal staff an analysis of the implications of the pending Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, and my report was then forwarded to the Geneva headquarters. The experience has allowed me to gain a solid understanding of IP and international law."

—Ron Michel, 3L

"The externship program gave me the opportunity to develop legal skills while working on actual intellectual property cases handled by the firm. I helped both partners and associates on a variety of projects, giving me a chance to understand the practice areas that interested me most. Besides the legal skills I developed, the program also gave me a realistic view of an attorney's life and the types of challenges they handle each day."

—Matt Werber, 3L