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Scientists Leaving the Lab for Law

Publication Date: 
May 20, 2007
Associated Press
Maryclaire Dale

Stanford Law School figured prominently in an "Associated Press" story that was picked up by several news outlets, including USA Today, International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, BusinessWeek, Forbes, Houston Chronicle, Indianapolis Star, San Jose Mercury News, Washington Post, Newsday, Miami Herald, and MSNBC. Among those quoted in the article, which examined the growing need for lawyers with science backgrounds, were Professor Mark Lemley and Dean Larry Kramer.

"Stanford professor Mark Lemley, a noted patent lawyer involved in two of the recent Supreme Court cases, sees the legal landscape changing even within his classroom. Next to the more traditional law students with liberal arts backgrounds, he now finds a growing number of science majors of varying ages and backgrounds.

"Last year, 140 students piled into his Introduction to Intellectual Property course, making it the largest class at the school.

"'That's the kind of thing that 15 years ago would have been inconceivable,' said Lemley, whose recent work includes a friend-of-court brief in a Supreme Court patent-infringement fight involving eBay Inc.

"To harness that interest, Stanford is joining the handful of law schools that have started joint degree programs in science and law.

Stanford's law school dean, Larry Kramer, sensed the need for the program after moving to Silicon Valley from New York University a few years ago. 'This is what the industrial revolution was two centuries ago, and it will have that kind of significance in the world,' Kramer said.