HNBA/Microsoft Intellectual Property Law Institute Offers Opportunities for Latino Law School Students

The Intellectual Property Law Institute is an example of how organizations co-sponsor an event to encourage more Latinos to enter the field of IP law

More needs to be done to increase the number of Latino lawyers in the United States. There is a relatively low percentage of attorneys in the United States who are of Latino origin. They now make up less than 4 percent of all U.S. lawyers.

However, there are some efforts to improve Latino representation among attorneys. For instance, next week, the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and Microsoft will host the second Intellectual Property Law Institute (IPLI). It is a weeklong immersion program to explore IP law opportunities for 25 Latino law school students. The number of Latino Americans practicing Intellectual Property is even less than 4 percent of the total.

The IPLI is being held in Washington D.C., with the assistance of 12 national law firms. They include Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Covington & Burling, Davis Wright Tremaine, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, Fish & Richardson, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, Merchant & Gould, Morrison & Foerster, Perkins Coie, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, Shook Hardy & Bacon, and Sidley Austin.

The students will be given exposure to such fields as patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks, as well as meet with Congressional staff working on IP law and meet with IP practitioners at law firms.

In addition, looking at the overall need to increase diversity among America’s lawyers, Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft, stated in a blog post that, “While America increasingly reflects the extraordinarily diverse people and cultures from around the world, the legal profession does not.”

“Many lawyers are aware we have not kept pace with the nation,” he added. “What is troubling is the lack of clarity about why this is happening. And until we know why, we are just guessing at the best ways to help build a more diverse legal profession.”

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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