January 01, 2016

SciTech Edge Career and Branding Insights

Getting a science and technology law edge can be key to advancing your career. On September 16, 2015, the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law hosted an event for law students and young lawyers at Chicago-Kent College of Law called Build Your Career and Brand with The SciTech Edge. Panelists were privacy attorney Ruth Hill Bro (who served as moderator); Chicago-Kent Professor Lori Andrews; Peter Gillespie, of counsel at Fisher & Phillips LLP; and Joe Pennell, senior associate at Mayer Brown LLP.

Bro said that experience gained outside a legal setting is invaluable at any stage of a career in science and technology law. She also indicated that regardless of your practice area, whether litigation, mergers and acquisitions, family law, or the like, SciTech provides peripheral vision to spot issues others might miss. For example, trusts and estates lawyers can learn about the legal issues regarding frozen embryos, litigators can discover the latest insights on e-discovery, and corporate lawyers can learn how e-privacy and cybersecurity missteps can affect SEC disclosures, mergers and acquisitions, and the bottom line.

Andrews reminded students that an undergraduate degree in science or technology may be useful, but it is not necessary to have one.

Gillespie shared what he believes to be one of the most important aspects of seeking a mentor. He explained that although a student may be tempted to look up to someone with significant experience in the field, it is also important to find someone who is approachable.

Pennell recounted his path to leadership in the Section. He responded to a SciTech invitation to “stand out” as a committee contributor (more details at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/science_technology/pages/standout.html) that led to great opportunities. A Section connection invited him to speak on a panel last year where Hillary Clinton was the keynote speaker. Pennell now co-chairs the Section’s Cloud Computing Committee.

The panel shared practical tips about SciTech resources to help every student, young lawyer, and more experienced practitioner to advance. SciTech’s award-winning magazine, The SciTech Lawyer, informs lawyers about science, technology, and the law. Section members may join committees for free. Committees, such as those on the Internet of Things or Homeland Security, are free and immediately connect members with experts in the area that can lead to a “book of business.” The Section also is an invaluable source of mentors, networking, and career development content. All of this is part of the SciTech Edge that the Section provides to its members. Simply join a committee, write an article for The SciTech Lawyer, or seize an opportunity to stand out. Learn more at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/science_technology.html. u