By Thomas Fischer
While waiting on his Bar Exam results, May 2014 graduate Daniel Dowling is not resting on his educational laurels. Dowling is currently attending the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, and will complete his LL.M in May of 2015. With his studies focused on the area he decided he wanted to practice, Dowling states that he is thoroughly enjoying his work in the LL.M program. “For the first time I have five classes all succinctly aligned with what I know I want to do in law.” He plans to pursue law in the area of startup/entrepreneurial new venture law.
Dowling’s career at Thomas Jefferson School of Law is replete with notable accomplishments including: distinguished honor roll in all semesters, graduating in the top 10% of the class, and membership with the TJSL Law Review. As an Intellectual Property Fellow, Dowling took full advantage of the exposure to classroom and practical curriculum available at TJSL. IP related endeavors included participation in the TJSL Small Business Law Center’s Trademark Clinic for two semesters under the auspices of Professor Eric Lane, directed study under the guidance and mentoring of Professor Steve Semeraro, and winning 1st place in the 2013 Georgia State University Intellectual Property Writing Competition.
Coming to the realization of what area of law he wanted to practice is a more recent conclusion for Dowling, and the source of sage advice to current and future law students. Like many entering or prospective students, “when I started law school I didn’t have any idea what area of law I wanted to practice,” he admits. Regarding the search for what area of law one wants to make a career of, he proffered, “Seek faculty advice to help define your path early, and focus on the opportunities available towards it. Realize that “lawyer” means many, many things.”
Acknowledging that this is advice of degree rather than decree, he recognized that while some students may come in already knowing what they want to do, others may not really find their space until even after graduation. But he insists students should take advantage of every opportunity to find hints and evidences towards their path. Be it internships, clerkships, participating in student organizations or working in the Trademark Clinic, he was appreciative of the help and advices received throughout his own search. “The TJSL community is amazing in their willingness to assist in furthering student’s careers,” he shares. “Down the line, the professors are brilliant, know the material, and know how to teach it. Their propensity for an open door policy applies to everything including not just class material, but career path advice, and sometimes even “just” life. But be proactive in making the connections and conversations happen, don’t just lie in hope that they will find you.”
Case in point, Dowling is greatly appreciative of the mentoring he received from Professor Steve Semeraro. “From Property I, directed study under his tutelage, all the way through applying for the LL.M program at Berkeley, Professor Semeraro was available without question.” He remains grateful for the career path advice Professor Semeraro offered along the way, and the opportunities presented therein.
Amongst the opportunities Dowling took advantage of, he maintains great support for the TJSL clinics. “Obviously the Trademark Clinic was especially influential for me. But observing the students and advisors in all of the clinics opened my eyes to the amazing effect TJSL is having not just on the individual clients, but San Diego as a community as well. The clinics are a real win on so many levels.”
His experience in the Trademark Clinic, under the supervision of Professor Eric Lane, is noted as being a chief factor in developing his knowledge and practical skills as well as influencing his career decisions. “Getting hands-on experience for two semesters under the guidance of Professor Lane had a great impact on shaping my understanding of what lawyering meant to me,” he shared. “It was a great experience to share practical discussions with someone of Professor Lane’s experience and stature, and then have the opportunity to extend the learning in applied fashion by helping clients of the clinic.”
After completing his LL.M, Dowling is looking forward to putting his education into effect helping new entrepreneurial ventures with legal assistance. His Bar Exam results eminent, he is excited to start putting the doctrinal education into practical effect. Additionally, he looks forward to marrying his fiancé, also a TJSL graduate, in January.