As part of the focus this month on “alternative” careers, which has also featured a panel with SBA and will culminate in a Lunch w/ Lawyers event on October 7th, PDO is featuring interviews with alums who are in non-practicing jobs. This week, we feature Ahsen Kahn, Intellectual Property Advisor for the Invention Management Office.
Alternative Careers Questionnaire
1. What is your job title, and how would you summarize what you do?
My title is Intellectual Property Advisor. Our office helps to manage and commercialize intellectual property that is generated at a large regional hospital system.
2. How did you find this job?
There was a job board posting on the website of a national organization that serves these technology transfer professionals.
3. What do you love about what you do?
It’s inspiring to work in a non-profit setting where the mission of the organization matters a lot. Also, helping to convert interesting ideas about solving problems into actual products on the market is rewarding. I hope we can grow the organization and leave a legacy of progress.
4. When you came to law school, what did you think you wanted to do?
I was actually interested in a few areas: intellectual property law due to my science degree, healthcare law due to my work experience, and international law due to my interest in helping people abroad. I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate that last one.
5. Do you/Did you ever practice law on behalf of clients?
Yes, before this job, I practiced patent and intellectual property law at a small law firm for around 3 years.
6. If you do not currently practice law, do you ever wish you were practicing law? Why or why not.
Yes and no. I probably make less salary than in-house counsel and it would be nice to clarify role confusion sometimes. On the other hand, there seems to be less workload and stress than what I see our in-house counsel dealing with.
7. How has your law degree helped you in your current position?
Having the JD and legal experience helps in agreement negotiation and review, intellectual property management, complex issue analysis, and inventor counseling.
8. What advice do you have for law students (class selection, job searching, life)
Be persistent and optimistic. Sure there are demanding classes, career choices, and all sorts of other challenges along the way, but keep working hard and stay positive to find your way to shine. It may sound hokey, but these important values sometimes get lost in the day to day shuffle.