For Patent Agent, Evening JD Helps Fuse Science & Law
An accomplished electrical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles JD Evening Alumna Dr. Jean Nguyen ’17 was happy with her career but wanted something more fulfilling. Now a patent agent at a large international law firm, she employs her degree in pursuit of her true passion: putting her technical background to use by advocating for patent protections for inventors and other clients.
“There was something missing,” Nguyen says. “Despite all the great science, I wanted more.”
Nguyen followed the trajectory of a former colleague and applied for a job as a patent agent at the law firm Morrison & Foerster, LLP. Once there, she was hooked.
“Patent law let me put my experience in the field to good use and offered a lot of new opportunities,” says Nguyen. “I find advocating for patents and the rights of innovators incredibly rewarding.”
Seeking to bolster her knowledge, Nguyen looked for part-time law programs that would allow her to keep working during the day. With a part-time program ranked No. 1 in the West by U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” she felt Loyola was the right fit. It provided the Wisconsin native the flexibility to maintain her law firm job while attending classes at night. Additionally, it helped her see firsthand the legal principles introduced in class.
“Being able to take what I learned in class to the office not only gave me a better understanding of the law, but it helped me be a better member of my team,” says Nguyen. “I got a deeper understanding of what was driving the counseling and logic behind our prosecution strategies.”
Like Nguyen, a majority of Loyola’s evening students work full-time, part-time or balance their academic schedule with other responsibilities. Evening students, like day students, have the opportunity to participate in Loyola’s clinics, trial teams and other extracurricular activities and even join one of the school’s three respected law reviews.
“I hope to mentor others in similar situations and help them find opportunities like the ones Loyola gave me,” says Nguyen, a recipient of Loyola’s Georgene S. Vairo Scholarship. “My background and experience prior to coming here was very technical. Loyola gave me exposure to different non-technical areas of the law and it’s made me a better attorney. I want to pay that forward.