Q. Why did you choose Wisconsin for law school?
Surprisingly, it was an easy decision. At first, I had trouble differentiating between the many schools I visited. They all seemed to offer the same programs and courses, and have the same high-caliber faculties. But as soon as I set foot in Madison, walked around the campus, and met with students, professors, and staff, I knew Wisconsin was the right choice. It just felt like a good fit.
What did you think you wanted to do with your law degree?
I went into my 1L year with a strong desire to have an international career, in whatever form it might take. More than anything I wanted to continue my education and improve my analytical, writing, and critical-thinking skills. I had a feeling that a law degree would open a lot of doors, and it has.
How did Wisconsin’s law-in-action philosophy influence your legal education?
For me, the law-in-action philosophy meant that law in the real world does not exist in a vacuum. Factors such as policy and enforcement play an essential role, too. I’m seeing that firsthand now with my Fulbright research in the Philippines. The intellectual property laws on the books don’t really matter if the administrative capacity, political will, and functioning judicial system aren’t there to support their recognition and enforcement.
What was your favorite law school class or professor? Why?
Two classes stand out. First, Negotiations with Professor Cagle occupied more of my energy and attention than any other class. Rather than reading cases and discussing holdings, we learned by doing. I walked out of every class feeling like I was a better negotiator than I was earlier that day. Second, International Business Transactions with Professor Ibele opened my eyes to legal issues in the global marketplace and sparked my interest in IPR. Plus, it was great to have a practicing attorney with so much experience teach the course.
Was there a law school experience that was particularly important or meaningful for you?
Writing my Law Review Comment. From start to finish it occupied over a year of my life. I worked harder on that than anything I had ever done before. It was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. At times I wanted to jump off a cliff or into Lake Mendota, and not just because the topic was tax law. Yet the feeling of accomplishment that came with meeting deadlines and ultimately producing a work that was published made it all worthwhile.
How did you decide to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship?
I felt the need to gain more international experience and further explore the field of IPR in order to better set the stage for an international career. As a Fulbright scholar in the Philippines, I get to practice my Tagalog, eat chicken adobo, curse at the traffic, and meet with people in government, business, and academia to better understand the IPR enforcement situation here, everyday.
Who’s in the photo with you on the home page?
That's the Rodriguez family in the picture. Jun, the father, is one of my mentors and a close friend here in the Philippines. He's an attorney and the general counsel of the IP Coalition, an NGO in Manila. Also in the picture is one of his daughters, Camille, and then his son, Anton, and wife Diosa. His other daughter, Isabel, took the picture. I've been over to their house a number of times and even did some traveling with them within the Philippines.
What advice do you have for someone just starting to consider going to law school?
I don’t think you can go wrong with having a legal education, but that doesn’t mean law school is right for everyone. Weigh the decision carefully, taking into consideration the time commitment, financial burden, and inevitable stress. But also know that law school can—and should be—a lot of fun.
Do you have any advice for an incoming 1L?
Enjoy the experience. After all, law school takes up three years of your life. You have an incredible opportunity to learn and achieve during that time. It can be tough, and you’re going to have those “I want my mommy” moments. But your success and satisfaction will depend on your ability to work hard without neglecting your friends, family, and outside interests.