University of New Hampshire

School of Law

IP Alumni Career Paths

How it is that a small law school in New Hampshire can compete with institutions with major resources such as the other top IP ranked law schools, like University of California-Berkeley, Stanford, George Washington, Columbia, Duke and others? One part of the answer is the network of Franklin Pierce Center for IP alumni. With thousands of IP alumni working in more than 80 countries, there are many career paths that UNH Law graduates have pursued. To list just a sampling of the settings in which they work:

  • Law firms
  • Corporate legal departments
  • Corporate management
  • Government agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Companies providing financial products and services related to intellectual property expert testimony, valuation, investments, risk management and transactions
  • Companies that provide patent search technology, portfolio management software, online patent analytics and international patent databases
  • Consultancies
  • Academia
  • Legal publishing
  • Startup business

IP Clerkships Lead to Careers

IP related clerkships are available on the federal and state levels, and may be with trial or appellate courts. Franklin Pierce Center for IP students have clerked with many courts that handle IP related cases.

Federal clerkships are often considered the most prestigious, particularly those at the appellate level, and are quite limited in number; accordingly they are the most competitive. Without doubt, a clerkship at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is the most prestigious position that can lead to great career opportunities. The CAFC is the court of last resort in IP cases – a heartbeat away from Supreme Court review.

What does a judicial clerk do?

Job duties vary by clerkship and by judge, but generally judicial clerks research legal issues and write memorandums and court documents. Clerks may also observe trials, oral arguments, and other judiciary proceedings.

Appellate level clerks do research and more formal writing as they deal with cases after trials are complete; they primarily work in chambers and have little contact with attorneys and parties, if at all.

Trial court clerks, on the other hand, are involved from the filing of lawsuits up to the completion of trial. Trial court clerks are often under stricter time requirements than appellate clerks.

CAFC Clerks: The First Step Down the Road to Success


"Like every other former law clerk that I have ever spoken with, I can easily rate my experience at the Court as clerk to The Honorable Pauline Newman as the best job I ever had. Not only do you get to personally know and work with the judges who are deciding the cutting-edge issues of the day, you get to witness the very best attorneys in the field from all around the country practicing before you. It's an incredible learning experience that cannot be duplicated in either the academic or private sector."


Ronald Hermenau JD '91
Senior Counsel, Patents
Amgen Inc.
South San Francisco, CA
"My clerkship experience with The Honorable Arthur J. Gajarsa has been, by far, the most rewarding experience in my legal career. It has also been the most enjoyable. Aside from invaluable insight into the inner workings of the judicial process that employers covet, you can also establish invaluable personal relationships with co-clerks and judges.These relationships are what I value most from my clerkship experience."


Robert Scheffel JD '99
Wiley Rein LLP
Washington, DC
"My clerkship with The Honorable Howard T. Markey was a great learning experience, led to meeting many colleagues that I continue to work with, and opened the door to many opportunities in the profession. I'd have to say that it was the best thing that has ever happened to me in my professional career."


Bruce B. Brunda JD '77
Founding Partner
Stetina Brunda Garred & Brucker
Aliso Viejo, CA
"I loved clerking for The Honorable Giles Sutherland Rich. I have ongoing professional advantages as a member of the ex-clerk fraternity and enjoy lasting friendships with several ex-clerks. I think clerking at the Federal Circuit is by far the best way to start a career in IP law."


James Calkins, JD/MIP '98
Managing Member
Paterus Law Group, PLLC
Washington, DC

Learn more about clerkships through the Career Services Office's Legal Career Tool Kit.

JD Program IP Alumni Stories

Graduate IP Program Alumni Stories


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