Student ‘Governor’ Sees Payoff In Involvement
Micah Ascano is beginning his 3L year on top of the world – or, at least, New England: Ascano is the American Bar Association Law Student Division 1st circuit governor, which means he represents students from the 13 ABA-accredited schools in the region, including Yale, Harvard, and Boston University.
Ascano’s leadership position puts him in contact with law students, lawyers and judges from all over the country and globe. He travels frequently – to other schools, in his role as governor, and to meetings and conferences across the United States. And he’ll graduate this spring with a vast network of professional contacts.
“What I’ve realized through my work with the ABA is that lawyers were law students once,” Ascano says. “Most of us can relate over those experiences. I don’t meet these people begging for jobs: I meet them to learn from them, and then stay in touch with them.”
Although many students belong to the ABA, Ascano says membership alone isn’t enough. “A lot of students will pay their dues and then never leave their own law school,” he says. “If you join and do nothing, you’ll get nothing out of it. But if you join and put in the legwork and make the sacrifices to go to these meetings, you’ll learn so much, meet interesting people, hear interesting stories. It’s just amazing how many law professionals from across the country and across the world I’ve met.”
Ascano went to his first ABA meeting, in Boston, as a 1L. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I wanted to get more involved in organizations outside of school,” he says.
The more he learned, the more he wanted to be involved. The student governor at the time and the past governor, both from Harvard, encouraged him, he says, and he applied for a lieutenant governor position. He attended the ABA’s annual meeting that year, in San Francisco, and ended up meeting two New York City attorneys whom he persuaded to come to UNH Law to talk to students about their work in intellectual property.
Today, Ascano can regale you with a host of stories about his work with the ABA: challenges he’s overcome, policies he’s helped to create, friends he’s made, experiences he’s had, and trips he’s taken. In February, he was awarded the Law Student Division’s Silver Key Award for his efforts.
Ascano comes from a small farm town in Minnesota. In 2008, he graduated from South Dakota State University with dual undergraduate degrees in manufacturing engineering technology and industrial management, as well as a business and a theater minor.
He wanted to go to law school, but, he says, “I couldn’t figure out any reason why an engineer would go to law school. I thought it would be too weird of a transition. And then I found out about IP.”
At UNH Law, Ascano is an avid student of intellectual property, both “hard” and “soft.” He spent the summer working at the University of North Dakota’s tech transfer office, and he’s been a research assistant for nationally renowned intellectual property litigator Peter Toren, of Shulman Rogers in Potomac, MD. He has co-written, with Toren, posts on Toren’s blog, petertoren.com, and he’s been a featured writer on the website smallfirminnovation.com. The latter gig, he says, came about through work he’d been doing for the American Bar Association.
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