Ms. Joan M.S. Bull

UNH Franklin Pierce offers everything I need to know about intellectual property law. The school is strategically placed in Concord to provide a pleasant environment for work and play. I currently serve as the governor in charge of the LLM class and I am also a member of a few clubs that enable me to network and build collaboration with other students. There is strong support by the school for international students here, and I find the staff to be very warm, accommodating, and welcoming. 

I am pleased to say that the benefits I’m receiving from studying IP law at UNH have surpassed my expectations. As a practicing criminal attorney with more than 11 years of experience, and with just a snippet of experience in civil litigation, I wasn’t sure how I felt about pursuing an LLM in intellectual property at an American law school. But now I know I was being prepared for the contemporary challenges society must address with the help of IP lawyers. Trademarks and Deceptive Practices, Copyright Law, The Law of Privacy, Professional Responsibility, and Entertainment Law have been among my favorite courses so far at UNH Franklin Pierce.

As my studies in New Hampshire are partially funded through the Fulbright scholarship program, I was recently selected to as a Fulbright participant for the 2023 Fulbright Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee. Long celebrated as the “Music City,” Nashville is home to countless musicians, songwriters, live music venues, and recording studios. The Fulbright Seminar explored how Nashville became a thriving center for music, including the cultural and historic factors that influenced its growth and transformation and have contributed to its continued success.

The program kicked off with a dinner on February 9, 2023, at Nashville's Musicians Hall of Fame.  The evening featured artist and activist Kyshona Armstrong of the Arts Business Council of Greater Nashville. Ms. Armstrong shared that she has worked for more than 13 years as a music therapist in treatment facilities, rehabilitation programs, mental health facilities, forensic units, nursing homes, and special needs schools. When she felt the urge to write independently, she found her own voice as a songwriter, which led her to the fertile ground of the Nashville creative community and its songwriting culture. Her song presentation left an indelible message on all of us who attended the dinner.

The Seminar also included a talk by Kalina Silverman, a U.S. Fulbright ambassador and the founder of Big Talk, which began as a social experiment about skipping small talk to make more meaningful connections, and a workshop called Writing the Bridge: Transforming communities through Music.

To augment our classroom lectures, we did a site visit to the Metro Nashville Arts Commission to see the office for Arts and Culture for Nashville and Davidson County. The Commission believes that arts drive a more vibrant and equitable community and strives to ensure that all Nashvillians have access to creative life through community investment, artists, and organizational training. Public art, creative placemaking coordination, and direct programs involve residents in all forms of arts and culture.

We learned about Nashville’s public arts before embarking on a walking tour of public art in Downtown Nashville, where we shared ideas and got to know the contribution of creative art and music in society and consider the role of intellectual property lawyers in protecting the trademark and copyrights of artists and musicians. I used this opportunity to share with my fellow scholars the benefits of studying at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, with its focus on excellence in IP law.

Our session that day culminated in a volunteer experience at the Harpeth Conservancy, the biggest park in Davidson country, which has a mission of restoring and protecting clean water and maintaining a healthy river ecosystem in Tennessee. Our duty as volunteers was to remove invasive honeysuckles to make the park safe for the planting of oak, persimmon, dogwood, and maple trees. It felt good to contribute to this worthy cause.

The Nashville experience culminated on February 10 with a farewell dinner at ACME Feed and Seed, highlighted by a performance by a live band. The Fulbright Seminar made me appreciate even more the studies I’m currently undertaking at UNH Franklin Pierce Law School, which is exposing me in a new and fascinating way to the world of art, music, and creativity.

Ms. Joan M.S. Bull is a barrister and solicitor in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where she has been a practicing litigator for more than a decade. She also serves as chief superintendent of police. Prior to enrolling at UNH Franklin Pierce, she was the head of the Legal and Justice Support Department of the Sierra Leone Police, where she managed 200 employees. She also served as the legal and technical advisor of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) and in the same role for the Transnational Organized Crime Unit. Prior to joining the Sierra Leone Police, Bull worked as a senior state counsel and prosecutor at the Ministry of Justice for seven years. She earned her first master’s degree — in transnational crime justice and security —  through the Chevening Scholarship at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 2016.