Bernstein ’23 Builds Comprehensive Resource for STEM Law Career-Seekers

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Many undergraduate and graduate students with backgrounds in one of the STEM fields—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—are searching for a rewarding and intellectually stimulating career that affords them the opportunity to put their education and interests to work. Evan Bernstein ’23, was one of those students.  He would ultimately turn to law and knows he has found a home.  He has now created a resource for those with STEM backgrounds who might want to explore whether a career in law is right for them as well. 

With research and interviews with practicing patent lawyers, Bernstein created the Careers in STEM Law resource on albanylaw.edu.

Bernstein started at Albany Law School part-time while working at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as a Senior Biotech Production Specialist. He completed a City Semester in Practice at the SUNY Research Foundation and gained valuable experience in patent law. He took the patent law bar prep course, passed, then began as a patent agent while transitioning to a full-time law student. A separate test from the traditional bar exam, the patent bar exam is administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and is a requirement for patent agents and attorneys to represent clients before the USPTO.

In the summer after his 2L year and during his 3L year, Bernstein worked with Wilson Sonsini, a large firm representing technology startups, and will return as a first-year associate in Fall 2023.

“In my current job function, I am a patent prosecutor writing claims, specifications, office action responses, and performing freedom to operate, patentability, and landscape analyses across various technologies such as electronics, biotechnology, chemical pharmaceuticals, superalloys, and plants,” he said.

For the Careers in STEM Law page, Bernstein interviewed several practicing attorneys, including Michael Woodward ’18, an associate patent attorney at Harrity & Harrity, LLP. Woodward pairs his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering with his J.D. to draft patent applications.

“I chose to pursue patent law over a career in STEM because patent law provided an avenue to combine multiple areas that I was already interested in (technology and the law).  Additionally, I knew that with a career in patent law, I would be able to work with many different technologies rather than having to work on the same technology every day (which is often the case with STEM jobs).  The major benefit of working in patent law over other areas of law is that there is much less competition because there are just not that many patent attorneys out there,” Woodward said. “Patent practitioners are able to help bridge the gap between technology, business, and the law. Often, inventors know that they need to protect their ideas, but they don’t know how."

Evan’s work was supported by Professor Ray Brescia, the Hon. Harold R. Tyler Chair in Law & Technology at Albany Law as part of an independent study project.  “I’ve been so impressed by Evan’s intelligence and the passion he brings to his work, which is downright infectious.  I think we have bottled that and shared it with the world.   This web-based resource will help so many prospective students with STEM backgrounds who want to make a difference in the world in the exciting field of intellectual property law learn of the opportunities available to them in the law.”  Brescia adds that this project simply would not have happened without Bernstein’s hard work and desire to help others.  “Like so many Albany Law students and graduates, Evan wants to help the community,” Brescia explained, “and this resource is just one way that he has found to do that.”

Careers in STEM Law Page