Big Decision Between Navy JAG Corps and IP Litigation
I was born in Virginia, grew up in Bucks County, Pa, the suburbs of Philadelphia. I played organized baseball, football, wrestling, track, swimming, and diving growing up. I spent one year at Penn State before getting accepted to West Point and Annapolis, where I chose the Naval Academy. While there I played Division I baseball, was on the national champion boxing team, got to fly in an F/A-18 Hornet, went to Ireland for a football game against Notre Dame, cruised to Spain on a destroyer for summer training, and presented a paper on laser crystal research at a physics conference in Atlanta. The Navy allowed me to fly prop planes, jets, and helicopters after graduating, which was really cool. I also got to lead a division of 50 Sailors on an amphibious ship when I was a Lieutenant, and spent my last 6 months working at the Navy JAG office on base. I was stationed in MD, FL, MS, TX, and San Diego with the Navy. After my honorable discharge in San Diego in 2004, I was offered a full scholarship to law school in Indiana and a job that would keep me in California. I chose to move to Berkeley, CA. Shortly after moving to Northern California, I met a really pretty, outgoing gal who for some reason decided to date me. Katy and I got married at a gorgeous winery in Livermore in 2006. Our son Chase was born in 2009. I began law school at GGU in 2008. I am currently applying to the Navy JAG program where there is only a 4-8% acceptance rate. If I get accepted, I hope to first get stationed in Bremerton, WA. If I don’t get accepted, I hope to get a job as an IP litigator anywhere, but preferably in Texas—my favorite state after I was stationed in Corpus Christi, TX.
Former titles include Navy Lieutenant, Purification Supervisor for Bayer, Packaging Superintendent for C&H Sugar, and residential real estate appraiser. Current title is JD candidate.
Why did you choose to attend GGU?
My LSAT’s 5 year term was about to expire, and the last thing I wanted to do was take that miserable test again. GGU was the best school that I got accepted to that fit my criteria at the time of being close to home, ABA accredited, and had a night school program. I began in the evening program in August 2008, and will be graduating this May 2012 with an IP certificate, and hopefully in the top 10%.
Why do you like the area of IP law?
A counselor recommended IP law to me my 1L year after she found out I had my undergraduate degree in physics. I did about 10-15 informational interviews with patent prosecutors and patent litigators, which confirmed that IP law was a good area of law. IP law is one of the most lucrative areas of law, the demand for IP attorneys will only increase as technology keeps advancing, you get to deal with the latest and greatest technologies in the world, and IP law is relatively conscious-free: you don’t have the possibility of defending guilty criminals or prosecuting innocent people. Lots of huge corporations with lots of money interested in protecting their IP property have a large need for qualified IP litigators to handle both complex law and very complex subject matter technology.
What are your proudest accomplishments?
I would say the birth of my two and a half year old son, Chase, but my effort in that accomplishment was minimal compared to my wife’s efforts. Getting accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy where I subsequently graduated as a Naval Officer with my degree in physics was pretty thrilling. Also, when I graduated in the top 30% of my primary flight school class, and was approved to attend the Navy Jet Strike Program was also very difficult to do in that very competitive environment.
What excites you? I am excited when I work hard to achieve a goal, then achieve it. I’m always setting goals for myself.
I love the feeling of accomplishment, whether it comes to academics, sports, professional career, or anything else. I am always striving for getting the ever elusive 4.0 g.p.a. and all Witkin awards every semester, and wondering how close I was to getting the A when I get an A-, A- when I get the B+, etc. I am always striving to be better than the best person of any group.
How do you balance work/school/life?
My wife, son, two basset hounds, and cat balance my law school schedule now. One of the big plusses that I considered when applying to the Navy JAG Corps is because their work schedule is 7:30am to 4:30pm with a 90 minute lunch break to work out and eat, and 30 days paid vacation every year. The ability to come home to my family every day at 5pm far outweighed the ability to make more money working insane billable hours and traveling all over the world for trials and depositions as an IP litigator. I’d like to have the ability to coach little league, go to plays, and have weekends off. Sure, the Navy might station me in some place I don’t want to go like Meridian, MS, but even then I’d still be with my family. If I don’t get accepted to the Navy and become an IP litigator, it will certainly be more difficult to balance things, but I am confident it can be done.
Please tell us a little about yourself, your family, pets, and/or any special interests you have, or hobbies or activities you pursue in your free time.
My family consists of my wife, Katy, of five years and my two and a half year old son, Chase. I met Katy shortly after I moved up to Northern California after I got out of the Navy. She was living in the city at the time. I thought she was hot. She thought I was odd and quirky, but had some potential. Glad she kept me around. I have two basset hounds from the same litter, Oliver and Beauregard, and an American short haired cat, Pandora. The bassets love to sleep and eat. The cat likes to follow behind us when we walk the dogs and loves to deliver us “presents” like mice, birds, and lizards. I very much enjoy reading non-law school books. Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose,” F.A. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom,” and Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” are some of my favorites. I consider trail half marathons to be “fun.” They can be painful around mile 11-13, but I enjoy the views at the tops of hills in the parks, the camaraderie of shared pain with fellow runners after the race eating ice cream sandwiches and gummy bears with Monster energy drinks, improving my time, and the feeling of accomplishment when I complete another tough race. I also like gardening and working on the yard. A big, well-manicured yard with a riding lawn mower and a large garden full of tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, peppers, and herbs sounds like paradise to me. I have been the GGU’s Federalist Society chapter president for the last two years, and I enjoy inviting really interesting conservative and libertarian speakers from all over the country to speak or debate at our school. Providing the opportunity for law school students to hear ideas that most students are unlikely to ever hear in their law school careers is my way of bringing about diversity of thought to GGU.