Prior to starting at ventureLAB (VL), I was unsure of what to expect from my placement and felt a little out of my element. In the past, I had little exposure to entrepreneurs, particularly small to medium sized technology start-ups, but felt excited about the opportunity to apply the intellectual property (IP) law information I learned at Osgoode in a “real world” setting.
After two and half months at VL, I feel better prepared and more confident in my decision to pursue IP law.
Every day at VL was different. For the most part, my role involved gathering and interpreting IP law information for entrepreneurs and VL staff. To do this, I was often asked to meet one-on-one with entrepreneurs who each had a unique set of challenges and motives for seeking information on IP. Some entrepreneurs were well versed in the material, while others knew that IP protection was important but not why? Through this experience, I developed a greater understanding of the business reasons behind decisions on what IP to protect, when to move forward with registration/filing, and where.
My major project for the semester was organizing and speaking at an IP Law seminar for entrepreneurs, co-sponsored by Miller Thomson, IP Osgoode, and VentureLAB. The event was a success with full registration and an active and engaged audience. Despite some nerves, I was grateful for the opportunity to practice my presentation skills to a large audience and to hear about the challenges faced by the York business community.
Of the many lessons I learned through the IP intensive, here are some of the amazing attributes of VL and why other students should consider seeking this opportunity:
Shockingly excellent client service
VL set an excellent example of what good customer service means. From day one, I felt a unique soul of the building and the people. The staff was friendly, passionate, and incredibly focused on supporting entrepreneurs regardless of the requests. For example, all staff documented and shared stories at team meetings of “shockingly excellent customer service”. This and other initiatives speak to the client-centred mindset of VL’s CEO Jeremy Laurin, Board of Directors, and staff. I believe this experience will help me provide better client service, which is crucial in the legal profession.
Exposure to future innovations and technologies
Almost every day, I met or learned about a new technology or invention. Often, I would ask when can I buy one of these? Being exposed to future businesses and trends will help frame my future practice and allow me to better understand and meet the needs of different business sectors.
Everyone at VL has an innovative spirit that makes even the most conservative person wonder why he or she never pursued that idea, dream, or opportunity. I believe this type of thinking will help me approach the law and life with creativity, greater drive, and with less fear of failure.
One-on-one guidance from a legal mentor
Eugene Gierczak from Miller Thomson was my legal mentor for my placement. He met with me one-on-one to answer questions and to instruct me on different areas of IP law. While at school, it is rare to receive one-on-one training from a senior partner at a law firm.
Overall, my placement was an excellent experience. I would encourage other students to consider the IP intensive and ventureLAB.
Amanda MacNaughton is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.