It may not come as a surprise to those who know me well, but I have decided to start law school today. I haven’t done a good job of articulating why I’ve made that decision, so I figured I’d try to provide some insight here.
Law school is a major undertaking. I’m doing the evening program at the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX which will take 4 years to complete instead of the normal full-time 3 years. I will be taking 4 courses a semester instead of 6 or 7. All law students must take a fairly common curriculum during their first year, and so I will be starting with Tort Law, Civil Procedure, Contract Law and Legal Research & Writing, but ultimately, my desire is to specialize in Intellectual Property Law (negotiation and litigation).
I’m already established in my career, I have a house full of children, a fiancé, an elderly mother I’m caring for and I’m in the middle of building a new home. Given that law school is such a major endeavor, why would I elect to put that on my plate?
When I was in graduate school getting my degree in Computer Science, I had my first chance to really witness a trial – the OJ Simpson case. I watched 3-4 hours each day when they were discussing the science of the crime scene. Having just completed my undergraduate degree in Biology, I was fascinated by how the defense attorneys (especially Barry Sheck) seemed to have a great understanding of the underlying science and made the Los Angeles crime lab seem inept.
Then, throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to provide subject matter advice on legal matters in regards to technology. This has been from comparing computer programs for similarity to due diligence on technology acquisitions. As the leader of the Java development practice at various consulting firms, I became very involved in understanding the various lawsuits between Apple, Microsoft, Sun and Oracle. Additionally, I’ve been involved in the creation and negotiation of various services contracts (both as a seller of services and a buyer of services / products). It’s always been interesting and fascinating for me.
Most recently, there have been a number of legal issues that have smacked me right in the face from digital privacy rights (when I was at Merkle) to recent high profile cases between Oracle and Google that has shown just how unsettled this law is. What better time to take the knowledge and experience I have, mix in an area that I’ve been passionate and interested in for a long time and add that to the stable of things that Thought Ensemble can offer its clients?
I’m not entirely sure how this journey is going to go, where exactly it is going to lead or if I can really accomplish what I’ve started. But, as Mark Twain said:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.