“The best programs of two great schools”

Mitch Feldhake, ’19, trained as an engineer and grew up around lawyers. But it wasn’t until his junior year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology that he learned about patent law.

“My mother is a lawyer, and once she told me that patent law was a thing and that it’s a growth area, I started talking to alumni from both Rose and the Law School, and I began to get interested,” he explained. “Scott Skiles, a graduate of both schools, told me about the Rose-Hulman Law Scholars program. After doing some research online, I applied for it and got the scholarship.”

As a Rose-Hulman Scholar, Feldhake receives scholarship funding and a guaranteed research asssistantship with Mark Janis, one of the school's IP professors. “Professor Janis has been great,” Feldhake said. “I’m getting exposure to all types of IP law — international, copyright, patent, and trademark — but he realizes I’m a law student first and that I have other courses and obligations to complete outside of IP.” Feldhake also has the opportunity to work in Indiana Law’s IP law clinic, which advises start-up ventures on patent and trademark issues under the supervision of Clinical Professor Norm Hedges, an experienced patent attorney.

Feldhake has three pieces of advice for students considering law school, and IP law in particular:

  1. Look beyond the top 14. “If you’re interested in IP, look at the strength of an individual school’s program,” he suggested. “Several alumni told me that Professor Janis was revolutionary in building the Law School’s program to one of the best in the country. Look at the program, not just the overall US News ranking.”
  2. Find out if there’s a clinic. “A lot of highly ranked schools don’t have IP clinics. They’re really important if you’re interested in this field.”
  3. Check out the environment. “This is a collegial place where your classmates are here to help. Your peers will give you their notes if you miss class. It’s worked great for me, but you need to make sure it’s the right place for you.”

According to Feldhake, the Maurer–Rose-Hulman partnership works well on several levels. “The work ethic at Rose prepared me for the long hours I’ve been spending studying in law school,” he said, “just as I’ll be doing as a practicing lawyer. And the IP courses enable me to build on my engineering skills. The partnership brings together the best programs of two great schools.”