Innovation and Tradition
For artists, nonprofits, community organizations and small-business clients of limited means, securing intellectual property (IP) rights and getting counseling involving patent, copyright and trademark law are critical to their success and growth. These clients need expert IP and technology legal assistance, but very often cannot afford services in the legal marketplace. In addition, legal services and state bar pro bono programs have generally been ill-equipped to assist in these more specialized areas. An expanding community of IP and Tech- nology clinics has emerged across the country to meet these needs. But while law review articles have described and examined other sec- tors of clinical legal education, there has not been an article to date that examines the rise and the role of such clinics. This is an important need to fill. With student and client and law firm demand for IP and Technology clinics, law schools want information about existing programs, and existing programs want information about the innovations of other clinics and collaboration opportunities. In addition, the traditional clinical community wants to ensure that these new pro- grams build on the strengths of the original founding clinics. This article distills the results of a comprehensive survey of seventy-two distinct IP and Technology clinics into themes that analyze the focus and aspirations of this new clinical community. It takes stock of what IP and Technology clinics were founded to accomplish, how and what they are teaching students, and what clients and missions drive them. It highlights some individual innovations to inspire the community to continue to grow and change. It concludes by assessing what these clinics accomplish, how they are faring on these goals and the role they may play in the future of clinical legal education and experiential learning more generally.