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Intellectual Property Law

Susan Graf, P.h.D.

Graduation Year:  2007

Hometown:  Sylvania, Ohio

Undergraduate & Previous Work Experience: I have a B.A. in biology from the College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio) and a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Duke University.  After completing my Ph.D., I worked in academic labs researching the molecular basis of genetic diseases for about 8 years before starting law school. 

Who is your current employer? I am an associate at Klarquist Sparkman, LLP

What is your particular area of interest pertaining to law?  Intellectual property law.  My practice is focused primarily on helping clients obtain patent protection for their inventions.  I work with academic, industry and government clients, with much of my work focused in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical areas, though I work in other technology areas as well.  I also assist clients with obtaining protection for their trademarks.

Were you involved with any extracurricular activities?  I was involved with the Intellectual Property Student Organization and on the Lewis & Clark Law Review

What do you like to do for fun? Spending time with my husband and dog, gardening, yoga, and reading mystery novels.

Favorite places in Portland? Mt. Tabor park, the Hawthorne district, and Coco donuts on 6th Ave. downtown

Why did you pick Lewis & Clark Law School?  It is in Portland!  I was already living in Portland when I decided to go to law school, and I did not want to leave the area.  But seriously, I was really happy that Lewis & Clark law has such a strong intellectual property program, so it was an easy decision.

What did you like most about Lewis & Clark?  The great faculty and the opportunity to interact with them in and out of the classroom.  Also, even though I knew I wanted to focus on intellectual property law when I started law school, I enjoyed discovering how fascinating every area of law can be.

What has been your favorite experience so far?  The first time I was able to tell a client we had obtained a patent for them was a great feeling.  But I love learning something new every day when I go to work.

Any advice for new students?  Take opportunities to get connected with members of the local bar, for example, through the first year mentor program.  Local attorneys are a great source of information and insight on all aspects of attorney practice and life.   Also, pay attention to common themes in your classes that catch your attention and interest.  They may point you to any area of law or a practice that you hadn’t necessarily thought of as interesting you.