Jessica Ann Bernardini

Anticipated Graduation Year 2021


Anticipated Graduation - May 2021

Hometown: I was born in Staten Island, NY, but grew up at the Jersey Shore. After college, I moved to the Bay Area for graduate school and in 2015 I moved to Portland for my work.

Undergraduate & Previous Work Experience: I graduated from Rutgers University – School of Engineering with a BS in Civil Engineering and then completed my M.S. in geotechnical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. I worked for over 10 years as an engineering consultant with a focus on solid waste management and renewable energy development. I am a registered Professional Engineer in California, Oregon, and Alaska.

Are you currently employed? If so, with whom? I am currently employed at Avangrid Renewables where I assist the general counsel with renewable energy development. My work includes PPA and contract drafting and interpretation, real estate transactions, and environmental permitting.

What sparked your interest in studying intellectual property law? I initially came to Lewis & Clark to pursue a career in environmental/energy law (which I am still passionate about). I took Professor Loren’s IP Survey class and immediately became interested in patent law. I then took the IP Advanced topics seminar to focus more on patent law and completed a capstone that allowed me to combine my two interests – energy and patent law. I joined the SBLC – Patent Program this fall, and now I am certain that I’d like to pursue a career in patent law. As an engineer, I like that patent law allows me to leverage my engineering background and technical skills with the practice of law.

What do you find most interesting/surprising about intellectual property law? People put so much time and effort (and money!) into developing and protecting their IP. Before taking IP classes, I had not considered how valuable “ideas” are to the individuals that develop them. With that understanding, I have a new appreciation for the importance of being an advocate that both protects and can help monetize one’s work.

Are you involved with any extracurricular activities? As a part-time evening student, it was difficult to get involved in extracurricular activities since I worked during the day. I am currently the Submissions Editor for Environmental Law.

What do you like to do for fun? When the weather is dry and fairly warm, I’ll explore the PNW on my motorcycle. This past summer I did a 2,000-mile solo ride up to Glacier National Park and all over Montana and Idaho. In the winter, I ski and snowboard. I also love puzzles and crosswords.

Favorite places in Portland? The fact that we’re so close to Mt. Hood and all the other amazing parks and outdoor places we’re able to experience within an hour drive from Portland.

Why did you pick Lewis & Clark Law School? Lewis & Clark provided an opportunity for part-time coursework which allowed me to continue working as an engineer. Since the law is a second career for me, it was especially important that I was going to be attending a school with an established and nationally recognized part-time program.

What do you like most about Lewis & Clark? The professors! I was so surprised at how caring, helpful, and available they are with the students. They truly care about our success.

What has been your favorite experience so far? Some of the classes I enjoy most are the highly specialized courses taught by adjunct professors. I like hearing their experiences in the area of law that they’re teaching. I also really enjoyed the SBLC program which allowed me to gain real-life transactional patent law experience.

Any advice for new students? No one will remember what you said when you were cold-called on in class! Be open to new experiences - you may have come to school with one area of the law in mind, but you may eventually realize there are other areas of the law you may be better suited for or you find exciting. Find what you’re passionate about and excites you.