Drake University Law School's programs in legal writing and intellectual property are ranked among the top programs in the nation in the 2010 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools," published by US News & World Report magazine.
The magazine has ranked Drake's legal writing program 17th and its intellectual property program 21st among the 184 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association. These rankings are developed based on nominations by legal educators at peer institutions.
Drake's legal writing program moved up to 17th from 39th in last year's rankings. View the new Best Law Schools Specialty Rankings: Legal Writing.
At 21st, the Intellectual Property Law Center at Drake Law School is one of the top five intellectual property law programs in the Midwest. View the new Best Law Schools Specialty Rankings: Intellectual Property.
"These rankings certainly illustrate the quality of our programming and our goal to constantly improve what we do," said Drake Law School Dean Benjamin B. Ullem. "It's nice to be recognized nationally for all the hard work that is going into these efforts."
Writing program focuses on ethics and professionalism
Drake Law School's required first-year Legal Research and Writing course contributes to the focus on ethics and professionalism that helped Drake earn a 2008 Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association.
Students are engaged in addressing ethical and professional issues in written communication via a required, supplemental text. The students also are regularly involved with members of the practicing bar, including the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court.
Faculty members in the writing program are nationally active in the legal writing community. All have law practice experience and regularly speak and publish on topics related to legal research and writing as well as other topics.
Melissa H. Weresh, professor of law and director of legal writing, serves on the Board of Directors for the Legal Writing Institute and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors. She is the author of a textbook titled "Legal Writing: Ethical and Professional Consideration," published by Lexis/Nexis.
"We are thrilled to have been recognized as one of the top 20 writing programs in the country," Weresh said. "The rankings reinforce the commitment the members of the writing faculty have made to the program and its students. They also underscore the unique qualities of the writing curriculum, including its emphasis on ethics and professionalism."
Other members of the writing faculty are:
John D. Edwards, associate dean for information resources and technology and the director of legal research, is the author of "Iowa Legal Research Guide"
Lisa Penland, associate professor of law, has been a member of the writing faculty since 2003 and has developed an expertise in teaching contract drafting
Danielle M. Shelton, associate professor of law, also has been a member of the writing faculty since 2003 and regularly speaks and writes on topics relating to practical and client-centered legal writing
Intellectual Property Law Center recognized in its second year
Founded less than two years ago by Peter K. Yu, the Kern family chair in intellectual property law at Drake Law School, the Intellectual Property Law Center is tied in the rankings with Georgetown University Law School and UCLA School of Law.
The center is the newest to receive recognition in the magazine's annual specialty rankings. The 2010 edition marks the first time the center can be evaluated by peers after a full year of activities.
"As a new center, we are deeply honored to be recognized along with the many established programs in the country," said Yu, a leading expert in international intellectual property and communications law. An experienced program director, he helped build nationally renowned intellectual property programs at Michigan State University College of Law and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.
"When we established the Intellectual Property Law Center, we tried the idea of developing a 'hub' program that brings together different players in the intellectual property community -- academics, judges, practitioners, policymakers, industry executives and international visitors," Yu added. "This novel idea has made our program unique. I am very grateful for the generous support I have received from the Drake administration, the law faculty, our benefactors as well as from academic peers and professional colleagues at other institutions."
In fall 2007, the Drake Intellectual Property Law Center was launched to promote global, interdisciplinary understanding of intellectual property law and policy. The center was established with the support of a $1.5 million gift from Drake Law School alumnus Wayne Kern and his wife, Donna, which endowed the Kern family chair in intellectual property law, and a $750,000 leadership commitment from Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., a subsidiary of DuPont.
This new, dynamic center offers an innovative curriculum, providing students with a solid foundation in both the theoretical and practical aspects of intellectual property law. It also features an annual summer institute that brings together judges, policymakers, industry leaders, attorneys, academics and students to explore cutting-edge issues at the intersection of intellectual property, biotechnology and agricultural sciences.
In addition, the center serves as an international research hub, fostering partnerships with leading research institutions from around the world. Every year, the center sponsors groundbreaking symposia and distinguished lectures; hosts eminent speakers and internationally recognized experts; publishes books and an occasional paper series; and develops international research and outreach programs.