A summer day in Kansas City may mean taking in a Royal’s game, enjoying a plate of barbeque, or relaxing at the Plaza, but for current Drake Law student Kyle Mendenhall, his summer experience was much faster paced.
Mendenhall clerked for a Kansas City based intellectual property boutique firm during his 1L summer. He stated, “I truly hit the ground running on day one when a pile of work was delivered to my desk immediately after the building tour.”
On his second day with the firm, Mendenhall was assigned to work on an international patent issue that no one in the firm had previous experience with. He stated that he “spent the day researching a completely foreign (literally!) set of laws and procedures” and the following day “called attorneys in Ohio, Arizona, and Switzerland to amass more information.” Ultimately, Mendenhall wrote an argument advocating his position that was later signed and submitted by a partner at the firm.
Other responsibilities of Mendenhall’s included writing client letters and responding to United State Patent and Trademark Office office actions, which notifies the applicant of problems with the patent application. He also prepared a presentation for a hearing with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, conducted infringement analysis of the firm’s clients’ competitors, and conducted legal research on a variety of copyright litigation issues. During his last week of work, Mendenhall also drafted a provisional patent application for a client.
Reflecting on his experience, Mendenhall stated, “There is no doubt in my mind that my first year at Drake Law prepared me for my summer experience. In IP law, there is a steep learning curve with much on-the-job learning. However, my legal research and writing courses gave me the skills I needed to excel as a summer clerk. The collegial learning environment in and out of the classroom at Drake Law taught me to listen attentively, speak assertively, and ask questions when necessary. These three skills were essential to my successful learning experience this past summer.