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July 2017

graphic of woman's face over digital coding

graphic of woman's face over digital coding

New Tech Edge J.D. in the Heart of Silicon Valley

A new certificate program at Santa Clara Law will help put students interested in technology law careers on the “fast track.”

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 31, 2017—A new certificate program at Santa Clara University School of Law will help put students interested in a career in technology law on the “fast track,” by building the skills and experiences valued by employers.

The certificate is the latest in a series of moves by Santa Clara Law to continue to innovate in the field of legal education, and to maximize its desirable location in Silicon Valley. Earlier this year the school hired a new Privacy Law Fellow and, three years ago, created a Privacy Law Certificate that quickly attracted motivated students.

“Local employers in law firms and technology companies spoke, and we listened,” said Professor Laura Norris, J.D. ’97, founding director of the Santa Clara Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic and new Tech Edge J.D. director. “Employers want law school graduates who are better prepared to hit the ground running after taking the bar exam. The Tech Edge J.D. certificate program will place students on their career path from the moment they are admitted, focusing their coursework and experiences on gaining the knowledge and skills desired by employers.”

The new certificate program will help students learn how to understand their clients’ business objectives, identify the challenges they face, and help them devise creative solutions—something most lawyers don’t attain until their first years of practice.

“The Tech Edge J.D. certificate program aims to shave off some of those years, and produce graduates better prepared for a career in technology industries,” said Norris.

Rather than simply dictating a set of courses to complete, the certificate program will monitor each student’s progress as they achieve a series of benchmark accomplishments such as negotiation and drafting of a transaction, participating in a cross-disciplinary team, and analyzing financial statements.

The students will further hone their professional skills through a variety of experiential learning opportunities including clinics, externships, and extracurricular activities. Each student will work with startups in the Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic. Each opportunity is designed to impart skills such as problem-solving, professionalism, business acumen, and effective communication. Students graduating from this program will have a compelling career portfolio demonstrating the many competencies gained through the law school experience.

“Silicon Valley is the innovation capital of the world, so it makes sense that Silicon Valley's law school is pushing the frontiers of innovation in legal education,” said Professor Eric Goldman, assistant director of the program.

Another key component of the program will be individualized counseling by faculty advisors as well as attorney mentors. This support network will help guide the student in developing a customized career plan, defining appropriate milestones, and achieving success in finding the ideal post-graduation job.

Kriti Rajput, J.D. ’16, corporate counsel at MLSListings, attributes her successes to such mentorship. “Mentor-mentee relationships in the legal arena are what got me to my role today as corporate counsel,” she said. “My mentors trained me on how to interview, how to improve my resume, what skills to develop to get to the job I am in today, how to study for the bar exam, how to negotiate an offer, and how to get involved with local bar associations.”

The first students admitted into the Tech Edge J.D. training program will be in the Fall of 2018, the year in which the law school occupies its new state-of-the-art location, the Howard S. and Alida S. Charney Hall of Law.

“We are excited to launch this program in the new home of the law school, Charney Hall, where we will continue to produce graduates who lead at the intersection of law, technology, business, justice, and ethics,” said Lisa Kloppenberg, dean of the Santa Clara University School of Law. “Through this program, Santa Clara Law hopes to strengthen its partnerships with local law firms and technology corporations, better connecting graduates with job opportunities.”

Prospective law students will be able to apply for the Tech Edge J.D. program through Santa Clara Law’s online application for admission, available September 1. More information on the Tech Edge J.D. program can be found online.

About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121

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