Frequently Asked Questions for Students

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  • What is the Intellectual Property & Transactional Clinic ("IPT Clinic")?
    The IPT Clinic provides transactional legal services to start-ups, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and individual creators of intellectual property. Students in the IPT Clinic work directly with clients, under the supervision of Prof. Ashley Dobbs, a practicing attorney licensed in VA and DC, and Director of Intellectual Property and Transactional Law Clinic.


  • What kind of work do students perform?

    Students advise clients on non-litigation intellectual property and business matters such as:

    • applying for trademark registration
    • negotiating licensing agreements
    • setting up entities
    • drafting contracts
    • drafting website terms of use
    • other general business transactions and negotiations
  • What skills do students develop?

    This clinic is a great opportunity for students to learn and develop a variety of transferrable skills, such as:

    • Interviewing and client counseling
    • Entity selection and formation
    • Public speaking and presentations
    • Strategic planning
    • Advising clients on intellectual property and business law issues
    • Contract drafting
    • Negotiation of contracts and other agreements
    • Research and writing of legal memoranda and client communications
    • Preparation of trademark and copyright registration applications
    • Preparation of entity governance documents
  • What kind of student commitment is expected in the Intellectual Property & Transactional Clinic?
    Approximately 17-20 hours/week, including a weekly seminar.
  • How many credits is the Intellectual Property & Transactional Clinic?
    Six credits (including seminar and client work).
  • When is the Intellectual Property & Transactional Clinic offered?
    Both Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Are there any prerequisites?
    Business Associations, Professional Responsibility and IP Fundamentals are strongly recommended, but not required. Other courses which would be helpful are Trademarks, Copyright, Contract Drafting, and/or IP Contract Drafting.
  • Who can apply?
    Rising 2Ls may apply for the Spring semester and rising 3Ls may apply for either semester.
  • I heard there is an Advanced Clinic. What’s that about?
    After students complete the regular Clinic, they are eligible to participate in the Advanced IPT Clinic for 1 – 4 credits, either P/F or for a grade, at your option.  The Advanced Clinic is an opportunity to continue your work with clients, but “more, better, faster, independent”.  You are not required to attend all classes (just a few: first, last, and case rounds).  You would be able to work with your existing clients, or take on new one(s), or bring on new clients you’d like to work with. Advanced Clinic students tell me how much they appreciate getting to do “pure” client work, with the foundations they’ve established from the first semester.
  • Should I apply to the IPT Clinic if I don’t have a background in science/business / IP? I’m not even sure I’m interested in practicing IP after graduation.
    YES! If you are interested in any kind of transactional practice – tax, labor & employment, real estate, mergers & acquisitions, business law of any sort, you should try the IPT Clinic. The IPT Clinic is an excellent opportunity for students who are sure that they want to practice IP law after graduation, AND it is equally beneficial to any student.  The core skills you learn are wholly transferable to other areas of the law: interviewing, counseling, strategic planning, writing, researching, interacting with clients and government agencies. Although students will work with IP matters, the IPT Clinic provides a learning opportunity to even those who are not deeply familiar with IP.
  • How much discretion are students afforded in selecting the clients in which they are most interested?
    Student attorneys in the IPT Clinic are given wide discretion to take on the clients that they are most interested them; as well as, to determine how many clients they are willing and able to take on based on their weekly workload.
  • What is the application process like? (Generally)
    • During the application period, interested students should complete the online application (available online soon), including their resume. Students should then set up an interview with Director of the Clinic, Professor Dobbs, to further explore the student’s interest in and fit with the Clinic as well as address any questions the student has about the Clinic. There are also numerous informal sessions throughout the academic year. The most recent information session was recorded and is available here. If you still have questions after reviewing these materials, please email Professor Dobbs.
    • Students will know whether they’re accepted to the Clinic about 2-3 weeks following application. Importantly, students will know whether they’ve been accepted prior to class registration for the next academic session.