What drew you to the law?
I have always been attracted to intersections between disciplines. My prior studies in chemistry combined traditional laboratory analysis with computer science to address biological challenges such as drug targeting and protein folding. Curiosity about patenting scientific discoveries led me to the even broader opportunity to combine scientific literacy with legal training. What keeps me engaged is that legal fields also intersect with each other in rich and often unexpected ways, just as scientific fields do.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I appreciate instilling in my students an interest in large, elegant ideas. Most law students are bright and curious and are quite capable of navigating the mechanical complexity of rules. What may not always be accessible to them, however, are the fewer, more fundamental concepts behind all that complexity. My job is to guide my students toward that fuller and clearer understanding for which we have long regarded law as one of the learned professions.
What do you hope students gain from your courses?
Law students, especially at the start, often confront not only gaps in knowledge but also uncertainty about the extent of those gaps. For managing this challenge, I hope students take from my courses a posture of patience and organization so that they can identify problems fully and solve them coherently.
What did you do prior to entering academia?
I served in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, advising the agency’s chief economist and other leadership on patent policy. I was also a faculty fellow at Duke Law School, where I taught patent law and researched bioinformatics innovation as well as economic and tort-theory aspects of patent litigation.
What are you passionate about outside of the law?
I love books and music and come from a large family. Put even a few of my relatives in a room, and storytelling and old songs follow. The most fun are my younger nieces and nephews, who have not yet learned that I mostly make it up as I go.
What are your research interests?
I study issues of innovation and intellectual property, particularly patents, and how they affect administrative agencies, federal courts and the marketplace. I also study the broader procedural framework of federal civil litigation. Much of my research is empirical and draws from institutional economics, including transaction cost analysis and principal-agent theory.