Meet Rafael Pereira who just finished our Summer Associate Program at Caldwell and who is currently pursuing a JD in law with a concentration in intellectual property. Rafael shares his path to IP law, his summer at Caldwell and some tips for law students and prospective Summer Associates on how to succeed in our latest interview.
About Caldwell’s Summer Associate Program
Mentoring is an essential part of Caldwell’s culture, and it is designed with two goals in mind:
To create connections between experienced and junior practitioners to grant the latter practitioners access to quality opportunities to gain experience.
To ensure that less experienced practitioners have access to more experienced practitioners’ advice and guidance to aid in maturing their practice.
Caldwell’s Summer Associate program is designed to enhance the learning and development of new practitioners at every stage of their career as they transition from technical specialist to patent agent to attorney. Our experienced practitioners form strong bonds with junior practitioners. Every junior practitioner is paired up with a more senior practitioner and receives mentoring and constant feedback to help develop technical, legal, and soft skills essential to the practice of patent law.
To learn more about Caldwell IP’s Summer Associate program, click here.
Tell us a little bit about your background? Where are you from?
I’m actually from Brazil. I came to the U.S. when I was 17. After coming to the U.S. – first of all, I had to learn the language – so I worked for some time and decided to go to college. When I went to college, I decided to do Computer Science. Although I flirted with Economics in my first year, I thought Computer Science was actually what I like to do.
What brought you to law?
While doing Computer Science at Salem State, my exposure to law was somewhat limited. And most of it was negative – it was mostly related to Adobe and the litigation that went back and forth that affected Computer Science. But during that time, I also started growing an interest, not just on the side of law that was related to my field, but how the law affected everybody. And being an immigrant myself, I see the difference when someone has a lawyer and when someone doesn’t and the different outcome that comes from that.
What Interested you in IP Law?
My interest in IP Law actually came after college. While I was working as a software engineer, I started reading about the Aero case where he lost because he was sued by one of the big companies, such as Comcast. After that, I started to learn more and read more about cases and started to see cases about Google and the litigation that went back and forth. And that’s what sparked my interest in learning more about patents and IP.
What brought you to Caldwell IP?
I actually worked here before as an intern through my school. And that was only a few hours a week, but when I started, I wanted to learn more about: what was the job of a Patent Attorney? As a Summer Associate, I knew the job I wanted to do, but I was able to gain experience working as a Patent Attorney. And not only that, but I also gained some experience not just related to IP: handling a client, talking to them, and explaining to them how we can solve their problems.
What type of work did you do as a Summer Associate?
As a Summer Associate, I did a wide variety of work. I filed patents, wrote patent applications, and filed responses for the USPTO. I was able to work alongside some of the attorneys here in interviewing prospective clients and I also did some work on the patent litigation side.
How was your experience working as a summer associate at Caldwell IP?
I had a great experience working at Caldwell IP as a Summer Associate. The experience was great, not only because of the people that I worked with, but the hands-on experience that I gained here, that I think I wouldn’t be able to get at other places.
What advice would you give to law students applying for law internships?
The first advice I would give to law students is: don’t get discouraged. And don’t think that just because you don’t have a degree in a hard science field that you can’t practice IP, because there is a wide range of work that you can do even without having those types of degrees.
What advice would you give to Summer Associates to better enhance their experience?
The main advice I would give to someone starting as a Summer Associate is organization. Be organized the whole time because deadlines come fast, and if you’re not organized, you are only playing catch-up and it becomes very stressful.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself in 5 years working as a Patent Attorney and hopefully working in a Partnership Track
What inspires you to keep attaining your career goals?
I know it might sound cheesy, but what inspires me is that innovation is at the core of why the United States is such a great country. I believe that many people from around the world come to the United States because it’s a safe harbor for innovation. What keeps me going is to be able to work with someone who has a good invention – a good idea – they’re able to implement that invention without being afraid that someone might take that innovation from them.