Interview with MSPL student Lauren Berenato


Members of the 2014-2015 MSPL program: Megan Usovsky (L) and Lauren Berenato (R)

A post from our student blogger Megan

The Master of Science in Patent Law program at the University of Notre Dame du lac is a dynamic group of science and engineering majors: each MSPL member brings his or her own unique background to the group.  It has been a fun and interesting three months getting to know each one of these individuals.  I sat down with one MSPL student to discuss her background, progress in the program, and her goals afterward.  MSPL candidates are fortunate because this year will not only be filled with learning about patents, it will also be filled with new friendships and life-long bonds forged within the cohort.  Read on to learn about one of the members of Notre Dame’s MSPL program, Lauren Berenato:

How did you find out about the MSPL program?

“My aunt, who is a Saint Mary’s alum, forwarded me an email from the Notre Dame Alumni network which mentioned a certificate program in patent law.  After reviewing the website I decided to go for the Master of Science in Patent Law as opposed to the certificate because I felt it was a great investment both financially and educationally.” 

What is your favorite class in the program and why?

“It is hard to choose my favorite class.  I would have to say it is a tie between patent application drafting and patent prosecution.  Patent application drafting is a great setting to learn the daily ins and outs of patent application drafting within a law firm scenario.  The professor is a very experienced attorney who has an endless amount of wisdom for drafting patent applications.  The learning curve in this class is steep but the assignments really challenge every student to perform their best.  Patent prosecution is a great class for understanding and learning the rules of the MPEP.  This class will be very useful when it comes to taking the patent bar.”

Give a brief overview of your capstone project.

“My capstone project is developing a paper analytical device for iodine level testing with the Sandell-Koltoff reaction reduced to parts per billion analysis.” 

What do you hope to learn from the program?

“I hope to learn enough during this one year master’s program to put me on the same level with a patent attorney who has two or three years of experience within a patent law firm.”

What is the most surprising thing about the program?

“The most surprising thing about the program is the challenge of the technical electives.  Taking six credits outside the patent law core classes is challenging to stay on top of along with the requirements of the core classes.  I have learned so much in my electives, though, and they are very interesting especially my epidemiology class.”

What is your educational and work background?

“I have an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering with a minor in engineering leadership from Lehigh University and I have a Juris Doctorate from Widener University.  Upon graduation from law school I worked in a small law firm specializing in bankruptcy law.”

How does the MSPL program differ from your law school experience?

“The MSPL program differs in many ways, which were a bit of a shock at first.  In law school you typically only have one exam per semester, and that exam is your final, which is one hundred percent of your grade.  Therefore, law school is very laid back in the beginning of the semester and very intense starting around Halloween because most students begin preparing for their finals at that time.  The MSPL cohort has homework, quizzes, and reading for every class each week; therefore, there is a constant business with academics in this program.  Having in-class quizzes on reading assignments is not something that I have done since high school because in undergraduate all of my quizzes were math or science quizzes.  I have had to adjust my study habits to go along with the ebb and flow of the MSPL program.  I do feel that I have a bit of an advantage since I have attended law school in regards to multiple choice questions and understanding the legalese in certain classes.”

What are your goals when the program ends?

“My personal goals are to obtain a job within a firm on the East Coast.  I am originally from the Philadelphia suburbs and I would love to be back in the Philadelphia area after graduation.”

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