Student Spotlight - New IP Fellows: The Selection Is Mutual
by Jane Ludlam
Bethel Otuteye and Matthew Walker
Bethel Otuteye is a new IP Fellow this year who brings her experience as Google’s manager of Legal Strategic Initiatives. She grew up in Anaheim, got her bachelor’s degree in economics at Stanford, and went on to work at Monitor Group and Genentech.
She says she chose Santa Clara Law because she wanted to take advantage of its part-time program and keep her full-time job at Google. “I really think still continuing to be close to the business side of things and having that experience will be very valuable once I become an attorney,” Otuteye said. “I really want to be able to hit the ground running, and I think that Santa Clara is the right place to be able to move quickly.”
Otuteye’s high tech experience helps her focus on what she wants to get out of law school. “I think my biggest interest is in how you balance business needs with legal requirements and legal advice, such that the folks on the business side still feel empowered to make decisions, but view the attorneys as partners and not people who are just trying to limit their creativity or their ability to innovate.”
When asked where she sees herself in five years, she said, “That’s one of the things I’m hoping to get out of this experience—where I can have the most value. Is it being an in-house attorney at a company, like the attorneys I’m working with currently? Is it working at a firm where I might get exposure to multiple different companies but I can focus more on one area of law? And then there’s the policy side, which I’m also interested in, more from a government perspective.
“Right now I’m really just open and absorbing everything and wanting to meet with and hear about different attorneys and their practices and experience. There are so many different paths to choose, and I want to learn about all the options.”
IP Fellow Matthew Walker, until he came to Santa Clara Law this semester, was a design engineer at Raytheon working on night-vision goggles and satellite cameras. He grew up in Elko, Nevada, started his academic career at Penn State with a B.S. in physics, and followed that up with a master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California.
As soon as he was accepted at Santa Clara Law, he started working with the High Tech Law Institute. “They were able to get me a series of interviews at different law firms,” Walker said. “So they were actually looking to fill positions like the one I’m in now [full-time at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius], which is called a technical specialist. These patent law firms rely on technical specialists to help them interpret patents in various technical fields.”
His shift to the legal side grew out of his work designing image sensors. “One thing that I learned at Raytheon is that—when you work for a government contractor, in particular—in design there’s a lot of waiting around for other people to finish something. It frustrated me. You know, a design cycle is two weeks of doing design and three months of waiting for other things to happen. So I decided to shift to law because I thought it would be more productive, where I can make a bigger impact. In the military sphere, I worked with IP lawyers several times relating to licensing and patenting, so I had a general idea of what an IP lawyer did.”
Walker and Otuteye both say they chose Santa Clara Law partly for its high national ranking in IP law, and the school chose them to help define that excellence, both as new students and IP Fellows.