Santa Clara Law’s new Tech Edge J.D. certificate program shows early success at providing an edge to students interested in tech

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 8, 2019

Twitter. Dropbox. Samsung. Plug and Play Center.

These are among the companies where each of the 14 first-year law students who participated in Santa Clara University School of Law’s recently launched certificate program, The Tech Edge J.D., landed internships or externships this summer.

In fact, fully 100 percent of students in the brand-new program were placed in intern- or externships relevant to their desired technology-law career paths. This is a remarkable outcome for 1L students, who typically have more difficulties finding good employment opportunities than their 2L peers.

But in this case, Santa Clara Law’s innovative Tech Edge J.D. has helped students, who take more responsibility for career planning and skill-building than most law students, move to the front of the line for such sought-after spots at Silicon Valley employers.

“One of the most exciting expected outcomes of this program is the ability to create outstanding job opportunities for students without a traditional technology undergraduate degree such as engineering or computer science,” said Laura Norris, associate clinical professor and director of the Tech Edge J.D. program.

The Tech Edge J.D. is the first law school program of its kind, measuring student achievement of the certificate through the acquisition of knowledge and skills rather than course completion. The idea is that students will graduate from law school and be able to hit the ground running in the technology job market. If this summer is any indicator, it appears the program is on course to do so.

Below is the full list of companies where the first Tech Edge J.D. cohort have internships or externships this summer:

  • Dropbox
  • Intellectual Property Law Group
  • Intuitive Surgical (two students)
  • Morrison Foerster
  • Plug and Play Tech Center
  • Pure Storage
  • Samsung
  • Shutterfly
  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • TrustArc
  • Twitter
  • Volta Charging

It’s likely that this early success in job-hunting is at least partially due to the students’ professional network. The Tech Edge J.D. program provides each student with two attorney mentors and one faculty advisor, and encourages them to start networking from the time they arrive on campus – before 1L classes even begin. They have been learning to leverage their networks the way real attorneys do in the Silicon Valley—and it appears to be paying off.

“We’re expecting this trend to continue as the program expands,” said Norris. “Tech Edge J.D. admissions screening favors candidates with a natural curiosity and commitment to a career in technology law, irrespective of their technical expertise.”

About Santa Clara University School of Law

Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see

Media Contact

Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121