Ernie Fok JD '21Ernest Fok JD ’21 received the Mabie Award for the Outstanding Graduate. This honor is presented annually by the Mabie Family Foundation in recognition of academic performance, scholarly activities, leadership, and service roles at the Law School and in the community. Read more about other Santa Clara Law 2021 award recipients.  

What was your favorite class in law school and why?

I have so many favorites, but three that really stand out are Tort Law with Professor Ochoa, International IP with Professor Chien, and Constitutional Law with Professor Gulasekaram because the classes were all interactive. Professor Ochoa helped Torts come alive by having students roleplay as plaintiff, defendant and the judge; Professor Chien organized simulations of international copyright, patent, and trademark treaty negotiations; and Professor Gulasekaram would continuously tweak the facts of the case to showcase the nuances of a constitutional analysis.

What most surprised you about law school?

I was surprised by how much one can grow and transform personally and professionally in three quick years. I came in wanting to explore the intellectual property space, and I’ve left with the experience, connections, and confidence to be a patent litigator in Silicon Valley.

What about your law school experience are you the most grateful for?

I’m most grateful for having thoughtful and fun law school friends, as well as faculty members who are invested in my growth and success. They gave me the support and encouragement to do more and to be better, especially in a rigorous environment where finding that extra bit of time and motivation can be hard.

What would you say to someone considering coming to Santa Clara Law for law school?

Be ready to take advantage of being in the heart of Silicon Valley by constantly looking for opportunities and putting yourself out there. Santa Clara Law is extremely close to local and global law firms, major tech companies, lean startups, state and federal courthouses, and a number of other government and public interest organizations. Getting coffee with attorneys, connecting with local Santa Clara Law Alums, or commuting to work is both convenient and easy; you just need to reach out and be open.

What are your career plans after graduation?

I will be a patent litigation associate at the Silicon Valley office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’d love to make partner, be a professor, or general counsel of a company or university. These are very aspirational plans; however, I never want to count myself out too early!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

My goal coming into Santa Clara Law was to pivot my career from higher education into intellectual property law, while having an impact in my local community along the way. As an older student with a number of years of work experience, I’m thankful for Santa Clara Law’s resources to make the transition. I secured a job that fit my goals, and I had the platform, people, and support to be an active advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the legal community.

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