Study in Silicon Valley. Gain a Competitive Edge. Begin Your Tech Law Career.

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Why choose Santa Clara University School of Law’s Tech Edge J.D.?

This is not an ordinary certificate program. The Tech Edge J.D. is a significant innovation in law school education. It combines legal, business, and technology education with hands-on skills development and individualized mentorship, while leveraging the school’s location in the Silicon Valley and renowned tech law and intellectual property curriculum. This program reflects the reality of 21st century lawyering; that to be an effective counselor, a lawyer should understand the business and technology challenges of the client.

The Tech Edge J.D. focuses on providing students with an edge over other law school graduates – specifically, the critical skills desired by employers in technology industries. The first cohort of students in the Tech Edge program was admitted in the Fall semester of 2018.

Laura NorrisLaura Norris
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs;
Associate Clinical Professor;
Co-Director, High Tech Law Institute;
Director, Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic;
Director, Tech Edge J.D. Program;
Faculty Advisor, ChIPs Women in Tech Law at SCU


Eric GoldmanEric Goldman
Associate Dean of Research;
Professor of Law;
Co-Director, High Tech Law Institute;
Assistant Director of TEJD;
Supervisor of the Privacy Law Certificate




Marian WilliamsMarian Williams
Program manager, Tech Edge JD and Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic


  • Orientation. Unlike other certificate programs, the Tech Edge J.D. is not only limited to the last two years of law school. Incoming students in the Tech Edge J.D. will attend a special orientation session in the summer before 1L year, which will introduce the students to careers in technology law, and focus on career planning.
  • Career Plan. Tech Edge J.D. students will explore career paths, and with guidance from SCU faculty advisors and attorney mentors, will create a customized career plan to guide them through the law school experience.
  • Real-Life Experience. Students in the Tech Edge J.D. program will complete at least 450 hours of work experience during their law school careers. Specifically, students will be required to complete 3 credits, or 150 hours, advising startup companies in the Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic. The other 300 hours will be in the form of legal externships in law firms or technology companies.
  • Milestones. Unlike a traditional certificate program, successful completion will be based upon milestones instead of classes. Specifically, students will need to demonstrate that they have completed certain benchmark experiences –such as negotiation and drafting of a transaction, participating in a cross-disciplinary team, presenting alternative solutions to a business decision-maker, and analyzing financial statements.
  • Advisors and Mentors. Each student in the Tech Edge J.D. program will be guided through the program with the help of an experienced team. Every student will be assigned one faculty advisor and two attorney mentors who will help steer.
  • Career Portfolio. Throughout the program, students will create and maintain a career portfolio to showcase the students’ experiences and competencies to potential employers.

Further details about the Tech Edge J.D. Program


Each student in the Tech Edge J.D. program will be assigned a faculty advisor.

The Tech Edge JD mentor program is a cornerstone of the Tech Edge program.

Tech Edge mentors play an important role in helping Tech Edge cohort members discover which legal careers they want to pursue and help them achieve their goals, through one-on-one consultation, acquainting mentees with professional experiences, and introducing mentees to professional networks. The ideal mentor is someone who wants to help a motivated student position themself for success, and eventually, find meaningful employment in Silicon Valley.

Why would you want to hire Tech Edge J.D. graduates?

The Tech Edge J.D. is designed to produce graduates that are better prepared for a career working in or with technology companies. The Tech Edge J.D. graduates:

  • Have a long-standing and demonstrated commitment to technology law.
  • Are deeply invested in their own professional development.
  • Are hard-working, as demonstrated by undertaking a program that required hundreds of extra hours of work.
  • Are knowledgeable about the business context surrounding legal questions.

How can I get involved with Tech Edge J.D. students before they graduate?

There are many ways for potential employers, alumni, and friends to get involved with the Tech Edge J.D. program, and to get a sneak peek at these talented students! Ways to participate:

  • Hire a Tech Edge J.D. student as an extern (part-time work for academic credit)
  • Be an attorney mentor
  • Speak in a class or at an event for Tech Edge J.D. students
  • Host a field trip for the Tech Edge J.D. students at your facilities

How can I apply?
Applications for the Tech Edge, J.D. program will be open to students applying for admission to Santa Clara Law. Please visit the admissions website for the online application. Applicants will be required to submit an additional personal statement, and attend an interview via video conference call. Priority consideration will be given to those applications received before December 31. Please note, the LSAT test dates have changed. Visit LSAT, for updates on testing dates.

Can I transfer into the Tech Edge J.D. program after I have already started law school?
No. Transfer students will not be considered for this program. The Tech Edge JD is a 3 year program, with requirements that start prior to orientation. There are important opportunities and requirements within all three years of the program. Missing any portion of Tech Edge JD program would be a disadvantage for a transfer student.

What if I don’t have a technology-related undergraduate degree?
A technology-related undergraduate degree is not required for admission to the Tech Edge J.D. program.

Is this open to part-time students?
The Tech Edge J.D. has rigorous time commitments, and these should be considered when applying to the program. It may be difficult to balance the Tech Edge J.D. program requirements with other commitments such as a full- or part- time job. We will assess each applicant’s ability to successfully complete the requirements of this program as part of the screening process.

Is the Tech Edge J.D. program just for patent or intellectual property lawyers?
No! This program will focus on preparing students for many different roles in the tech industry, such as mergers & acquisitions, venture capital, licensing, compliance, privacy, and litigation. The skills acquired in this program are applicable to many different jobs in the tech industry.

Does this certificate program cost any more to the student?
No. Students in this program should not have additional costs beyond those normally incurred in law school at Santa Clara.

Who can I contact for more information?
Professor Laura Norris, Director: