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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Intellectual Property at University of Houston Law Center builds on Houston’s Engineering Stronghold

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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The University of Houston Law Center has a long history of success in Intellectual Property, currently ranked #8 and seemingly full to the gills of engineers-turning-lawyers.

Richard Florida whose Rise of the Creative Class and Flight of the Creative Class are considered seminal works in theories of urban renewal, offers an explanation – Houston is Engineering-ville, USA.

For this week’s “By the Numbers,” we’ve taken a look at which metros have at least 10% of the national employment for creative occupations.

Granted, this approach leaves out medium and small-sized metros, but interestingly, you can start to see which major metros are controlling certain fields.

Houston has a stronghold on engineering. You can see this even more when the criterion is dropped to 8-9% of the national engineering workforce.

Hat tip to Tory Gattis of Houston Strategies.

UPDATE: The Volokh Conspiracy is currently grappling with the switch involved in going from studying engineering to studying law. Kerr earned degrees in mechanical engineering before going to law school. He’s now a professor at the George Washington School of Law.

I tend to think engineering education provides a pretty good background for law school, but that there are some pitfalls to keep in mind. Engineers tend to have two possible advantages over other entering law students. First, engineers usually have a very high tolerance for pain. It takes a lot of time and energy to “get” law school, and former engineers are used to facing that kind of challenge. (If you survived diffies, civ pro is nothin’.) Second, studying engineering trains students to think logically, step by step, and that kind of logical thinking can sometimes help students see relationships more easily than students with some other backgrounds.

I mentioned a pitfall, however, and that pitfall is that the nature of law and engineering are profoundly different in a very important way: Engineers study nature, while lawyers study something man-made.

Disclaimer: I was a liberal arts major. Quadrati-what-you-say?

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Category: intellectual property law, university of houston


One Response

  1. You know I had to chime in on this one.
    First off to address Houston’s stronghold on engineering. You wouldn’t normally think so with Silicon Valley infested with the techno-class but my Electrical and Engineering society consistently had the largest membership in the Housoton-Galveston area nationwide. It takes of lot of brains to run this big oil machine we call Houston not to mention the 100s that keep the med center and a host of other industries running in this town.

    If I was asked by a student graduating high school what to go to college for if they could do anything I would say go get an engineering undergrad degree with a business minor and then go to law school. Engineering and law teach you how to think, albeit in very different ways as Prof. Kerr suggests.
    Still thinking methodology is rarely taught outside a few fields. I slightly disagree with Kerr on his notion that engineers study nature. That’s only part of it. Engineers study nature to formulate rules but engineers apply. That’s why in engineering you do applied math, applied chemistry etc.. We’re not so concerned with how something works as much as now that we know something works in a certain way, how can we apply it to our advantage. In that sense engineering is suprisingly creative. That’s where I find engineering and law have a greater nexus. Hence my holding that engineers would make for great lawyers and I think particularly good judges as well.
    And yes if you survived differential calculus, civ pro is nothin.

    The law draws lines. Engineering turns those lines into something.

    -Shannon “Unrepentant Tech Geek for life” Quadros

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