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Interior of Juelsgaard Intellectual Property & Innovation Clinic

As part of the Mills Legal Clinic Program, the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property & Innovation Clinic gives students a chance to grapple with real cases.

Clinic Gift Provides Hands-On Experience

Fall 2011

Stephen JuelsgaardStephen Juelsgaard, JD '82, believes in the importance of legal clinics in giving students hands-on practical experience that can shape their future careers.

It is a belief he shares with the Law School, where students, through the Mills Legal Clinic program, have the opportunity to work on a growing number of practical clinics, on issues ranging from criminal law to business law to immigrants' rights issues, under the close supervision of expert practitioners.

Juelsgaard has pledged $5 million to add to an already impressive roster of clinics to name the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property & Innovation Clinic.

"Specialization has become increasingly a focus of law firms because, among other things, it cuts down on the amount of training that otherwise would be required," Juelsgaard said. "Clinics give you exposure to areas you might not get a chance to work on in your own practice. And more specifically, it offers an introduction to an area you think you might be interested in. It's a chance to get your feet wet."

Juelsgaard knows from his own career path that getting firsthand experience can be life changing.

Growing up on an 880-acre livestock and grain farm in rural Iowa, he could envision only two possible careers: farming and veterinary medicine. He knew how tough the life of a farmer was, so he went to Iowa State University to become a vet.

Before college, the biggest city he'd ever seen was Omaha, Nebraska. So he began having new, eye-opening experiences from the moment he moved into his freshman dorm. He had never even met an African-American before college, for instance, but he soon made friends with two African-American guys who lived across the hall. He remembers how they introduced him to "this new stuff called soul music, which I’d never heard in my life."

Suddenly, his whole world began expanding, and along with it his own career horizons.

He became a doctor of veterinary medicine in 1972 and stayed on at Iowa State to earn a master's in veterinary clinical sciences in 1975. Along the way he became interested in law.

After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1982, he worked as an associate for three years with the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto.

But he continued to be fascinated with biology and particularly with a new and promising area, biotechnology. He joined Genentech in 1985 as corporate counsel. Over the next 24 years he would take on many roles there, including executive vice president, secretary, and chief compliance officer.

Juelsgaard serves on the School's Law, Science, and Technology Advisory Board. In discussing making a gift to set up a new clinic, he and the School saw a need for one that focused on intellectual property and innovation.

His many years at Genentech have convinced Juelsgaard that intellectual property protections are vital to innovation. Using pharmaceuticals as an example, he noted that 70 percent of drugs that begin the clinical testing process never make it to FDA approval. Bringing a single new medication to market, he said, takes about nine years of development and costs more than $1.3 billion dollars.

"Imagine if you started developing a product knowing that as soon as you get done, someone can simply copy it," he said. "Who would put up that money? Who would incur that kind of risk and take that kind of time? Smart people wouldn’t."

Given Stanford's physical proximity to and strong links with the biotech hub in San Francisco, the IT powerhouses of Silicon Valley and the venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road, Stanford Law School was the ideal place for the clinic, Juelsgaard said.

The new Juelsgaard Intellectual Property & Innovation Clinic will advocate policymaking that promotes innovation in a number of areas, including biotechnology, information technology, pharmaceuticals, clean technology and the creation and distribution of information.

Juelsgaard sees the new clinic as an excellent opportunity for law students to work with those on the frontline of innovation. He strongly believes that in order for a lawyer to work effectively in a highly technical industry, it is vital that they have a fundamental understanding of that technology and how technologists develop their ideas.

"One of the things you learn at a place like Genentech is the need to interact with research scientists in such a way that they feel a connection with you and would like to work with you," he said. "It's one thing to get a bunch of papers handed to you and another thing to interact with them and understand how they work, how they come up with their ideas, how they do what they do. It makes you a much better and more effective patent lawyer."