Toni Polson Ashton, Esquire
IP Council Profile
What do you hope to accomplish in your role as a member of the IP Council?
Based on the assumption that the school is looking for name recognition in the IP area for, inter alia, how it attracts international scholars, I assumed that by participating on the Council, I could help in a small way to meet that objective. Certainly having members on the Council from outside the U.S.A., leads credibility to the school saying it has “international” aspects. Being on the Council is also a way for the University to potentially make connections to student candidates from Canada – assuming the students have access to the Council member. Post-graduation, the Council member can be a bridge to the legal market at the entry point for a graduate to start marketing him/herself outside the U.S.A.
What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing a career in IP Law?
I have two daughters who were neither encouraged nor discouraged from pursuing the practice of law. Both are now practicing lawyers in Canada. Very early on at law school, I saw that they had become engaged and challenged by the course material. Enthusiasm for the law, I believe, is absolutely essential if one wishes to pursue a long working career in it. The work will be at times difficult and completely time consuming. There is no room for the “half miler” in an area that is developing as quickly around the world as IP is. If one truly has a love for the law, the lawyer should be able to look back and conclude that he/she had a good run of it, had been more “helpful then harmful”; kept his/her reputation intact and thoroughly enjoyed a life of continual learning.
What do you enjoy most about practicing IP Law?
The best part about practicing law is applying the law in a practical context to guide people. Many people come in with a problem and have no idea where to go and what to do. I enjoy giving alternatives and commenting on the pros and cons. I also really enjoy working with fellow IP specialists around the world, who, like myself, are happy and enthusiastic about their work.
Why did you become involved with the IP Council? I was invited to join and was intrigued by the prospect of being involved with a non-Canadian law school.