W. Mack Webner, Esquire
IP Council Profile
Why did you become involved with the IP Council?
I was asked by then Dean Aynes to participate in an early pre-organizational meeting where we discussed the need for and uses of such a council. It was and is my view that a great IP Law program would be a basis for building a national reputation for Akron Law. Subsequently, I was honored to be asked to be the first Chair of the Council. Because I am an Akron alum that had built a career in Intellectual Property Law, I was excited that Dean Aynes, the Law School and the University administration recognized the growing importance of this area of the law. My career had taken me around the country and Akron law was not well recognized outside of Northern Ohio. I wanted Akron Law to have a national reputation, not merely a regional reputation, which would be helpful for and useful to others who graduate from the Law School. I saw (and see) the IP Program as a means to that end.
What do you enjoy most about practicing IP Law?
IP Law provides a variety of wide ranging facets of modern business and society extending from technological advances, to the newest marketing concepts and the many aspects of the literary and entertainment industries. IP Law presents an always changing set of challenges and never becomes boring. The IP Lawyer becomes an integral part of his/her client’s operations and allows one to ply all phases of the legal trade from counseling to litigation or to specialize in one aspect of it as one chooses.
What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing a career in IP Law?
Get the best grades you can. Be involved in the extra curricular offerings that will make you a better lawyer and build on the experiences you learn from those endeavors. Learn as much about the law in general as you can and be creative in applying it to the IP field. If you do not capture one of those absurdly high paying jobs the first year out of school do not despair. Beginning your career with the government at the PTO is a great way to start. Being a law clerk at a court at any level provides excellent experience that will always be useful and, like universities, law firms are less critical in hiring practices of those who have experience versus those just out of school. Whether in IP Law or any other legal specialty you should want to be the best lawyer you can be. Finally, keep in mind that, ultimately, the rewards – however you wish to define them - go to those who work the hardest, not necessarily to the most “book smart.”