Sam Merritt

Associate, Intellectual Property Litigation, Alston & Bird LLP

2014 | Charlotte, NC

Penn State University | Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

“The Michigan State name has allowed me to interview for jobs across the east coast from Philadelphia, to Washington, DC, to Charlotte, NC.”

What is your experience with MSU Law?
One of the strengths is the mentality of the faculty to do all they can to ensure we succeed. You get to know the staff on a one-on‑one basis, and they are always working to make your experience better. Similarly, professors talk with students, answer questions, and give career or law school advice.

Describe your relationship with fellow classmates and faculty.
Since the law college has a collaborative attitude, students help one another. I discuss and clarify topics from class with others so we can all understand the material better. We meet in study groups so everyone can form a complete image of where the law stands and what we need to know.

Describe your experience in the Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law (IPIC) program.
The IP program prepared me to hit the ground running with work. The variety of IP classes and practical experiences allowed me to model my résumé, making me a more marketable candidate. My externship with MSU Technologies gave me the experience of speaking with professors who have invented a technology, and treat them like a client.

Tell us about your involvement in the Journal of Animal Law and Intellectual Property Law Society. How has participation in this organization contributed to your education or employment?
The Journal of Animal and Natural Resource Law extended my legal writing education, as I continue to evaluate and compose scholarly articles. The journal also keeps me informed of how the law is changing and what direction it is going. In realizing legal writing will continue to be a part of life, experience with a journal will prepare you to constantly analyze and improve your skills.

What does the MSU name mean for your legal education?
The Michigan State name has allowed me to interview for jobs across the east coast from Philadelphia, to Washington, DC, to Charlotte, NC. Even if they aren’t as familiar with MSU Law, people know there are resources of a major land-grant university behind the law school, driving it to be top-tier.

What is your advice for prospective students?
MSU law’s collaborative environment starts with the faculty and staff, and trickles down to the students, creating an atmosphere hard to find at other schools. Students want to see one another succeed. Within this atmosphere, we learn how to practice law, and collaborate in the workplace.