Stephen Olshemski

2020 | Shavertown, PA

Wilkes University | Pharmacy

In his previous work experience with pharmaceutical drugs, Stephen Olshemski, ’20, was often involved at the tail-end of the process: delivery to the patient. At Wilson Sonsini in Palo Alto, California, where he’ll begin as an associate in 2020, Olshemski will be on the front line, writing patents for pharmaceutical companies and helping to bring their products to the market. 

Olshemski grew up aware of his strengths in the sciences, so studying pharmacy in college made sense. It was later, during his final year of rotations in his doctoral program, when his idea about how he would use his pharmacy degrees shifted; he wanted to go to law school. 

Olshemski had to adjust his science-minded perspective to match his legal education, and he found connecting the two studies to be quite complementary despite their differences. “When it comes to the law, you really have to think outside of the box,” he said. “I thought it was a cool combination to use my pharmacy background with the legal knowledge in order to look at things from a different perspective.”

When he started at MSU College of Law, his initial plan was to study healthcare law. But Olshemski saw opportunity for someone with his background in intellectual property (IP) and patent law, so he took the leap. As a student, he took courses to build his knowledge of the practice and networked with IP faculty, including Professor Jennifer Carter-Johnson, who helped him to navigate the internship process as a 2L. 

The summer before his 3L year, Olshemski took an intern position with Wilson Sonsini. Day-to-day responsibilities were ever-changing, but he assisted with drafting patents, contract work, Hatch Waxman litigation, and more at the firm.

“Over the summer, my work with the firm’s pharmaceutical clients allowed me to interact with drugs and companies that I’ve dispensed drugs for in the past,” he explained. “Before, I saw the end result of giving a certain drug to a patient, and now I get to see where it starts: with writing a patent. It’s really cool that I get to be on that starting point now. I’m hoping in the future that I’ll be able to see one of the drugs I helped to write a patent for on the market.”