Sarah Perlinger: 1L at the Franklin Pierce Law Center
by Heather Jung
Sarah Perlinger is a 1L at the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, NH.
"I hope to answer questions from those who may be thinking about pursuing a career in law," Perlinger said. "This is relevant because there are many chemists who may be contemplating different career choices and may be unaware of what patent law is and what a career path in law entails. My talk will give those chemists a starting point for further research on patent law if they are thinking this field might be for them."
Perlinger received her B.S. in chemistry from Union University in Jackson, TN, in 2005. During the course of her studies, she won several awards, including Outstanding Physical Chemistry Student, Academic Medal of Honor for Chemistry, Union University Research Award, and the CRC Freshman Award.
Perlinger hopes to put her background in chemistry to good use by working in pharmaceutical patent law in Washington, DC, after she graduates. Patent law will allow her to combine her passions for chemistry and the law. She said that she got this idea while working at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where she examined patents that mostly dealt with pharmaceutical compounds.
"I enjoyed working on that subject matter immensely because I was able to use my chemistry background when analyzing the compounds themselves, and I also learned a lot of biochemistry when researching how the compounds act in the body," she said.
According to Perlinger, she decided to pursue a career in law after exploring the career options available to someone who studied chemistry. She says that she was drawn to law "because it offers so much opportunity to communicate on varied subject matter within the chemical technology." Since she began studying law, she has come to appreciate it even more.
"I love that every time you open a new case, no matter how similar the subject matter is to other cases, the analysis can be very different because of one differing key fact. Essentially, I love that the analysis is always fresh and challenging," Perlinger said.
Perlinger interned at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, one of the world's leading intellectual property firms, the summer after graduating from Union University. During that time, she worked on a litigation support staff that helped the attorneys organize their pleadings, prepare a privilege log, and organize correspondence for ongoing cases. She says that her experiences there introduced her to patent litigation and gave her a better understanding of what goes on during the discovery process. This summer she plans to work at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox as a summer associate.
Student organizations have played a large role in Perlinger's law school career. She is currently active in a couple: Student Intellectual Property Law Association (SIPLA) and Women's Law Student Association (WLSA). Perlinger says that SIPLA's main goal is to educate law students about intellectual property laws and works to bring in speakers who work in that field. WLSA's goal is to bring men and women together to discuss the issues women face during law school. WLSA also pairs law students with mentors who are women currently working as lawyers and want to share their wisdom with the students. Perlinger is also a Student Ambassador for the Pierce Law Center.
What do you do for fun?
I love getting outdoors, so whatever excuse I can make to get outdoors, I do. I also love to play tennis, and I love hanging out with my family in Colorado, where I'm from.
What CD is in your CD player right now?
Wow, I think I actually have an old Weezer CD in my CD player right now.
What is the last magazine you read?
I actually don't read magazines all that often, so I'm not sure.
What is your favorite TV show?
Gilmore Girls. I'm quite a fan actually and have been since the show started.
"So far, I think the associations allow you to meet and get to know other students you might not otherwise encounter in classes and elsewhere," Perlinger said. "They also provide you with numerous opportunities to learn from people already working as attorneys. Finally, the associations also put you in touch with faculty who can give you great tips for surviving law school. Overall, the associations allow you to build a network of people you can hopefully keep in touch with long after law school is over."