Klein: McKinney Law trains leaders for success in life sciences

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Dean Andrew KleinMany of you know that I take great pride in my school’s connections to the Indianapolis community. It is one of the reasons – indeed, perhaps the key reason – that the McKinney School of Law is such a special place. Our students build networks with lawyers in city and state bar associations. They gain experience in externships and clinics. They serve by contributing to any number of local organizations. In so many ways, Indianapolis helps us thrive. But the converse is also true. The McKinney School of Law is critical to Indianapolis’ success.

One important example involves the city’s life sciences industry. It is no secret that the life sciences are important to the state’s economic development. Whether one looks at catalyst organizations like BioCrossroads, corporate leaders like Eli Lilly and Co., collaborative efforts like the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, or cutting-edge research being done on our home campus of IUPUI, Indiana’s life sciences environment is among the most vibrant in the nation. The McKinney school has been part of this for many years. Our William S. and Christine S. Hall Center for Law and Health, for example, is one of the best in the country, and our Center for Intellectual Property Law and Innovation has never been more active and engaged. Allow me a few examples of what we’re doing and what’s in store for the future.

My colleagues in the Hall Center for Law and Health are intellectual leaders, with their scholarship making an impact on critical issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act to developments in neuroscience to the federal regulation of food products. The center brings a constant stream of high-profile speakers and programs to the school and campus. And if I started to list our alumni who play major roles in the Indiana health law field, I’d run out of space. Perhaps most important, the McKinney School of Law is training tomorrow’s leaders in the field. In doing so, we have launched several initiatives to ensure that our students will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This includes an opportunity for our J.D. students to earn a certificate in health law and increased opportunities for our students to pursue joint degree programs with the Fairbanks School of Public Health.

Our Center for Intellectual Property Law and Innovation is also teeming with activity. Through the generosity of many alumni and friends, we endowed the Gerald L. Bepko Chair in Law, which is now held by my colleague Professor Xuan-Thao Nguyen, who joined the school two years ago to direct the center. Professor Nguyen organizes speakers and programs on critical issues in intellectual property literally every week. And like our students studying health law, our students studying intellectual property law are now able to earn a certificate in the field as well as participate in an array of extracurricular activities that will expand their knowledge and skills. In fact, I’m pleased to report that this spring, a team of McKinney Law students traveled to Atlanta and won the regional moot court competition of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. The victory was certainly a testimonial to the talents of the students who participated. But it also reflected what they are learning under the supervision of our faculty and through the efforts of devoted members of the intellectual property bar.

Ultimately, all of this augurs well for the future. Students who focus on intellectual property and health law are entering a burgeoning market for legal professionals. We know from a wide range of reports that these are growth sectors, and we know from our alumni that work in these fields can lead to rewarding careers.

I could go on at great length, but will conclude by emphasizing how excited I am for the McKinney School of Law to be a leader in this space and a partner in one of the nation’s leading life science hubs. We are proud of the role we play in moving the city and state forward. This is a good thing not just for our students, but for the quality of life of the residents of Indianapolis and Indiana.•


Andrew R. Klein is the dean and the Paul E. Beam Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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