At the intersection of law
and technology

Loyola prepares students for rapidly expanding opportunities

Greg Leighton (JD ’06), a partner at the Chicago firm of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, didn’t start his career as a data privacy lawyer. He began as a patent attorney, shifted to intellectual property (IP) litigation, and eventually moved into the world of privacy law.

“Data privacy, cybersecurity, information governance—anything that involves how data flows inside or between companies falls within the gambit of my practice,” Leighton says. “Everyone’s got data and everyone’s trying to figure out what to do with their data.”

Leighton and fellow alum Jennifer Woods (JD ’10), marketing and data privacy counsel at The Kraft Heinz Company, have joined forces to share the fundamentals of data privacy with today’s Loyola law students. Leighton had long served as a Loyola adjunct professor, teaching an IP-focused course in advocacy. Cynthia Ho, the Clifford E. Vickrey Research Professor and director of Loyola’s IP program, encouraged Leighton and Woods to use their expertise to design and co-teach a new course dedicated to privacy law.

The way the new course came together illustrates how Loyola stays on the cutting edge of legal education. “Loyola’s always been great at keeping an eye on the legal market,” says Ho. “A big part of that is staying in close touch with our alums. They give us a better sense of what’s happening and how to respond.”

Designed for legal and non-legal professionals, Loyola’s Certificate in Privacy Law focuses on domestic and international privacy law and compliance.


Highlighting the possibilities

Sometimes staying ahead of the curve doesn’t mean adding new courses. Virtually every law specialty has been affected by changes in technology, and Loyola’s professors address these issues in the classroom as well as in their scholarship, Ho says. The Advanced Research in Intellectual Property class teaches students the latest ways to research IP issues that often capitalize on new online platforms.  Although the methods may change from year to hear, this is a long-standing class offered at Loyola.  Other courses, such as Life Sciences and the Law, may easily incorporate new advances in technology, such as new developments in neuroscience and the law.

The law school also offers numerous cocurricular opportunities related to law and technology, including speed-mentoring sessions with attorneys practicing in technology-related areas; an annual IP alumni reception to which students are invited; and externships in which students learn to draft and file patent, trademark, and copyright applications. The common theme, Ho says, is broadening students’ perspective on career possibilities while building skills.

“Many students come into law school thinking everything technology-related is IP,” she says. Ho had a student who thought she was interested in IP, but after learning about the wide scope of career opportunities related to privacy, “she realized that’s what she wants to do.”

Dhara Shah, a 2L with an undergraduate degree in computer information systems, has jumped at the multiple opportunities she’s learned about from Loyola faculty. She completed a practicum that compared various countries’ data retention laws for consistency with international human rights principles and helped a professor with research for a law journal article on the constitutionality of border searches of mobile phones.

This past summer, Shah interned at Mondelez International, assisting with compliance for one of the biggest recent developments in data privacy, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The universality of data protection requirements means “every company is a tech company now,” she says.

Loyola’s doing a lot of exciting things with law and tech, particularly in health law, and the alumni base has great people to reach out to for help along the way.
— Austin Holler

Opening doors

3L Austin Holler chose Loyola specifically for the educational and career doors it opens. “During the admissions process, Professor Ho made me aware of all the opportunities available in IP and patent law at Loyola,” he says. “Loyola’s doing a lot of exciting things with law and tech, particularly in health law, and the alumni base has great people to reach out to for help along the way.”

Holler, who has a background in chemistry, did a summer internship with the Chicago boutique patent litigation firm of Rakoczy Molino Mazzocchi Siwik and continued as a part-time clerk this past year. After graduation, he’ll become an RMMS associate specializing in pharmaceutical patents.

Whether it’s a career in a newer specialty like privacy, a more established area like patent law, or a future field that’s still emerging, Loyola law faculty will continue to make students aware of the myriad possibilities open to them at the intersection of law and technology.

As technology constantly—and rapidly—transforms the scope and practice of law, “You have to jump in and make your own opportunities,” Shah says. “Loyola really helps you do it.”


The School of Law is committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their legal education at Loyola affordable.  Through fellowship programs in Intellectual Property, Health Law, and Child Law, we award qualified JD students monetary fellowship awards, access to specialized legal writing sections, and other opportunities. Our fellowships, merit awards, and scholarships are just one of the ways we support students in their pursuit of a legal career. Other types of aid and funding resources are available. Learn More