Shyla introduced Alt Legal IP Docketing Software to the UIC IP Trademark Clinic soon after she started her position as clinic supervisor. The docket had previously been managed on a few Excel spreadsheets. When Shyla saw how the clinic docket was being managed, she knew that she and the students needed a better solution. It was an easy choice to get started with Alt Legal right away.
Supervising Attorney, UIC IP Trademark Law Clinic
University of Illinois at Chicago Law School (UIC) offers a USPTO-certified IP Trademark Clinic to provide clients assistance with trademark rights and applications and to give law students first-hand experience handling trademark matters. Shyla Jones-Ali has served as the UIC clinic’s Supervising Attorney since 2019. Shyla works with students in both the basic and advanced clinics to hone their skills. Each semester, the basic clinic takes on four students and the advanced clinic takes on 1-2 students where they handle around 20-50 active trademark matters on the docket.
Alt Legal Streamlines the UIC IP Trademark Clinic’s Docket Management
Shyla introduced Alt Legal IP Docketing Software to the UIC IP Trademark Clinic soon after she started her position as clinic supervisor. The docket had previously been managed on a few Excel spreadsheets. When Shyla saw how the clinic docket was being managed, she panicked and knew that she and the students needed a better solution. Shyla was looking for an automated docketing system that was easy to use and Alt Legal immediately came to mind. Shyla reached out to the Alt Legal team and was pleased to learn about Alt Legal’s free access program for law school clinics. It was an easy choice to get started with Alt Legal right away.
Once the UIC IP Trademark Clinic was up and running with Alt Legal, Shyla immediately began seeing the benefits of using Alt Legal to manage the clinic’s docket. Shyla has found that Alt Legal’s fully-automated USPTO docketing has been tremendously helpful to keep the clinic’s docket accurate and up-to-date, “Pulling the deadlines from the USPTO is a lifesaver for a law school clinic that changes students every semester and may have a week or two where there aren’t students helping to maintain the docket. Having Alt Legal do all of this work in the background helps me sleep better at night, knowing I’m not missing any deadlines!”
Clinic Students Benefit from Access to the Latest in IP Management Technology
Beyond the benefit of having the UIC IP Trademark Clinic docket up-to-date, Shyla believes that it is essential that the students learn to use technology like Alt Legal. “The students need to be exposed to legal technology because you have to use it and be able to understand it. It’s going to make your practice easier in the future.” Shyla explains to students that they must get used to working with lots of different software systems including IP docketing software and client management software. “Whether you end up as a solo practitioner or in a big firm, if you don’t have an understanding of the technology, you’re not going to get the right information from your client. Understanding how to use docketing software will help you build your baseline level of knowledge and will help you to become a better attorney in the future.”
Clinic Students Appreciate Alt Legal’s Ease-of-Use and Customer Support
Each semester Shyla requests training from Alt Legal to help clinic students get up to speed and learn how to use IP docketing software for the first time. Shyla reports that the ramp-up time is fast and that students are successfully able to manage their dockets after a single training session, “I love how efficient Alt Legal’s training is for students!” She also notes that halfway through the semester, she checks in to be sure that the students are using Alt Legal correctly and she’s found that students very rarely have trouble making the most of the software, “It’s very user friendly. It’s been a couple of years using Alt Legal now and I haven’t had anyone say they couldn’t figure it out or use it effectively.”
Shyla encourages her students to reach out to Alt Legal customer support with any questions they might have – just like they would reach out to a vendor for tech support at a law firm or any job. Shyla reports that students are pleased with Alt Legal’s helpful customer support and that they are getting their questions answered, “The students are finding the information they need and our docket is in great shape!” Shyla finds that Alt Legal’s customer support is readily available and easy to access via live chat, telephone, and email support.
Clinics Provide an Invaluable Practical Experience for Students Interested in Trademarks
Shyla’s primary goal for the UIC IP Trademark Clinic students is to take students out of the classroom environment and engage them in what the practice of trademark law might look like with real clients. Students are set up with their own dockets before classes start and they have clients from day one. During the clinic seminar and 1:1 meetings, students receive practical instruction, but students are tasked with taking the material, information, and resources they’ve learned and to problem-solve on their own in the clinic. Shyla explains,
“My goal is for students to have that first-year associate experience rather than an experience in a classroom where we discuss things in the abstract. I tell the students on their first day that I’m not there to give them answers, they are there to give the clients answers. If they’re stuck, we talk about where they are at, what they’ve done to research, and what they think might be the right approach.”
Shyla notes that another significant benefit for clinic students is being the primary “attorney” on their matters and being the main contact for clients. When students take on summer jobs and clerkships and ultimately get to their first jobs, it isn’t always the case that they are the main contact.
“I want them to get comfortable with that in the clinic. I want them to use all of the tools and technology they have access to, everything they learned in law school, their prior educational experience, etc. to learn how to be a lawyer. I want them to learn time and practice management, as well as relationship management with clients, supervisors, and vendors. Those are skills you don’t get in the classroom.”
Shyla has gotten feedback from former students that they feel more prepared to practice law after participating in the clinic. Students see the benefit of being provided a docket and resources and allowed to run with it. When clinic students start their first jobs, they have a jumpstart over the students who haven’t had that practical experience.
If you are a law student and looking to pursue a career in trademark law, be sure to check out our article about how to shape your law school career to achieve this goal. Also, here are a few other articles from the Alt Legal Blog that will help you get started in IP law:
- Starting a Solo IP Practice
- Trademark Docketing Software Tools for Managing Your Law Firm
- Tips for Building Your Law Firm Technology Stack
Get Free Access to Alt Legal at Your Law School Trademark Clinic
Alt Legal is pleased to introduce law students and educators to Alt Legal IP Docketing Software at no-cost. We’ll provide complimentary training at any time and we are happy to introduce law students to the Alt Legal Community so that they can build their networks. If you are interested in learning more about Alt Legal for your law school clinic and would like to sign up click here.