August 07, 2012
Anita Binayifaal ’13 came to St. John’s knowing that she
wanted to merge her interests in science and the law to pursue a
career as an Intellectual Property (IP) attorney. By the end of her
second year, she had earned a strong academic record, including
membership on the
St. John’s Law Review, and become an active member of the Law
Intellectual Property Law Club and
Asian Pacific American Law Student Association.
Continuing on her emergent career path, Anita accepted a summer
associate position at Kenyon & Kenyon, LLP, a preeminent IP law
firm with clients across the globe. Adding to Anita’s impressive
achievements, this past June, Dean
Michael A. Simons awarded her the New
York Intellectual Property Law Association’s (NYIPLA) Hon.
Giles S. Rich Diversity Scholarship.
Each year, NYIPLA selects one law school from a pool of applicants
to receive this $10,000 scholarship. The law school then awards the
scholarship to one of its students on the recommendation of its IP
faculty and based on the following criteria:
- Expressed interest in pursuing a career in intellectual
- Status as a minority student who represents a group that has
been traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession
- Academic eligibility adhering to the law school’s standard
internal merit-based scholarship requirements
“Anita brings a wealth of enthusiasm for, and tremendous
potential in, the IP field,” said Dean Simons. “With her background
in the sciences and personal history of immigration and success as
a multilingual student, she is an outstanding choice for NYIPLA’s
Diversity Scholarship. St. John’s is very proud to have been this
year’s scholarship recipient and very grateful to the NYIPLA and
the scholarship selection committee for their recognition and
Law School Communications Director Lori Herz talked with Anita
about this special honor and opportunity:
LH: You graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in
Pharmacology from Stony Brook University and then worked as a
scientist, as a research analyst and as a law firm translator. What
brought you to law school as a next step?
AB: I found working as a scientist after college
to be a great time to reflect on my future desires. Although I
loved being a scientist, I realized that I was not content being
confined solely to a laboratory. While I was working, I also got to
meet with some of the company's patent attorneys, who were St.
John’s School of Law graduates. After meeting with them, I was
convinced that patent law was for me, and that I would not be
satisfied until I pursued my passion for law too.
LH: How has St. John’s fostered your interest in IP Law and
why does this practice area interest you?
AB: Science and law have always been two of my
passions. The great thing about patent law is that it not only
allows me to have a vital role in the promotion of scientific
development, but it also permits me to bridge my two passions and
intersect them. The Law School’s IP faculty has great knowledge of
the IP field and is always available to meet with students to
advise and guide us in pursuing an IP career. In addition, the IP
classes I have taken have been wonderful as I have found them truly
enjoyable and they have further confirmed my interest in IP
LH: Do you have any Law School faculty
AB: All the professors I have taken in my IP
classes have been wonderful mentors for me. That is what I find is
great about St. John’s. My first IP professor was
Professor Subotnik, who taught Introduction to Intellectual
Property. She was always available to meet with me outside class
hours to advise me about future classes to take and introduce me to
other IP faculty members. In addition, last semester, I had
Professor Gagliano for Drafting IP Licenses and Professor
Varadarajan for Patent Law. Although the class was initially full,
Professor Gagliano was very kind to allow me to enroll. I have
already been able to apply material taught from his class to my
summer associate position.
Professor Varadarajan’s class was one of the most enjoyable
classes I have taken as her lectures were very interactive and she
made any difficult topic within patent law easily understandable.
Outside the IP faculty,
Professor Facciolo, my former legal writing professor, has been
a great mentor. He is always willing to meet with me, to listen to
my questions or concerns, and to advise and guide me.
LH: Did any aspect of your personal history influence or
compel your decision to go to law school and practice
AB: From a young age, I became interested in law
because of my family’s background. When I was two years old, my
family and I became political refugees after my parents voiced
their opinion against the government. We were forced to leave our
country and we were sent by the UN to live in Norway. To me, the
study of law is about being able to express and voice your opinions
freely; an opportunity my parents never had.
LH: You’re fluent in Farsi and Norwegian and proficient in
Swedish and Danish. Do you think being multilingual has helped
you/will help you on your career path to IP law
AB: In today’s global world with increasingly
diverse clients, I definitely believe that there are advantages to
being multilingual. Being multilingual allows me not only to
interact with different clients, but also to be a more open-minded
person, who is ready to listen and learn from others.
LH: NYIPLA presents the Hon. Giles S. Rich Diversity
Scholarship to “a minority student who represents a group that has
been traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession.” What
do you carry forward from this particular acknowledgement and
AB: It’s truly an honor to have been selected for
this scholarship. To be recognized in the field that I wish to
pursue means a lot to me. In the future I am determined to help and
encourage other minority students who are thinking of pursuing a
career in law. I also hope to promote the field of IP law,
particularly patent law, a practice area in which minority students
have traditionally been underrepresented.
LH: Thank you, Anita, and best of luck in your IP