Posted: June 6th, 2018
Gilbert Smolenski (JD ’19) talks about his summer positions in intellectual property law and his decision to attend Wake Forest School of Law.
Where do you call home?
I am originally from Oakland, New Jersey.
Where did you study for your undergraduate degree?
I graduated from Clemson University in 2017 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Are you working your 2L summer?
This summer, I am working with the intellectual property group at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Atlanta, Georgia, and then with the intellectual property group at McDermott Will & Emery in Washington, D.C. I also started my summer by finishing my externship with Dority & Manning in Greenville, South Carolina.
Are you working in a specific area of law?
I work in intellectual property, specifically patent law. I find it interesting, because I get to help clients grow their business and protect their inventions, which presents new and unique challenges every day.
Describe a typical day at your summer position.
My day is fairly busy. I have several litigation and prosecution cases going at the same time. I go out to lunch every day with attorneys and have several social events with attorneys and my summer class every week.
Did you work your 1L summer?
I worked at Dority & Manning in Greenville, South Carolina, and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Charlotte. I practiced intellectual property law at each firm and my experiences validated that I want to practice this area of law.
Why did you decide to attend Wake Forest Law?
I attended Wake Forest Law, because it felt like a family and collegial environment, which is what I sought in a law school. Wake Forest Law has connections up and down the East Coast and I felt like the law school would help me get a job in the field and location I desire.
Describe the Wake Forest community.
Wake Forest Law has a collegial environment, where everyone truly cares about the other. For example, one of my friends had laptop issues going into 1L fall finals. Not only did people offer additional laptops, but people in the class also shared their own outlines to help him out.
What is your most memorable experience during law school thus far?
My most memorable experience has been my moot court trip to Houston to compete in the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) moot court competition. I had a great time competing and learning more about practicing intellectual property law. Also, this competition allowed me to travel to Houston, which was a fun city to visit with my competition partner, Lucas Brown (JD ’19).
What are you involved in outside the classroom?
I am a member of the Wake Forest Moot Court Board, a notes and comments editor for the Wake Forest Law Review, and the former president of the Wake Forest Intellectual Property Association (WIPSA). Also, I recently helped found the law school’s Golf Club. I also mentor several students and I am a Teaching Assistant (TA). This has allowed me not only to meet a lot of different people at the school, but also see how they analyze legal issues and approach various problems, which I think is invaluable for the future.
What do you do for fun in Winston-Salem when you aren’t studying?
I enjoy going to Winston-Salem breweries, playing golf and tennis, hiking, and running.
Where do you want your law degree to take you?
After graduation, I want to work in a private practice.