Steven Obiajulu

Associate
Chicago
IP Transactions

Steven Obiajulu

Associate
Chicago
IP Transactions
Lisa Goodman

Steven Obiajulu

View Biography

What made you decide to start your legal career at Ropes & Gray?

Ropes & Gray supported me through law school through the firm’s technical advisor program. Through the program, after two years as a technical advisor, there is an option to enter law school and continue working at the firm. All technical advisors/law students receive full law school tuition as well as reimbursement for expenses related to the Patent Bar exam. 

How has Ropes & Gray helped you build a career as a lawyer?

The firm got me interested in law, encouraged me to attend law school and gave me hands-on training. If it weren't for Ropes & Gray, I may not have decided to practice law at all.

If it weren't for Ropes & Gray, I may not have decided to practice law at all.”

Tell us about a memorable matter you’ve worked on. 

Drafting patent applications for some of the nation’s top tech companies before going to law school was excellent training. Also, filing some of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s earliest inter partes review petitions before starting law school was a great experience that helped me prepare me for the practice of law. 

I was initially a patent agent in the firm’s intellectual property group, and I drafted the patent applications under the supervision of patent lawyers. It taught me how to represent clients. On the inter partes review cases, I prepared charts of evidence (prior art) to prove invalidity of the challenged patent. It involved substantive review of hundreds of patents and other prior art evidence. It helped me to learn to think like a lawyer before starting law school, and how to establish the elements of a legal case. 

Tell us about a pro bono matter you’ve worked on. 

I helped Fix The Mask Inc. with corporate legal work and IP licensing. Fix The Mask developed a surgical mask brace to help improve filtration efficiency of surgical masks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ropes & Gray provided them with regulatory, IP and tax advice. 

I incorporated the nonprofit and drafted the open source IP license to allow the technology to be distributed free of charge. Working on a project that addressed the COVID-19 pandemic showed me how our work as lawyers can be a service to the client and the community. The matter also gave me experience in advising at the intersection of intellectual property law and corporate law. This experience is helpful because technology and intellectual property are of growing importance to most corporate clients today. 

You can work on meaningful projects very early in your career.”

How would you describe the firm’s culture? 

You are entrusted with responsibility if the firm sees that you can competently handle it. If you learn quickly, you can work on meaningful projects very early in your career. Also, people here take pride in their work. 

What tips would you offer to a potential applicant? 

My advice is apply early and do your best when it comes to your studies.