How do lawyers decide what kind of law to practice? Not every aspiring lawyer feels immediately pulled to one area or another. In fact, many students start law school with the hope that they’ll be inspired along the way. For Myat Su Maw, it was her wide range of internships that made the decision to work in intellectual property (IP) law clear-as-day.
Maw was raised in South East Asia, in a country called Myanmar (also known as Burma). She grew up with an interest in political science, and wanted to attend University outside of her home country to get a taste of democratic culture. It was that intrigue that led her to move to the United States to attend the University of San Francisco. After completing her undergraduate degree, the conversations that she had with trusted mentors compelled her to take the next step and apply to law school.
Before Maw even started at New England Law, she knew that she wanted to hone in on a practice area that allowed her to take advantage of her background, and be able to practice on an international scale. Off the bat, it was classes like intellectual property and copyright law that piqued her interest. But for Maw, it was her internships outside the classroom that helped solidify where she could see herself after law school.
Contracts with the MBTA
During her 1L summer, Maw interned for the Office of General Counsel at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) here in Boston. Her internship was heavily focused on contract work, an area of law that Maw wanted to get a feel for. However, her work that summer, although incredibly enriching, led her to the conclusion that she wanted to look more broadly moving forward.
Licensing & Trademarks at The Boston Globe
As she neared her 2L year, Maw found out about a last-minute opening for an internship with The Boston Globe through one of her professors. She applied for the position, and proceeded to spend eight months interning for the legal division of the newspaper working directly with the Deputy General Counsel. There she got a taste of how in-house counsel operate, and learned the ins-and-outs of licensing, managing trademarks, navigating contracts with freelancers, and more. “It was the Globe internship that made all the difference, it showed me what a career in IP law would look like.”
A Judicial Clerkship with the Suffolk County Superior Court
But when opportunity knocks, you answer the door. When Maw had the chance to intern with Judge Anthony Campo at the Suffolk County Superior Court for a semester, she jumped at the chance. Maw had never considered a criminal law path, but her judicial internship experience was more hands-on than she could have ever imagined. “In addition to seeing how the court system operates from all angles, me and my fellow intern also got to attend two views. Which meant going to visit actual crime scenes. Whether you’re interested in criminal litigation or not, that was an eye-opening experience.” Nonetheless, for Maw, it was still IP law at the end of the day.
Learn more: Judicial internships at New England Law
Now in her final year of law school, Maw is finishing out her semester interning for the Law Office of Patti Jones, learning more about the world of entertainment law. She hopes that that experience, coupled with an intellectual property law certificate, will be a strong jumping off point for her to pursue an IP law career in California post-grad. Her advice for incoming law students on deciding on which direction to forge their path? Internships, internships, and more internships.