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and the various actors whose interests,
perspectives, and goals affect the technology law landscape.
Beyond this core curriculum of
study, students may choose to concentrate on either data privacy and
cybersecurity or digital commerce and
Ravi Kiran is a member of the LL.M.
program’s inaugural class. He cur-
rently practices as a technology and
corporate lawyer in Hyderabad, India,
Many lawyers already work in the
technology field with a J.D. degree. But
Alejandro Villegas liked taking the bar exam.
“I really did. I enjoyed it,” he says. “I liked fig-
uring out which legal issues were relevant to
the question, because it’s never just one. It’s
all intertwined. And the time pressure just
adds an extra challenge.”
Perhaps it’s his background as an engi-
neer that gives him his natural affinity for
solving complicated problems. As a gradu-
ate in Seattle University School of Law’s
class of 2016, Villegas spent the last four
years attending school part-time, figuring
out how a legal education could augment
his 10-year career as a security, privacy, and
compliance engineer (formerly at Microsoft,
now at Amazon).
As it turned out, he found a perfect
niche. Intrigued by the overlap of legal
questions and engineering challenges in
his work, Villegas pursued an independent
study with intellectual property scholar
Professor Margaret Chon. The result was a
research paper about the attorney’s role in
cybersecurity and compliance, and it’s been
so well-received that he’s traveled both nationally and internationally to speak on the
topic at conferences.
“My J.D. is a good foundation. The legal analysis and writing skills I’ve learned
have been so important, especially when
communicating with a VP,” he says. As he
travels to discuss his research at conferences, he realizes the need for more attorneys
with cross-disciplinary skills. “Attorneys
not only have an opportunity to provide
cybersecurity compliance advice, but also
a responsibility to participate in all aspects
of compliance from an end-to-end perspective,” Villegas wrote in his paper.
Similar to patent attorneys having educational backgrounds in science and technology, security lawyers would be well-served
by knowing how engineering works. “
Sometimes attorneys will sign contracts with security addenda that aren’t even possible,” he
says. “The technology just doesn’t exist.”
Villegas was inspired to keep going with
his legal education and will be one of Seattle
U’s first students in its new LL.M. degree program in innovation and technology. “This is
a perfect opportunity to really focus on one
particular area of the law,” he says.