Each year, the NYIPLA selects one law school to receive this $10,000 scholarship. The law school then awards it to one student on the IP faculty’s recommendation and based on the following criteria:
Expressed interest in pursuing a career in intellectual property law
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
This marks the seventh consecutive year that a St. John’s Law student has won the award, and Hutchins is thrilled to be the 2018 recipient.
Growing up in South Philadelphia, law school wasn’t on his radar. But science was, and he started out as a Forensic Biology major in college. A couple of years in, though, Hutchins realized that he wasn’t on quite the right path. “I pursued science initially because I fell in love with the research, the analysis, and the skills used to unpack and understand complexities,” he says. “I wanted a career that was intellectually stimulating and challenging and, through lots of research and conversations, I discovered that my science background was relevant to different areas of the law, including Intellectual Property. So I changed my major to get a feel for the study of policy and law and started thinking seriously about law school.”
After earning his undergraduate degree, and becoming the first in his family to graduate from college, Hutchins enrolled at St. John’s Law with a full-tuition Ronald H. Brown Scholarship. It was a natural choice. “I found a warm and welcoming community at St. John’s Law,” he shares, “and I strongly identified with the purpose of the scholarship to advance social justice, equality, and diversity in the legal field by supporting students that have overcome social, economic, and educational disadvantage in pursuit of a legal education.”
At St. John’s, Hutchins has thrived taking courses in IP Law and contributing to the Law School community as senior editor of the N.Y. Real Property Law Journal; as vice president of the Intellectual Property Law Society; and as secretary of the Black Law Student Association. He currently serves as director of communications for the National Black Law Students Association and, last year, he was named Best Individual Advocate at the New York Law School IP Negotiation Competition.
Hutchins has also built an impressive body of work in the field. Last summer, he worked on trademark, copyright, and brand protection law at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. He then spent the Spring 2018 semester as a legal extern at the Sony Corporation of America, focusing on IP issues. Sony then invited him to stay on this summer in its Business & Legal Affairs Department, where he’s working with the information security division.
Hutchins welcomes the ongoing opportunity to learn IP Law hands on. “This summer, much of my focus will be on effectively licensing Sony’s IP in supply chain-related contracts to protect against potential theft or misuse,” he explains. “I’ll also conduct research and engage with our technology and information security divisions on matters such as digital media and data.”
As he looks ahead to his final year at St. John’s Law, and to sitting for the Patent Bar Exam, Hutchins is grateful for the NYIPLA’s support. “Earning the Hon. Giles S. Rich Diversity Scholarship is an honor, and I’m thankful to the NYIPLA and to the Law School’s scholarship selection committee for their acknowledgment and generosity,” he says. “With the recognition of this award, I hope to increase the overall representation of black and minority lawyers. And, more specifically, I hope to encourage other black and minority students who aspire to a career in IP Law.”