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A Model for Those in the Field: Morgan Chu, Chinese-American Hero

This piece is aimed at our readers in the U.S.

In an increasingly complex technological world, there are ample opportunities for conflicts to occur. For businesses that develop and market internet or computer products, the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in intellectual property law is critical.

Although the specialty is relatively new, there are some attorneys who have distinguished themselves in the field. Forward-thinking lawyers realized the potential growth of computers. These innovators built a solid background in successful litigation of intellectual property law as it applied to the internet and technology.

Morgan Chu of the law firm of Irell & Manella is one of the early pioneers in intellectual property litigation. Not only is Mr. Chu one of the most successful trial lawyers in the nation, he is also one of the first Chinese-American attorneys to head a major legal practice. Although he is a high school dropout, Mr. Chu earned five college degrees from prestigious universities. He earned B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA. He continued his education with an M.S.L. from Yale. He completed his education with a J.D. from Harvard.

Chu joined the firm in 1977. By 1982, he was made partner. He became co-manager in 1997 and held the post until 2003. His success as a litigator and his rapid rise through the ranks of a major law firm makes him a Chinese-American hero for other Asian youths considering a legal career. His success in spite of not finishing high school is an inspiration for other struggling students.

High-profile cases won by Mr. Chu include a $120 million verdict against Microsoft and a $500 million judgment against Genentech. His success in these and numerous other cases led to his being named Top Intellectual Property Lawyer in the United States in 2006. He is also the 2007 recipient of the UCLA Medal, which was given in recognition of both his legal work and his founding of the Asian American Study Center.

Claude M. Stern of Quinn Emanuel Trial Lawyers is another early entrant into the fields of technology and intellectual property law. Stern earned his law degree from the University of California, Hastings. He is co-manager of the firm’s intellectual property division. His practice focuses primarily on intellectual property, but he also handles class action and business law cases. Stern has 30 years of experience. He was named one of California’s Super Lawyers from 2004 to 2012. High-profile clients have included Zynga, Google, Electronic Arts and many others.

Dale Cendali is a partner in Kirkland & Ellis LLP. She received her law degree from Harvard in 1984. Ms. Cendali leads the firm’s intellectual property division. She has represented author J.K. Rowling, the Associated Press and others in copyright infringement and intellectual property cases. She also successfully represented Twentieth Century Fox before the Supreme Court.

There are many other esteemed lawyers in the intellectual property field. The success of leaders like Morgan Chu, Dale Cendali and Claude Stern are an inspiration to the next generation of intellectual property trial lawyers.

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