ChIPs launched the Shadow Program pilot in June 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area in collaboration with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
This program program combined two front-line perspectives on the law: the local civil courtroom, and the field office of the USPTO. Nineteen high school and junior high school girls began the program with a crash course in legal procedure from Professor Shashi Deb of UC Hastings College of the Law and ChIPs’ own Mallun Yen. Then, the girls visited and observed the courtroom proceedings of Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Judge Koh and an array of women courtroom professionals—prosecutor, public defender, probation officer, and marshalls—shared their expert individual perspectives on the civil system and on opportunities for women throughout the legal profession.
Then, the girls visited the USPTO’s brand-new Silicon Valley Headquarters, part of the impressive City Hall complex in San Jose. They learned how inventors protect innovations, and encourage participants to be future inventors. The PTO’s Regional Outreach Officer Ken Takeda, Administrative Patent Judge Crista Zado, and Patent Examiner Susan Su, generously offered the girls a full perspective on the importance of IP in daily life.
The Austin program brought 25 young women coders to the courtroom. ChIPs partnered with Girls Who Code, an organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology by building a pipeline of future female engineers. ChIPs invited these young women from the Girls Who Code summer immersion program to the courtroom of Hon. Robert Pitman, United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, to learn about the role of their technology in court proceedings and law. Judge Pitman gave an overview of the civil court system, and USPTO Administrative Patent Judges Georgianna Braden, PhD and Stacey White shared their perspectives as women technologists in careers focusing on law and policy.
Gibson Dunn attorneys Tracey Davies and Jennifer Rho then led a custom-designed patent litigation exercise, giving the girls a first-hand window into the legal power of the code the girls write. Michele Connors of Dell Inc. and Jennifer Wuamett of NXP Semiconductors joined Tracey in designing the program and hosting the girls. Baker Botts hosted a post-event reception for local ChIPsters, fostering interest and support for future outreach programs in the newly-minted local Texas chapter of ChIPs.