In 2016, ChIPsters piloted the ChIPs Shadow Program, designed to provide opportunities to the next generation of women leaders in law, technology, and the government.  The program is directed at high school girls interested in exploring careers in these areas, and has been renamed, “ChIPs Advocacy Leadership Innovation (ALI) Program.”

As part of the pilot, 3 programs took place across the U.S. in:  Washington, D.C., San Jose, California, and Austin, Texas.

“For the pilot program, ChIPsters in each city partnered with organizations from the public and private sector, creating a unique program that provided insight into patent law and private tech companies,” said Emily Hostage, who co-chairs the ChIPs Community & Pro Bono committee with Judge O’Malley.

Each program was different, reflecting local industries and partnerships of organizers.  Altogether, over 50 young women and girls participated in the program.

We’ll be writing city-specific blog posts about each of these programs, highlighting how current ChIPsters partnered with local programs, law firms, and legal professionals to inspire future ChIPsters.  As part of the ChIPs mission, we’re inviting ChIPsters to initiate and lead a ChIPs ALI Program in your area.

The program was a resounding success, and is now ready for ChIPsters across the U.S. to take the lead.  To get involved, please email


Washington, D.C.:  Legislation & Innovation

Partners:  United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and Google Inc.  

The DC program offered the girls a window into the role of policy in innovation.  For the legislative portion of the program, 20 young women from Washington, DC public high schools toured the U.S. Capitol Building and gathered in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room, hosted by Rita Lari Jochum, Deputy Staff Director and Chief Civil & IP Counsel of the US Senate Judiciary Committee for Chairman Charles Grassley.  The girls sat in the Senators’ chairs for  roundtable discussions with legislative staff (led by Rita) and with industry policy makers (led by Alexandra Reeve Givens, Executive Director of the Institute for Technology Law & Policy at Georgetown University Law School)—all of them women.  

For the innovation portion of the program, the girls walked down the street to the Washington, DC office of Google, hosted by Google’s Patent Policy specialist and diversity liaison Aerica Banks.  The visit included lunch, a tour of Google’s interactive exhibits, and a roundtable discussion with women Googlers.  The girls got one-on-one and small-group discussion time with the Googlers, giving them a chance to see first-hand and talk about how women can flourish in a career at one of the country’s most successful tech companies, and how important policy is to cultivating tech innovation.  All afternoon, the girls played with Google’s cutting-edge innovation exhibits, exploring life-size Maps applications, virtual reality headsets, and a hands-on replica of Google’s wide area internet connectivity venture: Project Loon.

San Jose, CA:  Courtrooms and IP

Partners: United States District Court for the Northern District of California and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

The San Jose 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.

Austin, TX:  Patent Law & Techmakers  

Partners:  United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Google Inc., Girls Who Code, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Baker Botts LLP

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.

Thank you to event and program organizers who helped make this pilot program a success.  If you’re interested in bringing an ALI Program to your city, please email, with your city and expertise/professional background.