Danae Robinson, Class of 2017

Where Collaboration Trumps Competition

Because law is much more than combat, Danae Robinson, aspiring intellectual property lawyer, chose a school that fosters community

With a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a passion for the law, Danae Robinson 3L sees intellectual property law as the perfect blend of her interests.

“IP is such a hot topic now and will be for the foreseeable future,” Danae says. “It’s an area of the law that is constantly evolving, whether it’s the law itself or the application of it. I know it’s an area where I’ll constantly be learning and being challenged. I’ll be thinking outside the box and because things transform all the time in this area, you never know what you’ll end up contributing.”

The School of Law’s location in the heart of the Bay Area made it a natural choice to study IP law, Danae says. But she was drawn to more than location; she also sensed a great law school environment. “The feeling I got as I stepped onto campus was a sense of community. It didn’t feel unnecessarily competitive. Law school is already so rigorous and demanding, why have that extra sense of competition on top of it? Instead, the environment here is supportive.”

Law school is already so rigorous and demanding, why have that extra sense of competition on top of it? Instead, the environment here is supportive.

That support network — both from other students and faculty — has helped Danae succeed in classes and beyond. She’s worked as an IP legal intern at Sideman & Bancroft LLP and as a legal clerk for Hewlett Packard. At the law school, she served as vice president of the Black Law Students Association, is a junior member of the USF Law Review, and part of the Intellectual Property and Cyberlaw Association. She’ll be participating in the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic in the fall.

Danae credits USF with teaching her to think differently. “In engineering, I was taught to think in a certain way to come up with a certain solution. Now, it’s about coming up with as many different solutions as you can. I’ve had to be more creative with my thinking.”

USF has really helped me understand that if everyone else just lets these issues pass by, nothing is going to change. USF is giving me the tools to make those changes.

Danae also appreciates USF’s focus on public interest and pushing students to change injustices they see.

That emphasis lines up with Danae’s desire to do pro bono work on behalf of domestic violence victims. It’s an issue that hits close to home — Danae was 10 when her aunt was killed by her husband. Danae still remembers watching as the legal system failed her aunt’s children and, ultimately, her aunt. “The law isn’t inclusive of certain victims, particularly women who are minorities, women who are from lower socio-economic classes. There was so much I obviously didn’t understand as a child, but studying law has enlightened me a lot. I can see where there are changes needed in the law and I’m inspired to work for those.”

“After all, at the end of the day, who else is going to change it but you? USF has really helped me understand that if everyone else just lets these issues pass by, nothing is going to change,” Danae says. “USF is giving me the tools to make those changes.”