John Kastelic ’90: Bringing an Engineering Background to a Legal Role
When John Kastelic ’90 started his professional career as an engineer, law school was not yet a contender in his future. But after four years of immersion in the electrical engineering field, he noticed that the content of his work was switching gears. “I found that documentation at my company was not keeping up with the ever-changing product line, leading to necessary but unavoidable questions from customers,” Kastelic said. “I found that one of my strengths was in technical writing and verbal communications with those customers. That was probably the biggest factor that led me down the path to law school.”
Currently working at Eaton Corporation in Cleveland as the associate general counsel for intellectual property, Kastelic still puts his law school education to use. “I recall general rules from Professor Quigley’s international law class that still apply today, and are increasingly important to Eaton as our global footprint expands. In addition, I put into practice often what I learned in Professor Whaley’s contracts law class,” he said. “My law school education is not simply a distant memory, although nearly two decades have passed since sitting in those classes. I still rely upon it at work.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, Kastelic worked as an electrical engineer at Avtron Manufacturing in Cleveland before setting out on a law school search. As a native of Cleveland, he was most interested in practicing in Ohio. “I was looking at schools in Ohio and the schools with the best reputations,” he said. “That led me to Ohio State.”
Upon receiving his law degree from Moritz he worked at Calfee Halter & Griswold, a general practice law firm. He worked at the Cleveland firm for six years as an associate and was part of its intellectual property practice group. He then left the firm to begin work as a patent attorney for the Eaton Corporation, where he has been employed for nearly 12 years.
Eaton Corporation is a diversified industrial manufacturing corporation with headquarters in Cleveland and operations worldwide. Eaton is involved in the automotive, truck, hydraulics, aerospace, and electric technologies. Lately, Eaton has been enhancing its image as an environmentally friendly company, as a developer and manufacturer of vehicular hybrid electric and exhaust cleaning technologies, as well as efficient electrical power management systems.
While at Eaton, Kastelic has seen the company grow from an U.S.-based manufacturer with $7 billion in sales to a global organization with $16 billion in sales. Along with the company’s growth, Kastelic has progressed. After three promotions, he holds his current position at the corporation as associate general counsel – intellectual property.
Kastelic’s job entails managing all of the intellectual property matters for Eaton on a worldwide scale. “My job includes securing intellectual property in the form of patents and trademarks; protecting intellectual property in the form of trade secrets; enforcing Eaton’s intellectual property against infringers; and defending alleged infringement of other’s intellectual property,” he said. All of these issues arise routinely in both the U.S. and our foreign operations.
Kastelic is married and has three children. He said that he stays in contact with other Moritz alumni who are scattered in different locations around the country. He also enjoys going back to Moritz to see the changes that have taken place. “This usually ends up happening when I drive down for football weekends, or need to be in Columbus for a CLE class or other business” he said.
Kastelic said that he routinely speaks with Moritz placement office personnel regarding job placement in his industry for Ohio State graduates.
Even with his experience as an engineer and lawyer, he still reverts back to his education at Moritz. “In my job, I fall still back on the course work and professors’ instructions I encountered at Ohio State,” he said. “Law school was an invaluable and life-changing experience for me.”