Student Profile: Bennett to Clerk in U.S. District Court
3L Natalie Bennett’s decision to attend law school came as a last-minute one. A Chicago native, she left her hometown to major in Pre-medical Studies and American Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Anticipating a career in the sciences, by winter of her senior year she was accepted at some of the country’s top graduate programs for a Ph.D in stem cell biology. After an informal discussion with a lab mentor about patent law, however, she took the LSAT and applied to law schools, ultimately unsure where her future was headed.
“When spring came around I needed to make a decision,” she said. “I took a big chance, but I’m glad I’m here. I really liked the analytical approach to solving problems in science, but I think an objective thought process is also useful in law. In hindsight, I can appreciate that it worked out really well for me.”
Bennett is the editor-in-chief of I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society. “I liked that it was a smaller journal and that it was focused on technology,” she said. “It is an interdisciplinary journal. It’s about more than just the law.”
With a staff of around 60, the I/S Journal sets itself apart from the other four journals at Moritz by giving everyone who wants to write a note a chance to publish. “We circulate to more people than the other journals through subscription and contacts with the International Association of Privacy Professionals,” Bennett said.
Aside from her leadership role for I/S, Bennett is also the promotion and tenure chair for the Student Bar Association. She is also involved in the Intellectual Property Law Society and the American Civil Liberties Union. Her favorite Moritz activity, however, is participating in the intramural sports leagues. She credits Coach Derek “Smitty” Smith for reinvigorating a competitive spirit in the law school softball league after it was cancelled during the 2007-08 school year.
As a 3L, Bennett has her post Moritz life mapped out. Following graduation, she will clerk for the Hon. John D. Love in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, a job she obtained after interning for him during her first summer at law school. The docket is widely-recognized as a “rocket docket” for patent infringement disputes.
After the yearlong clerkship with Judge Love, she will begin work at a national litigation firm based in Minneapolis, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. “I’ve always been willing to move around in pursuit of the opportunities that I want,” she said. “Robins Kaplan has a unique approach to trial advocacy that incorporates its founding mission for social justice. It was essential that I be somewhere that would provide me with the opportunity to learn and the opportunity to serve. With an exceptional training program and a top 10 pro bono program, I am looking forward to returning to Minnesota. It is a part of the country with a really progressive heritage and a great deal of natural beauty.”
Bennett is interested in patent litigation, a field in which she finds her science background “extremely helpful.”
Bennett is satisfied with her decision to come to law school. “You collaborate and communicate with people. You advocate and articulate,” she said. “It is important to me, and should be important for everyone, to be a well-balanced person. Having a close relationship with my family has given me the support to succeed in law school and beyond. At the end of the day, I want to be the type of lawyer who makes decisions that are consistent with my values and who takes the time to sustain relationships with colleagues, clients, and the important people in my life.