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Exit Interview: Tim Watson ’13 headed to Silicon Valley

August 2, 2013 | Students

For Tim Watson ’13, the battle of smartphones and other electronic devices is much deeper than photo quality, download speeds, and app availability. Watson is moving to Silicon Valley to work in intellectual property and patent litigation for Alston & Bird LLP. Watson, who earned an undergraduate degree in systems control engineering from Case Western Reserve University, will be the firm’s only Ohio State law school alumnus.

“Silicon Valley is one of only three places in the country where a lot of IP and patent litigation occurs,” Watson said. “The future of everything is going toward computers. My focus on large-scale systems has a lot of applications to other types of engineering. A lot of what I will be doing will involve computers and electrical engineering. There are a lot of cases involving smart phones and other telecommunications devices, all of which have thousands of patents associated with them.”

Watson will take the California bar exam this summer and will likely sit for the patent bar in the future.

“I always thought about going to law school in the back of my mind, even when I was pursuing an engineering degree,” he said. “I always did well in my writing courses, which is rare for an engineer. I thought law school would really help maximize my skills.”

While in law school, Watson’s experiences ran the gamut. His favorite course was the Legislation Clinic and, after spending a summer as a research assistant for professors Edward B. Foley and Steven F. Huefner, election law would be his alternative career choice. He was also the treasurer of the Public Interest Law Foundation and worked on the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution.

“I found that thinking like a lawyer and thinking like an engineer really are not that different,” he said. “They both require a lot of logical thinking and making very structured arguments.”