Discuss how your study of chemistry at Case Western Reserve influenced your legal career

New York appellate attorney Joshua Rosenkranz of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s reflects on his experience at Case Western Reserve as a college student.

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Phone: (212) 506-5380


So I think it helped me become a better law student for sure, and here’s why. Most of my peers had come of age as humanities students or English literature or history, and the way you read texts when you’re in those fields very often is by gestalt. You could, you know, you could skim sections of it. You could get a general sense of it by reading topic sentences. That’s not how you read a chemistry or a physics text. You read them by poring over every line and thinking about it with each step. And certainly as a law student, reading cases that way was a way more, I think, effective way to learn the law than kind of the gestalt-y, let me just get a sense of what the rule is.

I will also say, since so much of my work has been patent work – maybe 20 percent or a quarter patent work, copyright work, high tech – what the science background has done is not so much that I’ve learned the material that I’m now litigating over. There’s been only one case in my career where everything converged, and that was the Merck case because it was actually about cancer research. That was the fact pattern in that case. So not so much that I knew the subject matter, but that I’m unintimidated by complexity, whether it’s complexity in the sciences and technology or really complex documents or fact patterns in the financial services arena. I have the confidence that if I spend enough time, I am going to get it even though right now I feel like the stupidest person in the world.