Meet -- or catch up with -- Class of 2009 alumna Gina Cornelio!
Gina is a patent attorney in Denver, Colorado, with the firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP. She specializes in patent prosecution.
"One main aspect of my job requires working directly with inventors to help prepare patent applications and guide them through the examination process at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as international patent offices."
Between college and law school, Gina was a patent examiner at the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). That experience provided her initial exposure to patent law.
Gina took all of the IP-relevant coursework she could while at Arizona Law to build on her interest and develop her expertise. She received an offer to be a summer associate with Dorsey & Whitney's Denver office during her 2L summer and has been there ever since.
The work with clients is fun, and she enjoys the people.
"I like to joke that being a patent lawyer is one of the best areas, since your clients are always excited to see you -- they have a new product they are launching or a new technology they've discovered and you're an integral part of the Research & Development process. This is compared to other areas where clients are perhaps not that excited to be calling you since they are looking to you to get them out of a sticky situation."
Gina recalls that when she accepted the summer associate position, she suspected that she would not last at a "big firm" for very long. But she says Dorsey has provided an excellent culture and mentorship that balances out the demands of private practice and has turned her into a "Dorsey lifer."
Originally from Tucson, Gina moved to Colorado for undergraduate school, receiving a basketball scholarship to the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.
Next she went to Washington, DC, for her USPTO position. She says DC's humidity and severe cold were a bit too much for her and she was happy to return home to southern Arizona's climate for law school at the University of Arizona. In addition, Gina chose Arizona Law for its collegiality and close-knit community. She wanted a teamwork atmosphere, which Arizona Law provided.
Gina holds many great memories from law school. Speaking of teamwork, she fondly recalls the law school's intramural coed basketball team.
"We got together a group of students (ranging in years) to play in the intramural league on main campus. As I remember it, we came in 1st place every year. We were a bit out of shape compared to the 18 year olds, but had the best cheering section and team comradery. The post-game happy hours were pretty fun too."
Another vivid recollection was having Professor Dan Dobbs for torts during her 1L year.
"Professor Dobbs lived up to the "law school professor" stereotype (intimidating!), but helped elevate my thinking in a way that was exciting and challenging."
A favorite Tucson spot during law school for Gina was the Golden Nugget dive bar: "Many post-final celebrations were hosted there and the shuffleboard competition was always stiff."
She says that her adopted home of Denver has many great areas, especially outdoors. She and her family spend most of their free time in the mountains, skiing during the winter and hiking and biking during the summer.