Katelyn Kivel Jul. 19, 2016, 7:59pm

SANTA CLARA – The High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University’s School of Law welcomes Silicon Valley veteran attorney Tom Lavelle as its new managing director.

Founded in 1998, the Institute is Santa Clara University’s hub for areas of law ranging from intellectual property to biotechnology, and offers certifications for students including the high tech law certificate and the new privacy law certificate. The High Technology Law Journal, published by the university, has been publishing since 1984. In that time, the institute has collected accolades and is ranked among the top such programs nationally.

“We are very proud that Santa Clara Law has been rated among the top intellectual property and high tech law schools in the country for many years,” Lavelle told the Northern California Record. “In order to maintain that high rating, we need to maintain the strengths we have already developed, and to keep up with the business of technology which continues to take a larger role in our daily lives.”

Lavelle’s Silicon Valley bona fides extend all the way back to serving briefly as general counsel for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at his 1985 company NeXT Inc. and later in senior legal positions with Rambus, Xilinx and Intel where Lavelle served for 16 years.

Lisa Kloppenberg, dean of the Santa Clara University School of Law, highlighted this experience helping technology firms navigate the landscape of tech law and cultivating Silicon Valley connections in a statement announcing Lavelle’s hiring.

As faculty for the Entrepreneur's Law Clinic, Lavelle also connects students with startups in Silicon Valley exposing them to a wide variety of legal situations in the ever-changing environment of technology entrepreneurship.

“We have developed some good programs for startup law with a number of classes as well as the Entrepreneur's Law Clinic,” Lavelle said. “We continue to be strong in patent law, copyright law and internet law. We have substantially increased our focus on privacy law, and we offer a certificate in privacy to our students who choose to specialize in that booming area.”

As for the future of the Institute, Lavelle focused on the need to grow alongside the fast-changing industry that is high technology. Particularly, he called attention to business gravitating toward the so-called ‘internet of things,' which connects everyday objects like lightbulbs and refrigerators to the web and to each other in new and innovative ways.

“On the other hand, we have to be careful to balance--we clearly need to evolve as the law evolves, but we cannot be all things to all people, and in my experience, the way to be the very best is to focus clearly,” he said. “Finding the right balance will be a big part of my job.”

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