When Andrew Eisenberg, ’09 J.D. studied computer science in undergrad, he did so with the intention of becoming a programmer. After graduation, he started working towards that goal at Dell in Austin, Texas. Shortly after starting full-time at Dell, Eisenberg had the opportunity to shadow different groups within the company. He observed the marketing department, learned about business operations, and shadowed the IP lawyers. It was this experience that made him realize he wanted to go to law school and study patent law.
Drawn to the collaborative atmosphere, smaller class size, and supportive professors, Eisenberg decided to go to Notre Dame Law School. He liked the tight-knit community that NDLS promoted. When he came to NDLS, the school offered one patent law class and a handful of other IP-related courses. He only knew of a few other students who were also interested in IP. Since Eisenberg’s time at Notre Dame, the number of students interested in IP has grown considerably, with more IP courses and the establishment of the IP & Entrepreneurship Clinic.
When Eisenberg graduated in 2009, the consensus was that patent attorneys were not hired for software companies. But Eisenberg landed a position as General Counsel at Audiotoniq, an Austin, Texas, startup tech company that developed budget-friendly hearing aids. In this position, he wore many hats and was directly involved in all aspects of the business from marketing to consulting with investors. He was even listed as an inventor for multiple Auditoniq patents. This first job at a startup laid the foundation for the rest of Eisenberg’s career.
After leaving Audiotoniq, Eisenberg worked for a short time at a small boutique firm before starting a job with Lee & Hayes, where he purely did patent work for large companies. Now a partner at Lee & Hayes, he works almost exclusively with small businesses. Andrew credits his education at Notre Dame Law as the reason he chose to transition his practice to help small business owners. He cares greatly for his clients and genuinely wants to see them thrive. Over the years, many of his client relationships have evolved into friendships. Building a relationship of trust with his clients is just one of the ways in which Eisenberg sees himself as embodying Notre Dame Law’s mission of educating a different kind of lawyer.
Eisenberg’s advice to Notre Dame Law students interested in IP is simple: if you want to do IP, focus on it. Show employers why you want to work in IP. As someone who has interviewed many job candidates, he said he can tell when someone has a true interest in IP and when someone is just there to fill a position with the firm.
Lastly, Eisenberg encourages students to find jobs at startups if they can. Though the initial pay might be less than a firm, working at a startup can give you important skills that you won’t develop anywhere else. If working with entrepreneurs interests you, Andrew suggests going to events and meetups for small businesses and startup companies. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Andrew would go to an event at least once a month. These events have all shifted online but can still be powerful ways to meet people and start forming relationships. Plus, most people at these events would be happy to meet a lawyer who wants to help. Today, the Law School offers a J.D./M.S. in Entrepreneurship, Technology & Innovation Dual Degree Program with the IDEA Center.
This Alumni Spotlight was written by 1L Laura Mahoney.