MSL Students Out in the Community: Eric DeChant’s Afternoon at the Banner Witcoff Law Firm

Each week, the MSL program sends out a bulletin that lists events in the Chicagoland area that might be of interest to MSL students. In last week’s bulletin, I learned about a speaker event at the local Chicago IP law firm, Banner Witcoff. The event featured Harvard Business School professors, Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani, who have written a book – Competing in the Age of AI – which describes the coming wave of change that artificial intelligence and other computational technologies will bring to the global business landscape.

The professors presented material from their book, and managed to cover technically complex subject matter in a universally accessible way. After their lecture, we heard from the president of Keystone Strategy, Jeff Marowits, who covered the real-world applicability of AI systems, and discussed how his consultancy has guided large corporations into the age of AI. The program ended with Aseet Patel, a partner at Banner Witcoff, who discussed the current patent landscape surrounding AI technologies and the new spaces being carved out by cutting-edge business computer science.

The material was interesting, and I felt comfortable with all the topics raised. This made me realize how much I’ve learned thus far in the MSL, and how multidisciplinary my expertise and vocabulary has become. Thanks to some of the MSL classes I’ve taken – including Data Science in a Business Context and Entrepreneurial Finance & Venture Capital – I was able to speak fluently with these world-renowned professors about their subject matter. I was also able to speak with top-level IP lawyers about patent litigation, applying AI to analyze current patents, and applying AI to the actual process of patent drafting; these are topics I have learned about in my MSL classes: Patent Law, Patent Landscape Analysis using Natural Language Processing, and Patent Prosecution Workshop. I have learned a lot in a relatively short period of time; I wonder what else I’ll be able to do by the time I leave in May.

On top of all the great substance, the downtown office tower where Banner Witcoff’s offices are located was architecturally stunning, both in the verdant lobby and 22nd floor event space. The buffet lunch was outstanding, and since it was National Blonde Brownie day, those were on the menu as well. I left the event with a reminder of how vast and relevant the MSL curriculum is, and with six new networking connections, a free copy of the professors’ book and a Banner Witcoff umbrella.

Good times!

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