IP/Tech Experts Ed Lee and Zahr Said Are Becoming My Santa Clara Law Colleagues!
I’m thrilled that Profs. Ed Lee (currently at Chicago-Kent School of Law) and Zahr Said (currently at the University of Washington Law School) are joining the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty in Fall. As I said in the news release,
Ed and Zahr are exceptional professors and revered colleagues. Together, they greatly enhance Santa Clara Law’s position as a leader in technology law. On a personal note, I have known and respected Ed and Zahr for many years, and I’m excited and honored to be their colleague.
This post expands on those thoughts.
[Note: I served on the appointments committee this year].
About Ed Lee
Ed and I have noteworthy parallels in our career arcs. In Fall 2001, we both worked in the Bay Area. Ed was a fellow at Stanford, and I was General Counsel at Epinions. That means we were both in the same entry-level applicant pool for tenure-line positions starting Fall 2002. From that search, we both landed tenure-track positions at Midwestern schools (Ed at Ohio State, me at Marquette Law). And now, we have both returned to California and joined the Santa Clara Law faculty after our Midwest sojourns, though on very different timelines. I spent only 4 years in the Midwest, while Ed took 22 years to find his way back.
Ed and I have been professional friends for years. We’ve been to conferences together, we’ve commented on each other’s drafts, and I’ve spoken at events he’s organized.
I want to relay one standout incident. In 2014, SCU hosted WIPIP. For game night, we did IP pub trivia. The questions were hard by design. After the competition was over, we still had some unused questions that we shared with the entire room for anyone to shout out an answer. In a room filled with some of the brightest minds in IP law, posed with tricky questions about obscure corners of IP law, several times Ed was the only person in the room who knew the answer.
Ed’s intellectual interests are a perfect fit for Santa Clara Law. Ed’s recent work has addressed AI, NFTs, and content moderation–all key topics for the Silicon Valley. Furthermore, his global leadership in International IP beautifully crosses over to SCU’s Center for Global Law and Policy.
About Zahr Said
I first met Zahr at WIPIP 2008 in New Orleans. We clicked immediately. After that, I became one of her peers and informal mentors. As with Ed, we saw each other at conferences, we commented on each other’s drafts, and I spoke at her events.
In 2014, I submitted a letter in support of Zahr’s tenure application at UW. Reviewing one of her advertising law articles, I wrote:
the article establishes Prof. Said as one of the world’s foremost experts on sponsored literature; and it cements Prof. Said’s leadership role in the nascent community of advertising law scholars
I also wrote:
Prof. Said has quickly integrated into the national community of IP academics, as evidenced by her rapid rise in AALS section leadership. Her social connections give her a great foundation for future recognition of her work and contributions to the discourse.
As an applicant for the Santa Clara Law position, Zahr exceeded all of our criteria, but what really stood out about her candidacy was the cultural fit. For example, during her screening interview, her answers to our questions repeatedly anticipated the next question we planned to ask her. It’s like she innately had the same intuitions as the committee.
Hiring two IP colleagues probably will be a once-in-a-career bonanza for me personally. In my 20+ years as a full-time professor, I’ve actually only had 3 IP colleagues join me as a faculty member: Irene Calboli at Marquette and Colleen and Brian at SCU. (I wasn’t on the appointments committee for any of those hires). I’ve never been in the circumstance where my institution hired two IP faculty in the same year or hired an IP lateral. It’s unlikely I’ll have this remarkable experience again.
Santa Clara Law is a long-time leader in high tech and IP law, and adding two superstars to our community boosts our ongoing efforts. Congratulations to Ed and Zahr on their move forward to the next stage of their careers, and I’m delighted and honored that I’ll get to share that experience with them. Their banana costumes have been ordered.