Q&A with Professor Margit Livingston

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Professor Margit Livingston is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Professional Development; Vincent de Paul Professor of Law; and Director, Center for Intellectual Property Law & Information Technology (CIPLIT®)​Livingston teaches and writes in the areas of intellectual property, commercial law and animal law. She has won numerous awards for her teaching, scholarship and service, including the DePaul College of Law Faculty Achievement Award, DePaul University Spirit of Inquiry Award and, most recently, the 2015 DePaul University Excellence in Teaching Award. This year, Professor Livingston was also honored as a Vincent de Paul Professor of Law. Here she discusses what makes DePaul’s College of Law distinctive, dynamic and dedicated.

Among your many roles at the College of Law, you serve as associate dean for research and faculty professional development. What does this position entail?

As associate dean for research and faculty professional development, I wear a number of hats. I ensure that the candidates for tenure and promotion submit their application materials in a timely manner and are evaluated by a faculty committee. I also work with the dean and the director of communications to promote faculty research and scholarship to the legal academic community and the public. In addition, together with the faculty programs committee, I attempt to foster the intellectual environment at the College of Law by bringing in faculty members from other law schools to speak to our faculty on cutting-edge legal topics. Also, I assist junior faculty in getting their scholarly works placed in law reviews and other outlets.

In what ways are our professors affecting students, the DePaul community and the legal field beyond the classroom?

My faculty colleagues have a significant impact on our students, the DePaul community and the law in general beyond their classroom teaching. They produce scholarly writings cited by courts and referenced by Congress, thus having an impact on law reform. Several colleagues have coauthored amicus briefs in conjunction with appeals to the United States Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeal. Others serve in the role of public intellectual, publishing essays and op-ed pieces with the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and other media. One faculty colleague, legal writing instructor and CIPLIT member Tony Volini, collaborated with a recent graduate, Nicholas Restauri (JD ’12) in filing a patent application for a data center migration tracking tool. This kind of engagement with the legal community and our alumni is an important part of our role as law faculty.

DePaul recently introduced a faculty advising program. How does this support the College of Law’s emphasis on mentoring?

The College of Law is committed to connecting with our students on a one-on-one basis throughout their time at DePaul. Each first-year student is assigned a faculty advisor who can guide that student through some of the challenges of law school and advise him or her about course selection, externship opportunities, networking and career building. This program is part of our personalized attention to our law students and furthers our goal of ensuring that our students are successful in law school and beyond.

You are director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology (CIPLIT®). What are some of CIPLIT’s proudest achievements?

CIPLIT was started over 15 years ago by Professor Roberta Kwall, who had the foresight to understand the growing importance of intellectual property law. She created a center that serves our students, faculty and the wider community by fostering research and scholarship in IP, featuring nationally renowned speakers on IP topics, providing faculty and attorney mentors for our students, and forging connections between our students and alumni. This summer we hosted the acclaimed Intellectual Property Scholars Conference in partnership with Berkeley, Cardozo and Stanford. Over 180 IP scholars from across the country presented papers on the latest developments in copyright, trademark, patent, cyberlaw and international IP. The exchange of ideas at the conference, we hope, will stimulate further research and scholarly development in IP.

What role do our centers play in enhancing the reputation of the law school and enriching the community?

Our centers and institutes allow us to create areas of excellence within the law school. They bring together faculty and students who are interested in a particular area of law, such as health law, public interest, aviation law, cultural heritage, intellectual property and family law. Faculty affiliated with a center or institute develop curricular offerings, promote scholarship and research, build connections with the local bar, and assist our students who plan careers in a particular field. Some of our centers, such as aviation and cultural heritage, are virtually unique and all of them have done much to enhance our national reputation.

You were recently appointed Vincent de Paul Professor of Law. Congratulations! What does this honor mean to you?

It is a profound privilege to have been elected to the Society of Vincent de Paul Professors. The society is composed of 32 professors from across the university who have demonstrated outstanding teaching in core courses, have engaged in worthwhile and significant scholarship, and have provided excellent service to their academic unit and to the university. Except for some visits at other schools, I have made my legal academic career at DePaul and am honored to have my achievements recognized in this way. St. Vincent de Paul was noted, of course, for his commitment to the poor and disadvantaged, and it is deeply gratifying to be linked to his name.