Portrait of Laura Norris, the Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic, photographed on the campus of Santa Clara University. (Joanne H. Lee)
Laura Lee Norris, the director of the Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic and Tech Edge J.D. at Santa Clara University, is helping expand IP law offerings at both the university’s engineering and business schools.
The No. 1 issue that keeps me and my clients up at night is …
Data privacy and cybersecurity. This is an area that is growing in importance as the world becomes more connected.
If I could change one thing about working in tech, it would be …
The all-inclusive tech campus model. Employees need to get out of the office to network, connect with friends, and get lunch, coffee, or go on a jog.
If I weren’t working in tech, I’d be …
Running a foundation to help bring quality primary education to all children of the world.
Who’s the best leader you’ve seen in action and why?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Unlike so many leaders in the news, she leads by virtue of her honesty, integrity and wit, and sets an example for all young women (and men).
What piece of advice do you have for young lawyers in tech?
Take a seat at the table! As a lawyer, you have a finely honed, analytical mind that can be an asset to your tech clients, not only with regard to purely legal matters. Get to know the technical and business challenges of your client, and help solve problems.
After the events that have rocked Silicon Valley this year, are you more or less hopeful about the prospects for women in the tech industry?
I remain hopeful for women in the tech industry. I am glad that these issues are being brought out into the light so they can be publicly debated and dispelled.
Do lawyers bear any special responsibility in addressing gender stereotyping and discrimination in tech?
Absolutely. As lawyers, we are bound to uphold what is right and just, and to protect basic human rights — especially here in our backyard.