This summer, the Foundation for the Advancement of Diversity in Intellectual Property awarded Alicia Lai L’21 the prestigious Jan Jancin Award, which recognizes students from diverse backgrounds who have made exceptional contributions to the Intellectual Property (IP) sector and intend to continue to pursue a career in the field.
Sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) and the Section of Intellectual Property Law of the American Bar Association (ABA), the Jan Jancin Award is specifically geared toward furthering diversity in IP law and is awarded to a student who has exemplified excellence in IP academic studies, written or published IP-related papers, and demonstrated leadership and contributions to IP organizations. Each year, law schools may nominate one student who they believe embodies the excellence the award aims to celebrate. In addition to an honorarium, the winner is also invited to be recognized at the AIPLA annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
“I’m incredibly honored. I know that the Jan Jancin Award is prestigious with many legally and technically brilliant applicants in the running, so I’m very honored to have been nominated and selected,” Lai said. “Intellectual Property has always played such an integral role in my life and career — whether in the neuroscience lab, in the creative arts, in pharmaceutical companies and biotech startups, or in legislation on scientific espionage and innovation policy — so I’m excited to continue digging into these complex legal issues.”
At the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Lai served as a leader in many IP spaces. As an Articles Editor for the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and Senior Editor for the Journal of Law & Innovation, Lai focused on articles that pushed the bounds of IP scholarship and innovation. She also served as co-president of the Penn Intellectual Property Group and president of the Penn Law Mock Trial Association. In addition, Lai co-chaired the 13th Annual Intellectual Property Symposium and provided introductory remarks at the 14th Annual Intellectual Property Symposium.
Lai, who also holds an AB in Neuroscience from Princeton University, has written and published a number of legal articles that analyze some of the most cutting-edge topics in the sector. During her time at the Law School, she worked closely with John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science Christopher S. Yoo as co-author of an article on Artificial Intelligence (AI) regulation. Lai has also co-authored four forthcoming pieces alongside Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science Cary Coglianese on algorithmic decision-making and public administration. Additionally, Lai collaborated with Penn Law Board of Overseers Chair Osagie Imasogie GL’85 to publish a National Law Journal op-ed regarding COVID-19 vaccine patents.
Further, Lai has independently authored and published two articles on AI and corporate personhood, as well as an op-ed in Scientific American on criminal prosecutions of immigrant scientists for IP theft. She has been selected to present her work at a number of fellowship programs, including at the Cutler Center for the Rule of Law and the Perry World House.
“My experience at Penn Law has been tremendous. I’m so grateful for the institutional support in letting me tailor my education to my unique interests,” Lai said. “And I’m especially grateful to the professors who’ve challenged me to think broadly and deeply in their courses and who’ve invited me to co-author on legal articles across a range of subjects.”
Lai dedicated her pro bono hours to assisting low-income Philadelphia artists and entrepreneurs in matters concerning IP, contract, and business development through her involvement with the Volunteer Lawyers in the Arts. Moreover, Lai has spent much time in arts advocacy; she has been invited to speak at the National Arts Policy Roundtable and has volunteered for the National YoungArts Foundation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Jewel Box Complex, and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.