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Lucas Tejwani L’17 discusses his cross-disciplinary experience pursuing a JD/MCIT

March 23, 2015

Lucas Tejwani L’17 discusses why he is pursing a JD/MCIT and how Penn’s program is unique. 



My name is Lucas Tejwani. I just finished my first year at Penn Law last year.  And I am currently in my first year at Penn’s Engineering School doing the Masters in Computer Information Technology. I will be graduating in 2017 with this joint degree. 

When I came to Penn Law, I knew that I was interested in law and technology and issues such as internet privacy, data security, intellectual property, and corporate finance for start-up tech companies. And I knew that as such, my clients would be engineers, and they would be people in business that are related to tech, and I knew that in order to better understand their perspectives that they have on certain things, I would need to know what technologies they are working with. And so I thought it would be very helpful for me to eat, breathe, and sleep the life of an engineer in order to really understand what their motives are and what their interests are and I hope that I would be better be able to serve my clients. 

The big defining characteristic was the fact that they really push the interdisciplinary and the cross-disciplinary offerings that they had. It seems to be infused in the Penn culture, the notion that in order to be a successful, practicing attorney now you have to know fields beyond law. You have to know technology in some cases, business in some cases, civil rights in some cases, and so the entire community embraces the idea that these different cross-disciplinary offerings would prepare you most for your practice. The students embrace this cross-disciplinary attitude by taking classes at different schools, by doing joint degrees and by doing certificates at different schools. The professors embrace this by offering interesting classes at the intersection of different fields. And the administration really embraces this by making it easy and feasible to deal with the financial aspect of doing a joint degree or the registration aspect of doing a joint degree. And so they really pushed for this cross-disciplinary education, which I thought would be invaluable. 

What is unique about the JD/MCIT program is that many people don’t have formal computer science backgrounds or electrical engineering backgrounds, but rather many people came from different disciplines that are all interested in software engineering and computer designing. And so, in my class there are people that studied philosophy, finance, chemical engineering, bio engineering, electrical engineering, physics. People with a whole bunch of different backgrounds who have different curricula to deal with when they were in undergrad, who have worked through different kinds of problems in different kinds of ways. Now, because I am working with all of them and because a lot of projects that I do are group projects, I have really been able to see different methods that people have, whether it is a person who studied physics that really looks at the large concepts underlying a certain technical aspect of a computer program or someone in finance that can really crunch numbers, I have really been exposed to a lot of attitudes and different methods for dealing with different problems and I think that is something that is unique that people wouldn’t find in other joint degrees or just law school. 


Transcript has been edited for length