JULY 16, 1999


Grad applies science background to "emerging area of law"

Halfway through his chemistry degree at Brandon University, Craig Ash began losing interest in the biological side of his studies and re-evaluated his plans to become a doctor.

"I continued with the degree and began thinking about pursuing law," recalls Ash, who completed his LLB at UVic last summer and was named winner of this year's law society gold medal. "I didn't have an inkling at the time that a science degree would help me."

Currently articling at the Vancouver firm of Oyen Wiggs Green and Mutala, specialists in intellectual property law, Ash now finds himself among several lawyers with undergraduate degrees in science and engineering. The combination of scientific and legal expertise "is an emerging area of law," he says.

Ash hopes to stay with the firm, which assists inventors - be they amateurs in a garage workshop or well-funded scholars with a research team behind them - apply for patents for their discoveries and determine the ownership of the knowledge integral to the discovery. "We're working on everything from software to books," he says. "We get to see these inventions a couple of years before they actually appear as products in the marketplace."

Ash is surprised by the law medal ("I knew my grades were good, but not that good!") and calls his time at UVic "a great experience. I came because I heard the law school had an innovative co-op program and I liked the size of the school. That was an attraction coming from a smaller town."

He admits to a few months of homesickness when he first moved from Manitoba, but Ash is now a confirmed West Coaster. He golfs, hikes, and roller blades along the seawall in Stanley Park. "The ocean and the mountains are so inspiring. The weather and the scenery here are too nice for me to go back to the Prairies."

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