Professor Jon Cavicchi
Professor Jon Cavicchi|UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law

High-quality research requires 'top down' & 'bottom up' commitment- Prof Jon Cavicchi, UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law

Franklin Pierce has an atmosphere which celebrates and fosters peoples’ entrepreneurial spirits.

Amicus Partners

The University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law is one of the most well-regarded schools for the study of intellectual property law. Franklin Pierce’s Intellectual Property and Commerce and Technology faculty practice sophisticated research and are thought leaders in academia and professional organizations around the world.

The school’s Intellectual Property journal, IDEA: The Law Review of the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property, recently saw the creation of an Editor position for LL.M. students.

To learn more about the school’s scholarly activities and opportunities for LLM students to engage in these activities, we sat down with Professor Jon Cavicchi, Franklin Pierce’s IP librarian and IDEA Faculty Coordinator.

Amicus Partners: Franklin Pierce recently created a position for an LLM student to serve on the editorial board of IDEA, the school’s IP law journal. Could you tell us how this move came about?

Prof. Cavicchi: We receive periodic requests from LLM candidates who wish to participate in IDEA. IDEA is a student organization which publishes scholarly articles on Intellectual Property topics three times per year.

Past Editors-In-Chiefs (EIC) rejected the idea of including LLM candidates on the board because LLM students typically wished to apply for a position in the fall, when editors were busy editing articles and did not have the bandwidth to conduct interviews and vet new members.

As faculty advisor, I coach each new EIC to do something innovative with IDEA to “leave their mark.” I proposed the idea again to current EIC Matt Middleton, and he agreed to take on the project.

For our LLM students, this is a unique opportunity to get engaged with classic law school culture and reap the rewards. Our first LLM student on the board, Sommer Blackman, was looking for an IP-related extra-curricular. So, pursuing this opportunity was important to her because she got involved in the community and she gained experience in an area of law she is passionate about.

The experience is also helping to improve her writing and critical thinking skills, expand her leadership skills, and increase her breadth of knowledge in IP topics. Perhaps most critically, law review is an extracurricular activity which tends to impress prospective employers.

AP: How can prospective LLM students apply for this position? And, given that the course is quite short, how early can they start on the application?

Prof. Cavicchi: LLM students can apply for this position as soon as they enroll in classes at UNH. The application process is similar to any other law journal. Students submit a cover letter, a sample edited text, (which also incorporates Bluebook citation corrections), and a case comment. Accepted members receive their first assignments during their Spring semester.

We are allowing LLM students to submit in the fall this cycle, but in the future, we hope to standardize the application process so LLM editors will apply on the same timeline as the JD editors.

Sommer is working with Matt to establish an application procedure for future prospective LLM editors.

UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law

AP: You completed the JD and the LLM, from Franklin Pierce - what do you think sets this law school apart? And how can an institution continuously produce high quality research?

Prof. Cavicchi: I completed my JD in 1984, and my LLM in 1999. I have taught here for nearly thirty years. The Franklin Pierce community grows and changes, but I have observed consistent themes. First, Franklin Pierce is a hub for innovation through and through; it has an atmosphere which celebrates and fosters peoples’ entrepreneurial spirits.

Second, the small community atmosphere enables the faculty and administration to remain dedicated to the success of each individual student – which also enables students to seize on more opportunities to distinguish themselves.

Third, I am always impressed by the school’s dedication to both practice-based education and doctrinal/scholarly research opportunities. And I should, of course, mention that research at UNH Franklin Pierce is powered by our Intellectual Property Library – one of only three academic IP libraries located around the world.

One of the things you teach the lawyers of tomorrow is how to access data from multiple sources, and not be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data. Could you provide a few real-world examples of how IP lawyers can do this?

Prof. Cavicchi: As I mentioned, Franklin Pierce is the only law school in the country with a Faculty approved Information Literacy Plan. This plan starts with a 1L first semester information literacy course. Students learn tools and strategies to conduct effective and efficient research. Legal technology and legal research platforms are fine-tuned tools which can help control information overload if the researcher has sufficient instruction on how to perform searches which will yield accurate results that can be further filtered and organized into manageable data.

The Legal Research Faculty at Franklin Pierce teach students how to evaluate the quality of research results. We also teach students how to develop research plans so they can keep up to date on the use of premium, open web, and social media tools. Legal research platforms are developing more AI, analytics and workflow tools each year, so student research and management is constantly evolving with new technology.

We have recently implemented a movement to progressively introduce technology literacy throughout the curriculum. Franklin Pierce is dedicated to teaching students to use those tools effectively to evaluate and organize large amounts of potentially actionable data.

AP: How can an institution continuously produce high quality research?

Prof. Cavicchi: Research scientists design, undertake and analyze information from controlled laboratory-based investigations, experiments and trials to answer specific questions which will help move their industry forward. Social scientists study all aspects of society, which provides insights into the different ways individuals, groups, and institutions make decisions, exercise power, and respond to change.

Legal researchers study primary and secondary legal resources to make objective findings used to advise clients and employers on liability and potential courses of action. Lawyers’ research could also lead to findings that will be used to support the position of clients in venues like courts, government entities, legislatures, etc.

Each discipline helps move humanity forward in its own way. An institution can continuously produce high quality research by providing students the training, tools, and strategies for each of the various kinds of research. A culture of high-quality research requires both a “top down” and “bottom up” commitment from a school.

Here at Franklin Pierce, our faculty has approved an Information Literacy Plan for legal professionals. Franklin Pierce is the only law school in the country to have a faculty-approved plan. Our students receive information literacy instruction from the first day of class right up until graduation. Franklin Pierce is innovative and entrepreneurial in brainstorming opportunities for the community (faculty, staff, and visiting scholars) to deploy their research training. This spans the spectrum from the classroom to clinics to law reviews, moot courts and more. It is important for an institution to create opportunities to share their research.

Our Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property holds annual scholar roundtables as a center for the study of IP law and policy and faculty frequently present on their research works in progress. It also offers monthly events where professors and other scholars speak on thought provoking topics on IP law.

AP: In addition to serving as the school’s IP library, you are also the Faculty Coordinator for the Visiting Scholar Program. Can you tell us a little about this program?

Prof. Cavicchi: Scholars from around the world travel to UNH Law to conduct research on everything from legal history to empirical research. The United States’ legal system is widely regarded as the gold standard in Intellectual Property matters because the U.S. body of law supports the full life cycle of IP – prosecution, enforcement by courts and the role of IP as an asset in business transactions.

As a result, many international researchers come to the U.S. on behalf of their respective governments to research topics on emerging issues in their countries. Many of these scholars regard the U.S. as a model which they hope to adapt and implement in their countries.

Click here for more information about the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law, including scholarly activities and LLM programs. You can reach the admissions team at or on WhatsApp at +1-603-513-5300. The priority application deadline for LLM programs is May 1, 2020.

(Amicus Partners is a research and consultancy firm working in the field of legal education)

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