After growing up with both parents as attorneys, Alex Olson was determined not to follow in their footsteps.
“I affirmatively meant to not be a lawyer,” she recalled. “I went to engineering school and did an internship. But I didn’t love the work.”
But that didn’t mean she couldn’t take advantage of the knowledge she had accumulated. Olson is sought by clients in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and agricultural industries, and this year she became a partner at Carlson Caspers, a firm specializing in intellectual property.
“I found that IP law was where I could use that schooling,” she said. “My brain is meant for the engineering world, but my personality is meant for the law world.”
Olson has extensive experience defending generic pharmaceutical companies in litigation arising from the Hatch-Waxman Act, which encourages the manufacture of generic drugs. Most recently, Olson helped represent a top manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals in patent litigation involving a chemotherapy drug. In addition to her litigation practice, Olson also drafts and negotiates IP-related agreements, including patent licensing and research collaboration agreements.
Still, Olson said her most satisfying work is pro bono. She volunteers for the Federal Bar Association as part of its Law School Outreach committee. Olson has also made presentations about diversity in the legal profession at numerous law schools including Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota.
“It gives you the warm fuzzies that you might not get from technical IP litigation,” she said with a laugh. “The two together form a wholly satisfying career.”