Early Career Scholars Medal

The Early Career Scholars Medal is presented every other year at the Institute’s Annual Meeting to one or two outstanding law professors whose work has the potential to influence improvements in the law. The recipients are Colleen V. Chien of Santa Clara University School of Law and Daniel Schwarcz of University of Minnesota Law School. 

Colleen V. Chien's scholarship focuses on domestic and international patent law and policy issues, and she has already played an important role in helping to formulate public policy on intellectual property and innovation, privacy, open government, and civil liberties. From 2013 to 2015, she served as a Senior Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer of the United States on Intellectual Property and Innovation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where her work ranged from advancing open data policies to increasing access to pediatric AIDS medicines.  Having testified twice before the House Judiciary Committee and numerous times before other federal agencies, Chien coined the now-ubiquitous term “patent assertion entity” in 2010. Her work on patent assertion business models - which rely on the use of patents to extract money from others rather than commercialize technology - has been the basis of studies and policy initiatives by the White House, the Federal Trade Commission, and Congress (in the America Invents Act), and the term has been referred to thousands of times by academic and news sources. Policy recommendations that she and her co-authors, in law review articles and other fora, have made have been adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court, in Congressional bills, at the US Patent and Trade Office, and by 32 states.

Professor Chien joined the Santa Clara Law faculty in 2007.  Prior to that, she was an associate and then special counsel at Fenwick & West LLP in San Francisco. She has been a fellow at the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences, and visiting senior scholar at Berkeley Law’s Center for Law and Technology. She also worked as a strategy consultant at Dean and Company, a spacecraft engineer at NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab, and an investigative journalist at the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (as a Fulbright Scholar). She received her J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley and an A.B. and B.S. in Engineering from Stanford University, with distinction and honors.


Daniel Schwarcz’s research focuses on insurance law and regulation, spanning issues such as solvency regulation, consumer protection, employer-sponsored health insurance, and insurance coverage litigation. His work has directly led to various law reforms to promote more transparent insurance markets. As a result of Professor Schwarcz's scholarship and advocacy at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the NAIC established a new Transparency and Readability Working Group to study these issues and propose needed reforms. Recently, after being contacted and encouraged by attorneys at the Treasury Department, he organized a group of “scholars of insurance and financial regulation” to submit two amicus briefs – at the district court and appellate levels – in connection with litigation involving the designation by the Financial Stability Oversight Council of MetLife as a systemically significant financial institution.

Professor Schwarcz joined the University of Minnesota Law School in 2007. From 2007 to 2014, he served as a consumer representative at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. He earned his A.B., magna cum laude, from Amherst College and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. While in law school, he was an articles editor for the Harvard Law Review and a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics. After law school, he clerked for Judge Sandra Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and practiced at the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked mainly on insurance law matters. He subsequently spent two years as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. 

The Early Career Scholars Medals will be presented on Wednesday, May 24, by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar of the Supreme Court of California.