Christian Ruiz (’16) Joins Alston & Bird

As an associate in the intellectual property practice, Ruiz’s work marries his engineering and computer science background with the law.

Christian Ruiz ('16)Christian Ruiz (’16) has always been fascinated by how things work. As an undergraduate at MIT, he studied electrical engineering and computer science. Looking for a way to use his technical expertise to have a greater impact on society, he turned to the law, and began exploring ways to blend those interests. Ultimately, his goals brought him across the river to study patent law at BU Law. Now an associate at Alston & Bird in Atlanta, Georgia, Ruiz uses his technical background and his legal education every day.

“Technology improves our lives every day—cell phones, cars, airplanes, computers—all of these affect our lives,” Ruiz says. “What I find fascinating is that legal doctrines governing patent law actually have an impact on innovation.”

At BU Law, Ruiz took advantage of opportunities to build relationships with his peers. He got involved with the IP Law Society and the Journal of Science and Technology Law. At an IP Law Society networking dinner, he met Professor Michael J. Meurer, who encouraged Ruiz to take his seminar in Law and Economics. Meurer would mentor and guide Ruiz throughout the rest of his legal education, eventually advising on his student note, which will be published in the Journal of Science and Technology Law this year.

Even though he knew from the beginning that he would focus on patent law, Ruiz says his classes and peers opened him up to other facets of the law that he might not have otherwise explored beyond the required coursework. He recalls late nights discussing criminal law and procedure with his roommate.

“I still remember nights on our outdoor deck discussing the flaws of the American criminal justice system,” he says. “While I’m not going into that practice, I learned something about it and now have some understanding of criminal law.”

In his first year, Ruiz took a torts class with Professor Keith Hylton. He recalls Hylton’s teaching style as “clear, direct, and no nonsense.” Ruiz ended up taking Economics of IP Law with Hylton as well. “I explored subjects I would never have thought of studying because I really liked some professors,” he says. “The BU Law community, in a sense, helped me broaden my horizons.”

Whether it was exchanging ideas with Professors Meurer and Hylton for his note, or discussing the law late at night with his roommate, Ruiz says the friendships he formed at BU Law are significant. “It’s the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with great professors and quality students who will be leaders in the legal community,” he says.

These opportunities are a big reason why Ruiz chose BU Law. The School’s reputation and alumni network—not only in the Northeast, but across the country—served him when he was looking for job opportunities in his 2L year, when an advisor in BU Law’s Office of Career Development & Public Service put him in touch with an alum at Alston & Bird in Atlanta.

Now an associate at the firm, Ruiz collaborates with top IP attorneys. His responsibilities include working with the litigation team to implement litigation strategy, conducting legal research, analyzing patent documents, and drafting litigation letters. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best IP litigators you can find,” he says. “I am really getting first-hand exposure to the strategic and legal work involved in top-notch patent litigation.”

Ruiz says he is eager to create the same opportunities BU Law gave to him. Forming strong connections with the community has gotten him far in his career, and he hopes to help open doors for others down the road.

“I think the meaning of success is pretty personal and fluid because it changes throughout someone’s life,” he says. “At this point, success means to become the best that I can be at what I do—to become a leader in my field, and to give back to society.”

Reported by Greg Yang (CAS’17)