The primary goal of the joint degree JD/MS program at DePaul University College of Law and DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) is to prepare students for successful legal and related careers in industry, government, and other institutions that develop innovations, engage in electronic commerce, employ information technologies, and manage and protect information and data. A critical need exists for attorneys in a wide range of fields involving software development, high-technology innovations, information processing, internet and telecommunications services, digital-content, and more. Lawyers are needed to provide advice, counseling, and litigation services regarding the acquisition of and licensing of intellectual property rights; the assertion and defense of such rights; regulations governing the use, protection and preservation of information; and contractual and business practices in the high-tech sector. Graduates who have a substantive understanding of legal and technological issues regarding e-commerce, information technologies, e-discovery, computational finance, network security, digital media, or related computer science fields will have a substantial advantage in obtaining and flourishing in such positions. Graduates with the joint degree will be better prepared to be drafters, negotiators, and litigators when seeking to obtain and protect inventions, trademarks, analog and digital creations, internet websites, and domain names; advisors concerning licensing, reverse engineering, or reusing computer software, expressive, or functional media; and managers when developing policies governing the acquisition, preservation and dissemination of information for their clients and within their own institutions.
The joint JD/MS program allows students to obtain dual degrees in both law and computer science fields with only one additional year of study beyond the regular JD program and with a minimum of additional expense. The program is designed for all students who wish to deepen their technical expertise while also obtaining a law degree.
Some of the students completing the joint JD/MS degree will seek to become members of the patent bar. There are also many opportunities (including as patent litigators and licensors) for graduates who either lack the scientific or technical background required to qualify for the patent bar exam or lack the desire to practice patent law. (Membership in the patent bar is required only to file and prosecute patent applications in the United States Patent and Trademark Office; it is not a general requirement for patent law practice.) The MS in Computer Science does not itself provide a degree that currently qualifies students to take the patent bar exam, but may provide relevant course work toward fulfilling eligibility requirements.