Desiree Goff

Clean Air, Clean Water, and Losing a Trailblazer

In a month filled with fires and hurricanes, and in homage to a pioneering woman lawyer and Supreme Court justice, we are taking a look at what a career in environmental law entails and how Ruth Bader Ginsburg approached her decision making process when confronted with environmental law cases.  A fighter for equality and for justice, RBG forged the path for countless women lawyers to come behind her. In her years on the bench, many influential cases came before her. Justice Ginsburg’s opinions ranged from regulating greenhouse gas emissions to expressing support for a more expansive definition of jurisdictional waters…

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Desiree Goff

Suiting Up for Space Law

Between the launch of NASA astronauts in test flight for SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft earlier this summer, the addition of Space Force on Netflix, and NASA’s recent announcement of Jeanette Epps to launch aboard Boeing’s new CST-100 Starliner spaceship in 2021, the topic of space law is timely. Considered the body of law governing space-related activities, I reached out to my law school negotiating partner and friend, Elsbeth Magilton, to learn more regarding this area of law. As the current Executive Director for Technology, Security, and Space Law initiatives for the University of Nebraska College of Law, she oversees development,…

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Desiree Goff

Women-Supporting-Women

This is a hashtag currently trending.*  Black and white photos are filling social media as women tag female friends to show their support and admiration. From celebrities to influencers, many of the most active social media users are participating. While the original message may have been lost, what is readily apparent is a worldwide support structure and woven web of female friendship, dependent on each others strengths to support one another. Even though this hashtag is currently trending, it is not a new concept. Women have supported other women for millenia. Why else would we have this Ms. JD website?…

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Desiree Goff

Medical Malpractice and Litigation - Being a “Phenom”

We have focused on several different areas of law which intersect with science and technology. However, we haven’t spent any time discussing one of the more patently obvious areas - medical malpractice. This area of law practice relies heavily on litigation and trial work, which women are frequently steered away from. However, studies are showing that the women that do make it into the courtroom routinely outperform their male colleagues. These women are termed “phenoms” for their ability to get past the double glass ceiling. They work harder to get into the field and then fight to get into the…

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Desiree Goff

Major Minority Inventions and Milestones

I have been stunned, saddened and angered by the events this week as I am sure those reading this are. But this isn’t the first time. I question how I can help, what I can write or say or DO to change the systemic issues affecting our society. I am certain that many of our readers experience covert and overt acts of racism frequently. In our careers as lawyers, we often only ACT once the damage is done. Often the prerequisite of a case is the question of “what are the damages” or “what is this case worth?” As attorneys,…

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Desiree Goff

Decoding the Language of Inventorship and Why it Matters

I was recently asked by a client what classifies one as an inventor. This can be broken down to the technical elements and definitions including conception, reduction to practice, collaboration and contribution to claims. But what struck me about this question is that subjects which seem obvious to us as attorneys are often complete mysteries to our clients. It takes recognition and effort on our part to break down the shroud of legalese that can pervade our profession in order to help them.  Any profession has a certain amount of definition-based language, which once understood, helps those not trained in…

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Desiree Goff

Female Scientists at the Forefront of COVID-19 Research & Regulations

As practicing attorneys we need others to understand what we are writing, understand what we are saying in court, and understand our recommendations to clients. This may mean helping decipher recent legislation and how it impacts businesses, researchers, and the general public. What is the point of having regulations or guidelines if the public can’t interpret them or follow them? Instead of focusing on lawyers who work in science-related legal fields, I want to focus this month on the female researchers and scientists who are dealing with changing regulations and guidelines daily while attempting to develop containment methods and diagnostics…

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Desiree Goff

Calling All Humanities and the Arts Undergraduates: How to Work in Science and Tech Adjacent Law

As promised, this month we will be exploring how to work in science adjacent law if you don’t have a scientific or technical background. One of the biggest decisions law students and attorneys starting in their careers face is what area of law they want to practice in. Often this may be influenced by pre-law school training or preference. For example, my gynecologist once informed me that her medical doctor husband was going back to law school and planning to focus his practice in medical mal-practice. Other classmates of mine went into JAG after spending a few years in the military.…

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Desiree Goff

Poised for Growth: Technology and Law

Becoming a tech savvy, innovative attorney will open up new opportunities and career growth in whatever law practice you envision. Whether you are on the transactional side or the litigation side of practice, understanding and implementing technology is essential. As a contract attorney, understanding and incorporating smart contract technology as the situation necessitates is warranted. As a litigator, being able to navigate e-discovery and utilizing electronically stored information in the course of litigation is increasingly essential. Additional challenges include presenting this e-discovery in a technology limited courtroom. I can still remember my first jury trials in which each courtroom was…

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Desiree Goff

What is the number one piece of career advice you received?

There is an old sage in medicine: when you hear thundering hooves, look for horses not zebras. The premise is that if you are searching for a diagnosis, always go with the more common (e.g. horse) diagnosis. Don’t look for a zebra when the solution only needs horse medicine. This phrase can also be applied to law as well. Current statistics show us that women are under represented in practice, partnership, and fields such as intellectual property. Women in leadership are zebras in both the legal and biotechnology worlds. According to the American Bar Association’s “A Current Glance at Women…

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