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Leslie Morioka

Leslie Morioka JD/MPA ’93


The trajectory Leslie Morioka traveled en route to becoming an intellectual property lawyer began with a desire to advocate for people’s rights.

Before pursuing law, Leslie was on the path to becoming a scientific researcher, where she hoped to make a difference in the fight against cancer. In the final stages of her Ph.D. program, she grew disenchanted – in part with the isolation of research – and opted for a career in human services, becoming an advocate for women and families at the Westchester County Office for Women.

When the County granted her a scholarship to join Pace’s masters degree program in public administration, she decided to pursue a joint MPA-JD. Although she wasn’t initially interested in practicing law, her work with women and families often fell within a legal framework and she felt a law degree would bolster her advocacy skills. When she took a patent law course, she was intrigued by the correspondence between her science education and law.

Today, Leslie continues to focus on making a difference in the world. Now a partner at White & Case – a leading IP/patent firm – she helps protect creativity and innovation. The mainstay of her practice is litigating disputes in federal courts, where she represents clients in patent, trademark, and copyright disputes.

“IP and patent law give me the chance to advocate for people’s right to own their ideas, to help protect creativity and innovation,” she says. “I can’t see myself practicing any other kind of law.”