James Pickens, AHS '08 graduated from Georgetown and UCLA Law School.

At 25 and only 15 months out of law school, James Pickens, AHS ’08, Georgetown ’12, UCLA Law ’16, found himself arguing a multimillion-dollar patent infringement case in front of a federal jury.

The American Heritage School graduate thinks his training during high school is one reason why. “My investments at American Heritage and on the Mock Trial team have benefited every step of my journey in law, including my federal jury trial wins against LG Electronics and Apple.”

James graduated from AHS in 2008 where he was a Pre-Law student and a founding member of Mock Trial. Those experiences gave him a taste for the law and preparation for his future career. “The professors in the Pre-Law Program at American Heritage taught us to write, speak, and think like a lawyer – that is, to ask the right questions, to be able to argue both sides of an issue, to formulate arguments and state conclusions concisely, and to speak with grace and courage on society’s most controversial problems.”

After AHS, James attended Georgetown University and UCLA Law School. Today, after cutting his teeth at a few law firms, he is a sole practitioner representing intellectual property owners in copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret matters. This allows him to combine his love of art, technology, and trial law. “I chose to practice in intellectual property to defend legal protections for innovators and creators during an era where many factors have transformed, and significantly weakened, the IP protections that have enabled American businesses to thrive for centuries.”

James encourages current AHS students to make the most of their high school experience by exploring engineering, architecture, medicine, journalism, the performing arts, law, or whatever else piques their curiosity. This will not only provide a wonderful basis of knowledge but also expose them to inspiring teachers. “I can’t speak highly enough on the caliber of the professors and their commitment to training us to pursue not only excellence but also honor and humility.”