December Grad Aashi Patel Will Pursue Career that Melds Science and Law

Aashi Patel ’22 plans to pursue a career that matches her interests in science, technology, and the law.

By the time she graduates from law school in December, Aashi Patel ‘22 will have worked with technology startup companies and conducted groundbreaking research on forensic science used in criminal trials.

She got these experiences through a research assistantship with UC Law SF Chancellor and Dean David Faigman, and through her participation in the law school’s Startup Legal Garage, which pairs students with early-stage tech companies.

“I enjoyed working with startups at all phases and levels of development,” Patel said.

Through the Startup Legal Garage patent module, Patel helped new companies with their intellectual property needs, including patenting and product development. She called it “one of the most defining moments” of her law school career.

Patel also worked with Faigman to research Battered Woman’s Syndrome and Battered Person’s Syndrome. They looked at how scientific evidence about these syndromes is presented in court and can influence the outcome of criminal trials.

“The research shows how new disorders and syndromes can be used as legal defense and evidence in the courtroom,” Patel said.

She had an additional noteworthy accomplishment in her 2L year. In 2021, Patel and her classmate, Angeline Brom, won the Hack Homelessness competition sponsored by UC Law SF LexLab. The competition asked law students to create solutions to homelessness in San Francisco. Patel and Brom created the first-place-winning app Home2Stay, which informs tenants facing eviction about their rights and connects them with tools to upload case documents and timelines.

Originally from Rancho Santa Margarita, California, Patel graduated from UCLA where she majored in Neuroscience and minored in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. While at UCLA, she worked in a biochemistry research lab for three years studying Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’m a scientist at heart,” she said. “I love breaking things down into elements and building complex systems from simple processes. I realized law school wasn’t too different from STEM. Everything is methodological and has tests.”

She said she was drawn to the Bay Area for law school because of its reputation as the epicenter of the technology industry.

Patel said she was particularly thankful for the support of Professors Paul Belonick and Dave Owen, “They brought humanity back into higher education, and I hope other law students have professors who display compassion and inspire confidence in their students to advocate for themselves.”

After she graduates a semester early and prepares to pass the Bar exam, Patel said she is considering going to medical school or earning a Ph.D. She plans to live in Southern California and pursue a career that matches her interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), and the law.