Connie Powell Nichols majored in biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a goal to discover a cure for cancer in the Amazon Rain Forest. But instead, she entered into another field that, much like medical research, is constantly changing and developing.
Nichols said Intellectual Property Law is an area that is one of the fastest evolving areas of law.
"Now the big issues are who has legal rights to intellectual property worldwide and are current IP laws malleable enough to address with ever changing technology.
After earning her J.D. cum laude from Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, in 2000, where she served as senior managing editor for the Federal Communications Law Journal, Nichols entered private practice with the Chicago law firm of Winston & Strawn, LLP, where she practiced for four years in the firm's Intellectual Property group, representing Fortune 500 companies and major advertising agencies.
"When I started practice, one of my first job assignments was playing video card games for hours at a time, my task was to determine if video games were games of skill or games of chance for purposes of gambling statutes," she said.
During her time with Winston & Strawn, she found herself working on cybersquatting, false advertising, and copyright cases.
Following her time at the firm, Nichols served as corporate counsel for Blockbuster, Inc., and most recently as corporate counsel for Global Hyatt Corporation where she managed the company's global intellectual property portfolio and provided support to the company on all intellectual property matters including technology, global privacy, advertising and marketing, and e-commerce.
"I love the law and felt what better way to contribute to the legal profession than preparing lawyers entering the legal profession," she said about why she left corporate life for academia.
At Baylor, Nichols found a law school that valued her years in practice and a faculty who truly care about their students.
"We are lawyers training lawyers at Baylor Law," she said. "I must say that I think we are giving our students an advantage for when they start practice because we are big believers in integrating theory and practice."
Nichols teaches IP and contracts and has written articles and made presentations on copyright infringement, IP issues in advertising and marketing, and the implications of the internet influencing media and politics. She is also the director of the newly formed Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic. In addition to teaching, Nichols is a practicing attorney in Gray Reed’s Intellectual Property Department.
When not teaching or working with clients, fun-loving Nichols is mom to a 14 year old son and can often be found hiking the trails at Cameron Park or in other active pursuits. She likes to brag that while working as a roller-skating car hop for Sonic during high school, she set a record for never dropping a tray--a record that still stands.