Temple Law’s Institute for Law, Innovation & Technology (iLIT), in partnership with InterDigital Foundation, is proud to announce the creation of the William J. Merritt Student Fellowship. The Fellowship, established in honor of Bill Merritt LAW ‘87, provides financial and mentorship support for Temple Law students exploring topics at the critical intersection of technology and law. Edmund Nyarko LAW ‘23 and Ella Ogundare LAW ‘23 have been named the 2022 recipients of the William J. Merritt Student Fellowship.
Bill Merritt LAW ‘87 served as President and Chief Executive Officer of InterDigital, an industry-leading research, innovation, and licensing company, from 2005 until his retirement in 2021. Under his leadership, InterDigital created solutions for many of the industry’s most critical and complex technical challenges and grew to include licenses and strategic relationships with many of the world’s leading technology companies. Merritt is a member of Temple Law’s Board of Visitors and now serves as an inaugural member of the iLIT Advisory Board.
“Temple has been extremely fortunate to build partnerships that advance and expand our vision for this work. I think this is in part due to our mission, and in part to the wonderful tech and start-up community that has brought so much energy to our city, fueled by people like Bill,” said interim Dean Rachel Rebouché. “These partnerships leverage Temple’s global reach to create space for our students on the leading edge of emerging legal issues, new fields, and new practice areas, connecting them with people who are in the business of building a better world.”
By creating a space for students to develop critical thinking skills and the ingenuity to go out and change the world for the better, iLIT is committed to supporting Temple Law students in launching themselves to the forefront of emerging legal issues and new fields and practice areas. “The intellectual space and support that the scholarship offers, in short, encapsulates what we are working every day to achieve with iLIT,” said iLIT Executive Director Laura Bingham. “It is a direct way to communicate to our students that we believe novel critical thinking, collaboration and solidarity, ingenuity and creativity will be essential wherever their career pathways lead.”
“Preparing our students to be innovative legal thinkers, especially those whose interests include technology, is of particularly vital importance,” said Rebouché, noting the need people for who can think critically and creatively “about how law can ensure that technology becomes one of our best tools for nourishing democracy, advancing justice, and uplifting human dignity both locally and globally.”
“The scholarship program also allows us to communicate to our students our unequivocal embrace of diversity, equity, and inclusion in an ever-expanding terrain of technological entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Bingham. “We see these interconnected initiatives – promoting advancement and leadership for underrepresented students and creating expansive opportunities for practical engagement and critical thought in technology and law – as fundamental to achieving all of our ambitions about how innovation can make the world a better place.”
Nyarko, a Beasley Scholar, Law and Public Policy Scholar, and member of Temple’s National Trial Team, focuses his interests in civil rights advocacy and litigation. Ogundare, a Beasley Scholar and a Staff Editor on Temple Law Review, focuses her interests in corporate M&A, as well as data privacy. Ogundare’s Fellowship-supported research will focus on privacy norms in relation to dating apps and Nyarko’s will examine the potential for artificial intelligence to address discriminatory practices in law enforcement.