Lourie celebrates his 30th anniversary on the bench this year, having been appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.
“Judge Lourie has shown each of us—a full generation of clerks—his enthusiasm for the law and his deep care for us not only during our clerkships but throughout our careers,” write the more than four dozen former law clerks who nominated Lourie for the award. “His inquisitive nature and his thirst for learning have infected us. He taught us the importance of handling matters with humility and humor and treating everyone with respect. He showed us his judicial style: to keep things simple and convey truth.”
Lourie began his career not in law but in chemistry. After earning an undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1956, he went on to earn a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1958 and a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965. He earned his law degree from Temple University in 1970. He worked as a chemist for Monsanto, then worked as a chemist, literature scientist, and patent agent at Wyeth Labs. Before being nominated to the Federal Circuit, he was combining his twin passions of law and chemistry as vice president for corporate patents and trademarks and associate general counsel for SmithKline Beecham Corporation.
Lourie has long been active in the intellectual property community. Before his appointment as judge, he served as president of the Philadelphia Patent Law Association and served on the boards of directors of both the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Intellectual Property Owners Association, for example. Since joining the court, he has also received awards from such organizations as the American Intellectual Property Law Association, Intellectual Property Owners Association, Boston Patent Law Association, Philadelphia Intellectual Property Law Association, New York Intellectual Property Law Association and New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association. Lourie is an honorary member of the Giles S. Rich American Inn of Court in Washington, D.C.
The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, inspires the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education, and mentoring. The organization’s membership includes nearly 30,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in nearly 370 chapters nationwide. More information is available at home.innsofcourt.org.