Engineering grad aims for patent law career


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Growing up, law student Sarah Wilson Meyrer loved math and science, and was fascinated with how things worked. 

“When I was in high school, my parents bought me a book about how things around the house worked and I couldn’t put the book down—that’s when I knew I should study mechanical engineering,” she says.

A graduate of Ladywood High School in Livonia, Wilson earned her BSE degree, magna cum laude, in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.

She was a manufacturing engineering intern for Schlumberger in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a product engineering intern for Adient in Plymouth, where she prepared Design Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (DFMEA) documentation incorporating Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and redesigned the next generation Cadillac ATS/CTS automotive interior seat ISOFIX bezel, which received an award for “Best Business Impact.”

She has worked for almost three years as a patent agent in the Detroit office of Foley & Lardner LLP, as a member of the firm’s Mechanical & Electromechanical Technologies Practice Group (METPG)—and is studying at Detroit Mercy Law, with a graduation goal of 2026.

“Foley has a diverse clientele across multiple industries. Additionally, as a general practice firm, Foley offers the ability to interface with different practice groups other than just intellectual property, which provides for a well-rounded legal experience,” she says. 

While Wilson enjoyed studying engineering in college, she always knew her true passion was working with people. 

“What drew me most to law, and specifically patent law, was the ability to meet with inventors from all over the world to hear their story and learn about their inventions,” she says. “One of the unique aspects of patent law is that there are patents in just about every area of technology. My favorite part about working in patent law is that I’m always learning something new across various areas of technology.”

Wilson was drawn to the community at Detroit Mercy Law. “At Detroit Mercy, you’re provided with a small school feel, but with ‘big law’ resources and renowned professors,” she says. 

Honored to have been selected as an IP fellow by the law school, one of her biggest goals in her career is to help support young women in pursuing IP law, and specifically patent law.

“In the past, both engineering and law have been notoriously male-dominated fields, which has led to little gender diversity in the practice of patent law. In fact, in 2019, the USPTO indicated only about 22% of all registered patent practitioners—agents and attorneys—are women, with the mechanical practice area having the fewest women practitioners,” she says. “My hope as a fellow is to help inspire other women into patent law, especially within the mechanical engineering practice area.

“The world revolves around emerging technology –from breakthroughs in medical research, to improvements in renewable energy, innovations in technology improve our lives each day. It’s therefore becoming more and more important to invest in and protect these innovations. I was drawn to IP law because I’m passionate about protecting people’s intellectual property rights to encourage creativity and innovation in making the world a better place.”

Wilson is so fond of her original hometown of Plymouth that she moved back after college and she and her husband Devin plan to put down roots in this Wayne County city.

But she also enjoys spending time in the Motor City.

“One of my favorite aspects of Detroit is that it has the culture and atmosphere of a big city, but the feel of a small community filled with spirit and pride,” she says. 

She also finds time to give back to the community.

“Growing up, my family frequently volunteered through organizations such as the Relay for Life and P.B.J. outreach, which helped feed and clothe those in need living in Detroit,” she says. “In college, my senior capstone project was making a walking aide for children with cerebral palsy in Ghana, Africa. Knowing that the walking aide went to a great cause was incredibly rewarding. 

“Today, I try to continue to volunteer as much as possible. One of my favorite organizations to work with is Girls on the Run, as I know the impact of giving young girls the opportunity to build self-confidence through running. The priority in serving the community was also one of the reasons that led me to UDM”.

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