Alumni & Giving

Brian Gold
Duke Chemistry, BS (2011)
Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington, DC

How has being a Chemistry graduate from Duke helped shape your professional success?

"I am an intellectual property litigator, and would not have been able to get this job without a chemistry degree. Although few of my cases have been related to chemistry, the technical background and general scientific literacy is a huge help when you are reading patents and trying to learn very specific areas of science or technology that you have never learned about before. So much of my job is also about explaining these areas in a way that a generalist judge or a jury who may not have a college education understands them, and having to do that about the research I did was a huge help in doing so now."

What advice would you give students in Chemistry?

"Work in a lab during undergrad, and do so early. It's incredibly important to figure that out early. I learned through my experience working in a lab that it was definitely not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Many others figured out through that experience that they loved working in a lab and went on to get their graduate degrees.

"In addition, make sure to take advantage of the broad liberal arts programs available at Duke. I took a lot of classes and ultimately minored in political science, which was something that helped lead into my choice to go to law school. Duke has such a wide opportunity to take fun and interesting liberal arts classes, and those help enrich the very science-heavy curriculum that you have to take in order to be a chemistry major. It's so important to make yourself well-rounded, because those skills you learn in liberal arts classes are so important even if you only work in a lab — oral presentation, writing for non-scientific audiences, etc."