Texas Tech University

Dual Degree Makes Perfect Sense for Well-Rounded Attorney

Allen Ramsey

June 28, 2023

David Ashton

A joint program between law and engineering was a perfect fit for David Ashton.

Sometimes, everything falls perfectly into place. 

Dallas attorney David Ashton is more than just a patent attorney. He serves as an IP strategist for technology innovators, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. With expertise in law, emerging technology and business, David brings a unique blend of technical proficiency, critical thinking and unwavering dedication to his clients' success. 

David Ashton
David Ashton

From the moment David Ashton reached his junior year of high school, his passion for being at the forefront of innovation burned brightly. David had always envisioned himself deeply immersed in the dynamic worlds of law, cutting-edge technology and business. Texas Tech University provided him with an incredible opportunity to pursue his dreams. 

After completing his bachelor's degree in industrial engineering at the University of Arizona in 2013, Ashton made the decision to attend Texas Tech. His goal was clear: to make his mark in the realm of patent law, and Texas Tech offered a unique dual degree program that allowed him to simultaneously pursue a juris doctorate from the Texas Tech School of Law and a master's degree in engineering from the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering

In addition to propelling him toward his career aspirations, this move to Texas Tech had an added bonus. Ashton found himself closer to home, which brought a sense of comfort and familiarity. Moreover, this new chapter in his life introduced an array of exciting prospects for his future endeavors. It was the perfect opportunity to build the skills he needed for a successful career as an intellectual property attorney. 

"I decided on Texas Tech due to the robust network of alumni in Dallas," explained Ashton. "Being a Dallas native, I was particularly drawn to the remarkable success of Texas Tech attorneys in the region. Witnessing the caliber of legal professionals from Tech in Dallas, I felt compelled to contribute to that esteemed roster.

"The master's and JD program served as a pivotal stepping stone when it comes to IP law; it's crucial to grasp not only your client's legal needs but also their business and technological demands. Fortunately, the JD and master's program offered a comprehensive solution. Through the law program, I acquired legal expertise, and the master's program equipped me with the engineering proficiency." 

David firmly believed that to become a well-rounded attorney, collaboration with clients, problem-solving abilities and fluency in the language of technology were essential. The Texas Tech master's program played a vital role in providing him with that invaluable supplemental knowledge, enabling him to effectively understand and communicate with clients while offering innovative solutions to their challenges. 

"While I was in law school, Patterson + Sheridan LLP offered me a remarkable chance to work alongside them," David said. "During this experience, I gained invaluable insight into the significance of effective communication with our clients. I made a conscious choice to select coursework that directly aligned with the specific needs of Patterson + Sheridan's clientele. 

“My law degree equips me with the necessary tools to passionately advocate for clients. My background in Industrial Engineering ingrained in me a systematic approach to thinking, honed my problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the business aspects of engineering. With my master's degree, I further developed a technical proficiency that allows me to effectively connect with our clients.” 

The fusion of these two disciplines was a natural fit for Ashton, who currently practices law at Patterson + Sheridan, a leading intellectual property law firm that boasts nationwide offices and thrives on the integration of diverse ideas and fields of expertise. 

"At Patterson & Sheridan, our focus is solely on serving the best interests of our clients," Ashton explained. “With our diverse pool of technical specialists, we fully leverage our resources. Collaboration is deeply ingrained in our firm's culture, and I've always been drawn to this collaborative approach." 

Since graduating from Texas Tech in 2017, Ashton has made a point of giving back to the community. In April 2023, he participated in the Law School's intellectual property panel. Additionally, he is active in the Dallas Bar IP Section Young Lawyers Committee, where he is the chair in recognition of his community work. 

His career has come full circle. After attending a high school business class visited by a patent attorney, he immediately knew the path he wanted to pursue.

"I now give back to Dallas ISD high schools by speaking at their engineering and entrepreneurship magnet schools," Ashton explained. "I share with them the diverse and fulfilling career avenues within the intellectual property realm. 

"I owe a debt of gratitude to the many individuals who supported my journey, and I believe it's my duty to impart that wisdom to those embarking on their own paths. Within our firm, our founder, Todd Patterson, and partners Steve VerSteeg, Chad Daugherty, Joe Stevens, Keith Taboada and Brooks Tueting have been guiding forces for me. In turn, I take immense pleasure in mentoring our younger associates, equipping them with the invaluable tools I've acquired. If there's anything I can do to assist anyone interested in pursuing a career in patent law and navigating their own unique path, I am more than eager to lend a helping hand."