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Even before I started law school at the University of Southern California in 1994, I was a supporter of and contributor to the Institute for Justice. Freedom and liberty were always important values in our house growing up, and they were values that I carried with me into adulthood. When I made the decision to go to law school, I already knew about IJ’s summer Law Student Conference from reading Liberty & Law, and I was an enthusiastic applicant to the program in 1995.
At the conference, I met smart and motivated law students from around the country and learned a lot about public interest law in the service of liberty–I also had a lot of fun. On top of that, Eugene Volokh of UCLA School of Law, one of the instructors at the summer program, was an invaluable advisor to me after the conference. Despite a very busy schedule, he kindly offered suggestions on my law review note and motivated me to submit it to a variety of scholarly publications, which led to its publication in the debut issue of the Texas Review of Law and Politics.
Back then, I thought I wanted to be a litigator, and I hoped to help the Institute on a pro bono basis after I finally graduated from law school. However, after graduation, I learned two important things–one being that law firm associate life left precious little time for pro bono work, and the other being that I had more of a talent for patent prosecution than for any kind of litigation. Now, as in-house patent counsel for a publicly traded company, the most effective way that I can help IJ is to contribute financially to the cause of liberty. Joining the Four Pillars Society was a painless way for me to provide valuable assistance to the Institute for Justice in its vital work.
We who fight for liberty are outnumbered and outspent by the multitudinous interests who depend on the state. What’s more, we have to fight on all fronts at all times, and at both the state and federal levels. We cannot cede any of these battlegrounds. This has never been more true than at the present time, as federal power in the economic sphere has exploded in scale and in illegitimacy to a degree unimaginable even months ago.
The Institute for Justice has effectively, economically and successfully fought on behalf of individual liberty on all fronts. But IJ wins not only in the courtroom. The Institute has built strong and diverse coalitions around issues such as eminent domain, and aggressively and truthfully waged a public relations war on behalf of liberty. The Institute for Justice has an impressive track record that merits the support of those who believe in individual liberty. I am proud to support IJ as a member of the Four Pillars Society.
Brian Schar is an IJ donor and member of the Institute's Four Pillars Society.