Hallie Noel Offen, Professor

Hallie Noel Offen, Professor
Master’s in Paralegal Studies Online Program
The George Washington University


Tell us about yourself and your role at the George Washington University
Hi, my name is Hallie Offen and I’m a Professor of International Trade and Finance at GW, as well as an online facilitator for the Intellectual Property course. I actually am a graduate of GW – I graduated undergrad here in 2000, and went straight to law school and graduated from the Catholic University – which is also in DC – in 2003.

My experience has been mainly in international trade, but I’ve always really enjoyed doing intellectual property and got involved in doing… facilitating for that class about two years ago.

What courses do you currently teach?
I teach the International Trade and Finance course on the ground at GW, and then facilitate the IP course online.

What trends are you seeing in the paralegal profession?
Intellectual property is a really exciting and interesting area of law, which is part of the reason that I got involved in it, because even though my kind of focus, jobwise, is international trade, there’s a lot of crossover with intellectual property issues. I think you’re going to see a lot of focus on China – and that’s something I actually focus a lot on in my International Trade class – and that’s kind of where you see the crossover with IP.

You know, as everyone knows, China is a huge power right now and there’s a lot of issues coming out with trademark and copyright infringement and you know, the President has actually raised these issues recently with the soon-to-be new President in China. And so I think in terms of trademark and copyright violation issues, this will definitely be, I think, on the forefront in IP in the coming years.

How can students learn about intellectual property in the GW Paralegal Studies online program?
The program is designed to really introduce students to things that are going on right now. And the professor – Cheryl Miller – of the course, really she focuses her course every semester a little bit differently, so that the students… when they come out, they know kind of what the hot issues and the hot trends are. There’s a lot of focus on being able to do research and kind of knowing what’s going on out there in terms of copyright and trademark and patent. And we try and do a really good job of introducing the students to, you know, just a general understanding of the those issues in IP, so that if they were to want to pursue something in IP, they’ll have the foundations to do that.

What are your key research areas and publications?
I actually have publications in the area of International Trade; I’ve done a lot of publications actually recently on export control issues, so I’ve published in – I think it was BNA – and some other online publications.

What are your most memorable moments in the online program?
I think it’s having student who, before they graduate, they have to do a thesis paper and with both IP and International Trade, I think one of the most amazing things is when a student comes back to you and asks you to be their advisor for their thesis paper, because they really, really enjoyed the subject matter that they were taught in your class.

I actually just had a student recently who was really interested in this whole cushion or butane issue, with… – I’m actually… red bottoms… red soles, and that was a trademark issue, and so she would really like to focus her thesis paper on that and had asked me to be an advisor. And it’s the same thing with International Trade.

When you feel like you taught them something that they really enjoyed learning and want to learn more about, that’s really the most rewarding thing.

What makes this program unique?
GW just has an amazing reputation, I think, being in DC. And you know, the thing is, the online program and the on-the-ground program are exactly the same; you’re learning the same things, you’re using the same textbooks, you’re having the same professors and the professors who are at GW are people who are out… you know, working on writing the laws, you know, working in firms that have these cases that you would know about.

GW just really… I think they get some people who are really very passionate about what they do and it’s the kind of school where, when you tell people that you went there or you teach there, people are like oh wow, that’s awesome. It just has an amazing reputation.

What are the traits of a successful online student?
Successful online students have to be driven and focused, because 99.9% of them have fulltime jobs and families and other things going on, and so this is something that they do, you know, in the middle of the night often. So you have to be able to make the time to do it and be dedicated to it, and be interested in it.

I am amazed with the students… the calibre of the students that I’ve had. They are… I mean, so focused and so determined and really, you know, looking for the feedback and the critiques, because they just want to be better writers, be better thinkers. So I think it’s really being dedicated, and anybody who applies to this program, I think already has the dedication and interest, because they don’t have a lot of time and this is how they’re choosing to spend their time.

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