Steven Odre, Class of 1977
Leading patent attorney and retired general counsel of Amgen
Steven Odre spent more than twenty years with Amgen, Inc., a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets cost-effective human therapeutics based on advances in cellular and molecular biology. After serving as Vice President, Intellectual Property and Associate General Counsel, he was named Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary in 2000. Prior to joining Amgen, Odre spent time as in-house counsel for G.D. Searle & Co. and Abbott Laboratories. He has an M.S. in Analytical Chemistry from Purdue University and spent four years working as a chemist before going to law school.
Odre has been an Adjunct Professor at Chicago-Kent, teaching intellectual property law, and is a member of the Chicago–Kent Board of Overseers. He is also a member of the Board of the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology and serves on the Union College Board of Trustees.
Who were your favorite professors?
Probably two- Conviser and Spak. They were very good professors and great teachers. I liked them because they drew out the information from the students and got them involved, as opposed to reading case after case and telling what the facts were. For me, I spent as much time preparing for their classes as others but I got more out of their classes than other classes.
What was the greatest challenge of your career?
Every year you have challenges. Every stage of your career you have different challenges. It’s meeting those challenges that make the job interesting. If you like what you’re doing, it’s not really a challenge. I enjoyed my work, each place I was at, each position. I kept growing with new achievements and responsibilities.
What advice would you give to young attorneys just starting out today?
It’s very tough for young attorneys. To recommend somebody to go to law school, they better have the passion and desire. Not necessarily to practice law, but to go through the process, you have to have the desire. If you don’t have the persistence, it’s going to be difficult. Follow what you like to do. Things work out, right or wrong.
How would you persuade a potential student to attend Chicago-Kent?
Chicago-Kent offers a unique situation for students. They’re going to get a background, particularly on the IP side that is unsurpassed across the country. You’re going to get a great education but you still have to prove yourself.
Why have you stayed so involved with Chicago-Kent?
I started participating with Kent when I was in the process of retiring. I wanted to give back to the community and the school. When I left the practice, the last thing I wanted to do was practice law again. Now I only work with non-profits, and I’ve been on a few non-profit boards.