University of Missouri System
As counsel for the University of Missouri System, Lana Knedlik has a front-row view of some of the state’s most exciting new research and inventions.
Knedlik represents UM in the areas of intellectual property and technology transfer. The latter involves the research conducted at the system’s four research universities, whether by faculty or students.
Under her technology transfer practice, she assesses whether research might be patentable, and if so, she works to patent and license those technologies to companies.
“It’s about getting technology out of the lab and into the marketplace,” she said.
A native of Belleville, Kansas, Knedlik earned her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Kansas State University in 1993. She graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1996.
After law school, she clerked for Judge Deanell Reece Tacha on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. From there, she joined Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal as an associate, where she worked for four years.
She next moved to Stinson Morrison Hecker, where she worked for 12 years as a partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property & Technology Division.
While at Stinson, Knedlik obtained two more undergraduate degrees at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in biology and pharmaceutical sciences. The degrees were key factors in helping her gain competency in those areas, she said.
“I have always been interested in technology, obviously, because of my undergraduate degree,” she said. “I really sort of fell into IP/patent expertise as a second-year associate. I had taken the patent bar but really didn’t start doing it until a few years in.”
Although she started out in litigation, Knedlik said she found it wasn’t for her.
“I wanted to switch gears and start doing something transactional. I really loved it,” she said. “It’s a great fit for someone who likes technical stuff and likes thinking about the law and how to apply the law.”
She joined UM’s office of general counsel in 2013.
The work she does in house is similar to what she had been doing at Stinson as outside counsel for institutions such as UMKC. Going in-house was a natural progression in her career and the “best decision I’ve ever made,” she said.
“I think part of that is who your client is,” she says. “When you have a public institution who is trying to do good things for the state of Missouri, it’s really easy to come to work and be excited about your job. It’s nice to have that mission behind everything you do.”
When she’s not at work, Knedlik said she enjoys being outside — her hobbies include biking and gardening. She is currently taking a master gardener class through her local UM extension office.
“That’s another advantage of being at a university, having an opportunity to learn about different things,” she said — plus the opportunities to take classes at a reduced rate.
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