Fall 2023

Eric R. Lamison, ’95: Alumnus Establishes Fund for Law Quad Preservation

By Annie Hagstrom

A portrait of Eric R. Lamison, ’95.
Eric R. Lamison, ’95

Eric R. Lamison, ’95, describes his experience at Michigan Law as nothing short of an awakening. “Being in the Law Quad, the classrooms, Hutchins Hall, the Lawyers Club, the Reading Room, and the library below truly impacted me,” he says. “I always felt grateful to be there.” 

Lamison’s arrival on the Law School’s historic campus wasn’t always assured. Before considering a legal career, he was looking into medical schools while finishing his senior year at Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College, the school’s interdisciplinary residential college. That was until Lamison’s stepmother suggested he might be better suited for law. “She pointed out that I’m analytical and like to present, communicate, and debate; I think like a lawyer,” he says. 

At Michigan Law, Lamison was invigorated by the diversity of his classmates and the vibrant intellectual life on campus. “It was an exciting time because it was a new chapter, a completely outside-of-the-box experience from what I had thought I was going to do with my life,” he says. 

“It was an exciting time because it was a new chapter, a completely outside-of-the-box experience from what I had thought I was going to do with my life.”

Eric R. Lamison, ’95

Lamison worked for the Los Angeles offices of Kirkland & Ellis during his second-year summer and final academic year, and he joined the firm as a commercial litigator after graduation. There, he was given an early opportunity to work on a patent case that would set him on a course to practice intellectual property (IP) law and related areas for the rest of his career. “I started doing that work and never looked back,” says Lamison. After eight years based in LA, Lamison and five other Kirkland partners—including David Breach, ’94—moved to San Francisco to open a new Bay Area office. 

In 2014, after nearly 20 years with Kirkland & Ellis, Lamison joined his longtime client, Cisco Systems, as vice president of IP litigation, which he oversaw through 2017 before founding his own firm, Lamison PC. Today, he provides strategic counseling and legal representation to companies navigating complex IP issues, including Cisco.

Outside of his practice, Lamison founded a 40,000-square-foot facility called JAMTOWN when he noticed that his nearby community of Oakland, California, was in need of a multiuse space for sports and events. “My kids were very involved in youth basketball and were playing teams from our area, but we were driving two hours to do it,” he says. “There are a lot of talented, amazing people in Oakland. The community needed a platform for aspiring athletes, and JAMTOWN delivered it.”

Lamison successfully advocated for conditional use permits in front of the Alameda County Planning Commission during the planning and building stages of JAMTOWN and served as the facility’s de facto general counsel in his spare time. “We opened the facility in 2014 and sold it in 2018,” he says. “Even though it wasn’t my focus area, I worked on everything from zoning to day-to-day operations to liability. Being a lawyer was immensely helpful.”

Lamison says that his journey in the law, and the life it has provided for him, began at Michigan Law during quiet moments in the Reading Room and through the lasting connections he made in the Law Quad. In recognition of this, Lamison recently made a $500,000 gift to the Law School Building Fund, which is used for the ongoing preservation, maintenance, and improvement of Michigan Law’s facilities. His gift will help ensure that the Law School’s iconic buildings—most of which are now 100 years old—continue to meet the needs of 21st-century legal education.

“I’ve been fortunate more than once,” says Lamison. “I made a lot of bold choices, switching to law at U-M, moving to Los Angeles to join Kirkland, pivoting into IP law, relocating to San Francisco to open the Kirkland office, building JAMTOWN, and launching my own IP firm. I’ve been fortunate but worked extremely hard along the way. I dared to take big leaps, and I wholeheartedly credit Michigan Law for accepting, preparing, and giving me the platform to succeed and give back.”