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Ilya Merzlyakov

AAU Student
School of Law

What I’ve Learned as a Legal Research Assistant   

“Our research focused on the ways to improve the current laws and to suggest other mechanisms in order to help companies utilize 80% of the modern company value.” – Ilya Merzlyakov, student, AAU School of Law.

About the research

For the past semester, AAU student Illya Merzlyakov has been working as an assistant to his professor James Heller while researching about intellectual property laws. The research is supported by the AAU Research Center

On June 24, James Heller presented his research at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland, which attracted hundreds of attendees from all over the world. 

“80% of the value of modern companies lies in Intellectual Property (such as patents, trademarks, copyrights),” AAU law student and research assistant Ilya Merzlyakov explains the research. “Our research focused on the ways to improve the current laws and to suggest other mechanisms in order to help utilize this value.”

Setting the Foundation for the AACE Institute’s Legal Clinic

Heller’s research is approximately 70% complete. He and Ilya will continue to work on the research throughout the next year to complete and publish the results. 

“This research ties in perfectly with the Launchpad Legal Clinic which sits within the new AACE Institute,” Heller stresses. “Both the research project and my role as director of the Launchpad Legal Clinic deal with small-medium-size companies.” 

Value Added to the Law Degree 

According to law student Ilya, the most valuable thing he has learned is the practical experience of legal research, on which standard law curriculum lacks emphasis. 


The legal research assistant recommend his experience to any students who wish to expand their skills as future lawyers and prepare for writing dissertation. On the other hand, Ilya recommends that students manage their schedule carefully and not overburden themselves. 

“It is very easy to do at the stage where you have no work experience at all and you are hungry for every opportunity which falls in your hands,” Ilya said.  

“That said, this position supplemented my degree by giving me an opportunity to do legal research in initially unfamiliar jurisdictions and areas of law,” said Ilya. “I feel that this kind of experience is very beneficial in our labor market, where you often have to deal with areas of law which were not covered during the law school years.”