Attorney, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, Ann Arbor office. Burris focuses her practice on the preparation and prosecution of United States and foreign patent applications in the mechanical, materials science, and electrical arts. She also is involved in due diligence with mergers and acquisitions, transactional matters, the management and administration of corporate intellectual property portfolios and policies, and strategic competitive intelligence. Before joining Brinks, Burris held positions with legal firms in St. Louis and Fort Wayne. She began her career, however, as an aeronautical engineer with McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, where she worked on the first-ever completely digital aircraft design. She holds a U.S. patent in the area of fiber optics. Burris was among the first patent attorneys in the country to develop electronic files and secure client portals to access, communicate, and maintain legal files for clients. She is an active volunteer pilot for Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic and Angel Flight Central, members of the Air Charity Network. In June, she competed in her first Air Race Classic, an all-female national aviation race from Montana to Massachusetts. Burris has served as an adjunct professor at the Department of Defense Defense Systems Management College in St. Louis, the University of Illinois, and Washington University in St. Louis. Her memberships include the American Bar Association, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and Women in Aviation International. She received her bachelor's in aeronautical engineering from Western Michigan University, her master's in material science and engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, and her JD from Saint Louis University.

WHERE BORN: "Warren."

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: "My mom and dad without a doubt. They've always been 100 percent supportive no matter what it was I wanted to do, whether it be off the beaten path or outside of a traditional role. With that openness and support, they taught me, along with my grandparents who were immigrants from Poland and Russia, that if you work hard you get what you want, and not to let anyone tell you that you can't do it."

LAST BOOK READ: "I have three in the mix now. One of the more recent ones was Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods."

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: "Adventuresome, kind, caring, healthy, very happy in my life."

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: "My field is intellectual property, specifically with inventors obtaining rights for new inventions and make sure products they're developing are clear from what others are developing. Patents, due to changes in the law and [rulings of] the Supreme Court, are becoming more vulnerable to attack. When a third party asserts patent rights, we're seeing a lot more invalidation of those rights. In obtaining patents, it has become more difficult and challenging. It's raising the bar in terms of patentability and it's becoming more difficult to enforce and obtain patents. From a law standpoint, that's where it's headed. From a procedural view, we're seeing a lot more electronic work formats, getting rid of a lot of paper, and communicating electronically with clients and the courts."

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: "iPod. A lot things I use here at work, including my BlackBerry, but one of my escapes is running, so my iPod is one of my favorites."

FAVORITE PLACE: "The airport with my airplane."

FAVORITE HOBBIES: "Flying. I'm an active pilot and do a lot of flying for work and do charity work for an organization called Angel Flight. Flying is my passion."

FAVORITE FOOD: "Depends on the day but dark chocolate is right up there."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "I'm a bit of a grease monkey. I can pretty much fix anything that goes wrong with my car. I'm a closet mechanic."

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: "I went to my grandfather's funeral and walked out with a huge smile. Was that really a funeral? We had a good time and told stories. All that happiness and joy he brought with him every time you'd see him, you'd smile. So I'd like to be remembered like that as a happy, positive person."