Jonathan Madsen (‘04): Curiosity and Innovation in Law and Leadership

By Ashleigh Wilson August 21, 2023

Jonathan Madsen (‘04), president-elect of the BYU Law School Alumni Board, is a man of many remarkable qualities. Among his strongest qualities are his curiosity and his commitment to innovation; it was these qualities that first led him to law school. After completing an engineering internship as an undergraduate at BYU, Jon visited with a friend who told him more about attorneys who specialize in Intellectual Property. “He told me that the IP sector of law allowed you to work on ‘a ton of new inventions,’ and to work closely with innovation,” Madsen shared. “I knew right then that was what I wanted to do.”

With this knowledge, Jon decided to attend BYU Law. His favorite part of the law school experience was being a member of the Class of 2004. “I loved being in my class and associating with them. I felt my classmates were exceptionally brilliant, fun, and hard-working. They each made me want to be a better person.” Additionally, Jon loved the learning environment at the Law School. Even though he knew it would have little to do with his future in IP, Jon made sure to take every class offered by Professors Larry Echohawk and Kevin J. Worthen. “I loved the way that they taught! They inspired me daily, and I wanted to keep learning as much as I could.” These relationships with both his classmates and the faculty members provided him with unique and edifying experiences, but it was his curiosity and drive that helped Jon make the most out of his legal education.

Currently, Jon is the Chief IP Counsel for Blockade United, a firm providing legal advice and leading intellectual property strategy and implementation globally for a family of blockchain/crypto companies. His favorite part of the job is working with “brand new things and brand new law.” Since intellectual property law is fairly new in the blockchain/crypto world, Madsen has the powerful opportunity and responsibility to help forge new paths as the legal community continues to fashion and refine laws in the area. Every day is exciting and new. “It’s wonderful to try and figure out something that has never really been done before,” Jon said.

Aside from his IP-based work, Jon has spent significant time serving BYU Law. He has served as the 2004 Class President and Class Presidents’ Committee Co-Chair on the Alumni Board, but his newest position puts him at the forefront of the Law Alumni Association, which is now more than 7,000 members strong; As president-elect, Jon will take over for the current president, Richard Salgado (‘06), on January 1, 2024. 

His passion and experiences have helped him outline two goals that he plans to accomplish during his tenure: “First, I am excited to work with Dean David H. Moore in his new capacity as the dean of BYU Law. I want the Board to be helpful to him in his new capacity. Second, I want to find ways that alumni can more effectively engage with one another. Whether it’s events, reunions, or service, I want us to reach out and connect with one another.” These goals coupled with Jon’s experience and abilities will bring about great things with the Board’s continued efforts. 

Even with an impressive academic, professional, and volunteer background, Jonathan is most proud of his family. He and his wife, Allison, have six children–their oldest son was followed by five girls. Jon enjoys attending his five daughters’ numerous ballet recitals, camping, and “rucking,” a type of hiking that requires carrying intense weight in your backpack. “I love spending time with my family, especially when we can do it in nature,” he said

Jon’s advice for current students and alumni comes in a single word: engage. “It feels wonderful to contribute and help one another. The people you’ll meet and the things you’ll learn at BYU Law will change your life for the better if you allow it.” Jon’s unique natural curiosity and drive for learning, coupled with his passion for BYU Law as an alum and president-elect of the Alumni Board, reveals that his advice to engage is obviously more than an ideal, but a personal mission.