I started my career in real estate and environmental law, and practiced in these areas for about two years, before I made my way into intellectual property (IP), which I still practice in today. Since diving into IP, I have taken on numerous cases in domestic and international trademark, copyright, domain name, Internet, social media, advertising, unfair competition. Today, I serve as the Chair of the Chicago Intellectual Property Practice at DLA Piper.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
Ever since 1995, when I began practicing in intellectual property law, my practice has been global. While there has always been an enforcement/litigation component to my practice, over the past several years, my practice has become even more focused on this particular area. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that businesses have developed even more of an online presence than they had before. Between developing their own websites and leveraging the use of various social media platforms, every individual and every company has a digital footprint. As a result, infringing another party’s IP has become much easier and occurs more frequently than ever before. I anticipate that the next few years will bring more of the same – a continued uptick in enforcement activities, in the US as well as abroad.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Become the very best lawyer you can be — as quickly as possible. Seek a mentor. Develop a new skill set. And soak in all that you can in law school and in your work experience before taking the bar, because now more than ever, there is an expectation that young attorneys will develop at a very steep trajectory if they want to be successful. By becoming known as a great lawyer, you will be able to more effectively leverage your network into more business opportunities and continually grow as a professional.
What is one technological device, application, or tool you could not function without?
My PDA – between my phone, my email, text messaging and other related work apps, I can stay connected – regardless of whether I am in the office or traveling.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
When I was a more junior attorney, I was asked to cover the practice of a more senior attorney who suddenly became very ill and was out of the office recovering for a number of weeks. One of the files I needed to handle was a rather contentious litigation matter that had some very tight deadlines for which I needed to obtain extensions of time. I called opposing counsel who could have been difficult and not agreed to grant the extensions. However, when she knew I was the one making this call to her, and not my colleague, she immediately asked if something was wrong, and I told her that my colleague was ill and out of the office. Instead of being difficult, she showed compassion and was gracious enough to grant the requested extension. Although this happened quite a long time ago, I will never forget how professional and courteous this attorney was. It is the moments like these where we are reminded that opposing counsel isn’t simply your adversary.
What do you do for fun?
In my free time, I enjoy exercising, reading and writing, and traveling.