Attorney at Law Magazine Los Angeles Publisher Sarah Torres sat down with Cassidy Merriam to discuss her career.
AALM: Tell us a little bit about your practice.
Merriam: I went to law school in New York and began practicing in Ladas & Parry’s New York trademark group. In May 2015, I relocated to Los Angeles and am based out of Ladas & Parry’s California office. I was fortunate to be able to continue working on my cases out of New York, yet be back in sunny Southern California, where I attended college. I am looking forward to getting further involved in the bar associations and professional organizations in Los Angeles, and meeting new colleagues in the legal community.
AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about being an attorney?
Merriam: I feel very lucky to have a career where I am constantly challenged to examine problems analytically and solve them creatively. I love dealing with tangible issues and being able to see concrete results. For instance, I have been handling the global trademark work for a startup technology company for about a year and have successfully overcome some very difficult issues with their marks. Yesterday, I walked into a store and saw a beautiful end-aisle display featuring their products with the trademarks that I had worked so hard to register and protect.
AALM: What do you find particularly challenging about your practice?
Merriam: I was drawn to intellectual property because I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I love to see the success of quality brands and the creative process that goes into building a brand. The biggest challenge in a trademark practice is being called too late. Marketing or design teams will fall in love with an idea for a new mark or campaign and will walk down the path before making sure it’s available. To tell a client “no” can be heartbreaking for them when the idea has become their baby. We like to work with our clients from the beginning of the creative process, so that valuable time, money, heart, and soul are not unnecessarily wasted on a concept that could create very serious headaches and risks down the road.
AALM: What first drew you to your firm?
Merriam: Jobs in soft IP are difficult to land out of law school because they are in high-demand and most IP boutiques prefer to hire laterals with a few years of training. I developed a passion for trademarks during law school, particularly through several internships. I was one of the lucky few to be hired at an IP firm as a first-year associate. I was drawn to Ladas & Parry because they have a global reputation for their internationally-focused IP practice and they have been a leader for over 100 years. In our increasingly-globalized world, it was important for me to be at a firm that could anticipate the needs of global clients.
AALM: Do you have any mentors or professors that encouraged you along the way?
Merriam: I am a great believer in surrounding yourself with as much information and knowledge as possible, particularly in the form of people who inspire you. I have developed wonderful relationships with many mentors, professors and friends, and I am never afraid to seek their opinion when I need advice. These mentors have supported my career and have inspired me to set the bar high and fiercely pursue whatever is the next goal.
AALM: What experiences have taught you the most?
Merriam: During law school, I worked with an organization called the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), which provides legal assistance to thousands of individuals who cannot afford legal assistance. Thorough the VLP, I not only gained invaluable legal experience, but I also met the most inspiring lawyers I’ve known. At one meeting, I had a client break down in tears, saying that for the first time in her life, she had found an organization that treated her with dignity and as an equal. It reinforced my position that every lawyer should find a way give to those less fortunate. Even small amounts of time or money can make a huge impact.