Summer Internship Q&A: Sam Friedfeld 3L and Roxy Menhaji 3L

Roxy Menhaji 3L and Sam Friedfeld 3L are spending their summer as trademark externs at Ladas & Parry LLP, a global firm that specializes in intellectual property (IP) and has offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Virginia, London, and Munich. The firm works with clients in a wide range of industries including electronics, fashion, media, entertainment, sports, and travel. Roxy and Sam are gaining experience in one of the fastest-growing legal fields and building on their cutting-edge IP coursework at New York Law School (NYLS).

How does this internship link to your career interests?

SF: I came to NYLS with an interest in Sports Law and Entertainment Law. Trademarks are integral to both industries. Skills in trademarks and IP matters are also valuable to any law firm that, like Ladas & Parry, works with these kinds of clients.

RM: I applied to NYLS with my sights set on Fashion Law because not many schools offer that coursework. Before I even applied, I went to an open house and met Dean Anthony Crowell. After speaking with him about NYLS’s Fashion Law programming and how I could bring my previous fashion work experience to NYLS, I knew it was the school for me. I was over the moon when I got in. Because of our location, I’m able to go to Fashion Week events. Because of my education, I now understand the legal issues that affect designers. I would love to end up back in the fashion industry. If there was ever a time to be involved in IP, that time is now.

Are you seeing the connection between your classes and this work? 

SF: I took IP with Professor Jacob Sherkow, and I’m implementing the trademark and IP concepts I learned in his class. I’m also seeing similarities between Copyright Law and Trademark Law. I took Copyright Law with Professor Richard Chused. I’ve also taken lessons from my Drafting: Contacts course with Professor David Fish ’96. I use the drafting and grammatical principles from that class in my daily work.

RM: Fashion Law with Professor Debora McNamara was a watershed course for me. It laid the groundwork for what I’m doing every day. Also, I use the skills I learned in Legislation and Regulation with Professor Brandt Goldstein every day. And I’ve never made more use of the skills I learned in Legal Research, which I took with Professor Michael McCarthy and Professor Michael Roffer ’83. I’m so grateful for the law librarians. I advise everyone to take that class! You learn so much about how to break down Westlaw, break down LexisNexis, and get what you need. Finally, Legal Practice with Professor Daniel Warshawsky was very important: I often have to write short, condensed, and organized summaries of my work for partners. Legal Practice taught me how to do that.

What projects and tasks are you working on?

SF: I’ve been drafting client reports and responses to office actions issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). To draft the responses, I look at the attorneys’ comments and the issues raised by the USPTO examiner. Responses range from brief to quite substantive; some require the submission of evidence and written arguments. I’ve also been involved with researching articles, which we plan to submit to the New York State Bar Association and other groups, outlining recent developments in IP law. Many of our attorneys are active in giving presentations, so I’m also helping them update CLE [continuing legal education] materials related to changes in trademark law.

RM: I’m helping to edit an entry for the International Trademark Association (INTA) Guide, which details to what extent every country’s trademark procedures overlap and includes new developments in trademark law. I’m also thrilled to be working with an associate here to research developments in Fashion Law, a very niche area. And I’m helping with client-based work such as drafting portfolios on relevant trademarks that clients should register or consider re-registering for. I recently drafted an office action to respond to the denial of a registration our client applied for; that involved researching case law to show why our client should in fact be granted the trademark. I can’t stress enough how valuable it is to develop these skills in a real-world work setting.

Are there opportunities for mentoring with senior attorneys?

SF: Yes, I typically work with associates on assignments from the partners. Together, the associate and I develop a course of action, draft a response, and so on. Then we meet with the partner to review our work and talk about how to move forward. The articles I have helped research are often written by partners, which gives me opportunities to work directly with them. All of the associates and partners have been so welcoming and have encouraged us to talk to them and ask questions.

RM: Definitely. I’m working directly with a partner on his INTA guide. I feel very lucky to be able to work directly with him. I’m working with associates too, and I’m reporting on every project I work on to a partner.