This spring, DWT’s New York office hosted and staffed a one-day “Pop-Up Clinic,” providing free legal consultation for fashion designers, aspiring entrepreneurs, and fashion industry professionals. The event was organized by associate Lisa Keith, who matched nine DWT attorney volunteers with their clients.
As the name implies, the Pop-Up Clinic is a travelling pro bono series. It’s a project of the Fashion Law Institute, a nonprofit created four years ago at Fordham Law School by Professor Susan Scafidi, with support and advice from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and its president, Diane von Furstenberg. Scafidi pioneered the study of fashion law and serves as the institute’s academic director.
The Pop-Up Clinics are one of many projects of the institute, which offers training for the fashion lawyers and designers of the future, provides legal services for design students and professionals, and makes available information as well as assistance on issues facing the fashion industry.
The clients who attended the DWT clinic ranged from clothing and accessory designers to fashion brands. They presented a host of legal issues for our attorneys, including trademark and brand protection, corporate formation, and employment law questions. Our lawyers were each paired with a Fordham fashion law student to assist with research during their meetings.
DWT attorneys from New York and San Francisco have since followed up with some of the clients, who have elegant, easy-to-understand inventions that may be patentable. Our lawyers will be working with them to prepare their provisional patent applications.
“These clients have so much to contend with already as they are starting their own businesses and designing their own lines of clothing and accessories,” said Lisa Keith. “It has been very rewarding to assist them with their IP issues and make sure they are establishing a strong brand identity early on.”