Tell us about your background
I joined Katten in the summer of 2021 as part of the firm's Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity practice in New York where I advise companies on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and divestiture and joint venture transactions.
Specifically, my practice focuses on transactions where intellectual property is the key asset – ranging from acquiring brands to structuring and negotiating joint ventures to establish celebrity product lines to supporting clients' worldwide brand expansion initiatives through licensing and distribution deals.
I grew up outside of New York City, in Westchester Country, and decided to pursue a career in law for a myriad of reasons, including possessing attributes that I believe make good counsel – perspective, judgment, and discipline.
You've clearly found and are excelling in an M&A/Private Equity niche focused on the retail, apparel, footwear and beauty sectors. How did your practice evolve to focus on this sector?
As a junior associate, I gained exposure to a few different practice areas, but once I had the opportunity to play a significant role on a merger pertaining to the acquisition of a plastic utensil company, I was hooked. I wanted to build up a transactional skillset, and was industry agnostic.
Later, as an associate at a European law firm with a significant client base in the fashion industry, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do a series of significant deals in the space, buying and selling brands and portfolios of license agreements.
In cutting my teeth on those deals, I simultaneously built up a fluency with respect to issues that arise in connection with the exploitation of intellectual property rights and started to negotiate license and endorsement agreements.
In time, I gained exposure to the host of legal challenges faced by companies in the sector – ranging from union and customs issues to a variety of employment, data privacy, advertising and consumer product safety issues, to name only a few.
I believe that the breadth and depth of this experience has been a value-add in working with clients to evaluate risk when issues arise, be it with respect to a transaction or in navigating day to day challenges.
Given the late pandemic retail boom and unpredictable future, do you have predictions you can share about your industry and practice areas?
Celebrity stakeholders. I think we will see even more of an increase of celebrities pivoting from the role of endorser to equity stakeholder, holding operational roles at fashion and beauty companies. This will be interesting coupled with the NCAA's recent decision to allow college athletes to earn money by endorsing products and services from companies. Taken together, the value placed on branding and IP will continue to grow.
On the technology front, I expect we'll see increased uses of augmented reality, especially as consumers rely on e-commerce.
We'll also see more consolidation and cross pollination. Companies and brands of all sizes, stages and vintages continue to compete over eyeballs in lieu of shelf space, resulting in consolidation, acquisitions out of distress, and cross pollination among sectors. For example, malls are becoming warehouses and are also being increasingly adopted and transformed into experiential venues.
You are an active advocate for women and girls. What motivates you to volunteer your time for pro bono projects and civic work?
I most enjoy mentoring young women who seek professional advancement in the law or otherwise. In the past, I have been involved in book clubs with high school students where the books are used as a vehicle to discuss issues they face. I also regularly participate in Leadership Council on Legal Diversity to support diverse students navigating their first year in law school. This was especially rewarding last year, when 1L students had limited resources to cope and adjust to the remote nature of their first year in law school.
What do you do for fun, when you're off the clock?
Outside of work, you can find me playing tennis, going for a run up the west side highway or on the beach in East Hampton. I also currently spend the majority of my free time with my new puppy, a Wheaten Terrier named Clover, and I am loving it.
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