The Alumni Spotlight features Juhi Patel, who serves as Trademark Counsel for Newell Brands.
Juhi’s interview highlights her passion for trademark law, and all of the ways she is able to work with others while finding business-minded solutions to legal problems. When she’s not busy at work, she spends her free time making incredible food and music playlists.
What is the best and/or most rewarding part of your role?
The best part of my role is working closely with my business lines to develop and protect their trademarks. I enjoy working hand-in-hand with my clients to develop their trademark strategies to best meet their goals. Additionally, I am regularly afforded the opportunity to train our marketing and branding teams, and to review their trademark portfolios and efficiently utilize the businesses’ resources.
What advice do you have for attorneys interested in having a career like yours?
Be willing to take some personal risks. I was working at a small business and tax litigation firm in Atlanta when I first graduated from law school in 2008. This was not the area of law I wanted to practice, but there were very few job opportunities at the time because of the Great Recession. In 2012, I saw an opportunity to work at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in Washington, D.C., and while it was a big decision and change to move there, I knew this was the only way to get my foot in the door for a career in trademark law. A few years later, in 2015, I had the opportunity to join Bass, Berry & Sims’ IP practice, and while I was very unsure about going back to a law firm, I knew this was a great opportunity to practice trademark law in the private sector. Ultimately, I think I am at Newell Brands today because of my experiences at the USPTO and Bass, Berry & Sims, so I am grateful I was afforded those opportunities and thankful I took the risks.
How did your time at Bass, Berry & Sims prepare you for your role?
My previous role at the USPTO was limited to representing the federal government in the trademark prosecution process. Bass, Berry & Sims gave me the opportunity to represent trademark owners, which implicates a much broader scope of trademark law. During my time at the firm, I developed my skills beyond trademark prosecution to include enforcement, agreement, and deal work. Additionally, the firm’s focus on providing business-minded legal advice has served me well in my role as in-house counsel.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
My favorite is Istanbul, Turkey. It is so different from any other major city I have ever been to – the skyline is made of the domes and minarets of mosques, rather than skyscrapers. It is such an old city with a rich history full of dichotomies – there are remnants of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, churches that were converted to mosques, and a mix of European and Asian culture. And the food is out of this world!
What’s on your music playlist?
My musical tastes are very eclectic, and I go through phases of what music I like! Right now, our family has been listening to a lot of ‘80s pop, ‘90s Bollywood, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and The Weeknd.
What do you do to unwind?
I love to cook. For most people it may seem like more work, but it helps me relax — everything from baking bread to making ice cream to perfecting my chili recipe. Because I spend most of my day looking at a computer screen, creating in the kitchen gives my eyes a break and allows me to get my hands messy.