Beyond the Docket: Stephanie Pottick
Alt Legal Team | November 08, 2019
Welcome back to Beyond the Docket! This time we are back to interview Stephanie Pottick of Pottick Law PC. Stephanie Pottick is a business and IP attorney and the former vice president of Sky Kids, a toy company. We talk about her experience managing a company and her emphasis on proactive IP and business protection.
Tell us a bit about your legal practice. What type of work do you focus on?
My legal practice focuses on brand and business protection for entrepreneurs, corporations, and small businesses. That includes trademarks, copyrights, IP ownership, licensing agreements, and business contracts.
You first launched your own firm over 10 years ago. What was that like? What is the best part of managing your own firm? What advice would you give to lawyers looking to start their own practices?
Before becoming an attorney, I worked in the toy industry on the business side, so I was familiar and comfortable with running a business. When I launched my own firm, I was of course a bit apprehensive, as anyone would be, but I knew I would figure it out. The best part of managing my own firm is the flexibility to take on work I find interesting and the ability to work with some amazing people.
Lawyers looking to start their own practices should educate themselves about starting and running a practice before they actually get started. Also, they should find mentors and other attorneys who have started their own practices and ask lots of questions. Persistence pays off!
You recently spoke at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. What did you talk about? How did you prepare for the talk? What was the best thing that happened during the talk or the expo?
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to speak at Licensing Expo this year. My topic was “Is your brand ready for licensing?” To prepare, I basically thought about my experience from the toy business and married it with my legal knowledge to come up with some helpful steps brand owners can take to get their brands ready for licensing. I found out after Licensing Expo that someone in my audience decided to protect his IP because of my talk, which led to a licensing deal for him. That was very rewarding for me to learn!
With your trademarked slogans “Legal Advice Before You Need A Lawyer®” and “Look Before You Leap®,” it seems like you focus a lot on preventing rather than responding to legal issues. How did you come to that approach? Do you ever get pushback from clients about this approach?
Yes, I believe in proactive protection and that whatever business and brand owners can do up front to protect themselves will pay off in dividends. I take this approach because of my toy business experience. I’ve seen from the business side how without proper foresight and protection up front, things can go bad and cost a lot of money. It is challenging sometimes to convince some business and brand owners that they need to take action to protect themselves, but the ones who do are better able to devote their time and resources to running a successful business.
Before you became an attorney, you were the vice president of Sky Kids, a toy company. How did you get started in that? What was that like? What was your favorite toy from your time there?
Actually, I was a corporate paralegal at a big law firm in NYC when I got out of college. I asked all the attorneys whether I should go to law school or business school. All but one of them said business school, so I decided to start my business career and wound up working at Sky Kids. It was the most amazing experience! I did everything from sales and marketing to brand creation and protection to licensing, logistics, manufacturing, and more. It allowed me to travel the world and to meet some incredible people. My favorite toy was our Sesame Street Elmo talking shopping cart and stroller because, before we got the music chip as a sample, I had to mimic Elmo’s voice and his sayings for our buyers.
What is your law firm’s technology stack? Do you use Slack? Practice management software? Trademark management software? If you could create any legal practice-focused technology, what would it be and why?
Of course I use Alt Legal for trademark management, although I have to admit I don’t take advantage of all the useful features included. The Alt Legal team is very responsive and helpful. I do use a bookkeeping software and am in the process of signing up for marketing/CRM systems. Otherwise, I have internal systems that help me keep track of important items for my practice. If I could create a legal practice-focused technology, it would include simple interfaces that addressed my workflow, customer list, tasks and time tracking.