Forget the sky high heels and the over-sized purses. The best fashion accessory these days is apparently your law degree.
It's a well-known adage that everyone needs a lawyer but fashion law is a growing specialty tailored to the specific needs of fashion designers. Whether it's a new area or simply one that's getting attention now is unclear.
What we do know is that it's a field looking for lawyers. But before you dive in headfirst, make sure you can offer what they're looking for.
In fashion hubs like New York and Los Angeles, the practice is big enough to support several medium-sized firms dedicated specifically to fashion law. But there are also plenty of solo and small firms that specialize in this area.
Attorneys who devote themselves to fashion law have to be prepared to deal with real estate deals, mergers and acquisitions, employment disputes, and intellectual property claims, reports Reuters. In terms of law it's not too different from any business practice.
But in terms of attitude, it's a whole different issue.
Fashion is a creative industry and many of the attorneys who work in fashion have a healthy respect for the market even if they work on the less colorful side of the business. The specialty has become so popular that law schools have started offering classes on it.
NYU, Fordham, and Cardozo in NYC all offer fashion law courses as part of the curriculum. Loyola in Los Angeles plans to start offering similar courses in January, reports Reuters.
Fashion law has also gotten a media boost recently for big cases involving both high-end and retail fashion. Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent both claimed victory in their trademark case on red-soled footwear. Yoga pants-maker Lululemon recently filed suit against Calvin Klein for patent infringement.
That highlights one of the big draws of fashion law: its relatively untested status. Since fashion has not been a common area of legal practice there are novel legal issues to deal with which is of interest to creatively-minded attorneys.
Even if you don't love fashion, it's worthwhile to consider the implication that legal specialties can target any niche industry. Not sure how to market yourself to that crowd? We've got you covered.
- Christian Louboutin Sues YSL Over Red-Soled Shoes (FindLaw's In House)
- Fordham University Law Launches Fashion Law Institute (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Ex-Lawyer Turns Jewelry-Making Hobby Into High-Fashion Career (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)