Holland & Hart trademark attorney Amanda Marston was recently interviewed by International Trademark Association for its Young Practitioners Spotlight. Marston shares her journey becoming an intellectual property (IP) attorney and provides guidance and insights for other young lawyers as they pursue a career in IP law.
This article, “Young Practitioner Spotlight: Amanda Marston,“ was originally published on Feb. 17, 2021, by the International Trademark Association on inta.org.
International Trademark Association
Amanda Marston has a vision for the future of trademark practice.
As an associate attorney in the Boulder, Colorado, USA, office of Holland & Hart (Denver, Colorado) since passing the bar in 2017, Ms. Marston’s current role in the firm’s intellectual property (IP) and trademark practice has shown her how IP professionals need to become more than attorneys.
“As time goes on, driven in no small part by the trademark tumult caused by the Internet, we will need to become more and more business-minded,” she said. “We will continue to provide great legal advice, but we’ll have to take into account more outside factors such as cultural sensitivity and social messaging when we review clients’ marks. We are as much brand consultants as lawyers.”
As IP law is being transformed by the Internet, she said, “Even in the short time since I passed the Bar, the legal landscape has become more nuanced and complex. It constantly evolves.”
Her future may be clear-eyed, but the path to the profession was not a classic “shortest distance between two points” journey. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Ms. Marston graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts High School in that city. She was the first person in her family to go to college, too, albeit with a two-year detour in entertainment to work as a cast member with Chip and Dale at Disneyland.
The law, though, won out and experiences have made her life as a lawyer that much richer.
“As a kid, my arguments with my parents always ended with them saying, ‘You ought to be a lawyer!,’” the young practitioner said. This led her to shadow a Las Vegas entertainment lawyer—“a transformative experience”—while in high school where she also discovered she could be a good advocate.
“Creativity is an essential quality for IP professionals,” Ms. Marston said. “As the world grows and changes and there are more and more marks in the world, we will need to be able to think creatively about how to best meet our clients’ and companies’ needs, to help them pick the right marks and protect them.”
Evidence of her scholarship on the matter can be seen in a piece she did for Colorado Lawyer magazine on how the EU General Data Protection Regulation is changing enforcement practices with regard to domain names. The subject has become even more urgent as many nations and U.S. states are considering or are about to implement similar privacy laws.
The advice she gives to new lawyers is short and succinct: Get involved! “Take on pro bono opportunities, help small businesses, attend interesting CLEs and IP training sessions,” she said. “The more you know and the more excited you are, the easier it will be to find work and clients you enjoy. And find good mentors.”
As a Japanese-American, she sees the value in cultural sensitivity among trademarks and the benefit of cultural diversity at the Bar. Since last year, she has been on the board of Colorado Pledge to Diversity, which was founded, as noted on its website, “for the purpose of addressing the inequities faced by Black law students and students of color, and expanded to address the inequities faced by students with disabilities, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender students, and other individuals who have been traditionally under-represented in the practice of law.”
She suggests that even young attorneys can guide their own ship.
“Figure out what you are good at,” Ms. Marston said. “If you are great with people one-on-one, consider being a mentor to younger practitioners, diverse attorneys, and students in your community. If you love public speaking, seek out opportunities to teach and present. Don’t force yourself into a box for how you can lead. We can touch lives and be great leaders in the IP world and our communities in many ways!”