Featured Event: WMN Legal + Our Sacred Women Present: Do I Need a Lawyer For That? Powered by Savoir Collab
This month's featured event hits close to home, and let me tell you why.
Recently I found myself in a situation with Yes She Can and the well-loved LA gift shop, Poketo. Poketo launched a line of t-shirts that said "Female Founder" and used the phrase "Yes She Can" in the marketing copy on their homepage. I suspected that it was unintentional (and they later confirmed). A few months prior, I had filed for my trademark through a lawyer. But I wasn't sure if marketing copy actually qualified as a trademark violation, or if I should I approach them to change it. I wanted to handle the situation delicately since I am a customer and longtime supporter of the brand. That day, I reached out to the lawyer who filed my trademark and in a funny coincidence, he happened to also represent Poketo and wasn't able to advise me on the situation. So I found myself stressed out over this unexpected predicament and scrambled to find answers far down the Google rabbit hole.
As a fellow local business owner, I eventually made the decision to reach out to Poketo's team. Everything I knew about them told me that they were nice, reasonable people. I'm lucky I was right. They assured me it was unintentional and the issue was resolved relatively seamlessly. But I know not every founder will be like Ted and Angie. I've heard enough horror stories to know better about companies hit with cease-and-desist letters but refuse to respond or cooperate, forcing the issue to escalate to litigation. The entire situation put me on alert for the days that followed, and I knew I didn't want to risk another close call before finding a lawyer.
When most of us think about working with a lawyer, it's because shit has already hit the fan. We've already gone from oh-maybe-one-day-I-should-have a good lawyer to needing one STAT. But having good legal representation is about more than having someone to battle it out for you in the courtroom. In a more practical, everyday context, hiring a lawyer to set up your business properly is a proactive measure that can save you a ton of money down the road, as I learned recently. And if you plan to sell or take an investment, it can actually increase the value of your company by having a properly protected entity from the start.
But let's be real. As female founders on that startup budget, the idea of taking on an additional cost like lawyer fees can be intimidating or downright scary – especially before you're even making enough to cut yourself a paycheck. Frankly, this is why most of us put it off until it's an absolute necessity. So we DIY what we can and Google our way to filing the necessary paperwork for our DBAs and the like. While that may be enough to get by, how sure are you really that you filed everything correctly? That you chose the right business entity? That you're not going to get hit with a trademark violation and have to redo everything, including your branding that you love so much, because oops, another company already owns the rights to that name? The truth is, you don't. Most of us don't. These are the kinds of things Google can't adequately prepare us for.
Even with lawyers in my family, I can tell you it wasn't easy to navigate my legal options. I had no idea where to even start looking for a lawyer. Like most new female entrepreneurs, I was wary of surprise expenses that would put me into debt and proceeded very cautiously. All this is to say why I'm so passionate about the value of this month's Feature Event: "Do I Need a Lawyer For That" by WMN Legal and Our Sacred Women, powered by Savoir Collab. It'll be hosted at the office of Walker, Stevens Cannom & Yang LLP, a woman-owned law firm in the Arts District that's so warm and inviting you wouldn't know you were in a law office.
Tickets are $45 and include the workshop led by two kind and approachable female attorneys who are experts in their field, Q&A, time to network, and light lunch. But get this: We're giving away TWO tickets to you and a BFF! All you have to do is enter here. Giveaway closes on Monday, 4/16 at 6pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random and notified on Tuesday, 4/17. Hurry and good luck!
If you prefer to purchase your ticket, you can do so here.