Full Time Practice

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meet Claire Foley Hawkins

Claire Hawkins, Shannon Sperry and Lisa Oman work together as the WIL reps for the Seattle JRCLS Chapter.  I thought it would be fun to get to know them better. I asked each of them the same six questions. The following were Claire's responses.

Where did you attend law school?  I attended BYU's J. Reuben Clark law school from 1998-2001.

Why did you decide to go to law school? In 1996 I graduated from BYU with a degree in English and was hired to be a research editor with (then) F.A.R.M.S., working directly with John W. Welch, who was very involved with F.A.R.M.S. of course, but also was editor of BYU Studies and on the faculty at BYU's law school. As I worked with him over the next couple of years, he encouraged me to consider law school, and to further my existing goals of additional education and opportunities (and because I learned that law school didn't require a thesis or dissertation!), I applied to BYU's law school. My father had also suggested that I might do well to attend law school because it can be such a good foundational degree that can lead to so many different opportunities, and although I wasn't quite sure exactly what I would do with the law degree, because of my interest in English, editing, publication, and copyright issues, I focused on intellectual property law from the start.

What type of practice do you have? I practice intellectual property law and help businesses and artists build, manage, and leverage their intellectual property assets. I provide a full range of counseling, prosecution, portfolio management, enforcement, and dispute resolution services and I enjoy resolving trademark, domain name, and other disputes and crafting cooperative agreements to protect, expand, and strengthen intellectual property rights. I also provide pro bono intellectual property and other legal services to local non-profit organizations such as the Seattle Symphony. I have practiced intellectual property law since 2001, and am currently co-chair of my firm's Trademark Practice Group.

What do you like about practicing law? I had grown up thinking the practice of law was all about litigation, disputes, burdens of proof, and winning, but when I learned about the transactional and intellectual property side of law in working with Jack Welch, I was very interested! I love working with people and organizations to build, manage, protect, and use their ideas, creativity, hopes, rights, and dreams. I work in a very creative field and one with increasing internationality, which is very appealing to me. I enjoy seeing things conducted and resolved in an organized, fair, and productive manner, and somehow I have been lucky to have ended up with like-minded (or at least appreciative!) clients, and I'm grateful for that. I like to think that I am somehow an advocate for peaceful and fair resolution of issues and for the building up of a legal structure that aids people rather than tears them down. I appreciate that Christ has the role of advocate for and counselor to each of us, and use his example to guide my actions in my professional practice and personal life.

Tell us a little bit about your family. I married Brad Hawkins, a cellist and composer, in 2005. We met in Seattle in 2001 when I moved here for work after law school, and we both feel like we got the better end of this deal! He and I share a lot of the same art and intellectual interests, and we both just adore our two children -- Thorvald, age 5.75, and Astrid, age 3.75. Brad's profession has him working mostly afternoons, evenings, and weekends, and my transactional practice does not require a rigid schedule, so for the past 5.75 years we have switched off with the kids as needed, which has worked out really nicely for all of us. When Thorvald was born I negotiated for a part-time schedule resulting in lower annual billing requirements, and have been able to both keep that part-time/flex-time option and demonstrate that it is a profitable arrangement for my firm. I have been grateful for the flexibility allowed by the schedules of both a cellist and a transactional attorney, and I have noted the precedent that my career path has either provided or maintained for other women at my firm or in my network.


Share with us why you're involved with the JRCLS and how WIL is a part of that. I'm involved in the JRCLS (and am currently on our chapter's Board) because it is a group of really nice and wonderful people with whom I share so many foundational and guiding principles. Our chapter has provided me with mentors, service and leadership opportunities, CLE and fun family events, and great referral/networking sources too. I love connecting with others and being both a resource to them and learning from their experiences and different perspectives. I also want to be an example to others of how it is possible to live the gospel, manage a career, participate in family life, and seek out opportunities for service, leadership, and inspiration -- and be a woman. There are not many women in our chapter, and I hope that if there have been reasons why more women have not been lawyers, or lawyers who were involved with the JRCLS, that my participation can go some distance to encourage more participation by or aspirations of women in the area. WIL factors into that by linking me to women across the world in my field who are similarly trying to navigate the career and family options and inspiration they've received in their lives, and I have so appreciated hearing their individual stories, struggles, and solutions.

Claire, thank you so much for your time and thoughtful responses. You have enriched our lives!

(We want to regularly use this blog to highlight you: women of faith who have been trained in the law.  You are doing great things--in the courtroom, in your community and in your home.   Getting to know each other better will strengthen each of us individually as well as strengthen us as a whole.  If you know anyone you think we should highlight, please let us know at nanbarker@gmail.com.)

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