WIPR Influential Women in IP 2020
In the spotlight
Doing it for herself—
After a career beginning with a dramatic trial
and two decades of experience, Stacy Grossman
decided to strike out on her own and start a law
firm. Here, she talks to Influential Women in IP
about the steep learning curve and figuring out
how to attract and retain clients.
tacy Grossman has always been
passionate about brands, content and
entrepreneurship. After graduating from
law school, she worked at a boutique
entertainment firm and practised at a large IP firm,
and then went in-house at a global media company.
In 2014, ready for a new challenge, Grossman decided
to launch her own practice.
“With nearly 20 years of experience as a lawyer, I
had solid skills and a powerful network. I was ready,”
she says about her decision.
Armed with just one client and a great deal of
determination and excitement, Grossman ventured
into the unknown.
“From the first day, I was fully charged, excited not
only to offer my services to clients, but also to learn
how to build and manage my own business. Starting
a law firm from scratch is not for the faint of heart,
it’s been a lot of work. But it’s absolutely been worth
it,” she adds.
Since then Grossman, who is based in New York,
has grown an enviable practice, serving hundreds
of clients ranging from individuals and startups to
private and public companies, across many industries.
Influential Women in IP sat down with Grossman
to discuss her experience, the growth of her firm, and
her thoughts on influential women in IP.
What is your professional history, and how
did you come to specialise in IP?
I’ve always loved the arts and began my career in New
York as an associate for an entertainment lawyer
named Ken Burrows. I spent my first months as a
lawyer preparing for trial—we were representing the
actor Joan Collins in a breach of publishing contract
lawsuit against Random House.
Less than a year after I graduated from law school,
I was on Court TV (a television channel), sitting at
I discovered that
the best way to
grow is simply
to provide great
counsel’s table with Ken and Ms Collins, waiting for a
jury verdict. We won, and everyone told me to retire—
that was in February 1996, almost 25 years ago.
We also worked on trademark and copyright cases,
and it was my interest in IP that led me to Fish &
Richardson, where I became a principal of the firm
and focused on litigation.
I left Fish in 2005 for an in-house counsel
position at News Corporation. Working at a
media company with clients such as the New York
Post and HarperCollins taught me how to be a
business-minded lawyer. I sharpened my trademark
prosecution, global portfolio management, licensing,
negotiation and litigation avoidance skills. I also
learned how to be a smart client.
What prompted you to start your own firm?
I’ve always been interested in owning a business, and
when I left News Corporation, I decided that the time
had come to test my entrepreneurial skills.
A wise person told me: “All it takes is a little
business card and a lot of guts and drive.” I rolled
up my sleeves and gave myself two years to build a
practice. The two-year mark passed, and I was doing
well, so I kept going.
What were the biggest challenges during
your firm’s first few years?
Having spent the past eight years as an in-house
lawyer, I wasn’t in the practice of getting clients—I
was used to being the client.
The first challenge was learning how to attract
clients and build my firm’s reputation. Fortunately,
I have amazing professional and personal networks
and tapped into them for support.
I spent time learning about different ways that
lawyers market their services and I discovered that the
best way to grow is simply to provide great service and
build lasting relationships with clients.
Another challenge was figuring out how to
balance billable work with all the time needed to
manage a business. I’m still amazed by the volume
of administrative work: payroll, insurance, bookkeeping,
conflicts, and so much more.
There was a very steep learning curve at the start,
and I continue to learn each year. On the bright side,
navigating complex business issues myself allows me
to relate to my clients in a meaningful way—I feel
What makes you excited about your work?
I’m truly passionate about helping clients of every size
build, grow and monetise their brands and businesses.
I also take great pride in owning my own business, and
in all that I’ve accomplished in a relatively short time.
I love the substance of my work, especially when I
encounter novel issues. For example, in 2019, the US
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented
a controversial rule requiring the publication of
domicile addresses on trademark applications.