Here’s a fact: Laurie Marshall, one of the most awesome and inspirational people around. She’s the Founder and President of Marshall Law Group (TradeMarks The Spot), a business designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners protect their intellectual property, specifically their trademarks. She’s been a trademark attorney for close to 20 years and has worked for several well-known firms in New York City.
However, Marshall isn’t just a savvy business women; she also speaks regularly on trademarks at venues such as General Assembly, In Good Company, Green Spaces, AlleyNYC, FIT, NYIT and presents webinars for SCORE, in addition to being a Venture in Residence at the NYIT Entrepreneur Center. Moreover, Laurie’s business was asked to move to the next round of competition to be on SHARK TANK Season 5.
Lucky for us, Marshall was nice enough to take time out of her incredibly busy schedule to chat about her business and her advice to other women hoping to start a successful enterprise.
What made you decide to become a lawyer and more specifically, a trademark lawyer?
Laurie Marshall: I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to study when I started law school, but it became very clear to me when I took a trademark class my first year. That was my initial exposure to the trademark field and I immediately knew it was my calling.
Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for branding. I loved going to the supermarket with my mom because I would get to see different logos and packaging on the various products. If Pop Tarts had a new design on the box, I would be drawn to it.
I have been working in trademark law for close to 20 years and I still get excited about the branding part of business.
Additionally, what made you decide to open your own business, Trademarks The Spot?
LM: It’s actually an interesting story, but in short, I did not “find” my business — it found me. For a large part of my career, I worked for Major League Baseball handling their trademarks. I left there wanting to spend more time with my young son and, shortly thereafter, received requests from MLB clubs asking if I would still work for them. In fact, the first request came, on my way to the hospital in early 2010, for the birth of my daughter. I never contemplated going out on my own, but I felt it was an opportunity to do what I loved and still be around for my children.
Soon after, I began getting calls from small businesses and entrepreneurs to help with their brand protection. Seeing the opportunity to fill a need in this area, I created a unique platform offering a low-cost, flat-fee package to meet the budgets of these start-up businesses. Over the last four plus years, my business has grown to represent over 400 clients, including more than a dozen MLB clubs and the National Basketball Association.
What advice do you have to other women hoping to start their own business, practice, or organization?
LM: Working with so many small businesses and entrepreneurs, and being one myself, has given me a good perspective to answer this question:
- Find a void and fill it. Venture to create a revolutionary product or service or simply think about “reinventing the wheel” to improve on what already exists.
- Certainly, having a passion about something is always a good idea, but I believe it is equally as important to focus a business on what you know. Countless times, I have seen my clients build successful businesses based not only on a need they see in the workplace, but also because they have a true understanding of what consumers and businesses want and require.