A Word from Vivek

It’s been a full year since I wrote you all! Back then, we had just hired our CEO Noah Ornstein. With the help and guidance of Noah, and many others, we strengthened our foundation and are close to launching several new initiatives and business lines to re-affirm our decade-long tagline, “Lawyers for Innovators.”

I’m excited to tell you a bit about what we’ve built this past year, and how the firm is doing overall.

 

Product

Soon after joining the team, Noah dug into his network to identify some folks who could help us build our own products. After using so many different products and tools over the past 15 years, we had some ideas on how we could create something better.

With the help of our Director of Product Jen Rothschild, and a stellar European dev team, I am super excited to announce we developed 3 technological solutions that will be useful to companies and lawyers around the world. The first, a trademark search product (at a very competitive price point) will launch this fall.

Trademark searches are not only important but have transformed through recent technology like generative AI and higher computing speeds. As lawyers protecting some of the most valuable IP on the planet, we know that our clients aren’t yet comfortable solely relying on technology to make major decisions regarding their IP. So, we created a unique solution that implements the latest technology with a level of human oversight that will provide comfort to clients.

 

Advisory

After immigrating to the US more than 20 years ago, Noah obtained both law and business degrees from Columbia University (in the days before the joint programs…ouch!). His first job after graduating was as an investment banker on Wall St.

Not long after we all started working together, we realized that we are in a unique position to help founders and C-suites with fundraising or M+A opportunities. We are well situated to identify targets for our VC and PE fund clients. Sure, we’ve done the legal work, but actually brokering the deal is something that we didn’t formalize in years past.

All of that is changing. With the help of past and current teammates, we’re building a thriving advisory practice.

Now, we are helping funds find targets and targets find buyers and investors. Our unique perspective on the market has made this a very organic move, and our clients couldn’t be happier with the assist. If you’re a fund looking for acquisition targets, or a founder looking for funding or a potential exit, give us a shout!

 

 

Spaces

No topic garnered more attention in a post-pandemic professional world than the physical office. Do we need one? Do we have to go? How often?

We saw this as an opportunity to transform what it meant to occupy a physical workspace. In NY, we moved into nearly 6,000 sq. ft. in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. We found this space at the absolute depth of the pandemic, a bargain we’ll likely never see again in the life of the firm!

Working with longtime clients and friends, Snarkitecture, we are close to completing an immersive, museum-like experience that will be enjoyed by our team, clients, friends, and members of our community who will be invited to participate in a wide variety of programming, CLE, podcasts, meetings, events, and performances. The space will include a vinyl listening room, a podcast studio, and plenty of spaces to meet, relax, get lost in thought, or collaborate with a colleague.  Here are some renderings of the space. We expect to be completed this fall, with more than enough time for a holiday party!

Almost 1300 miles south of our 21st St office is our Miami hub, in the nerve center of the Miami Design District. I’ve lived on Miami Beach for nearly 20 years, save a few years in Chicago in the middle, and we fell in love with a space in Little Haiti. But at the end of the day, the chance to partner up with Craig Robins and the Miami Design District was a no-brainer.

The space itself is a stunner. Artwork by the one and only Six N. Five will reflect off a long table crafted with care by Snarkitecture. Together, the room feels like a cohesive work of art, providing depth and inspiration to anyone working in the space. We plan on having our startup and #MiamiTech clients and friends in the space often, using it as an office space, a meeting space, or a place to hang and meet new people.

The space, however, is just the beginning in Miami. We have several yearly art events and projects that will take place in the neighborhood, from our annual Art Basel Miami Beach activation, to shows featuring our clients’ work in art, design, furniture, architecture, fashion, and beyond. Thank you, Miami Design District — we love you!

And finally, Chicago! Our time in the Loop has ended. While we’re sad to leave the space that was, for all intents and purposes, our first real home, we are eager to find something new that is representative of the city, our community there, and our vision at large!

 

Legal Services

What’s up with the good ole’ law firm? It too is cookin’ in new and interesting ways!

Like a lot of you experienced in your business, Q1 of 2023 was slower than in years past. Whereas 2021 and 2022 were the two biggest years of our young Company’s life, 2023 got off to less active start. The VC market started the year on pause, and the idea train that spawned new ventures for the 24-36 months prior was finally slowing down to a manageable pace.

But Q2 bounced back in a big way, in areas that are historically busy during a market downturn: litigation and M+A. On the litigation side, my partner and litigation lead Liz Austermuehle has been handling a wide variety of very interesting disputes – from sneaker customization and software trade secrets to generative AI artworks and marketplace counterfeiting. This is one heck of a time to be an IP lawyer. Each week we face new technologies, regulations, and novel problems to be solved. We relish these opportunities to overcome thorny obstacles for our clients, especially when there’s really no best practice or industry standard to follow.

On the transactional side, it’s all about M+A and AI. We have several clients buying distressed or complimentary assets at a discount, and others looking for a stable home to scale for the next few years. Our enterprise clients cannot learn enough about AI, and we love that! What can we do on Chat GPT? What outputs can we use? What can’t we use? Are we going to get sued? These questions are coming in day and night. AI is a transformational shift that everyone is feeling, regardless of the industry.

I’ve never been so excited about the future of Jayaram! There are all kinds of new great talent here as well. Kenneth Anand, the author of Sneaker Law and the former GC of Yeezy is our new Director of Client Relations. Christina Lehn, an experienced litigator and gamer from Jones Day, joined the team in August. Morgan Dufault, who led recruiting for a major NYC firm for years, joined the team to help us attract others like us who want to build this movement 5x over 5 years. Jay Shanker, legendary Entertainment, Film + TV lawyer (you probably read his book in law school!), recently joined the firm and is helping us stand up the kind of entertainment practice that will guide the creators of the future. Emma Niou, previously with McGuireWoods LLP, started working for us on Corporate matters on a part time basis, and is now full-time and leading our Corporate team on a wide variety of deals, from $500k seed rounds for startups, to $500 million M+A transactions for major brands and public companies.

 

I am grateful that you are all on this journey with us. Without your support, we’d be toast! Reach out, drop me a note, I’d love to hear from you:

vivek@jayaramlaw.com