An Interview with Jessica Bahr

AuthorShane Delsman
PositionShane Delsman is a shareholder with Godfrey & Kahn S.C. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He can be reached at
©2019. Published in Landslide®, Vol. 11, No. 5, May/June 2019, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or
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An Interview with Jessica Bahr
Vice President, Associate General
Counsel at Constellation Brands
By Shane Delsman
Shane Delsman is a shareholder with Godfrey & Kahn S.C. in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He can be reached at
Jessica Bahr is Vice President, Associate General Counsel at
Constellation Brands, Inc., the number one total beverage alco-
hol company in the United States and passionate producers of
premium beer, wine, and spirits brands. Jessica joined the Con-
stellation Brands Beer Division in 2015 as Senior Counsel, with
responsibility for supporting the marketing department and
managing the trademark portfolio. In early 2019, Jessica took
on a new role to lead the legal Advertising, Marketing, Promo-
tions & Trade Practices team for total beverage alcohol. Prior
to joining Constellation Brands, Jessica worked as an associate
attorney for Neal & McDevitt LLC and as an advertising lawyer
at Re:Sources USA, a Publicis Groupe Company. Jessica lives in
Chicago, Illinois, with her husband and son.
Tell us a little bit about Constellation Brands.
Constellation Brands is a Fortune 500® company and leading
international producer and marketer of beer, wine, and spir-
its, with operations in the United States, Mexico, New Zealand,
Italy, and Canada. Constellation is the number three beer com-
pany in the United States, with high-end, iconic imported brands
such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo
Negra, and Pacico. The company’s beer portfolio also includes
Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the
United States, and Funky Buddha Brewery. In addition, Constel-
lation is the world leader in premium wine, selling great brands
that people love, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois,
Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Mark West, Black Box, Rufno, and
The Prisoner. The company’s premium spirits brands include
SVEDKA Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila, and High West Whiskey.
What was your career path to Constellation?
When I graduated from law school, I began practicing law
in private practice. I worked for a boutique IP law rm doing
trademark work as well as client counseling in other areas of
intellectual property. After spending a couple of years there,
I was presented with an opportunity to move in-house to the
agency side at a large media conglomerate. I worked in the
advertising law department there servicing advertising agen-
cies within the organization. And then, a very close friend and
mentor came to me with an opportunity and basically said, “I
think you should apply for this job.” It was with Constellation
Brands. I think she thought that it would be a good t because
it combined both areas of my practice, the substantive trade-
mark law and advertising work as commercial counsel. I
ultimately went through the application and interview process
and, after interviewing with not only the legal department but
the business side as well, was offered the opportunity. I’ve
been at Constellation now for three and a half years.
Have you always wanted to do brand management and
advertising legal work?
I have. I have an undergraduate degree in journalism, and
after working in television news during school, I realized it
wasn’t for me. After I graduated, I worked for a live entertain-
ment company and then an ad agency in marketing and public
relations roles. At my rst job, I was involved in booking talent
to perform at the company’s various live entertainment venues—
primarily family shows and comedians. And, at the advertising
agency, I was part of a team that helped launch a new brand. I
really enjoyed being a part of that process and observing what
went into creating a brand from the ground up. I had a little bit
of exposure to the legal side of things through both of those jobs
over the course of a few years and found myself really intrigued.
So, when I went to law school, I went with the hope and expec-
tation that I would someday work as a brand attorney in the
advertising and marketing space, not really knowing the types of
law that would apply to that.
Was there anything that maybe made you think that you
should transition from outside counsel to inside counsel?
There was nothing pressing at the time I made the change—
it just felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I didn’t
know it at the time, but I love being on the client side of things
because you have the opportunity to really insert yourself in
the development process and the business and feel like you’re
an extension of the brand—more of an ambassador than you
might otherwise be working in private practice.
What is a typical day like for you at Constellation?
Every day is a little bit different. I would say about a third
to half of my desk is transactional work, focused on drafting
and negotiating sponsorship, licensing, talent, and other agree-
ments. And then the remaining portion is spent working with
the business teams to identify and mitigate risk with brand and
marketing execution and supporting new product development.
As it relates to the Beer Division trademark portfolio, prosecu-
tion and enforcement matters were a portion of my desk. I also
spend a lot of time in meetings, as many matters are addressed
in person during working sessions.

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