Model Intellectual Property Internship Programs: Internship Programs within the Scope of Employment Law

AuthorBarbara Kolsun
ProfessionStuart Weitzman Holdings, LLC
C14 09/02/2011 14:4:24 Page 251
Model Intellectual Property
Internship Programs
Internship Programs within the Scope
of Employment Law
Barbara Kolsun
Stuart Weitzman Holdings, LLC
Legal internship programs exist to help train lawyers-to-be in the subjects relevant
to their company’sfield of business. For example, fashion companies, whose work
is largely comprised of intellectual property (IP) matters, have slowly appreciated the
value of these programs to train future lawyers about fashion-specific areas, such as
counterfeiting. When I started the internship program at Kate Spade, a fashion com-
pany specializing in luxury handbags, to help the company deal with the enormous
number of counterfeit handbags for sale on the Internet, few fashion companies used
interns. Fashion companies often have small legal departments, and interns may per-
form many projectswhile learning the workings of the industry. The press has recently
addressed the labor issues specifically related to unpaid legal internships that have
proliferated in the downward economy. However, as long as companies give interns
challenging work that utilizes and develops their legal skills and have programs that
are academicallyoriented, the company most likely will notface any labor issues.
In this chapter, we discuss the issues that surround hiring legal interns, includ-
ing: the benefits and drawbacks, employment law issues, where to find interns, how
to utilize interns, how to maintain relationships with interns, and how to develop an
intern program at your company.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Legal IP Interns
There are numerous benefits to hiring a legal IP intern, but, simultaneously, there are
drawbacks as well. It is important to be aware of both the benefits and drawbacks in

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