By Purple Fox Legal
January 13, 2022
Alyssa J. Devine’s alma mater, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, recently published an Alumni Spotlight recognizing her accomplishments following graduation and becoming licensed in Tennessee and New York.
Check out the full interview below.
I wanted a career that was intellectually stimulating. Law fit the bill because it touched every industry, solved complex issues, and created value for communities. I chose Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law because it is one of the best value law schools in the country and I appreciated that McKinney students did not have to compete with students from other law schools while pursuing numerous opportunities in Indianapolis.
No one in my family is an attorney or works in the legal field. I am a first-generation attorney and I taught myself everything about the legal industry and the business of law. As a first-generation attorney, I take pride in knowing that my success was a result of my own perseverance and passion for learning.
Public service has always been important to me. In my undergraduate program, I received the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion for excelling in my commitment to the community through volunteerism. Upon graduating law school, I was awarded the Norman Lefstein Award of Excellence for contributing over 330 hours of pro bono service throughout my law school career. My passion for service was the reason I was heavily involved with the Indianapolis Bar Association, where I served on the Law Student Division Executive Committee and the Standing Pro Bono Committee.
I was involved in several other student organizations at McKinney and contributed a significant amount of time to the Intellectual Property Student Association and Sports and Entertainment Law Society.
In law school, I was also among the first law students invited to become Pupils in the newly formed S. Jay Plager Intellectual Property American Inn of Court in Indianapolis. Professor Nguyen was a key part in forming this organization and recommended law students interested in intellectual property that could contribute as Pupils to the organization’s leadership. During my two years as a Pupil, I created and presented a portion of two CLE programs, the first highlighting issues and unanswered questions regarding artificial intelligence and U.S. copyright law, and the second summarizing key trademark and copyright decisions that the U.S. Supreme Court issued between 2018 and 2019.
Another eventful experience for me was attending the 41st Annual UCLA Entertainment Symposium in Los Angeles, California. I spent several days networking with attorneys and other business professionals and I listened to various panels that spoke about recent issues in the entertainment industry. This event was very informative and my attendance solidified my desire to practice copyright, trademark, and right of publicity law. However, the reason I was able to attend this rewarding event was because of a travel grant McKinney offers law students. I am grateful that McKinney offers individualized opportunities such as the travel grant so law students can pursue their interests and attend legal conferences throughout the country.
I also served as the Communication Chair of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Copyright Committee for over a year.
After my first year of law school, I worked for two judges, Judge Heather Welch and Judge Timothy Oakes, in the Marion County Superior Court Civil Division. My tasks involved reading parties’ briefs, conducting legal research, and drafting court opinions. I worked full-time for ten weeks and I solved challenging issues to assist the judges’ heavy dockets.
Soon after, I began working for Judge Tanya Pratt at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, where I learned about new areas of law as well as differences between state and federal practice.
A few semesters later, I accepted an even more challenging role as a Judicial Extern for Indiana Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey G Slaughter. In this role, I was given the perspective of an Indiana Supreme Court Justice who had discretion in accepting appeals.
By asking thoughtful questions during all these experiences, I learned how judges think and how successful advocates win cases for clients.
Legal Writing & Oral Advocacy
In law school, I participated in Indiana Law Review, moot court, and a variety of other legal internships and externships. My legal writing improved with each experience. For example, as a Law Clerk at Wilson Kehoe Winingham, LLC, I applied the citation skills I acquired from law review and improved my writing skills by requesting feedback frequently. My drive to succeed was rewarded after I drafted a motion for partial summary judgment that was granted in my client’s favor and an appellate brief that successfully reversed and remanded a case in my client’s favor.
During my second year of law school, I participated in moot court. I used the feedback from the mock judges to polish my argument. My efforts were rewarded when I was ranked in the top 25% of advocates and admitted to the Order of the Barristers. After my success, I participated in the Saul Lefkowitz National Moot Court Competition, which focuses on issues in trademark law. I served as a student coach for McKinney’s Lefkowitz Moot Court Team the next two years as well. During the national competitions, federal judges and practitioners would offer criticism and feedback to advocates, which I collected and use as a practicing attorney.
Law School Clinics
I applied the knowledge I gained from my classes to my professional experiences in two legal clinics. In the fall semester of 2017, I participated in IU McKinney’s Entrepreneurship Clinic, which was recently renamed the Intellectual Property Clinic. I applied concepts from my legal analysis and intellectual property courses to analyze federal trademark registration eligibility by conducting clearance searches. This resulted in my accomplishment of successfully prosecuting a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register in the United States Patent and Trademark Office for my client. This is astonishing for many attorneys because achieving such a feat in law school is practically unheard of as there are few opportunities in the United States for law students to gain intellectual property prosecution experience.
Wanting to learn more about appellate practice, I enrolled in the Appellate Clinic in August 2019, volunteering to represent a convicted criminal in a state court appeal. I reviewed hundreds of pages making up the appellate record and searched for the best appellate arguments. I wrote motions and briefs for my client as my writing was critiqued and enhanced. I advocated on behalf of my client for nearly a year from August 2019 to July 2020.
In May 2020, I earned JD and MBA degrees from Indiana University. I attended law school from August 2016 to May 2020 and I attended the Indiana University Kelley School of Business as a MBA student from August 2017 to May 2020.
It was challenging when I joined Indiana Law Review and competed in the Honorable Robert H. Staton Moot Court Competition the same semester I began the JD/MBA Program, but I became a master of time management. Pursuing a JD and MBA at the same time gave me the opportunity to work collaboratively in teams and translate complex legal matters for individuals who aren’t attorneys. Additionally, I learned to apply business concepts to legal issues and legal concepts to business problems.
As an MBA Candidate, I participated in the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Discovery, Innovation, and Ventures Enterprise (DIVE) as a Student Consultant. My DIVE project tasked me with creating a commercialization strategy for a first-of-its-kind healthcare technology application developed by a team of university researchers. This project gave me hands-on experience in market research, business planning, different ways to generate revenue, and intellectual property protection strategies. My MBA education has served as a valuable complement to my legal education and I believe I received the best of both worlds as an Indiana University JD/MBA Candidate because I learned from multiple perspectives.
My most rewarding experience as a McKinney student was working at CMG Worldwide from August 2019 to July 2020.
Mark Roesler, the Founder and CEO of CMG Worldwide, is a fellow JD/MBA graduate from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Indiana University Kelley School of Business. I met Mark Roesler at one of the lunch speaker series events that Professor Nguyen organizes each semester. I attended many of these events and was rewarded with knowledge and connections in the areas of law I was interested in. However, when I listened to Mark Roesler’s presentation at McKinney during my first year of law school, my passion for intellectual property was sparked and I admired how he creatively applied his legal knowledge to start CMG Worldwide.
In August 2019, at the beginning of my fourth year in the JD/MBA Program, I began my internship at CMG Worldwide. Both Garrett Hutchinson, who served as the primary In-House Counsel for CMG Worldwide in Indianapolis, and Mark Roesler were wonderful mentors to me. I learned about transactional law, but also the business side of the entertainment industry. I knew my interest in trademark, copyright, and right of publicity law collectively best served the entertainment industry. Thus, I craved to learn everything I could about negotiations, unreasonable demands, standard contract clauses, calculating royalty rates for different types of agreements, crafting each contract to fit its unique terms, valuing intellectual property rights, and finalizing deals. I learned about all of these things and more during my time at CMG Worldwide, but the most valuable thing I received was actionable feedback. Knowing what skills I could improve and suggestions on how to improve them was a great benefit from this experience.
At CMG Worldwide, I was assigned the same type of tasks as CMG’s In-House Counsel and I was challenged here more than during any of my previous experiences. In addition to drafting contracts and responses to cease and desist letters, I also had the opportunity to sit in on major contract negotiations and client meetings. The first time I felt like an attorney was when I was working at CMG Worldwide, and I believe this experience bridged the final gap from being a McKinney law student and evolving into Alyssa J. Devine, Attorney at Law.
I entered law school in August 2016 and I was supposed to graduate in May 2019. However, I chose to earn a MBA degree while enrolled in law school, extending my graduation date to May 2020. Then COVID-19 hit. Many possibilities disappeared and problems with administering bar exams remotely caused significant stress while studying.
Unlike previous bar applicants, I didn’t just have to take the bar exam. I had to take the first remote, online bar exam administered in Tennessee and one of the first remote, online bar exams in the United States.
I had to study knowing that other states had major issues with administering a remote bar exam and that some law school graduates failed to pass their bar exams due to defective software, not because they lacked minimum competency to practice law. I had to figure out how to study effectively while managing my expenses without a job. I had to apply for jobs so I could cover my expenses and make student loan payments. I had to take extra precautions to keep myself healthy and prevent my family members from catching the deadly pandemic virus plaguing the world.
Studying for and taking one of the first remote bar exam administered in the country in the midst of a global pandemic that killed many individuals’ family members and friends, that prevented almost all opportunities to relieve stress due to “stay-at-home” orders, and that isolated me from my support system was an utterly deplorable experience.
I have never felt as much stress and pressure as I did studying for the bar exam under the chaos of COVID-19 and its effects. Yet, I preserved.
I overcame the challenges and jumped all the hurdles. I passed the Tennessee bar exam and I officially became an attorney. I subsequently became licensed to practice law in New York.
Partial credit for my perseverance during this time is owed to McKinney because my experience as a McKinney law student challenged me to evolve into a better student, attorney, and person. The knowledge I gained during my personal growth helped me succeed in the face of studying for and taking an online, remote bar exam during a global pandemic.
Intellectual property is my passion. I enjoy analyzing the grey areas within trademark, copyright, and right of publicity law in my academic and professional experiences.
I was introduced to intellectual property law during my first year of law school and it never left my mind. After one guest lecture about the intersection of intellectual property and business, I was hooked. This drove me to attend many other intellectual property lectures and enroll in the following courses: Trademark, Intellectual Property Survey, Copyright Law, International Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Transactions and Licensing, and Right of Publicity. These courses expanded my understanding of how intellectual property law protects consumers and solves complex problems.
I fell in love with intellectual property law and it became my professional passion. I recognized that, collectively, my interests best served the entertainment industry. However, I knew from my first year of law school that if I chose to pursue this path, I would need to move to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or Nashville, where the entertainment industry primarily operates. I knew I needed to be where my potential clients were. Because of this, I chose to start the beginning of my legal career in Nashville, Tennessee, where my focus is on serving clients in the music business and other creative industries.
Since graduating law school, I have followed legal industry and business news. I realized that no one has the answer to how attorneys or law firms should navigate a COVID-19 world. This uncertainty and decline of business caused most law firms to lay off their junior attorneys. This also meant that law firms didn’t have any open positions. Knowing all of this, I came to the conclusion that there would be few career opportunities in 2021 and I needed to open my own law firm to begin my career as a practicing attorney.
While it was an enormous undertaking, I felt confident that my JD from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and MBA from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business would guide me to success. So, I established Purple Fox Legal, PLLC in Nashville, Tennessee and focus on business, intellectual property, trademark, copyright, right of publicity, social media, and entertainment and sports law.