Q&A: Jessica Grimm L’16 on the ‘Power of Orange’ from Abroad
We connected with J.D. alum, Jessica Grimm L’16, to learn more about her post-graduate work abroad at Thailand’s oldest law firm, Tilleke & Gibbins.
What motivated you to go on to Southeast Asia after graduating from Syracuse Law?
Prior to entering law school I taught English in Changsha, China and have lived abroad. I participated in the Law in London summer externship program between my first and second years of law school, and had always planned to gain international experience after completing my J.D.
One of the particularly nice things about Tilleke & Gibbins (Tilleke) was working with another alum of the College of Law, Mr. Alan Adcock L’98. Alan is a Partner and Deputy Director in Intellectual Property and has been a great mentor to me during my time at the firm.
What kind of law firm is Tilleke & Gibbins?
Tilleke & Gibbins has offices across the South-East Asia region. I was based in the firm’s head office in Bangkok and was able to work with a group of incredibly talented and bright attorneys. My experience with Tilleke has been overwhelmingly positive and I have learned a lot in the months I have been here. While IP was not something I focused on in law school, since joining the IPE team I have come to really enjoy this area of law.
What were some of the legal issues you worked to solve while at Tilleke & Gibbins?
Tilleke has allowed me to participate in a variety of legal matters across all the major areas of IP law, from trademarks and copyright to patents and design patents. I was able to get involved with many interesting projects and had many opportunities to work directly with clients. I drafted opinions for clients who discovered infringing activities occurring in Thailand on their rights under the relevant Thai law(s) (usually the Trademark Act but also the Copyright Act) and what measures we recommend the client take in order to address the infringement. I also performed cross-jurisdictional research on issues such as design patent protection in order to assist a supervising attorney in preparing a closing statement for major, on-going litigation involving one of the firm’s largest clients. Some of my work, however, was done under the Regulatory Affairs team, such as helping draft an opinion for a client on their compliance under the Medical Devices Act and the Hazardous Substances Act. I also assisted various staff attorneys in researching and drafting articles for Tilleke’s own publication, Informed Counsel, one of which I was a co-author on with Mr. Adcock, and for groups such as the EU’s SME Helpdesk.
What have you learned from your time working abroad?
Overall, my time at Tilleke has taught me quite a lot. Anytime you work in a jurisdiction different from the one where you have been trained a learning curve kicks in. It becomes even more interesting to work through when you do not speak the local language. However, such challenges served to make me learn to look at legal questions and issues in new and creative ways and, I know, will make me a better lawyer.
What are your future plans?
While the experience I have gained at Tilleke has been invaluable, I feel the next step is to gain more domestic experience back in the U.S., possibly with a judicial clerkship followed by a few years in a law firm. However, I would ultimately love to return to Southeast Asia after and work in the region once more.