Practicing Trademark & Copyright Litigation & Prosecution. Meet Charlotte Attorney Lauren R. Timmons
Lauren is also a member of her firm's Hiring and Pro Bono Committees, a member of the Young Professionals of Safe Alliance (Charlotte Domestic Violence Shelter), and currently serves on the Board of the Women Lawyers of Charlotte as Co-Membership Chair and the Junior League of Gaston County on the Communications Committee. She is also a member of the Programming Subcommittee, Law Firm Committee for the International Trademark Association (INTA).
Q: When did you know you would pursue a career as an Attorney?
LT: The summer after my sophomore year of high school, my mom (who is also an attorney) convinced me to attend a week-long summer law program in Washington, D.C. I did not want to go initially, but I ended up falling in love with it! We got to do a mock trial, and I delivered the closing argument. I came home and joined the mock trial team at my high school, and the rest is history.
Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?
LT: My first job ever was as a camp counselor at a YMCA summer camp outside Birmingham, AL. I loved it and learned a lot about leadership and the importance of going outside my comfort zone, trying new things, and encouraging others to do the same. I rode a dirt bike, learned how to wakeboard, rock climbed, and learned how to ride a horse, all at camp. And the best feeling was teaching little kids to conquer their fears of doing those same things. I try to remember the lessons from camp today when I encounter something I haven’t done before and am initially scared.
My first legal job was as a summer associate after my first year of law school at Georgetown University Law Center. As an undergrad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I was a member of the school’s mock trial team all four years and a captain for two, and I was a member of the Georgetown mock trial team for two years. I knew from mock trial that I wanted to be a litigator, and I rotated through all the litigation practice groups, but nothing was really piquing my interest until I took on an assignment for the trademark group. I had to research a case involving counterfeit clothing and thought it was really interesting. I took Trademark Law the next semester and never looked back!
Q: What types of cases do you handle?
LT: I handle trademark and copyright cases, whether enforcement and litigation to protect our clients’ trademarks or copyrights from infringement by a similar mark or work, or on the prosecution side, helping our clients obtain protection for new brands, logos, or creative works in the U.S. and abroad. I find that working on the prosecution side really helps when things get to litigation, and on the flipside, I can foresee potential enforcement issues down the line and that helps inform my prosecution work.
Q: What is your approach or philosophy to winning or representing a case?
LT: I try to focus on what the client’s goal is when I first learn about their issue – do they just want certain concessions from the alleged infringer to decrease the likelihood of confusion, do they want certain infringing use to stop completely, or are they seeking damages for financial harm that has been caused by the infringement? Then I work backward from that to determine the tone and strategy to take throughout the negotiations and/or litigation.
Q: Can you share with our audience the type of pro-bono work you do?
LT: I am very active in pro bono work through my firm. I serve as the Pro Bono Ambassador for the Trademarks and Copyrights group, and in that position, I encourage others in our group to get involved in various pro bono projects. I assist small nonprofit businesses with trademark and copyright matters and also have a passion for public interest pro bono, specifically assisting domestic violence victims with obtaining protective orders from their abusers (through the legal assistance program at Safe Alliance, the local domestic violence shelter).
I have also assisted with two compassionate release cases, helping to get nonviolent prisoners with health conditions out of jail to decrease their risk of contracting COVID-19.
Q: Were there moments in your career that were pivotal to getting where you are today?
LT: Getting to work on my first big trademark litigation matter and winning on summary judgment as the defendant solidified in my mind that I want to focus on trademark litigation going forward. It was a great feeling to see that hard work pay off and make a practical difference in the client’s business. Moving from a firm in Dallas and joining Alston & Bird in Charlotte last year was also pivotal – I love the people I work with now and feel supported and encouraged to be a future leader in the firm.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
LT: My mom – she became an attorney as a second career (after having a PhD in psychology and becoming a tenured professor), raising three kids and working her way through Big Law to a great position in-house where she oversaw IP litigation. She inspires me to be a successful attorney and working mom like she was.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
LT: One of the hardest things for women right now is finding that elusive work-life “balance.” I think it has to be a day-to-day thing, and you have to be flexible. It’s very important to take care of yourself and your mental health so you don’t burn out, but not every day allows for as much self-care as you would like. I try to focus on doing at least one small thing for myself every day, such as a meditation, walk outside, or yoga practice, and on those days when I have more time, taking advantage of it to do more. I know this will only become more important once my husband and I start a family.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
LT: I have two – first, be the most enthusiastic, responsive person in the room, and second, identify someone you would like to be one day, and ask them how they got to where they are. Enthusiasm and responsiveness are so important, especially when you are in an atmosphere where everyone is capable and intelligent, and it’s hard to distinguish yourself. And finding a role model in your office is key – see what they are doing, ask them about it, and emulate it, but with your own personal spin on it. I think it’s important to stay true to your own personal brand in order for your work to be authentic.
Five Things About Attorney Lauren R. Timmons
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Sandra Day O’Connor, to ask her what it was like being the first female Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and what advice she would have for me.
2. Where’s your dream vacation?
Sailing trip through the Mediterranean
3. If you were a superhero, what would your special powers be?
Teleportation – that way I could instantly be in Paris having a picnic on the Seine for lunch and then home a minute later without the jetlag!
4. What app can’t you live without?
Instagram – I love taking and posting pictures; it’s sort of a scrapbook of my life
5. Favorite Ice Cream?
Mint chocolate chip