■ Tell us about yourself
My name is Anna Radke and I am a New York fashion attorney. I grew up in a midsize city in Poland. I moved to New York after high school graduation to study Fashion Merchandising Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology (“FIT”). In my third year of college, I decided to apply to law school, which was unusual for foreigners. I graduated from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
■ What led to your interest in fashion law?
I have always been passionate about fashion. My “relationship” with law developed a little later. While at FIT, I served as a research assistant to Professor Guillermo Jimenez who co-authored one of the most popular fashion law textbooks. I also took a Business of Licensing class with Professor Madeleine Kaplan, during which we discussed various intellectual property issues. They both inspired me to become a fashion attorney.
■ What is your practice like as a fashion lawyer?
Fashion law touches on nearly all areas of law so I work on a variety of legal matters. I counsel clients on trademark and copyright issues, register entities, draft corporate governance documents, negotiate various commercial agreements, give advice related to social media and privacy law. I also assist with O-1 visa applications (a visa for individuals of extraordinary ability).
■ What steps do you think creatives need to be aware of in order to be legally protected?
Their best bet is to hire an attorney, but I know it is not the first, or even not the second, thing on any person’s to-do list. But believe me… we can save you a lot of money.
■ What is the role of the law in a fashion business?
Law is an inherent part of any business. Every industry needs a solid legal framework. It affects how it functions. For example, I wish there were stronger environmental laws in the textile industry or less complicated immigration laws. My role is to give stronger voice to the fashion business.
■ What challenges have you encountered as a fashion lawyer?
I think that every lawyer’s challenge is to provide excellent service. I always try to take an extra step for my clients.
■ What advice do you have for individuals who are interested in fashion law?
First, build a strong skill set. In order to be a good fashion attorney, you need to be a good attorney. Improve your soft skills, especially the way you communicate. Try to develop your “seventh sense.” Be curious about the fashion industry and its mechanics. Client will appreciate that you understand his or her business.
■ Apart from fashion law, what other interests do you have?
I am a huge basketball fan. I fell in love with basketball in my hometown, which is famous for this discipline. I used to play myself (I am nearly 6’1” or 184 cm tall). Then, after moving to the US, I started going to NBA games, but these days I mostly follow NCAA (college basketball). It is so much fun. I also love reading biographies.
■ Thank you for the interview