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In Celebration of Women’s History Month: An Interview with Olivera Medenica

By Featured, Firm News, Intellectual Property, Advertising, Art and Fashion Law, Publications

March is Women’s History Month and we are pleased to celebrate the achievements of all the women in our firm. Recently we interviewed one of our female partners and also sent out a round of applause to all the talented members of the Dunnington team.

Meet: Olivera Medenica, Partner                                      

Olivera Medenica is an equity partner and serves on the Executive Committee and the Diversity Committee. She chairs the Trademark Practice Group and Privacy Practice Group. Her areas of expertise include intellectual property, privacy, advertising, art and fashion law, international, litigation and arbitration.

Question: What brought you to Dunnington, a firm over 100 years old?  

Answer: I wanted to expand my practice and service major corporate clients with the backing of a deep bench. Since joining Dunnington, I have worked on a trademark matter before the United States Supreme Court, landed major corporate clients, and have been able to tap into our litigation team’s broad appellate experience.  We truly have a great team at the firm with many people I respect and whose input I value tremendously.  I am proud to be part of a New York institution that has been around for so long and fortunate to work with such a group of talented attorneys.

Q: What unique perspective do you bring to the firm?

A: I started my own practice very early out of law school and had to figure things out early, on my own.  As a result, all of my matters have been first chair experience and I am often the only woman in the room.  For these reasons, it is important that my team be diverse and represent different viewpoints and perspectives on any legal matter.  By bringing Dunnington’s diverse team to the table, I believe we are able to provide superior client service and effectively address our client’s biggest challenges.

Q: What support do you get from your team members?

A: While I strategically lead the team, my partners provide critical insight, my associates relentless research and investigation, and our paralegals keep us all on track. My success would not be possible without each and every member of our team. I am so grateful for their support.

Q: Okay, any challenges, then – that you can mention?

A: As a woman lawyer it is important to always value yourself without discounting your services. There should be more visibility and recognition for women-led teams. This is a missed opportunity to validate the work of women in the law.  Just one positive comment can inspire anyone to work harder, to push for more and this is so important to hear in an industry that has overwhelmingly and historically been led by white men.

Q: Fair enough! Do you feel you have any competitive edges against larger firms?

A: I really do.  We strive to understand a client’s priorities and to examine every problem individually.  As a jurist, we have statutes and precedent that we must follow.  As an advisor, we listen to our clients and craft a unique solution that works best for them. As an advocate, we blend both to achieve a desired solution. We do not bring a cookie cutter approach to any client or any problem. This gives us a competitive advantage.

Q: Great answer. Can we talk about being a woman in a male-dominated field?

A: Supporting women in the law goes beyond the office and requires a holistic approach to personal and professional life. For example, if a woman bears the brunt of child caring responsibilities, it can be a challenge to compete with a man who can focus exclusively on his career.  These are very real, pragmatic issues. However, in a room full of men, I do not feel shy or insecure in the least.  I’m not sure I even notice it at this point.

Q: Well said. What’s the latest book you’ve read? How does it relate to your clients or your career approach?

A: The Great Catapult, by Zeeger Vink.  It has been on my reading list for a while and I am enjoying it so far.  It addresses how businesses can capitalize on their intellectual property assets for competitive advantage… critical issues for my clients.

Q: Finally, what advice would you give women entering the legal field today?

A: I say, focus on being a good attorney!  Be nice to people, don’t cut corners or burn bridges.  Don’t treat any task as too small or too big for you.  Roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Many thanks, Olivera. Yes, I can see that you are really making a difference at Dunnington.

Thanks for your time and comments!

Womens Appreciation Month_Olivera Medenica_Interview                                                 

Olivera Medenica, Partner

In Celebration of Black History Month: An Interview With Rudyard Ceres

By Corporate, Featured, Firm News, International, Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation, Publications

Meet the Partners: Rudy Ceres   

                          

Rudyard “Rudy” Ceres is a recent addition to Dunnington’s corporateinternational, and litigation/ADR practice areas.

He also leads our newly formed UK/Commonwealth and Africa desk practice areas. We caught up with him not too long ago to get his views on diversity in the legal profession, what drew him to Dunnington, and how his personal philosophy plays into his practice of law.

 

Q: What drew you to a firm that has a 100 year history?

A:  Like most things in life, we are drawn to people.  The Dunnington partners I met are the reasons I joined. In researching the firm, I discovered much more about their successful history – going back to representing family offices, like the Vanderbilt family. Dunnington was also at an historical point – celebrating 100 years and looking forward to the next hundred. I was excited about the opportunity to work with a dynamic and progressive team of partners to help shape the future of the firm and… I have not been disappointed!

Q: You are the firm’s first partner of color, thoughts?

When I joined, I did so with my eyes wide open, knowing that I would be the first black partner. However, it soon became clear that the firm recognized a diversity of thought, experience, perspectives, and cultures and that was vital to advancing the firm into the next 100 years.

And Dunnington has continued to increase diversity at the highest ranks, including an Asian-American female partner in our Trusts and Estates practice and an African-American female counsel in the corporate practice. I see not just lip service but a demonstrated commitment to inclusion and diversity – admittedly not really the norm in the legal profession.

In which ways does Dunnington support your career vision and plans for growth?

Quite a few ways! Soon after I started, I was provided a professional coach who works with me (and all counsel and associates) on devising an actionable business plan. The Executive Committee also asked me to lead our Cicero League of International Lawyers relationship. There, I am Cicero’s U.S. point of contact, allowing me to expand my relationships with lawyers and clients all over the world.

Q: If you could summarize what you deliver to clients, what would that be?

Well, it’s my exposure to a wide range of clients and situations – multiple industries, sectors, startups to large and mid-market companies, always from a “business- first” viewpoint. Over my 25+ years of working in the UK and the States, I’ve served my clients holistically as they expand, grow, and develop their businesses. I’ve advised on acquisitions, raising private capital, and setting-up subsidiaries, addressing myriad issues – corporate, employment, IP, and real estate legal matters.

Q Who has been instrumental in your path to where and who you are today?

It really is my parents, Rudy and Ruth Ceres, without whom I would not be the person I am today. My father, also a lawyer, ran a firm with two offices providing black lawyers (both barristers and solicitors) with opportunities in the legal profession — at a time when opportunities were limited. My mother, a rare C-level member of a hospital group, also encouraged me to take the leap “across the pond” to America. In this, Black History Month and beyond, I am grateful for their unstinting guidance and support!

Q: What’s the last book you read and how does it relate to your view of life, client service, or legal practice?

I just re-read Dan Hicks’ book, The Brutish Museums, which explains the punitive British expeditions of the late 1890s, ending in the destruction and looting of the Benin Kingdom in 1897.

You know, I am working with one partner here, Ray Dowd, a real expert in the restitution of stolen/looted art, and the book truly resonated. Leveraging my relationships with Sub-Saharan African governments, Ray and I are currently working on the restitution of African artefacts both here and in the UK.

I am really honored to work on such an important initiative with the goal of recognizing the contributions of artists from the African continent and its diaspora.

Q: Any suggestions or tips for folks who face challenges in their professional journey?

Three words – grit, determination, and perseverance!  Even when it seems like things are not going as we might hope, keep on pushing through.  We’re all going to face trials and tribulations. Life is really about how we deal with them – never give up!

And, something that took me a long time to do – seek advice and help from others, both mentors and peers. We’re not alone in this journey even though, at times, it might seem that way.

Thank you, Rudy. Welcome to the firm! You are certainly making a difference.                                         

Please click on the link below to read the full interview:

Black History Month – Meet the Partners: Rudy Ceres

“Tales From The Temple of Ishtar” – Raymond J. Dowd Presents On Recovery of Assyrian Gold Tablet (in-person National Arts Club event)

By All, Featured, Firm News, Intellectual Property, Advertising, Art and Fashion Law, Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation

On March 4, 2022 at 5:30 pm, Dunnington Partner Raymond J. Dowd will lecture on Dunnington’s landmark 2013 NY Court of Appeals victory in Matter of Flamenbaum for German museum recovering a golden Assyrian tablet (excavated from the Temple of Ishtar in 1913 by archeologist Walter Andrae).  Read More

Dunnington Prevails At Trial Eliminating Violations And Enabling New Owners’ Condo Renovation

By All, Client Alerts, Construction, Featured, Firm News, Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation

Representing first-time homebuyers who had been issued a stop work order and four summonses from the Department of Buildings (“DOB”), Dunnington recently won dismissal of “Class 1” hazardous violations for doing work without a permit, a reduction of thousands of dollars in fines and an order permitting the renovations to proceed. Read More

How To Recover New York Assets When A Decedent Lived Outside New York State

By All, Client Alerts, Estates, Trusts and Private Clients, Featured

When a person domiciled outside New York dies owning a home or tangible personal property in New York, a petition to the New York Surrogate’s Court is generally required to gain access to the decedent’s New York situs assets because decedent’s property located in New York at the time of death is ordinarily subject to the jurisdiction of New York’s Surrogate’s Courts. Read More

In The News: Dunnington Partner Raymond Dowd’s Take on Andy Warhol Copyright Litigation

By All, Featured, Intellectual Property, Advertising, Art and Fashion Law

Copyright litigation over Andy Warhol’s appropriation art dominated headlines in the art world in 2021.   Dunnington partner Raymond Dowd, author of Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters West 2021-22) was featured in an article on Andy Warhol’s religious faith and copyright infringement.  Warhol’s work was exhibited at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park where Dowd serves on the Board of Governors. Read More