Stephanie Figueroa, Esq., Associate General Counsel at Energy Intelligence Group, Inc.
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Stylish Sophisticate: Tell us a little bit about your job and career path.
Stephanie Figueroa: I am the in-house counsel for a small international publishing company where I am responsible for anything and everything the company deals with that has a legal bend to it. Of all the fields of law I encounter in my job, my primary area of practice is intellectual property protection and enforcement. I was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Information Law & Policy at New York Law School where I got my start in studying intellectual property law and knew I wanted to be an in-house attorney working on I.P. matters. My dream was to work in fashion law. This is before there were courses or institutes dedicated to the field, so I worked with the Institute director and was able to create a fashion law lecture series and a student run “fashion blawg” called Caseclothsed.com. It’s wild to see the blog still running and to see students engaging in something that hadn’t existed when I started school. It speaks to the importance of creating your own path when there isn’t one already paved for you.
I actually got my current job as a result of being rejected by an IP boutique firm. I wasn’t what they were looking for, but they had a client that was looking for a young attorney to take on their in-house work. The I.P. boutique forwarded my resume and I’ve been in-house counsel ever since.
SS: What are some of your go-to beauty/fashion products?
Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Technician Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner
Fig Body Scrub
Diamond Flash Top Coat -I swear it dries in 60 seconds!
Blush and bronzer combo in Orgasm & Laguna
Bobby pins – a good friend told me a girl should never be without 2 bobby pins in her purse!
SS: How does your career affect your stylistic choices?
SF: I work in a casual office setting. However, I am the only attorney in the company so the onus is on me to dress the part of an in-house counsel. Also, as a young attorney, I guess I feel like I have a lot to prove. How I present myself helps send the message that I am serious about my work. Whenever I am meeting with other attorneys or other professionals, I dress up in suits or more formal office wear. On days where I am anticipating having to be strong or authoritative, I without question put on some power heels. Whatever I end up wearing to work, I always make sure some element of my personal style is added to the outfit.
SS: Do you have any advice for someone interested in the legal profession? For someone interested in the Intellectual Property field?
SF: Considering how unstable the legal industry has been in recent years, I would suggest that a person interested in the legal profession really evaluate whether being an attorney or legal professional is something they honestly and truly want to do. It takes a lot of work and sacrifice to just earn your degree, and it only gets tougher when trying to get your career started. Once you know this is something you want, you have to trust yourself that you were meant to do this and never give up on getting better at your craft. If you don’t believe you can be successful in the legal profession, who else will have faith in you?
In relation to getting into the I.P. field, you need to do everything within your ability to become more familiar with the law and the current on-goings in the field. I took on learning everything I could about I.P. like it was a second job.
SS: What do you do to de-stress? How do you balance work and play?
SF: I try to make it to a yoga class at the gym around the corner during my lunch break once a week. It’s such a great way to divide my day. Plus, it’s hard to schedule in a yoga class after a long day at work. At least I’m less inclined to ditch if it means taking a break from work to breathe and stretch. Other than that, New York City is my playground so whether it’s with my girlfriends or by myself, I try to take advantage of the museums, restaurants, galleries, concerts and whatever else is going on.