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“Intellectual property law” and “community service” aren’t always linked in the minds of the public, but for Olive & Olive, they go hand in hand.
One our lawyers has a coffee cup that says, “If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.” Just as our law practice requires creative thinking, we aren’t satisfied with the status quo in our community. We believe it’s not fair to sit back and enjoy our own lives when others are suffering, or to hide our talents under a barrel when we can help our community continue to improve. When we see a problem, we don’t just talk about it. We look for a solution and get to work both with our funds and with our time.
One of our lawyers worked with our local homeless services organization as it moved from a focus on providing shelter to a focus on ending homelessness, and chaired the board while it raised funds for, and completed a paid-for construction of, extensive renovations to its shelter that provided space for extensive social work services, housing assistance, and other services. Another of our attorneys chaired our local Arts Council as it engaged new staff,and developed a plan to enhance Durham’s position as a creative, colorful, diverse community filled with acclaimed visual and performance arts. One of our lawyers headed North Carolina’s largest legal services program, defending it against proposed funding cuts and helping ensure that even incarcerated prisoners had a fair shake.
We also lead in areas directly related to our professional careers as intellectual property lawyers. Our firm’s founder also founded the North Carolina Bar Association’s patent, trademark, and copyright law committee and chaired its earliest years. Since that time, two other attorneys within our firm have chaired the intellectual property bar, and all members of the firm have been active in state and national bar associations. An Olive & Olive lawyer spearheaded passage of the North Carolina trade secrets act before there was any model legislation in that area, as well as legislation requiring invention marketing assistance companies to disclose their typically pitiful success rates, and to post a bond before offering those services to our state’s residents. Our lawyers have been called on to testify at legislative hearings on proposed boat hull molding acts, trademark legislation, and name changes. Our lawyers have led the fight for diversity in the legal profession both by words and by example. And, our lawyers regularly teach classes for other lawyers as well as in the community, on topics of all sorts in the intellectual property field.
Our staff has many years’ experience organizing and leading the local bar’s holiday adopt-a-family program (and making sure that everyone in the firm has a part in donating gifts, gift-wrapping, and delivery). We’ve all participated in serving meals and gathering clothing for the homeless shelter. We’ve worked on student voter education projects, helping children learn about the electoral process and “vote” at the polling places with their parents. We’ve worked the polls on election day. We’re active in our many different faith communities in roles varying from pastor, deacon, and teacher, to choir members and bell-ringers. Our paralegals have chaired multiple statewide and local paralegal and legal organizations, taught continuing education programs on intellectual property law, trademark law, privacy law, digital and social media law, and domain law both to lawyers and paralegals, and served as mentors both in the legal profession and in the community.
At Olive & Olive, community service is a way of life, not just a slogan.