Jonathan Brown is an Intellectual Property Associate at Mayer Brown, where he focuses his practice on M&A transactions and trademark and trade dress prosecution and enforcement. Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Jonathan practiced corporate transactions, advising multinational enterprises on operational and strategic considerations associated with M&A, restructurings and intellectual property and tax matters. Jonathan attended Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, where he was honored to deliver the commencement address to he graduating class. Prior to joining LCA’s Associate Board, Jonathan was pleased to offer pro bono legal services to LCA clients working in music, film and entertainment.
How did you learn about Lawyers for the Creative Arts and what led you to apply to join the Associate Board?
I learned about LCA through my law firm’s pro bono leaders. I am fortunate to work at a firm that genuinely encourages its attorneys to participate in pro bono initiatives. After serving a couple of LCA’s clients, I knew this organization was one I wanted to be a part of in a more meaningful way, so I applied to join the Associate Board in September of 2019.
What’s your favorite LCA memory?
I was fortunate to be able to attend LCA’s 2019 Benefit Luncheon. The opportunity to hear from attorney leaders about LCA’s commitment to developing the arts in the Chicago community, and the shared passion to continue that effort was really special.
Which LCA or Associate Board events have you participated in?
I have been involved with the Legal Prep Charter Academy mural painting project that has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are all very excited to get that underway once it is safe to do so. I also served as the moderator on an LCA Lunch & Learn panel for Legal Prep students, where we discussed careers in law and the practice of intellectual property.
What types of LCA matters have you taken on?
As mentioned above, I have worked with LCA clients in music, film and entertainment matters. I also recently began working with LCA clients in fashion and literature matters. These matters have ranged from contract drafting and negotiating to dispute management and facilitation.
What advice would you give to an attorney who is considering taking an LCA matter?
Working on an LCA matter is an awesome opportunity, both for the clients who benefit from high quality legal services at no cost, and for the attorney who benefits from a great learning experience and engaged clients. This work is rewarding, as it helps progress all expressions of art—an essential part of what makes Chicago so great—by supporting the individuals who contribute to its creation.
What has it been like working with our clients? How does it differ from your job at your firm?
LCA clients are eager to be a part of the dialogue, but also generous in granting the attorney autonomy in determining the best strategies to reach the client’s desired outcome. In my law firm practice, I primarily work with corporate in-house legal teams as my clients. As these types of clients are often experienced attorneys, they do not always grant me the opportunity to offer a unique or alternative approach to solving problems other than the one they have come up with themselves.
Do you have any personal background in the arts?
Besides acting in a handful of grade-school plays, I do not have any background in the arts. I just really respect the talent and contribution to the community that artists make every day, and want to help protect and preserve that.
Do you participate in or follow the arts here in Chicago?
I love stand-up comedy and improv. Chicago, of course, has a fantastic comedy scene and I try to take advantage of that as much as possible by attending shows at various venues across the city, including Second City. I also attended Hamilton and Come from Away this past year, which I now consider two of the best plays I have ever had the privilege of attending.
What about the arts in Chicago strikes you as unique?
There are just so many individuals who revolutionized their artistic medium who came from the Chicagoland area. I think of names like Kanye West in music, Virgil Abloh in fashion and Bill Murray in comedy. These people changed the industries in which the create in, and they spent their formative years in Chicago. That can’t be a coincidence.
How does LCA support the arts in Chicago and why do you think this work is so vital to the arts?
There are individuals in Chicago right now who have the capability to do for their craft what those individuals mentioned above did for theirs. These individuals may need help getting there, and LCA answers that call. We can provide the support needed to help people continue doing what they love, and to perhaps become icons in the process – either way, this is work that betters our community.
What's a fun fact about you?
In the spirit of the arts, I will disclose that I have always wanted to participate in an open-mic night and deliver a stand-up comedy routine. Putting it out there so that I hold myself to it!
Which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend?
I was many years too late, but I recently finished the television series, Mad Men. I really enjoyed that show and give it a strong recommendation.
Thank you to Jonathan for taking the time to answer our questions! Follow us on social media for future Featured Members from our Associate Board.