Gwen Hochman Stewart is an associate in the IP Litigation group at Sidley Austin LLP. Her practice focuses on patent litigation but also includes other complex litigation involving technology or other IP issues. Gwen attended Harvard Law School, where she served as Executive Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, and she clerked for the Hon. William Alsup at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Before joining the LCA Associate Board, Gwen served LCA as a volunteer attorney, including in the award-winning Suarez v. Glassner copyright litigation, in which she represented painter Enrique Suarez. Gwen always looks forward to LCA’s annual benefit luncheon and has a long-running perfect attendance streak at that event.
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 by looking into opportunities for pro bono work shortly after I joined Sidley. Years later, a Sidley colleague invited me to apply to the Associate Board. She had been an Associate Board member but was going to move out of state and was hoping to have someone from our firm take her place. I joined the in 2015, so I’ve been a member for five years.
What’s your favorite LCA memory?
Spring Shindy 2016. I was pregnant but danced my heart out to the Way Down Wanderers. I had never heard of them before, and they have since become one of my favorite bands. More recently, I have very much enjoyed the post-Associate Board meeting happy hours!
Which LCA or Associate Board events have you participated in?
I have attended various educational, social, and fundraising events over the years.
What types of LCA matters have you taken on?
My LCA work has focused on copyright matters.
What advice would you give to an attorney who is considering taking an LCA matter?
Take one! There is institutional support available, and the experience of helping someone in our local arts community is meaningful and fulfilling.
What has it been like working with our clients? How does it differ from your job at your firm?
Working with an individual client in a pro bono matter is very different from working with corporate clients. There can be communication challenges, but there are also greater opportunities to build deeper relationships, and the impact of our work is more personal. Once when I reported a favorable result to a pro bono client, she said “I love you.” I don’t expect to ever hear that from an in-house counsel.
Do you have any personal background in the arts?
My mother is a painter. I’ve played piano and flute for decades, and I enjoyed acting in school plays through college. I’ve dabbled in pottery. As a spectator, I’ve always been drawn to the visual and performing arts.
Do you participate in or follow the arts here in Chicago?
I have enjoyed the arts scene in Chicago in many ways for many years, from grand openings at the Lyric Opera down to experimental indie theater performances tucked into odd, tiny spaces, and everything in between. Since becoming a parent, I have had to adjust my arts consumption habits but have enjoyed sharing the joy of the arts with the next generation.
What about the arts in Chicago strikes you as unique?
I think the variety, quality, and lack of pretension found here is a unique combination as compared to other cities.
How does LCA support the arts in Chicago and why do you think this work is so vital to the arts?
Artists have legal problems and needs, but they often lack the resources or skills to address them without our help. Our work levels the playing field and enables artists to shift their focus back to their work of creation, which in turn enriches the entire community.
What's a fun fact about you?
I was a competitive rower, off and on, for 13 years, most recently with Lincoln Park Boat Club. I’m taking a break from rowing now but plan to get back into a boat eventually.
Which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend?
Book: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Movie: Portrait of a Lady on Fire
TV: Silicon Valley
Music: Everything by the Way Down Wanderers!
Thank you to Gwen for taking the time to answer our questions! Follow us on social media for future Featured Members from our Associate Board.