Katie O'Brien is an Associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and focuses her practice on general litigation, dispute resolution, and intellectual property litigation matters, including defamation and trademark disputes. Prior to joining Katten, Katie received her JD from Vanderbilt University Law School and served as a Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow at Lawyers for the Creative Arts.
We spoke with Katie to learn more about her background and work with LCA.
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 during my first summer with Katten as a 1L Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) scholar. During that summer, I worked with an IP associate on one of LCA’s cases, assisting with a review of a recording contract for a young Chicago rapper. I joined the associate board because I wanted to continue staying involved with LCA and meet other attorneys passionate about the organization’s mission. I became a member in February 2019, so I have been with the Associate Board for exactly one year now.
Which LCA or Associate Board events have you participated in?
I have participated in the LCA Shindy, the annual benefit luncheon, the annual holiday party, and will be joining the Associate
Board at Legal Prep Charter Academy this spring to assist the students with completing an indoor mural beautification project at the school.
Do you have a favorite LCA memory?
My favorite LCA memory is experiencing Mary Lane sing the blues at the 2019 Annual LCA Holiday Party.
Can you give an example of an LCA matter that you've worked on recently?
I assisted a visual artist by drafting a cease and desist letter relating to defamatory statements being published about him on the internet.
What advice would you give to an attorney who is considering taking an LCA matter?
Regardless of your daily practice, you are capable of helping a local artist overcome their legal issue, and doing so is so rewarding.
You previously served as one of LCA’s PILI Fellows. How did that experience serve you as a young lawyer?
My experience as an LCA PILI Fellow provided the opportunity to interact directly with clients on a daily basis. Developing this skill is vital, as it can be difficult for a young associate to have much client interaction at a large law firm.
What has it been like working with our clients? How does it differ from your job at your firm?
LCA clients are passionate and grateful. If you are in big law, it is especially refreshing representing an individual instead of a corporation.
Do you have any personal background in the arts?
I have studied vocal jazz since high school. I continued my studies at the University of Miami where I studied music business and jazz voice.
Do you participate in or follow the arts here in Chicago?
I have not been able to catch as many shows as I used to, but any time I can go to a concert or live performance I jump on the opportunity. The most recent show I went to was a live storytelling at Lincoln Hall put on by WBEZ and The Moth podcast.
What about the arts in Chicago strikes you as unique? I think the Chicago arts community is unique because it is a community of support. The community is home grown and unpretentious, and works to provide inclusive opportunities for everyone to engage.
How does LCA support the arts in Chicago and why do you think this work is so vital to the arts?
LCA ensures that a legal problem does not take away from an artist’s ability to engage in or profit from their talent and craft. Ensuring access to top-notch lawyers for low to no cost means the average artist does not need to be overwhelmed by a legal issue, and can instead trust that their legal advisor will handle it for them.
What's a fun fact about you?
A photo of myself and President Obama was featured in Rolling Stone Magazine.
Note: The photo can be found in the article "Ready for the Fight" from the 2017 Special Edition of Rolling Stone, The Obama Years: Inside a Historic Presidency. The full article can be found here (sadly, without a photo).
Which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend?
I finally watched Fleabag. Go [binge] watch it.
Thank you to Katie for taking the time to answer our questions! Continue to check social media and this website for future Featured Members from our Associate Board.