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Laura Collada, managing partner of Dumont, outlines her path to modernising the Mexican law firm and her diversity efforts.
Why did you become a lawyer?
I decided to become a lawyer when I was nine years old. I admired a friend of my parents very much. He was one of the great criminal lawyers in Mexico and I loved hearing him talk about his cases and about justice.
I started law school having a very idealistic concept of law. Obviously studies and work changed that, but I could never have been anything else.
How did you become managing partner of Dumont?
When I was still at law school, I became an intern at the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office (IMPI) and fell in love with the field. When I finished school, I began work at an IP firm for a time. Later, and because it came with the territory, I worked on international trade but missed IP dearly.
I returned to work at IMPI, a job which I loved and helped me learn so much. After that, I was hired by Dumont to establish the IP litigation department and, ten years later, I became the managing partner. It has been an amazing journey.
What’s your biggest achievement?
Dumont has been in the market for 80 years but it used to be a family firm. I was able to change that and today we are a corporate firm in which the Dumont family serves as an influence and an inspiration. I was able to modernise the firm in many aspects, from creating a digital environment to certifying the firm under international standards.
What’s the best part about your job?
IP is fun! I love that in this field you deal with so many areas of knowledge and innovation, as well as with trademarks across many fields, including luxury, entertainment, sports, and food.
"I love that in this field you deal with so many areas of knowledge and innovation, as well as with trademarks across manyfields."
Every single day you’re able to learn something different and you’re able to help people and corporations protect their rights and create strategies to enforce these rights. You’re able to see the inner workings of companies and understand that creating value with legal services is very important.
It’s also great to meet a range of people—from the inventor you help obtain a patent for, to colleagues from all parts of the world. You gain a small peek into different cultures, traditions, languages, and religions, and you understand that we have more in common than we have differences.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
Trying to ensure that the office works as a well-oiled machine. Lawyers and engineers interpret things differently and work quite differently too. I am very proud of the team we have built, but it was a bumpy road at times.
Have you faced any barriers or challenges in your career?
When I started working in the legal field, it was a man’s world. In many ways, it still is. I remember a teacher telling me that he wouldn’t invest time in female lawyers because they would hang their licence near their baby crib. You must prove them wrong.
What advice would you give to those looking to enter the IP profession?
Study, learn, and always ask clients what they want to achieve.
How are you involved in promoting diversity?
Women have been a constant presence in Dumont (one of the founding partners was a woman) and I have been able to empower them at the office.
I’m very proud to say that we are working towards being certified on diversity and inclusion. There is no salary gap between men and women at the office, and we are an inclusive office.
Many things are still a work in process, but we are on the right path. Empowerment is about confidence. Diversity and inclusion is about finding common ground and acknowledging that differences are not a problem but an opportunity to make a better society.
As inclusion strategist Verna– Myers once said: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Laura Collada is a managing partner at Dumont. She has more than 30 years of experience across the complete lifecycle of IP rights. She has acted on several milestone cases and leads most of the firm’s large and complex cases. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Influential Women in IP, Laura Collada, Dumont, diversity, gender diversity, Mexican Patent and Trademark Office, IMPI