Jessica Abo: Berkley, you are the creator of the law school and Berkley Sweetapple Law. Tell us a little about your business and what you do.
I have a legal model shop where I provide affordable, downloadable, fill-in-the-blank legal documents, such as contracts and website policies, to creative entrepreneurs. I also have a law firm where I work with online business owners. I mostly manage trademarks, contracts, copyrights and website policies.
It’s all very important. Did you always want to be a lawyer?
When I was five years old, my father, a lawyer, told me that the only way I could get the pot-bellied pig I wanted as a pet was to become a lawyer and fight city where I lived. change local border conditions.
Did you get the pig?
I didn’t get a pig, but I knew I wanted to be a lawyer like him one day when I grew up and fought for things like having a pet pig. I went to law school after college but didn’t think the traditional legal career path was right for me. After graduating from law school, I started blogging as a side hustle and decided I wanted to monetize the blog and make a business out of it. I joined online courses and ended up meeting other creative entrepreneurs who wanted legal advice on the online business/blog space. I had so much fun working with entrepreneurs who had online businesses that I started educating myself in that area of law, while working as a trial lawyer. Seven years after graduating from law school, I quit my legal practice to pursue my studentship and full-time law practice.
Who are your customers and how do you help them?
My clients include educators, online course creators, web designers, copywriters, graphic designers, and other online business owners. My favorite area of work is trademarks, helping entrepreneurs secure the exclusive right to use their business name, slogan or logo in their business. Because trademark law is strict, my online business has customers in all 50 states.
You’ve been at this for a long time. What would you say is the most costly legal mistake you’ve ever seen someone make?
The biggest and most expensive legal mistake I see business owners make is using a business name without making sure it’s available first. If you’re starting a business, it’s important to make sure someone else hasn’t registered the name in the first place, so you don’t get a cease-and-desist letter from their lawyer and be forced to re-register. Changing a business name after you’ve launched, and the branding, packaging, and web design that come with a business name, can be frustrating and expensive. It is also important to be quick to make sure that no one else does it before you. If you’ve used the name and competing trademarks in the first place, it can be expensive to sue to try to get it right.
And that means it can be a whole business dream. What are some legal boxes that entrepreneurs should check?
How can you minimize all of this for your customers?
In my model store, I try to keep it simple. I have created several contract templates tailored to various service providers, which can be downloaded and filled out in twenty minutes. In private practice, I try to make the customer experience easy and pleasant. For example, for branding, I work on a flat fee model so customers don’t have to worry about price increases. I manage everything in the qualification process, from the application to the Office Work, so that the clients don’t have to worry about the legal stuff and focus on doing what they love.