Newsweek job inspires Cleveland lawyer's legal focus

Suzann MoskowitzSuzann Moskowitz landed her first post-college job in the legal department at Newsweek magazine. It was there that she began to understand the challenges of protecting intellectual property and balancing business interests with legal risks. That early experience sent Moskowitz on a path to a legal career.

After expanding her knowledge on intellectual property rights and receiving her juris doctorate at Stanford Law School in California, she moved back to her hometown of Cleveland and worked for a large firm for several years before deciding to open her own practice. The Moskowitz Firm focuses on trademark, copyright and Internet issues, including identifying and protecting intellectual property, drafting website policies, negotiating technology license agreements and a variety of related issues. Moskowitz periodically hires contractors, but for the most part is a solo practitioner. “I generally do everything on my own, which I enjoy,” she said, adding, “I know my clients appreciate the personal attention and responsiveness they get from me.”

Moskowitz enjoys working with creative people who build new businesses and brands. She says the best part of her job is being able to share good news with a client, such as the arrival of a long-awaited registration certificate or a good result after negotiating the terms of a deal.

Starting her own business was an easy decision for Moskowitz to make. The idea of being her own boss and having a flexible schedule was appealing and after having regularly worked with entrepreneurs, she was eager to give it a shot. “The fact that I had two young children obviously played a role in this decision, although I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be, as a business owner, to ever ignore my BlackBerry,” she said.

Moskowitz shared that most of her daily challenges are strategic ones. “It can be challenging to figure out the best way to respond to meeting requests that coincide with school bus times,” Moskowitz explained. “If more mothers and fathers owned up to their parental responsibilities, rather than apologizing for them,” she commented, “it would help normalize this struggle for balance and benefit both parents and children.” Despite the challenges of balancing parenthood and her practice, Moskowitz reports that she has plenty of support. “In fact,” she said, “there is a warm, supportive community of solo practitioners both locally and in the international trademark groups I participate in. When I was launching my firm, I was touched by how generous these colleagues, in particular women with children, were with their time and advice.”

Moskowitz has been a member of the Ohio State Bar Association since 2004. This year, Moskowitz was selected to participate in OSBA’s Leadership Academy. Her involvement with the Leadership Academy has helped her maintain her professional network. “It’s important to have a wide-ranging network, especially if yours is a small firm,” Moskowitz said, adding, “I continue to turn to the people I have met at Leadership Academy for advice and referrals.”

In addition to her involvement with OSBA, Moskowitz is active in several Cleveland neighborhood organizations near where she lives and works. She enjoys taking on a few projects for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts each year. She also regularly speaks to community groups, nonprofit organizations and students about intellectual property issues.

Moskowitz’s children keep her life full and have even led her to engage in some unusual pastimes. Recently, she has picked up fencing lessons, strapped on the ice skates and is learning to master the game of chess. “Yes, this has something to do with my first-grader’s extracurricular activities,” she quipped.

Moskowitz’s passion for IP law is infectious; even her children are responding to it. She remarked, “I was beyond proud the other day when my four-year-old son pointed to a brand in a newspaper ad and asked, ‘Momma, is that a trademark?’”



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