Fashion Week Goes the Law-School Route

New York's Fordham University offers legal assistance and courses to aspiring designers and models.

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She appreciates the clinic's level of professionalism, that FLI does the client matching and especially that the issues are finite, so there is usually no need for follow-up. Bowler's cogent advice: "Put all understandings in writing ... think about how to protect your product and name when branding or going forward."

Lawyers are cautioned against advertising or marketing themselves and must carry malpractice insurance, complete an online questionnaire checking off their area or areas of expertise and undergo an assessment of any potential conflicts. An FLI law student is assigned to assist each case with advance research, document review and other tasks.

"It's also great for the law students to get firsthand experience in the industry," Kolb said. "We notify over 450 members when the next clinic is approaching and make the connections."

The FLI has also helped the CFDA by issuing "mini-briefs" in accessible language that provide designers and brands with guidance on topics such as appropriate internship conditions.

By the looks of the fashions and music at the shindig and FLI's law-related offerings, it seems that the institute has a lot to celebrate. No telling what Scafidi and FLI will dream up to toast their third anniversary, but you can bet it will be fashion-fierce and legally sound.

Tricia Elam is an attorney, instructor at Howard University and the author of the novel Breathing Room.

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