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Meet Michelle Miu Epstein

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Miu Epstein.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up, I struggled with whether I wanted to be a lawyer or a fashion designer/stylist. Coming from an immigrant family, it was pretty normal to see my parents working 16+ hour days at their restaurant to make a better life for us. I remember spending a lot of my childhood at their restaurant, so I understood the hustle at a young age.

So why did I love the law and fashion? I loved the fact that the law could really help people in need and make a difference in others’ lives. On the other hand, I loved the way that fashion could really bring out a person’s personality and boost self-esteem. I guess you could say I grew up just wanting to make a difference in the world.

Before I was set to start fashion school, I took an entry-level position at an international intellectual property law firm to make some extra money and ended up falling in love. The intellectual property law firm exposed me to working with many large to Fortune 500 companies with their trademarks and branding on an international level. I spent years at this law firm securing trademark registrations all around the world for international companies.

Eventually, I decided I wanted to take my skills to another level and enrolled myself in law school. It was a tough three years because I was working and going to law school full time, but I wanted to prove it to myself that I could do it. After all, no one in my family has ever become a lawyer and I wanted to make them proud.

All my years of hard work ended up paying off. Once I passed the California state bar on my first try (one of the hardest bar exams in the nation!), I was promoted to head of the international trademark department. At that point, I realized that I had the best of both worlds – I was a lawyer and I had a hand in working with creatives and advising on brands prior to them even hitting the market.

In 2019, I decided that it was time to make the jump and start my own law firm, MIU EPSTEIN LAW, to better service clients with their domestic and international trademarks and to create a better work-life balance. Whether it’s a startup or Fortune 500 company, I love the work that I do as a trademark attorney. The best thing about my work is being able to witness my clients’ successes and knowing that I had a hand in growing their business.

Has it been a smooth road?
The struggle was real! Deciding to be a lawyer is no easy feat. I spent many long nights working and going to law school full time to try and make it. Deciding on starting my own law firm was again no easy feat and there are many hats I have to wear along with being diligent in seeing through my clients’ goals.

I don’t think any road is easy, but if it is something you really want, the journey is worth it because the rewards are great. The one piece of advice I can give is to not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. The reason I’ve been able to get to where I’m at today is because I’ve had a lot of great and gracious supporters along the way.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the MIU EPSTEIN LAW story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m the owner of a law firm based in Orange County called MIU EPSTEIN LAW where we focus on intellectual property and corporate matters. I’m particularly known for my experience in international and domestic trademark work and helping clients in the food and beverage, cosmetics, fashion, entertainment, hospitality, financial services, and automotive and technology industries. Given the type of work I do, I get the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.

People always ask – what is a trademark? A trademark is essentially a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of certain goods or services from one party to another. For example, think of all the makeup, clothing, or food brands out there. What brands do you think of? Why do you as a consumer choose to buy into a certain brand over others? Is it because they have certain qualities you can expect? Is it because you support the company’s beliefs? All of these things go into building a successful trademark, which is what I get to help companies with.

The one thing I’m most proud of in my company is having a real hands-on approach with clients. A lot of the time, I think people have a negative view of lawyers, which I am working on changing! Every prospect or client that reaches out to my firm will speak with me directly and they can expect a really personalized touch throughout the services I provide. Once a client signs up with my firm, they can rest assured that I will be working tirelessly to try and achieve their goals.

I also like to think that I am not your typical lawyer because of my creative background. I can understand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into building a business and brand, so I try and incorporate my knowledge and experience into devising the best trademark strategy for my clients.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
With the technological and artificial intelligence advances we keep seeing every year, I think it will be even easier for people to try and automate the legal industry. These kinds of advances may make people curious as to whether or not there will even be a need for lawyers in the future. However, I really do feel like there are certain nuances and intricacies of the law that even the best technological advances cannot capture. So, I feel that by continuing to provide personalized and hands-on service to clients, there will always be a need for those lawyers who have the best interests of their clients in mind.

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Published in Orange County Lawyer, July 2018. Photograph by Handsome Rabbit LLC.

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